MTS DEGREE OUTLINE
The MA in Theological Studies program offers deep theological scholarship that prepares students who may elect future advanced study, coupled with new practices courses that nurture students’ spiritual, personal, and vocational formation. With electives making up more than one-third of its courses, the MTS is a highly customizable program.
The degree requires a total of 80 quarter units (most classes are 4 quarter units), and is typically completed in 2 years of full-time study (12 units per quarter). Fuller’s 80 quarter unit MTS program is equivalent to a 56 semester credit program at other institutions. Both will take the same amount of time and effort to complete. Click here to see the pre-Fall 2022 Degree Outline.
*All course descriptions listed on this page are tentative. Please consult the most current version of Fuller’s Academic Catalog for the most definitive course description(s).
Foundational Courses (24 Units)
Students complete a set of shared foundations courses before moving to the second phase of the program and more advanced courses. Each of these foundational courses draws on a specific expertise intrinsic to Fuller Seminary and cultivates transformative habits of thinking and doing.
Drawing upon the leading edge of psychological science, this course aims to introduce students to the most helpful psychological paradigms for understanding what it means to be and become more fully human, not merely as individuals, but as thriving persons-in-relation. As an interdisciplinary and practical course, findings of psychological science are discussed in light of theology and are translated into practical tools and strategies to inform the psychological and spiritual growth of the student and to equip them to nurture flourishing in those entrusted to their care. As such, its central focus is on the person of the minister/theologian/Christian as the primary site for engaging in psychological and theological reflection and the primary tool for effective Christian leadership.
What is theology? And what are the implications of theology for the practice of history, ethics, public life, and Christian witness? The theological task involves entering into the centuries-long and worldwide conversation of the church and her members regarding what it means to live faithfully in the present in light of how God has moved in the past. This course is designed to provide an orientation to a series of critical issues, events, and figures in church history and theology, reaching from early Christianity through the Middle Ages and European Reformations to the modern world. In doing so, it aims to equip students with a foundational understanding of the development and discourses of Christian doctrine and history.
How is it that we might live our lives deeply formed by Missiological understanding? Living Missiologically is an integrative, intersectional, and interdisciplinary course which introduces three aspects of missiology to facilitate personal missiological formation. First, students will explore Trinitarian perspectives on the reign of God, as they also explore the historical global development of the church in the world. Second, the identity and practices of Christian mission as a people called, gathered, and sent by God are introduced. In accomplishing the second task the roles of culture, epistemic definitions of truth as a message of Christianity, as well as the nature of the relationship of God with creation (including humans) is explored. Third, students will develop new skills for cultural engagements combining the Bible, theology, history, the social sciences, and the church’s practices as tools. The disciplines of social sciences (including cultural, religious, economic, and political studies) are particularly engaged as partners in understanding the church in its mission context. This course will interrogate past and current perspectives within missiology and show that the diverse contexts of mission produce a variety of ways of reasoning missiologically. Finally, in this course, students will enact historic Christian disciplines necessitated by this distinctive identity (worship, community, friendship, inculturation, witness, mercy, advocacy, creation care, inter-religious dialogue, and reconciliation) in order to cultivate a missiologically reflective practice of Christian living in the world.
This course orients students to the literature of the Old Testament in its various literary, historical, and theological contexts and to Old Testament interpretation in service of Christian practice. The books of Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel will be the focus of study.
MTS Core (20 Units)
Select a course in Biblical Studies to buttress your scriptural understanding in alignment with your research interests, vocational goals, and scheduling/modality considerations. (Choose any course with NT, OT, NE, or NS catalog number prefix.)
Select one of the following two courses to enhance your theological acumen in light of your research interests, vocational goals, and scheduling/modality considerations:
ST505 Trinity, Revelation, and Salvation*
Systematic Theology 1 is a survey of systematic (doctrinal or constructive) theology that focuses on the doctrines of the revelation, Trinity (patrology, christology, pneumatology), and salvation. In keeping with systematic theology’s nature as an integrative discipline, the course considers carefully biblical, historical, philosophical, and contemporary theological materials, with a special focus on global, contextual, and diversity issues. Throughout, interdisciplinary connections are pursued and investigated (even beyond theological disciplines). The implications of the trinitarian faith to current issues such as liberation, justice, equality, gender, environment, and religious plurality are carefully discussed with the ultimate goal of helping the students learn to practice “embodied” theological thinking for the sake of the diverse ministry settings in the Global Church.
ST506 Creation, Church, and Consummation*
Systematic Theology 2 is a survey of systematic (doctrinal or constructive) theology that focuses on the doctrines of the creation, providence and divine action; theological anthropology, church and her mission, and eschatology. In keeping with systematic theology’s nature as an integrative discipline, the course considers carefully biblical, historical, philosophical, and contemporary theological materials, with a special focus on global, contextual, and diversity issues. Throughout, interdisciplinary connections are pursued and investigated (even beyond theological disciplines). The implications of the trinitarian faith to current issues such as liberation, justice, equality, gender, environment, and religious plurality are carefully discussed with the ultimate goal of helping the students learn to practice “embodied” theological thinking for the sake of the diverse ministry settings in the Global Church.
