A question about degrees and religious scholarship


I’m not sure if this is the right place the ask this question, but I’m not sure where else to ask it.

My question is essentially whether the degree Master of Theological Studies will be sufficient (at least for most universities) for entrance into a doctoral program in theology, theological studies, or religious studies with a Christian focus.

I am finishing an honours B.A in anthropology this year, and though I was planning to do graduate work in anthropology, over the past year I have [somewhat prayerfully] discerned that I wish to become a religious scholar. I do a lot of thinking about theological issues and apologetics. I also want to bring an anthropological perspective to my theological studies. However, because I have done a degree in anthropology and not in religious studies or Christian studies, or theology, I cannot enter directly into a Master of Arts degree in theology. However, the MTS degree is open to me, and I am hoping that this degree program will provide a springboard to Ph.D, D.Phil, or Th.D studies.

Thank you for your input.
Peace be with you.


As someone who has a PhD, and who has been a Director of Graduate Studies in another discipline, I would advise you to communicate with Directors of Graduate Studies at institutions where you might want to pursue you doctoral studies eventually. They will be able to advise you most accurately. But I will say, based on my own experience, that we admitted many doctoral students with MAs in related but different disciplines. You may have to take some specific classes that some MA students will have taken. But I would also advise you to ask those programs about whether you might not begin to pursue your studies even with a different BA background. I know I did, as did many of my colleagues.

Good luck.


It’s also important to figure out what sort of graduate degree in Theology you want to pursue. Different degrees have different requirements. A small sampling is:
*]Masters of Arts in Theology- A standard degree from a standard university.
*]Masters in Ministry- Specializing in pastoral applications. This is good if you also want to do some field work.
*]Masters in Divinity- This is the degree most often awarded to priests in the USA, and is partly pastoral and partly academic.
*]Bachelors in Sacred Theology- This is a graduate degree (despite being called a “Bachelor”), and is only awarded by Pontifical Universities. It is most commonly awarded to priests outside of the USA. It can either be a major benefit, or a downfall, depending on where you look to work. Catholic Universities tend to look upon degrees in Sacred Theology more favorably, while other universities do not.

It’s important to realize that many of these degrees have some philosophy or language prerequisites that you’ll have to fulfill before, or during the first semesters of study. If you pursue a greater terminal degree, they are:
*]Ph. The
*]D. Min
*](No higher degree than M.Div, but easy to switch into a D. Min program, and occasionally an Sacred Theology program.
*]A Licenese in Sacred Theology, followed by a Doctorate in Sacred Theology.


As someone who has almost completed her MA in Theological studies, I suggest that you look at what Masters degrees you are interested in and connect them to several specific schools because many of them require a BA in theology or a specific amount of theological credits before entry is possible. I know of two schools in my area one which offer various MA degrees and only one permits entry based on a degree in a different discipline.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.