Western Theological Seminary

Master of Theology Degree

The Master of Theology (Th.M.) program is designed for scholars from various cultures to come to Western Theological Seminary and pursue advanced study within a vibrant Christian community.  The program offers an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the Christian tradition.  You will focus on a particular area of research (biblical studies, theology, or Christian ministry), dialogue across cultures with our faculty and other Christian leaders from around the globe, and be enriched by your participation in the life of our Christian community. The program offers:

  • the ability to pursue independent research
  • specialized core seminars in theological method and research design
  • a community of faculty and students from various cultures and contexts
  • a selection of elective courses ranging across the curriculum

Our Th.M. program is ideal for:

  • students who want further academic preparation before applying to a Ph.D. program
  • pastors who want to deepen their knowledge of the Christian faith
  • leaders for whom the Th.M. degree will pave the way for further teaching or leadership roles

What makes Western Distinctive?

Distinctives

thm-family.jpgOur program has three further distinctive characteristics:

  1. Th.M. students come from around the globe, enriching by diverse experience, our scholarly discussions on Christian faith and practice.
  2. Given the global cultural shift into post-modernity, our Th.M. seminars are designed to help students lead the church into this new way of thinking and being directly from a methodological perspective.  
  3. Generous funding is available for U.S. and international students, pastors, and leaders.
Our Graduates


ThM-4grads.png"I feel my coming to Western Seminary was planned by God to teach me how evangelism and leadership can be integrated to build up God's kingdom."

Bishop Stephen Kaziimba
Anglican Church, Uganda

"Western prepared me to teach ethics to U.S. Army Chaplains so that they can properly handle the critical issues faced on and off the battlefield."
Chaplain Mike Burgess, Major US Army
Ethics Instructor, US Army Chaplain School and Center
Fort Jackson, South Carolina

"I felt very supported by the WTS community. People asked me to share my culture with them and were very willing to share their experiences and culture with me. I had wonderful conversations about the Word, theology, and its relation to the world around us. I learned how to be involved with this world in a better way." 
Sophie Ollier
L'Institut Protestant de Théologie, Paris, France

"Spending a year in Western’s Master of Theology program was a great way to prepare myself for Ph.D. studies on Calvin at the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg, Germany."
Dr. Shih, Shu-ying
Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology
Taiwan Theological Seminary, Taiwan

Student Testimonial

Torok Csilla ThM.jpgRCH Scholarship Program: Enabling Cross-Cultural Learning

Nurturing and encouraging future generations of pastors is an important task for any church denomination. In the Reformed Church in Hungary, one way this is realized is through a scholarship program where students have the opportunity to study abroad for a year. The RCH scholarship program allows Hungarian reformed theology students to apply for a scholarship at one of the RCH’s eight partner seminaries.

Csilla Török, a theology student from the Debrecen Reformed Theological University, is one of the recent scholarship recipients. For the 2013/2014 school year, she was able to study at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, USA.

“I always had this dream to study somewhere. I wanted to go to an English area and I believed if I won this scholarship, maybe I will just study somewhere in Europe. However, somebody from the Synod called me and asked: ‘Would you like to check a seminary in United States?’ and I said: ‘Yes!’”

According to Csilla, studying abroad not only gave her the opportunity to pursue a Theology Masters but also introduced her to a number of international students from many different cultures.

“The first week in August, we had an orientation week, where we (Masters of Theology students) were together in a group from Korea, France, Uganda, USA and me from Hungary,” she explained. “We presented our cultures, our Church, our lives and studies. It was the most interesting week for me to learn about some cultures that I hopefully will visit later.”

University programs differ in the U.S. and Hungary, so while at Western Csilla pursued a Masters of Theology aside from her degree in Debrecen. Some of her classes included: Prophets and Theologizing Violence, Food and Faith, Living Water, Psalms and Wisdom Literature as well as a research paper focused on women’s roles in ancient Israel.

“I am so glad that I studied these classes because I learned and experienced a new type of thinking, and I learned more ways to understand, use and live my faith and knowledge,” Csilla said.

When asked why she decided to apply for the scholarship and to study abroad, she said that at first it was to be in a foreign culture, to test herself in speaking and studying in English, but more importantly it was an opportunity to observe and learn from cross-cultural thinking. Furthermore, her time in the U.S. awarded her a “peaceful year” to study away from the hectic pace in Debrecen, where she is pursuing two degrees.

“I can just encourage everybody to apply who feel that she or he needs some new experience. I am so thankful that I got it and I had a chance to be and live in USA,” Csilla noted. “I got many lifelong friends there. I experienced what it is like to be alone abroad, where I had to try to live alone, but I cannot express how good that was, because I learned more about myself… My eyes were opened to the world. Before, I could not have imagined how huge it can be. Now I can use all of the experience and knowledge that I got from there in my future.”

 

written by Amy Lester for the Reformed Church in Hungary

http://reformatus.hu/mutat/10109/

Courses and Degree Requirements

To Apply:

To apply for the Master of Theology program, you must:

  • have completed a Master of Divinity degree or the equivalent
  • submit transcripts of all schools attended
  • have the ability to relate theological study to the social, cultural, and historical contexts of your ministry

International Students must submit a TOEFL score of at least:

  • 550, TWE 4 (paper based)
  • 80 (internet based)
  • Overall 6.0 (IELTS)

Generous Scholarships are available:

  • We are pleased to be able to offer up to 5 full scholarships* to Th.M. candidates on a competitive basis of academic excellence. 
*Full scholarships for international students include: Tuition, Housing, Individual Health Insurance, Books and Living Stipend. Full Scholarships for North American students include: Tuition, Housing and Books.

Application Deadlines:

The application deadline for full consideration in the scholarship pool is March 15.  For application forms, please contact the Th.M. Program Administrator, Katy Sundararajan, at katy@westernsem.edu.

Sequence of Courses

Field Legend: BL - Biblical Field; MN - Christian Ministry Field; FR - Formation for Ministry; TH - Theological Field

August/Fall/J-Term

August

  • MT210 Orientation Seminar

Fall Semester

  • MT220 Seminar in Research Design 
  • MT235 Seminar in Theological Method
  • 2 electives

J-Term

  • MT250 Seminar in Intercultural Hermeneutics
Spring/Summer

Spring Semester/Summer Research Paper Option

  • MT253 Preliminary Examination Directed Study
  • MT260A Th.M. Research Paper Directed Study
  • 2 Elective Courses

Spring Semester/Summer Thesis Option

  • MT253 Preliminary Examination Directed Study
  • MT260 Th.M. Thesis Directed Study
  • 1 Elective Course

Western Theological Seminary

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