News Release: Religion and Ethics

Nov. 18,  2010

Redesigned Theology Master's Program Allows Students to 'Go Deep'

News Article ImageCandler School of Theology

Candler School of Theology at Emory University is introducing a retooled Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree program that enables students to “go as deep as they want” in a wide range of study areas. It debuts in the fall of 2011. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

Designed for students who are interested in exploring theology and religion without preparing for ordained ministry, the two-year MTS program is especially suited for those drawn to teaching and research or engagement in social issues. The program is ideal for journalists, attorneys, teachers, national governing body staff members, and others whose work requires an understanding of the role of religion and theology in public life.

The new curriculum’s two broad focus areas – “History, Scripture and Tradition” and “Modern Religious Thought and Experience” -- give students flexibility to design up to two-thirds of their coursework around their specific interests.

“Our previous program requirements didn’t always fit with students’ expressed academic and vocational interests. Now, they can go as deep as they want into any field, from Bible to theology, from society and personality to the intersection of church and politics,” says Steven J. Kraftchick, associate professor in the practice of New Testament interpretation and director of General and Advanced Programs. “This flexibility allows us to help students more easily reach their aspirations, and achieve their educational and vocational goals more directly.”

Pursuing joint degrees

The customized approach also increases students’ opportunities for close collaboration with faculty at Candler and across Emory. It encourages interdisciplinary study throughout the university, the pursuit of joint degrees in public health, law and business, and specialized research and study abroad options.

The program also is intentional about helping students discern their vocation. Plenaries, small groups and a new professional development elective help them shape their career goals, while a capstone course brings together students who have the same focus area to write their thesis papers in a collaborative environment.

Candler’s MTS degree program started in 1972 with around a dozen students. Today approximately 70 Candler students pursue an MTS, which is about 15 percent of Candler’s student body.

“The program is selective so that we can give our students more individualized focus and more one-on-one time with our talented faculty,” says Kraftchick.

For more information or to apply to the MTS program.

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