Master of Theology (Th.M.)

Purpose

The Master of Theology program is designed to prepare the students for an advanced graduate study, to equip them for teaching ministry in seminary or university, and to enhance their specialized function in ministry.

Goals

The Th.M. program aims to prepare students for advanced graduate studies with the goal of further academic pursuit in the doctorate level, serving in teaching ministry, doing research and academic writing, or enhancing the depth of one’s teaching and preaching, by fostering and equipping students to have the following qualities:
1.Knowledge needed for advanced graduate studies. This is to be achieved through
a.Reading and learning on current issues in theological and biblical studies.
b.Being tested to be competent in mastering needed skills in the area of study such as biblical languages, exegetical skills, and general understanding of systematic theology.
2.Competence in using research methods and resources. This is to be achieved through
a.Training in advanced research methodologies.
b.Writing good quality research papers.
c.Being guided in research towards writing a thesis.
3.Ability to formulate productive questions and solutions in a focused area of study. This is to be achieved through
a.Having advanced knowledge in the area of study.
b.Completing a master’s thesis.
4.Ability to teach and prepare teaching materials. This is to be achieved through
a.Training in teaching methods.
b.Having opportunities of teaching.

Admission Requirements
  1. Born-again Christians and are called to the ministry of theological education or theological research.
  2. Master of Divinity degree or Master of Arts in Biblical studies from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.33 (B+ or 86.5 – 89.9%) or above.
  3. Proof of English proficiency is required.  Minimum TOEFL score of 550 / 79-80 (TOEFL iBT).  Applicants with TOEFL score within 5 years may do translation test of a sample English research paper (provided by Academic Office).  A research paper by applicant, as evidence of the aptitude for advanced theological studies.
  4. A demonstration of maturity in personal and spiritual life, with recommendations from seminary professors.
  5.  The ability to understand Mandarin.
Entrance Exams
  1. All Th.M. students are required to take language entrance exam or Systematic Theology entrance exam as prerequisite for entering the Th.M. program.
  2. Exam for different concentration: OT: Hebrew exam; NT: Greek; ST: Systematic theology knowledge
    1. Students are to take the entrance exam on New Student Orientation Day if the student has completed 15 credits in Biblical languages before admission.
    2. Students are to take the entrance exam by July 31 in next year if the student has not completed 15 credits in Biblical languages before admission. The Biblical languages requirement shall be completed within the 1st year.
    3. If the student fails the language entrance exam, he or she must retake the language exam within a year. During this year, the student is allowed to take 6        units of course work per semester. He or she may take/audit either first year language course or if deemed capable, take second year exegesis course.
    4. If the student fails the language entrance exam the second time, his or her case will be brought to the Th.M. committee for evaluation whether he or she is eligible to continue the program.
    5. Students who fail the language entrance exam are disqualified from applying for scholarship.
Program Content

1. This program emphasizes in academic research. All courses are designed toward this direction.
2. Entire program consists of 24 semester units (excludes prerequisite of 15 units in Biblical languages); 18 units of course work and 6 units of thesis.
3. Biblical language requirement is either 9 units of Hebrew and 6 units of Greek or 6 units of Hebrew and 9 units of Greek. Student can transfer units through examination.
4. This program is only offered to students majoring in Biblical and theological studies.

Program Design

Basic studies (6)

  • Core course: Research and methodology (6)

Area of study (12)

  • Exegesis II for OT or NT/Historical development of theology for ST (4)
  • OT/NT Seminar 1 / Contextual Theology (4)
  • OT/NT Seminar 2 / Readings in ST (4)

Integration (6)

  • Comprehensive Examination (0)
  • Thesis (6)
Location and duration

Students are encouraged to maintain a full-time status. All regular courses must be taken at the main campus in El Monte, California.  The student may work on the thesis off-campus.
The minimum duration of this program is 2 years, the maximum 4 years (including thesis work). The maximum may be extended for one more year.

Graduation requirements
  1. Complete 24 semester units (thesis included) with a GPA of 3.0 (B or 83.5-86.4%) or above.
  2. Apply for qualify exam after completion of course work.
  3. Pass qualify exam before thesis writing.
  4. Finish the thesis and pass the oral defense of dissertation.
  5. Obtain an academic clearance.

(For details, please see the Master of Theology Handbook.)