Master of Theology


The most advanced theological degree at the master's level, the Master of Theology (Th.M.) allows students to gain a high level of competency in one concentrated area of study after completion of the Master of Divinity. The Th.M. enhances ministerial practice, preparation for doctoral studies, and further mastery of a specialized discipline.

Entrance Requirements

The student must have completed a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent from an accredited seminary or divinity school with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  The Th.M. assumes exegetical competence in Greek and Hebrew.  A student who has not completed the prerequisite language courses may complete them during work toward the degree.

Applicants declare a concentration by submitting a 15-20 page research paper in the area of intended study.

International applicants must complete the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) with a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based test or 250 on the computer-based test.  Students who do not complete the internet-based TOEFL must also complete the TSE (Test of Spoken English).

Application Deadline

New applicants to the seminary should indicate the desire to pursue the Th.M. on application materials. Current Southwestern students should fill out a Continuing Studies form available in the Registrar's office and include an explanation of reasons for pursuing the Th.M.

All application materials must be submitted by the following dates:

Fall: July 15
Spring: December 15
Summer: April 15

International students must meet earlier deadlines as set by the Office of International Student Services.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Theology consists of a 24-hour curriculum including: the Graduate Research Seminar (2 hours), one Ph.D. Reading Seminar (4 hours), three advanced master's electives (4 hours each) in a chosen major, Thesis Research (2 hours), and Thesis Writing (4 hours). A student may complete a 26-hour non-thesis track Th.M. by taking two additional advanced master's electives. The major includes courses from one study area in the School of Evangelism and Missions. All course work must be completed with a 3.0 or better. No course with a grade of below 3.0 will count toward the degree.

Thesis Track

Graduate Research Seminar - 2 hours
Ph.D. Reading Seminar in the Major Area - 4 hours (2 hours in fall and 2 hours in spring)
Advanced Master's Electives - 12 hours (three 4-hour courses)

Arabic (Islamic Studies major only) - 6 hours
Thesis Research - 2 hours
Thesis - 4 hours
Total: 24 hours (30 hours for Islamic Studies major)

Non-Thesis Track

Graduate Research Seminar - 2 hours
Ph.D. Reading Seminar in the Major Area - 4 hours (2 hours in fall and 2 hours in spring)
Advanced Master's Electives - 20 hours (five 4-hour courses), 16 hours for Islamic Studies major (four 4-hour courses)

Arabic (Islamic Studies major only) - 6 hours

Total: 26 hours (28 hours for Islamic Studies major)

The major includes courses from one of the areas in the School of Evangelism and Missions: Evangelism, Missions or Islamic Studies.

The student must complete the Graduate Research seminar and begin the Ph.D. Reading Seminar during the first fall semester of course work. In addition to the normal requirements for each course, the student must prepare a research paper of at least 20 pages in each advanced master's elective.


The Th.M. thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to design a viable research project, pursue the research in relative independence, and write with clarity and force. An acceptable thesis should go beyond the description of data and include critical evaluation and interpretative judgment. The thesis must address a topic in the student's concentration. The Southwestern Seminary Manual of Style serves as the style guide for the thesis.

During the semester in which the student registers for Thesis Research, the student selects a thesis supervisor and completes a thesis prospectus. The prospectus, not to exceed ten pages, must be approved by the thesis supervisor before the student begins to write the thesis. The approved prospectus must be submitted to the Associate Dean's office. The student must work closely with the thesis supervisor throughout all stages of thesis work.

The student must submit the thesis at least 60 days prior to the anticipated date of graduation. The thesis supervisor and second reader will evaluate the thesis and determine the grade (passing grades: B- and above). A student who receives a failing grade will have an opportunity to revise and resubmit the thesis during the following semester provided that the time limitation has not expired.

Maintaining Status/Time Limitations

The Th.M. is offered only on the Fort Worth campus. All requirements, including the thesis, must be completed within three years of entrance into the program.


No courses may be transferred into the Th.M.

A Th.M. graduate who pursues a Ph.D. in the School of Evangelism and Missions may apply the Graduate Research Seminar and the Ph.D. Reading Seminar toward requirements for the Ph.D. degree. The thesis may also apply toward requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Additional Information

For additional information about the Master of Theology, contact the Master's Programs Office in Fleming 209, by phone at (817) 923-1921 ext. 6424, by email at or by mail at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 22356, Fort Worth, Texas, 76122.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas