Master of Theology (Th.M.)

Purpose

The Master of Theology program is designed to prepare students for advanced graduate studies to equip them for teaching at a seminary or university and to enhance their specialized functions in ministry.

Goals

The Th.M. program aims to prepare students for advanced graduate studies with the goal of further academic pursuit at the doctorate level, service in teaching ministries, and academic writing. The Th.M. enhances the depth of students’ teaching and preaching by fostering and equipping them to have the following qualities:

  1. Knowledge needed for advanced graduate studies. This is to be achieved through:
    1. Reading and learning about current issues in theological and biblical studies.
    2. Being tested to be competent in mastering needed skills in relevant areas of study, such as biblical languages, exegetical skills, and systematic theology.
  2. Competence in using research methods and resources. This is to be achieved through:
    1. Training in advanced research methodologies.
    2. Writing high quality research papers.
    3. Receiving guidance 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:
    1. Acquiring advanced knowledge in the area of study.
    2. Completing a master’s thesis.
  4. Ability to teach and prepare teaching materials. This is to be achieved through:
    1. Receiving training in teaching methodologies.
    2. Taking part in teaching opportunities.
Admission Requirements
  1. Born-again Christian called to the ministry of theological education and/or 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 a TOEFL score within the last five years may take a translation test consisting of a sample English research paper provided by the Academic Office. A research paper by the applicant as evidence of aptitude for advanced theological studies is also required.
  4. A demonstration of personal and spiritual maturity, which is also reflected in the applicants’ recommendations from seminary professors.
  5.  The ability to understand Mandarin.
Entrance Exams
  1. All Th.M. students are required to take a language entrance exam or the systematic theology entrance exam as a prerequisite for entering the Th.M. program.
  2. Exams for different concentrations: OT: Hebrew exam; NT: Greek; ST: systematic theology knowledge.
  3. Exam details: 
    1. Students are to take the entrance exam on New Student Orientation Day if the student has completed 15 credits in biblical languages prior to their admission.
    2. Students are to take the entrance exam by July 31 in the next year if the student has not completed 15 credits in biblical languages prior to their admission. The biblical languages requirement shall be completed within the first 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 six units of course work per semester. He or she may take or audit either a first-year language course or, if deemed capable, a 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 on 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 academic research. All courses are designed toward this focus.
  2. The entire program consists of 24 semester units (excluding prerequisite of 15 units in biblical languages): 18 units of coursework and 6 units of thesis.
  3. The 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 their thesis off-campus.
  • The minimum duration of this program is two years and the maximum is four 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 the qualifying exam after completion of coursework.
  3. Pass the qualifying exam prior to writing the thesis.
  4. Finish the thesis and pass the oral defense of dissertation.
  5. Obtain academic clearance.

(For details, please see the Th.M. Program Handbook.)