This is a ranking of the 40 most affordable Th.M. (master of theology) programs for 2017-2018. The programs ranked here are all accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. This ranking includes schools from a wide variety of Christian traditions, including protestant evangelical, reformed, anglican, methodist, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox. The aims of the programs range in focus from academic to pastoral. The Th.M. is typically a 1-2 year post-graduate program meant to bridge the gap between a Master of Divinity and Ph.D. level programs. The Th.M. can also serve as a terminal degree for those in ministry, and is seen as an equivalent to a D.Min. degree for that purpose.
Tuition information in this article was gathered from College Navigator and from each school’s individual program page. Schools are ranked in order of affordability, with the #1 spot going to the most affordable program.
Students earning their master of divinity degree at the Jesuit School of Theology can start early work on their Th.M. degree. Students must have maintained a 3.0 GPA in previous theological study. There are two tracks available in this program. The first is a research-oriented Th.M. track focused on academic study, and the second is a pastoral Th.M. track focused on the communication of the Christian Gospel.
Boston College offers a thesis or biblical languages focus, and ministerial focus. The ministerial focus option doesn’t require a thesis and instead requires a 15-page paper. Applicants should have an M.Div. or equivalent degree and a 3.3 or higher GPA. Many of the students in the Th.M. program at Boston College are Jesuits using the program to finish their fourth required year of theological study before ordination.
Durham, North Carolina
In addition to the Th.M. degree, students can also earn certificates in theology, medicine, and culture, and gender, sexuality, theology, and ministry. The program normally takes two years to complete, and students must maintain a B average or higher. Students will have the opportunity to pursue advanced training, including taking doctoral seminars and working closely with professors on research for their thesis.
There are no required courses for students in the Th.M. program at Southern Methodist University. Instead the school sets certain requirements for the level and scope of the courses, and leaves the plan for each student to determine in collaboration with faculty. Students can also choose either to complete a thesis or present a portfolio of research work compiled during their time in the program.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Th.M. program offered by the Toronto School of Theology can be completed full-time or part-time over one to six years. Students can choose between concentrations in homiletics, systematic theology, philosophy of religion/philosophical theology, Christian ethics, religious education, history of Christianity, spirituality, Old Testament, and New Testament.
Druid Hills, Georgia
Students arrange their program of study in consultation with the director of advanced studies. Students’ programs will be designed to allow them to pursue their individual area of interest in one of four broad focus areas which are biblical studies, history and interpretation of Christianity, Christianity and culture, and church and ministry. These are studied in the greater context of multiethnic, intercultural, and ecumenical religious diversity.
Hamilton, Massachusetts; Boston, Massachusetts
This master of theology program offers four concentrations, one at the Boston campus and three at the Hamilton campus. The concentrations are biblical studies, Christian thought, preaching, and practical theology–advanced urban church and para-church studies. The Th.M. degree in preaching is offered in both residential format and a flexible modular format.
Fuller’s Th.M. program offers concentrations in Christian ethics, church history/historical theology, New Testament, Old Testament, practical theology, systematic theology, theology and culture, and worship and preaching. This program as it is designed is a terminal degree intended to be a theological complement or alternative to the more ministry-focused D.Min. degree.
Fort Worth, Texas
The Th.M. program at Brite Divinity School offers areas of study in the Hebrew Bible, Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books, and literature of early Judaism, New Testament and literature of early Christianity, pastoral theology and pastoral care, and history and theology. The program is 24 credit-hours. Applicants must have an M.Div. or other first theological master’s degree and submit GRE scores.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Luther Seminary offers concentrations in Old Testament, New Testament, congregational mission and leadership, history of Christianity, congregational and community care: clinical pastoral theology, pastoral theology and ministry, and systematic theology. Students can transfer up to three courses not already applied toward another degree into this affordable Th.M. degree program.
The Th.M. degree at LSTC also makes up the first stage of the Ph.D. program. The program offers one year, two year, and four year plans. Students in this program can create their own custom area of emphasis by pulling courses from most of the school’s programs. Previous areas of emphasis created by students include but are not limited to theology and art, spirituality, and youth and family ministry.
As part of preparation for doctoral work, St. John’s offers Th.M. students research assistantships. The program is designed to complement the master of arts in liturgical studies or the master of arts in theology programs (either of which can be entered with an undergraduate degree). Students applying to this program must have maintained a 3.5 GPA in all previous theological coursework.
The Th.M. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School offers discipline concentrations in each of the school’s eight departments. Concentrations include church history, counseling, educational studies, mission and evangelism, New Testament, Old Testament, pastoral theology, and systematic theology. There are also interdepartmental concentrations like chaplaincy, ethics, generational ministry, homiletics, and spiritual formation.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Calvin Theological Seminary offers Th.M. concentrations in ancient near eastern languages and literature, history of Christianity, systematic theology, philosophical and moral theology, leadership, preaching, worship, and evangelism. Students in the ancient near eastern languages and literature concentration will use two of their electives to study Akkadian, Aramaic, or Ugaritic.
The Th.M. at DTS is one of few whole-cloth Th.M. programs available, requiring no previous graduate work. The program is 120 credits and students take courses in Bible exposition (21 credits), systematic theology (24 credits), languages (27 credits), ministries and communication (19 credits) and the core courses (29 credits). Students can choose from 30 degree emphases including apologetics, systematic theology, biblical theology, historical theology, and hermeneutics.
Westminster Theological Seminary’s master of theology program offers concentrations in Old Testament, New Testament, church history, systematic theology, and apologetics. The program offers both a traditional residential format and a flexible modular format. Depending on whether a student is part or full-time, and which format is chosen, the program can be completed in 2-3 years.
Princeton, New Jersey
Princeton Theological Seminary is tied with Duke Divinity School at #1 in a list of top seminaries by the Roman Catholic theological journal First Things. The school offers concentrations in biblical studies, history, theology, practical theology, and religion and society. The program can be completed in one year of full-time study. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.7 or greater to graduate from the Th.M. program.
This 30-credit master of theology program approaches theology through a focus on biblical studies. Students who decide to earn their M.Div. or MA in biblical studies degree through Asbury can combine that degree with a Th.M. and share up to 15 credits between the degrees. Available courses include the history of interpretation, seminary in biblical studies, and research methods in both Old Testament and New Testament interpretation.
This 32-credit Th.M. program offers concentrations in biblical interpretation and Old Testament, biblical interpretation and New Testament, biblical theology, and systematic theology. Students take courses like literary methods, hermeneutical frameworks, history of pentecostal theology, biblical theology and the Holy Spirit, special topics in theology, and epistemology and Christianity.
Students in the Th.M. program at Union Presbyterian Seminary can complete the program in just one academic year. Students can choose between concentrations in biblical studies (Old or New Testament), history of Christianity, theology and ethics, and Christian education. Applicants must have received a master’s degree in a field related to theology from an ATS-accredited school.
Western Theological Seminary offers one of the shortest Th.M. programs available as it can be completed in just 10 months. The three areas of research offered are biblical studies, theology, and Christian ministry. This program offers students the chance to pursue independent research, and supported by specialized core seminars in theological method and research.
Multnomah Biblical Seminary offers two major areas of study. The biblical studies area focuses on the study of the Old and New Testaments. The theological studies area concentrates on biblical, historical, and systematic theology. In order to be admitted to the program, students must have studied two years of New Testament Greek and three semesters of biblical Hebrew.
The modular format Th.M. program is designed so students only spend 30 days on campus over five visits during the 30 months it takes to complete the degree. The format uses a cohort model so all seminars are taken with the same group of students. The Th.M. program takes an interdisciplinary approach offering seminars covering both Old and New Testaments, church history, systematic theology, and classical theology.
Half of this Th.M. degree can be completed at a distance through online streaming, independent study, and thesis work. Theology courses are supplemented by electives in areas of study like Old Testament, New Testament, biblical literature, pastoral theology, and historical theology. The whole program is designed for flexibility and can be completed with just 3-5 trips to the Portland campus.
This Th.M. degree is designed to be completed in one year of full-time study. Each individual student gets a faculty mentor with whom they conduct research in their area of interest. Both coursework and research area are decided in collaboration with the student’s faculty mentor. The program culminates in the creation of a publishable research thesis project. Students in this program also often serve as research or teaching assistant during the program.
St. Louis, Missouri
The Th.M. at Covenant Theological Seminary offers two distinct tracks, one in exegetical theology and the other in biblical and pastoral theology. Exegetical theology requires a thesis and is more research-based. Biblical and pastoral theology is designed to provide more flexibility so students can tailor the program to meet their needs according to the role they perform in ministry.
