Master of Theological Studies

Reflect on theological questions through the lens of pastoral ministry with the University of Dallas Master of Theological Studies.

“The school of ministry is helping me draw on the 2,000 years of Catholic Church history and apply it to ministering to a 21st century community. Theology is faith seeking understanding. You already have faith; now you find the understanding.”

- Michelle Stone, MTS ‘15

The master's degree and graduate certificate in theological studies are designed to equip you for the practical application of theological knowledge and can be completed fully online or on campus.

To meet the diverse needs of our church and our students, the M.T.S. has two areas of concentration: Biblical Theology and Catholic Secondary School Teaching, which require a specific set of electives. Students can also choose to complete the degree without a designated concentration, using their elective courses to study any theological or ministerial area of interest.  

Master of Theological Studies Degree Requirements

Master of theological studies students combine the ministry core curriculum (22 credit hours) with elective courses (15 credit hours) to complete 37 total credit hours of course work. Additionally, students complete an annotated bibliography to help solidify and demonstrate their understanding of the theological knowledge appropriate to professional pastoral leadership.

Core Curriculum Courses

  • RPS 6010. Graduate Pro-Seminar. Required of all first-year students, this non-credit course is an introduction to the fields and methods of theological study for ministerial formation. Registration and active participation in all sessions constitute completion of the requirement. Proseminar is offered only in the Fall semester, with both on site and online options. Graded on a pass/fail basis. 
  • RPS 6311. Liturgy and Sacraments. This course offers a critical survey of the history, theology, and liturgical celebration of the sacraments according to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, with special attention given to the role of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A.).
  • RPS 6312. Moral Theology. A critical survey of fundamental moral theology, this course includes the distinctiveness of Christian morality, conscience formation, natural law, moral norms, and decision-making. It provides an entree into special moral theology, which includes bioethics, environmental ethics, healthcare ethics, sexual ethics, and social ethics.
  • RPS 6313. Systematic Theology. This course engages students in structured reflection on the Christian communal experience of faith and how that faith is understood, expressed, and lived out in the Catholic tradition. It invites dialogue among students and with the formative elements of Catholic tradition to consider theological method (i.e., How do we do this work properly?), doctrinal clarity (i.e., What does our formative tradition teach?) and pastoral practice (i.e., How do theology and pastoral realities influence one another?). Topics of special focus include revelation and faith, God, the Trinity, Christology, Christian anthropology, and the theology of the church, including Mary and the saints.
  • RPS 6314. Church History. The focus of this course is on the development of an understanding of the church, its ministry and spirituality through the early, medieval, Reformation, modern, and contemporary eras. In particular, primary councils, movements, and church figures are considered.
  • RPS 6320. Theological Reflection. Forming a basis of spirituality for ministers, theological reflection is a discipline designed to recognize God's activity within the context of ministry. Systematic reflection on students' spiritual journey and experiences enter into dialogue with scripture, church history, church teaching, current pastoral needs, and the lived faith experience of the people of God.
  • RPS 6321. Old Testament. This course surveys the theologies of the Old Testament in light of their historical, social, and cultural setting, with application of those theologies to contemporary ministerial and practical contexts.
  • RPS 6322. New Testament. Students survey the theologies of the New Testament in light of their historical, social, and cultural setting, with application of those theologies to modern ministerial and practical contexts.

Elective Courses

Students may choose the additional five electives to complete their MTS degree. With special permission by the dean, students may complete courses offered by the College of Business or the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts in addition to all courses offered by the Neuhoff School of Ministry. Course selection can depend on the student's interests and goals for the program. 

Some suggested elective courses include:

RPS 6324. Gospel of Mark.
RPS 6327. Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
RPS 6330. Ministry in the Church.
RPS 6331. Pastoral Administration.
RPS 6333. Pastoral Aspects of Canon Law.
RPS 6334. Liturgical Leadership.
RPS 6336. Catechetics and the Development of Faith.
RPS 6338. Models of Catechesis.
RPS 6357. History of Spirituality.
RPS 6373. Homiletics and Pastoral Proclamation.
RPS 6144. Skills for Christian Leadership.
RPS 6145. Evangelization and Catechesis.

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography of texts related to the core curriculum is a graduation requirement for all master’s level programs. The goal of the annotated bibliography is to help students solidify and demonstrate their understanding of the basic theological knowledge appropriate to professional competency for pastoral leadership. An annotated bibliography consists of the formal bibliographic entry for a text and should then be followed by description of the thesis, argumentation, and significance of the work. Bibliographies consist of twenty-five works approved by a designated faculty adviser. Fifteen works have already been selected by the faculty of the Neuhoff School of Ministry to represent the core courses of the graduate degree programs. The remaining texts are to be selected by the student with the approval of their faculty adviser.

Access the Annotated Bibliography List.


Master of Theological Studies Concentrations

Biblical Theology Concentration

This concentration combines foundational theology courses in the School of Ministry with an intellectually rigorous approach to scripture. The degree requires 37 credit hours of course work, broken down in the following way:

  1. Core courses: 22 credit hours
  2. Scripture elective courses: 12 credit hours
  3. Other elective courses: 3 credit hours 

Required scripture courses include Old Testament and New Testament. While many other options are available, here are a few elective courses which qualify: 

  • RPS 6324. Gospel of Mark.
  • RPS 6377. Pauline Literature 
  • RPS 6V50 Scripture in Ministry
  • RPS 6V50 Old Testament Prophets 

Students can use the M.T.S. - BIBLICAL STUDIES CURRICULUM WORKSHEET to plan their course of studies.

Catholic Secondary School Teaching Concentration

Combine courses in theology with several courses in education. This is collaborative program of the School of Ministry and the University of Dallas education department prepares students for certification in secondary religious education by the Texas Catholic Conference (TCC). In addition to the core courses, the following courses are required to receive an MTS with a concentration in secondary school teaching:

  • RPS 6336. Catechetics and the Development of Faith.* (This course introduces the history, theology, and practice of catechesis. This includes the methods, content, and curriculum of contemporary catechesis, with particular focus on age-appropriateness and faith and its maturation in people.)
  • EDU 5301 Technology in Teaching
  • EDU 5302 Human Growth and Development
  • EDU 5342 Foundations of Catholic Education
  • EDU 5352 Education Evaluation
  • EDU 5378 Internship in Catholic Education

*The MTS with a concentration in secondary school teaching requires RPS 6336. Catechetics and the Development of Faith rather than RPS 6314. Church History from the core curriculum. 

Students can use the M.T.S. - SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHING CURRICULUM WORKSHEET to plan their course of studies.

University of Dallas Master of Theological Studies

Fully Accredited. Ready to Serve.

University of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry undergraduate and graduate programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and in accordance with the USCCB's standards for certification and accreditation.  

SACS

The University of Dallas is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees.

USCCB

The graduate programs and undergraduate degree, in content and form, are designed to ensure that successful students will be prepared to enter the ministerial workforce having met the standards set by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Commission on Certification and Accreditation, and the National Certification Standards for Lay Ecclesial Ministers.

The master's in pastoral ministry - youth ministry program is specifically designed to educate leaders based on the U.S. Catholic Bishops' pastoral plan, "Renewing the Vision - A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry." It also correlates with the national competency-based standards for certification as developed by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in conjunction with the USCCB.

Memberships

The Neuhoff School of Ministry is a member of the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

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