Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)
The MATS, which can be taken entirely online, or with some combination of in-residence and extension site work, 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.
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.
2. Identify, develop, and use personal abilities, gifts, and gained knowledge to strengthen their church’s worship of and service to Jesus Christ.
3. Demonstrate growing Christ-like character through writing and practice of ministry.
4. Demonstrate clear understanding of the Bible, theology, and church history in written form and through oral presentations.
5. Demonstrate strong writing and research skills.
Students completing the Capstone Project are highly encouraged to enroll in the non-credit class, TH 090Z Research Methodologies. Students writing a MATS Thesis normally take this class as preparation for writing the thesis. The first step in either the Project or Thesis is consultation with the MATS program director. Upon approval of a topic, each student will write and then submit a Prospectus, presenting an initial thesis statement, discussing the scope topic, and providing an
outline and preliminary bibliography. The 6-10-page Prospectus must be submitted for approval to the MATS director. Students will only be allowed to proceed with their Project or Thesis after they receive explicit approval of their Prospectus.
Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution with a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Students who lack an undergraduate degree may be awarded the Certificate in Theological Studies by completing the same curriculum.
Students must complete 48 semester hours of coursework as outlined below with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher. 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 fulltime study. Students must normally complete the program within six years.
Students may complete their coursework entirely online or may take courses at Erskine’s Due West and Columbia campuses, or extension sites. MATS students may register for only one directed or independent study.
Students may transfer up to one-half of the credits required for their degree, but no more than half of the credits may have been previously applied to another graduate degree; only courses with grades of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or higher may be transferred. Students with undergraduate degrees in biblical or theological studies may be able to complete the academic MATS in one year of full-time study. In consultation with their program advisors, students may transfer courses from BibleMesh or Reasons to Believe. Only courses that are not offered by Erskine and are necessary for degree completion can be transferred. Contact the Associate Dean’s office for details and approvals – firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-379-6595.
- PM 502 Christian Vocation and Transformation
- BI 501 Bible Survey*
- BI 502 Principles of Exegesis (required of first-year students)
- OT 501 Old Testament I
- OT 502 Old Testament II
- NT 601 New Testament I
- NT 602 New Testament II
*BI 501 Bible Survey is required of first-year students who have not passed the Bible Challenge Exam. Students who complete the exam may use the 3 hours for an elective in Bible or Theology/Church History
- ST 601 Systematic Theology I
- ST 602 Systematic Theology II
- ST 603 Systematic Theology III
- Ethics Elective
- CH 501 Early and Medieval Church History
- CH 502 Reformation & Modern Church History
- 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.