Due West, South Carolina
Students entering this program must have completed an MA or M.Div. degree in a relevant field with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Students can choose between areas of concentration in biblical studies or theological studies. Students custom build their degree by selecting courses from the wide variety of theological graduate programs offered at Erskine.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
The on-campus or online Th.M. program at Regent University offers concentrations in biblical studies, Christian leadership, Christian spiritual formation, Christian theology, church and ministry, evangelism and church development, history of Christianity, intercultural studies, and pastoral theology. Advanced standing is available for Th.M. students who choose to earn their Ph.D. in theological studies.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Students at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary can choose general concentrations in either the Old Testament or New Testament. Students take a 20-hour unit in their selected specialization, a four-credit enrichment unit in another division, a professional teaching or other professional practicum, and finally complete a six hour thesis in their major field.
Biblical Theological Seminary’s Th.M. program features courses like advanced biblical and theological research, the christotelic hermeneutic, communication in context, biblical theology, and seminars in both Old and New Testaments. The program requires 24 credits, six of which are thesis credits and are completed on the basis of independent study. During the completion of the thesis it is not required for students to remain near campus.
Yonkers, New York
Students in the Th.M. program at St. Vladimir’s will take courses which delve into the history of the church, patristics, and systematic theology. The program is flexible and instruction, activities, and assignments are designed to fulfill the needs of each individual student. Applicants to the program must have a working knowledge of biblical Greek.
The Th.M. degree at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a 36 credit-hour program designed to build on an M.Div. degree. Th.M. students at PTS usually continue to focus on the area they concentrated in for their M.Div. program. This program culminates in the writing of an 80-page thesis on the student’s area of study. Students create their own degree plan, choosing from the courses offered across the seminary’s graduate programs.
El Monte, California
The Th.M. program at Logos Evangelical Seminary is open to applicants with either a master of divinity degree or an MA in biblical studies from an accredited institution with a GPA of 3.33 or above. Students in the Th.M. degree program will take courses like research and methodology in systematic theology, Old Testament research methodology, and New Testament research methodology.
La Mirada, California
Talbot School of Theology offers Th.M. concentrations in Bible exposition, New Testament, Old Testament and semitics, and theology. The Th.M. program at Talbot offers both thesis and non-thesis tracks. All students must take a course in advanced methods of educational instruction and a research seminar offered in their specific area of concentration.
Fort Worth, Texas
Th.M. students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary can choose between focus areas in New Testament, Old Testament, theological studies, pastoral ministry, or ethics, philosophy, and apologetics. Students declare their major by submitting a 15-20 page research paper in their intended focus area. Applicants must demonstrate competence in exegetical Greek and Hebrew.
The Denver campus Th.M. program offers concentrations in Old Testament, New Testament, and theology. The Th.M. degree is 30 credits and requires a master of divinity degree or equivalent, and applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Students will take courses like contemporary ecclesiologies and studies in trinitarian theology, along with many electives and specialization-specific courses.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
PRTS offers areas of concentration in biblical studies, reformation and post-reformation theology, and systematic theology. The program also offers both a classes-only track and a classes plus thesis track. All students are initially admitted to the classes-only track and must apply to the thesis track. The classes are offered in a one-week intensive modular format.
Kansas City, Missouri
Midwestern Baptist offers primary Th.M. programs in Th.M. (standard), pedagogy, or research language. The pedagogy emphasis includes a course called teaching principles and methods in higher education. The research language emphasis includes courses on theological German and theological French. The core includes two Hebrew and two Greek courses, and courses on advanced biblical hermeneutics.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary offers a very affordable Th.M. degree as part of a dual level combined Th.M./Ph.D. research program. However, once requirements are met, students can apply for the Th.M. degree without completing the rest of the Ph.D. program. Areas of emphasis include church history, evangelism, New Testament, counseling, theology, and Christian apologetics.
Wake Forest, North Carolina
The general fields of study offered in this program at Southeastern are biblical studies, theological studies, and applied theology. Students then choose from concentrations within their chosen field including areas like Old Testament, New Testament, theology, philosophy, church history, Christian ethics, biblical counseling, and evangelism. Th.M. students can take advantage of the opportunity to enroll in four Ph.D. seminars in order to get a jump-start on earning a Ph.D. degree.