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Master of Theological Studies (for Ministry)

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

“The M.T.S. 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 pastoral 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. offers a concentration in Biblical Theology which requires 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 (12 credit hours) and Theological Studies Capstone (3 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

  • NSOM 5110. Graduate Proseminar. 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. 
  • NSOM 5310. Foundations of Catholic Biblical Interpretation. This course’s content and structure are suggested by a description of the Bible by the Second Vatican Council: the words of God expressed in human language (DV 13). Therefore, it will deal, first, with the concepts of Revelation, Transmission-Tradition, Inspiration, Biblical Truth and the Canon, which traditionally express the Church’s belief in the divine origin of the Bible. Second, it will deal with the nature of the Bible as a human document, linked to a culture rooted in specific coordinates of space and time. Finally, it will review the development and nature of modern scientific methods and approaches of biblical interpretation, together with the Church’s reactions to and positions on these methods and approaches in the last 100 years. 
  • NSOM 5330. 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.
  • NOSM 5340. 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.
  • NSOM 5350. 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.
  • NSOM 5360. 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.).
  • NSOM 5370. 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.
  • One (1) Scripture Elective. Students are required to complete one elective course of the Old or New Testament as offered by the Theology department.

Elective Courses

Students may choose the additional five electives to complete their MTS degree. Upon approval by a faculty advisor, students may complete courses offered by the College of Business or the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts . Course selection can depend on the student's interests and goals for the program. 

Some suggested elective courses include:

  • NSOM 5380. Introduction to Pastoral Care. 
  • NSOM 6310. Torah                                                                                           
  • NSOM 6315. Prophets                                                        
  • NSOM 6320. The Gospels.                                                                                     
  • NSOM 6333. Pastoral Aspects of Canon Law.                                                       
  • NSOM 6335. Ecclesiology.   
  • NSOM 6345. History of Spirituality.
  • NSOM 6360. Liturgical Leadership.
  • NSOM 6370. Ministry in the Church.
  • NSOM 6371. Pastoral Administration.
  • NSOM 6373. Homiletics and Pastoral Proclamation
  • NSOM 6375. Catechetics and the Development of Faith.

Theological Studies Capstone

Students complete the capstone course in their final semester. It provides an opportunity for them to integrate previous coursework and reading with the knowledge and skills required to address particular pastoral tasks effectively. The student will work with seasoned ministerial practitioners who will provide onsite supervision. Capstone projects require the completion of a detailed application and written approval by ministry faculty supervisors several months prior to registration.

Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of texts related to the core curriculum of the ministerial graduate programs of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts is a degree requirement (required for graduation) for the Master of Theological Studies program. 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. The Annotated Bibliography consists of a formal bibliographic entry for 25 approved texts that are followed by a description of the thesis, argumentation, and significance of each text.

Students should begin working with their faculty advisor on the Annotated Bibliography and obtain approval of the required works list early in their program. The final Annotated Bibliography is due by the 4th week of the semester a student intends to graduate.

For details, contact your faculty advisor and view the Annotated Bibliography section of the Ministry Graduate Student Resources webpage.

Biblical Theology Concentration

Biblical Theology Concentration

This concentration combines foundational theology courses in the Neuhoff Institute for Ministry & Evangelization 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. Theological Studies Capstone: 3 credit hours 

While many other options are available for the four elective Scripture courses (12 credit hours), at least one must be an Old Testament course and one must be a New Testament course. Here are a few elective courses which qualify: 

  • NSOM 6310. Torah.
  • NSOM 6315. Prophets.
  • NSOM 6320. The Gospels
  • NSOM 6325 . Pauline Literature
  • See other graduate-level Scripture offerings in the Theology department

Students can use the M.T.S. - Biblical Theology Curriculum Planning Worksheet to plan their course of studies.

University of Dallas Master of Theological Studies

Fully Accredited. Ready to Serve.

The Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts ministerial 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.  


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.


The ministerial graduate programs, 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.


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