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Master of Arts in Theological Studies

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)

The MATS degree (48 hours) deepens the graduates’ understanding of the Bible, theology, and church history. Students pursue MATS for personal enrichment, to enhance their ministries as leaders and teachers in their churches, or to prepare for further study.

Program Director

Gore, R. J.

Professor of Systematic Theology
Dean Emeritus
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Program Goals

The Seminary seeks to develop students in this degree program in the following ways:

  • Concepts. Graduates will interpret the Bible and draw on the church’s theological and historical heritage as they apply the Bible’s message to faith, life, and ministry in contemporary contexts.
  • Calling. Graduates will identify, develop, and use their abilities and spiritual gifts to advance the church’s mission to worship and serve Jesus Christ.
  • Character. Graduates will serve the church with evident Christian character and integrity in their personal and professional lives.
  • Competence. Graduates will serve the church effectually using skills required for their particular ministry, especially the ability to apply the Bible, theology, and church history to contemporary concerns.
  • Writing. Graduates will research and write on theological subjects pertaining to their field of ministry.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Make appropriate use of relevant (a) Bible passages and (b) confessional standards, as they integrate their course material to their (c) ministry contexts. (OT 501-2, NT 601-2)
  2. Identify, develop, and use personal abilities, gifts, and gained knowledge to strengthen their church’s worship of and service to Jesus Christ. (PM 502)
  3. Demonstrate growing Christ-like character through writing and practice of ministry.
    (PM 502, MA 700)
  4. Demonstrate clear understanding of the Bible, theology, and church history in written form and through oral presentations. (BI 502, MA 701)
  5. Demonstrate strong writing and research skills. (ST 601-603, MA 700, MA 701)

There are two components to the MATS program: coursework and a thesis or a capstone project. Students enrolled in the MATS degree are all highly encouraged to take the non-credit class, TH 090Z Research Methodologies, in their first year of studies.

Program Requirements

Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution with a acceptable grade point average. Students who lack an undergraduate degree may be awarded the Diploma in Theological Studies by completing the same curriculum.


Students must complete 48 semester hours of coursework as outlined below with an acceptable grade point average. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to remain in good standing and maintain eligibility for financial aid. The program may be completed in as little as two years of full-time study. Students must normally complete the program within six years.

MATS Curriculum

  • BI 501 Bible Survey or BI 080 Bible Challenge Exam*
  • BI 502 Principles of Exegesis (required of first-year students)**
  • PM 502 Christian Vocation and Transformation

*BI 501 Bible Survey is required of first-year students who have not passed the Bible Challenge Exam.
**Students must have successfully completed BI 502 to earn “exegesis credit” for Bible electives and normally should have completed OT and NT survey courses.

  • OT 501 Old Testament I
  • OT 502 Old Testament II
  • NT 601 New Testament I
  • NT 602 New Testament II
  • Bible elective*

*Students who pass the Bible Challenge Exam must take an additional Bible elective in lieu of BI 501 Bible Survey.

  • CH 501 Early and Medieval Church History
  • CH 502 Reformation and Modern Church History
  • ST 601 Systematic Theology I
  • ST 602 Systematic Theology II
  • ST 603 Systematic Theology III
  • Ethics elective
  • MA 700 Capstone Project or MA 701 Thesis
  • Students interested in using the MATS as preparation for further study (i.e., ThM, PhD) should take biblical Greek or biblical Hebrew for their elective hours and are encouraged to write a thesis as the culmination of the degree.
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Back To Top Erskine Theological Seminary, the graduate school of theology of Erskine College 210 South Main Street P.O. Box 338 Due West, SC 29639 Toll Free: 800-770-6936 Fax: 864-379-3171