Program Director: Ricardo Gonzalez
Associate Program Directors: (Applied Theology Concentrations)
Carlos Mora (Biblical Studies Concentrations)
Kyungho Song (Theological-Historical Studies Concentrations)
The Master of Theology Program offers a third level degree in theology and is similar to the Doctor of Philosophy in Religion (PhD). It is intended for MDiv or MA-R graduates with a strong academic orientation, who wish to become specialists in Applied Theology, Biblical Studies, or Historical Theological Studies.
The degree involves a minimum duration of two years of specialized study and research beyond the master’s degree. The student chooses a major and a minor from one particular field of study. This degree program equips individuals for research and qualifies them to teach in theological colleges in their field of specialization. The MTh degree requires a minimum of 48 semester hours at the 800 level.
The Master of Theology program aims:
1. To develop teachers and researchers with a high degree of competency in the areas of religion.
2. To develop the spirit of inquiry, critical thinking, analysis, and synthesis within the context of Adventist self-understanding and mission.
3. To understand and appreciate a variety of viewpoints, while at the same time maintaining sound reason for one’s faith and belief in the reliability of the Bible.
4. To become significant contributors to the purpose and praxis of the Church.
5. To conduct original and responsible research that result in a significant contribution to the body of religious knowledge.
The MTh degree is not earned by the mere accumulation of credits but is conferred in recognition of outstanding standards of scholarship and level of expertise in a student’s main area of study and cognate, as demonstrated by written and oral independent research based on in-depth analysis, mature synthesis and interpretation of evidence, and responsible application.
MTh specialists should possess the following competencies, and demonstrate the outcomes:
Competencies and Outcomes
|Faithfulness to God and Scripture.||Candidates should be able to clearly describe the theological, philosophical, epistemological, and cultural assumptions on which their theology is based.|
|Comprehensive understanding of the chosen area of concentration.||Ability to deal with philosophical underpinnings of different theories or positions in their concentration area, as well as a thorough knowledge of their cognate.|
|Advanced research and writing capability in the chosen concentration.||Logical, clearly written papers, following accepted written standards, based on original ideas and objective research that contribute to the field of study.|
|Expertise in teaching and other forms of communication, as well as networking with other professionals.||Candidates are expected to publish and present at scholarly meetings, as well as demonstrate teaching skills and cultural sensitivity in the classroom and pulpit|
The MTh degree is offered in the following areas:
In addition to a concentration, students should choose a cognate from a different field of study. Possible options are as follows:
Students may also choose a different graduate level cognate approved by the PhD Program Committee.
All application materials must be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Records no later than six months before the intended beginning of the program. The regular time to begin the MTh in Religion is June (the first semester of the school year) for in-residence MTh students, and March for In-Ministry MTh students. Late applications may not be considered until the following year.
The expected time to complete an MTh program is two years for inresidence candidates (4 years for In-Ministry candidates), if no remedial or pre-requisite courses are needed. All degree requirements have to be completed within four years (6 years for In-Ministry candidates) of initial registration.
In-Ministry MTh Track
The In-Ministry track of the MTh in Religion program allows candidates to save on the total cost of earning an MTh as well as continue their employment. However, candidates should clear prerequisites before being allowed to enter this track:
Biblical languages proficiency
Prerequisite credits in their concentration area
MA Thesis (or equivalent)
Candidates and their employers should sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) making sure that students will be able to come to AIIAS one term (2 months) per year during Sessions 1 to 3 of their program, for 6 months during Session 4 (see table), and be able to spend at least 10 quality hours a week to complete assignments during the rest of each year while in the program. Candidates should also have an adequate Internet connection, and access to suitable academic libraries online and offline while studying at home.The Seminary will contact and evaluate, and may even visit the proposed libraries in the student’s country.
In-Ministry MTh Students will spend a term during each of their first three years at AIIAS taking classes, attending doctoral seminars, and completing Directed Readings/Research during the rest of the year. This way, the student will register for up to 12 units a year. At the beginning of the Session 3 on campus, students will take the general knowledge examination. For Session 4, students will come for 6 months finishing the rest of the course credits and preparing for comprehensive examinations. The last month will be reserved for taking the comprehensive examinations. This schedule requires good time management and planning.
