Master of Arts in Theological Studies

  • 12.01.2015


The purpose of the Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) program is to provide an understanding of theological disciplines for further graduate study or for general educational purposes. This degree program explores faith and attempts to understand the human condition, examining relevant and meaningful career choices in ministry from a theological perspective by the study of various theological disciplines, focused knowledge in a specific discipline, or interdisciplinary knowledge.


The students of the MATS program will be prepared to:

  • Utilize the deep knowledge about the Bible and its historical and cultural background in their ministries and their personal lives.

  • Interpret the various theological discourses and hermeneutics to the given contextual sites through teaching, preaching, and writing.

  • Critically reflect their lives in the light of theological knowledge and the biblical understanding.

Learning Outcomes

  • Examine biblical texts using inductive, literary, and theological approaches in order to interpret the Bible as Christian Scripture.

  • Identify the central doctrines of Christian theology and the foundations of Christian ethics, and elucidate their historical development

  • Reflect theologically through the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, Church tradition, reason, and experience) in a manner that is faithful to the past and responsive to the present.

  • Demonstrate mastery of the craft of scholarly research and writing.

  • Exercise a critical, historically-rooted approach to theology that includes reading primary texts in their historical context, assessing them critically, and identifying the social, cultural, and personal lens through which they interpret the tradition.

Components and Requirements

1. Course Requirement

The program requires a total of 60 semester hours for graduation: 18 courses (54 credits) and final project/thesis (6 credits). In addition, MATS students must also maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or more to be eligible for graduation, with no more than one course completed with a grade of "C-" or below.

2. Course Distribution

The courses of the program comprise four fields in which specialization may be selected: religious heritage, cultural context, personal and spiritual formation, and capacity for ministerial and public leadership. MATS students must complete four courses (12 credits) in School Core, seven courses (21 credits) in MATS Core, a Final Project/Thesis (6 credits), and seven courses (21 credits) of Electives.

3. Final Project/Thesis

Students will write a thesis or a project as a part of graduation requirements, in which they will examine the implications and possibilities of theological study for future ministry or for life-enrichment. A Project/Thesis Seminar will be provided for each candidate in their second year, with faculty members to help and guide the candidate to complete his or her project/thesis. A tutorial for writing the thesis will be held in informal arrangement with a faculty member; the faculty member meeting the student as needed to offer guidance and criticism. The spring term Thesis Tutorial is pro forma, allowing the candidate to complete the final form of the thesis/project for presentation to the Thesis Committee.

4. Institutional Requirement

GCU requires all students to attend WS501 Institutional Requirement (chapel) every semester through graduation. Students will receive a Pass/Fail grade for this noncredit course.

The curriculum is available in the catalog on page 158, you can download it here