the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Master of Theology

The Th.M. program offers the student an opportunity to gain greater mastery in an area of study than is normally possible at the M.Div. level. It may be pursued in any one of five areas of study in the Billy Graham School’s Department of Evangelism and Missions: Evangelism and Church Growth, Christian Missions, World Religions, Applied Apologetics, or Black Church Studies. The program acquaints students with the resources and research methods of a major area of study and offers focused time for further reflection in preparation for ministry. The program may be completed in one year of full-time study. Only in exceptional circumstances may a student take more than five semesters to complete the program. The Th.M. can be completed in a modular format.

Curriculum

Normally no academic work done prior to matriculation will be credited toward the Th.M degree. The exception to this policy is course 81020: Graduate Research Seminar.

Th.M coursework consists of advanced masters electives and doctoral seminars. In at least two courses papers must be produced that demonstrate research ability. For the masters electives the student will contract with the professor for an additional hour of credit beyond that which is normally given for the course. At least one doctoral seminar must be taken. A maximum of three doctoral seminars may be taken.  For the doctoral seminar, the student will complete exactly the same assignments as Ph.D. students. Up to 12 hours of doctoral seminar credit may be transferred into the Ph.D. program if a student is later admitted.

In cases where the student has already demonstrated an ability to do academic research and writing at an advanced level, he or she may be invited to write a thesis. This invitation is made by the faculty supervisor and departmental faculty in consultation with the seminary Director of Research Doctoral Studies. The thesis is written under the direction of the faculty supervisor and will be read by and defended orally before a thesis committee.

Learning Outcomes

  • The student will be able to plan research in an area of specialization and, where appropriate, will relate the work to the larger context of theological study.
  • The student will be able to conduct research using standard scholarly tools and methods.
  • The student will be able to communicate the results of his/her research effectively.
  • The student will be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of an area of specialization.

Grading Policy

The minimum passing grade in any course taken for Th.M. credit is a “B–” (2.7 on a 4.0 scale). A student who earns a grade lower than a “B–” will lose credit for that course and will be placed on probation. The student may also be subject to an enrollment review.

Thesis

The first stage in the thesis writing process is the submission of a thesis proposal, which is called a prospectus. Following approval of the prospectus by the student’s supervisor, the thesis committee, the Director of Research Doctoral Studies, and the Associate Vice President for Doctoral Studies, the student completes a defense draft of the thesis. When the faculty supervisor determines that the draft is defensible it will be submitted to the Office of Doctoral Studies from which it will be distributed to the thesis committee. At the oral defense the committee will assign a grade to the written work and to the oral defense. A passing grade requires the unanimous approval of the committee. The thesis committee will also inform the student of any additional revision required for the final submission.

Program Requirements

Non-Thesis Track

First Semester:
• 81020 Graduate Research Seminar 2
• Advanced masters level elective 4
• Advanced masters level elective 4
• Advanced masters level elective 4

Second Semester:
• Advanced masters level elective or doctoral seminar 4
• Advanced masters level elective or doctoral seminar 4
• Doctoral Seminar 4

Total program credit hours 26

Thesis Track

First Semester:
• 81020 Graduate Research Seminar 2
• Advanced masters level elective or doctoral seminar 4
• Advanced masters level elective 4
• 81050 Thesis Research 4

Second Semester:
• Doctoral seminar 4
• Advanced masters level elective or doctoral seminar 4
• 81060 Thesis Writing 4

Total program credit hours 26

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.