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Master of Theological Studies (MTS)

The Master of Theological Studies offers six areas of specialization that allow students to pursue rigorous and critical theological study. Students will build a strong academic foundation for future graduate-level research, for professional enhancement, or for personal enrichment. It can also be combined with another professional degree, such as law, journalism, or social work, to provide a solid foundation for a career in religious leadership.
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LeAnn Pedersen Pope
After a 32-year career as a litigation lawyer, I needed a change. I needed to explore the uncomfortable, to change my vocation game plan from success to significance. Pursuing a MTS degree at Garrett-Evangelical has taken me out of my comfort zone of the boardroom and the court room, and most importantly, has placed me on the unexpected path of public ministry.

A Welcome from the Director

The Garrett-Evangelical Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program provides the background for preparation for the doctoral study of religion. It can also be combined with another professional degree to provide the foundation for a career in religious leadership in a variety of ministry settings. This two-year degree program allows for specialization in a chosen area of research and a thesis or project that reflects your vocational goals.

While the program is taught by faculty of Garrett-Evangelical, students may also take courses at Northwestern University and at any of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) in the Chicago metropolitan area. The Styberg Library and the Northwestern University Library, just steps away, provide an extraordinary collection of print and digital resources. In addition, MTS students come from all over the world to form an exciting and diverse classroom experience. 

I welcome your interest in our program. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Dr. Julie Duncan
Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Director of the MTS Program

Areas of Specialization

At the heart of the curriculum is the master's thesis, which acts as the capstone to your research. Your faculty advisor will normally be in the field of specialization. Advisors in other fields may be made with the approval of the program director in consultation with the field of specialization.

Areas of specialization include:

  • New Testament
  • Hebrew Bible
  • History of Christianity
  • Theology and Ethics
  • Liturgy
  • Religion, Personality, and Culture

MTS Thesis and Colloquium

In addition to coursework, a thesis or project is required for the MTS degree which reflects the student's academic specialization and their vocational goals. A required component of the thesis project is participation in the MTS Colloquium. The colloquium helps students develop and write their MTS thesis by providing support and resources as well as an academic community for peer feedback. A total of six credit hours are granted for the thesis project.

Renowned Faculty Dedicated to Rigorous Academics and the Practice of Ministry

Our diverse and renowned faculty bring a wealth of expertise and experience not only to Garrett-Evangelical, but to the church and our global community. They are members and leaders in local, national, and global organizations, denominations, and societies. They have published hundreds of books and articles, and several hold places of international recognition and preeminence in their fields. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find many of them preaching from the pulpit, teaching Sunday School, organizing for the common good, and more.

Meet Our Faculty

Access to Abundant Resources

With Garrett-Evangelical, an abundance of resources are at your fingertips to enhance your education and equip you with the practical experience you need to effectively lead. The Chicago metropolitan area is our home as well as our learning laboratory. As a student, you can cross-register at Northwestern University and ten other seminaries in Association of Chicago Theological Schools consortium. 

Our Styberg Library is one of the top ten theological libraries in the country. Thanks to our partnership with Northwestern University, you will have borrowing privileges to Northwestern University Library’s 5 million volumes and 14 terabytes of unique digital content. You will also have access to another 2.1 million books, 5,500 currently received periodicals, electronic media, and modern language laboratory facilities through the libraries in the Association of Chicago Theological Schools consortium.

Affording Your Education

One Student. One Scholarship.

At Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, every master’s degree student receives a scholarship. Scholarships are available for full-time and part-time students and are designed with an eye toward your passion and our mission. Scholarships range from 25% of tuition up to 100% of tuition with stipends and each year we award over $2.5 million in scholarship aid. To learn more about all of our scholarship opportunities, please visit

With our Early Action Scholarships, you'll receive an admissions decision no later than December 15th, and have the opportunity to qualify for scholarships ranging from 65% to 100% of tuition.The application deadline for Early Action Scholarship consideration is November 15th of each year. There is no separate scholarship application.

Our Plus Scholarships include all of our scholarships that include tuition PLUS a stipend. The application deadline for Plus Scholarship consideration is March 1st of each year. There is no separate scholarship application.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Theological Studies degree is a 54-credit hour program with at least 15-credit hours being designated for the student's area of specialization. This degree is most often completed in two years for students enrolled full time.

Meet Four MTS Graduates


Admissions Lunch and Learn

Grab your lunch and join us for our Admissions "Lunch & Learn" sessions! These hour-long virtual chats will give you the opportunity to learn more about being at student at Garrett and ask questions.

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Online Learning

While we honor the traditional methods of instruction and rich heritage of academia, we also embrace non-traditional methods such as online learning and hybrid classes. The maximum number of courses which may be taken in an online format is 1/2 of the degree. Students receiving advanced standing or transfer can take no more than 1/2 of remaining credits toward the degree in an online format. Students seeking ordination should check with the appropriate church authorities to see if there are more specific guidelines that must be met.

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Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate general knowledge of the Christian theological tradition:
    1. Scripture
    2. History and doctrine
  2. Demonstrate focused knowledge and understanding within an area of specialization (e.g., basic scholarship in specialization and/or interdisciplinary knowledge).
  3. Articulate and deploy the critical method, or methods, appropriate to the chosen thesis topic (capstone project)
  4. Able to locate and evaluate scholarly resources, incorporate them appropriately into the thesis proposal and thesis, and document them according to appropriate citation practices.
  5. Develop, and persuasively argue, a thesis statement
    1. supported by evidence,
    2. employing scholarly vocabulary specific to the field, and
    3. presented in a framework informed by critical and theoretical contexts

Admission Requirements

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university
  • A grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Proficiency in the English language

Admission Process

Detailed information for the application requirements and process can be found here.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to determine, in its sole judgment, whether an applicant is a suitable candidate for a specific degree program or for the vocation that the program represents. International student applications are due by March 1st.

The application deadline for Early Action Scholarship consideration is November 15th of each year. There is no separate scholarship application.

The application deadline for Plus Scholarship consideration is March 1st of each year. There is no separate scholarship application.