It is recommended that the student comes alone to take courses on AIIAS campus. The Seminary will provide the necessary doctoral seminars when In-Ministry MTh students are on campus. Before going home every year the student should propose topics and sign a number of contracts for Directed Readings/Research in order to fulfill the planned credits for the yearly session, make the necessary arrangements with professors, examiners, advisors, or committees, and to renew their library research. All other program requirements specified in the MTh description of the AIIAS Bulletin apply to the In-Ministry MTh track as well.
|Rest of year||Aim to Complete|
|1||6 credits (AIIAS)||6 credits (home)||12 credits|
|6 credits (AIIAS)||6 credits (home)||12 credits|
General knowledge examination
6 credits (AIIAS)
|6 credits (home)||12 credits|
6 credits (incl. teaching
|MTh degree awarded|
1. An MA in Religion (MA-R) or MDiv degree, with no less than 15 graduate semester hours in the proposed concentration.
2. A minimum entrance GPA of 3.50 on a four-point scale (or equivalent).
3. Two years of full–time church ministry experience.
4. The following additional documents must be submitted to the Admissions Office:
In order to complete the MTh program, the following requirements must be met:
|GSEM 894 Course Development and Teaching Practicum||3|
|TOTAL Program Credits||48|
2. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or above. Only grades of B- or above (or S) can apply toward the degree program. The matriculation of students who accumulate three grades below B- (including U) is normally terminated.
3. Language Requirements. In addition to biblical languages proficiency, OT majors are required to take OTST 658 Biblical Aramaic and OTST 852 Advanced Hebrew. NT majors are required to take NTST 852 Advanced Greek. If they have taken these advanced courses or equivalents in another context (graduate level) they may choose to replace them with other courses.
4. Exegesis Requirements. All majors must demonstrate competency in biblical exegesis either by having taken a relevant course in their master’s studies, or by taking one as part of their MTh curriculum.
5. Register for GSEM 894 Course Development and Teaching Practicum and teach a course under the instruction of the department of the major. This will give the student experience in teaching in the major field at graduate level, after pre-candidacy is granted. If the student has had a record of 3 years teaching at graduate level, this requirement is waived, and the student will register for another course. GSEM 608 Advanced Methods of Teaching Bible is a prerequisite for Course Development and Teaching Practicum. This prerequisite can alternatively be fulfilled by submitting evidence of three years of full-time undergraduate teaching at an accredited institution.
6. Demonstrate, by a proficiency exam taken at AIIAS, a working knowledge of one or more modern and/or ancient language(s) (other than English, Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Greek, or student’s native language), and/or a research tool needed for dissertation writing as determined in consultation with the student’s program director and approved by the Program Committee. This requirement must be completed before taking the comprehensive examinations.
7. Not earlier than the last semester, 4 comprehensive examinations will be taken that will proportionately cover material from both the student’s concentration and cognate.
Advancement to Pre-candidacy
The department will evaluate all students in the program upon completion of their first 24 credits of MTh program. The evaluation will be based on grades, research skills, and general aptitude for the proposed program of study. Students will also have to pass a general knowledge examination in their area of concentration. Approved students will be advanced to precandidacy for the MTh degree by the Programs Committee. The following aspects must be noted:
1. Aptitude for the program is treated as a prerequisite. No new student may acquire regular status until declared a pre-candidate by the Program Committee.
2. If a student is denied advancement to pre-candidacy, he/she may be dropped from the program or apply for a reduced load status.
3. The application for a reduced load status must be approved by sponsors, where applicable, and must be reviewed by the department every semester.
4. A student with a reduced load must register accordingly or drop the agreed courses, and may request a deferred grade in order to allow for additional time to complete the required work. However, the deadlines for finishing coursework and comprehensive examinations remain the same.
5. All decisions of the Program Committee regarding pre-candidacy shall be communicated to the student and the sponsors.
If the last courses remaining to be taken in the course work of a student amount to 6 units or less, a MTh student may enroll them together with Preparation for the Comprehensives (no credit) which is counted for study load purposes as equivalent to 6 units. The comprehensive examination (also no credit) has a load value of another 6 units. Preparation for Comprehensives and the examination itself may be enrolled together, or in different semesters, as long as the preparation represents between 3 and 5 months of study for the examinations.
Upon completion of coursework and an appropriate period of intensive study and research, four comprehensive examinations will be taken. Three 6-hour examinations will be taken in the concentration area, and one 4-hour examination in the cognate. These examinations are normally given one each week over four weeks. Areas of focus for comprehensive examinations within the fields of study are as follows:
Text, Literature, and Interpretation
History and Backgrounds
Exegesis and Theology
General Christian Studies
Distinctive Seventh-day Adventist Doctrines
Christian Philosophy and Ethics
Theology of Ministry and Mission
Culture and Context
Church Leadership and Administration
Credits accrued during the MTh program at AIIAS are fully transferable toward a PhD in Religion at AIIAS, conditional to meeting the PhD program requirements, and the MTh degree not being awarded.