Select one of the following three courses to hone your historical awareness in light of your research interests, vocational goals, and scheduling/modality considerations:
CH500 Early Church History*
A survey of the early church from the post-apostolic fathers through the Council of Chalcedon.
CH502 Medieval and Reformation History*
The further development of the church, especially in the West, from Gregory the Great through the Reformation
CH504 The Modern Church in a Global Historical Context*
This course introduces the more important themes and events in the life of the church around the world from the seventeenth through the late twentieth centuries. Beginning with the post-Reformation period, students will survey the growth and contributions of the church in Europe and throughout the world (with occasional glimpses at the United States). Attention will be given to many of the important historical, theological, and cultural developments that have shaped (or been shaped by) specific regional and global historical contexts.
Select one of the following courses to confront the urgent ethical challenges of this moment in light of your research interests, vocational goals, and scheduling/modality considerations:
ET501 Christian Ethics*
A foundational course in Christian ethics that studies core Christian ethical vision, values, and convictions (telos, norms, and virtues) shaping and guiding Christian moral agency, decisions, and ecclesial practices. The course discusses the methods of ethical decisions, authority of Scripture, formation of moral agency, norms of love and justice, together with the issues of economic, racial, and ecological justice, the sanctity of life, sexual faithfulness, and violence and peacemaking with special attention to global, pluralistic contexts of Christian ministry today.
ET513 Perspectives on Social Ethics*
An exploration of the relationship between biblical faith and contemporary social and political life, with special attention to current patterns of evangelical engagement with politics in the United States and around the world. The course will survey the diverse forms of contemporary evangelical political engagement as well as the varied content of evangelical views on selected public issues, including human rights, the environment, sexuality and family issues, poverty, church-state concerns, and war.
ET 517 Politics and the Global Church*
This course will provide students with an introduction to the important voices and debates surrounding the topic of faith, politics, and cultural diversity in the global church.
ET 522 Christian Ethical Traditions*
Liberationist, Evangelical, and Emergent. Developing a strong Christian ethic means being aware of key traditions that influence our approaches to ethics. This is because particular ethical traditions face specific cultural, moral, and political challenges and responsibilities. This course will explore key portions of the Christian ethical landscape, with special focus upon Liberationist (e.g., African-American, Latino/a, and Feminist ethics), Evangelical (including Protestant influences of major Evangelical traditions), and Emergent church perspectives. Students will be invited to engage these perspectives and enter into dialogue in such a way that allows a generous conversation with these traditions in relation to the student’s own background and influences.
ET 533 Christian Discipleship in a Secular Society*
This class explores “secular” conceptions of what is suitable and pleasing in various arenas—economics, politics, ecology, sexuality, and ethnicity. We also discuss the importance of having a theology of suffering and evil as it pertains to these subjects. We will develop an explicitly Scripture-shaped vision of the world, so that we might worship God truthfully and participate in Christ’s ongoing work of creating us and all creation anew.
ET 543 The Theology and Ethics of Martin Luther King, Jr.*
The aim of the course is to study King’s key theological and ethical motifs and the distinctive characteristics of his spiritual formation and public ministry in shaping our own ministerial and public leadership in today’s religious, cultural and political contexts. In particular, the course focuses on King’s communal and political spirituality and ethics as they are related to his ideas of God, the beloved community, humanity, love, justice, and the mission of the church, exploring his enduring relevance and legacy in the global era.
ET 545 Theology and Ethics in Asian-American Contexts*
This course studies emerging theologies and ethics of Asian American Christianity. Using an interdisciplinary approach, it examines distinctive social and historical contexts, cultural heritages and values of Asian American communities in a critical conversation with Scripture and Christian traditions. Major themes and topics include, among others, immigration and transnationalism, legacy and influence of Confucianism, Pan Asian Americanism, racialization and identity development and construction, and intergenerational and gender conflicts.
In this course, students will be introduced to the theology of mission from an evangelical Protestant perspective. Through analysis of key sources and investigation of scholarly contributions which left a lasting impact on 21st century missiology, students will explore Trinitarian perspectives on the missio Dei, the reign of God, and contextual theology.
Every mission is guided by a vision and by values. In the Theology of Mission course, we explore the vision and values of the Christian mission, by examining concepts such as missio Dei, the Reign of God, and Incarnation. We investigate the meaning of mission, its origins in the Trinitarian heart of God, and its goals and methods. By following debates in the Lausanne Movement over the last half century, we look at how Evangelicals have dealt theologically with issues such as the priority of evangelism, cultural diversity, secularism, religious plurality, and violence. We study the Lausanne Covenant (1974) and the Cape Town Commitment (2010) in their contexts, and compare these with the mission statements of other global Christian bodies. The signature assignment is a researched theological response to a particular mission practice. The aim is to be able to think theologically about mission so that practice is authentic, and consistent with the Gospel we proclaim.
ELECTIVES - 32 UNITS
Cluster your electives in one of the following concentration areas for greater effectiveness as a thought-leader: Biblical Studies, Ethics and Public Theology, or World Christianity. Once you complete the degree, the concentration you earn will be listed on your diploma and official transcripts as evidence of your specialization.