Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.A.T.S.)

Overview of Program

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program is for those wishing to develop further perspectives in theological thought for personal or professional enrichment, for those interested in further academic study, or for those seeking further development in their spiritual journey in relation to other professions.
This program allows students to concentrate their studies in one of five areas. Students will choose one of the following areas before beginning their courses:

Biblical Studies – This concentration is intended for those seeking an in-depth and rigorous analysis of Scripture from various perspectives along with biblical language training. Students choosing the Biblical Studies concentration are required to complete 6 credit-hours of either Biblical Hebrew or Biblical Greek as part of their coursework, and write a major exegetical paper.

Christian Spirituality – This concentration is for those seeking to explore theories and practice of spirituality within the Christian tradition.

History and Theology – For those with a passion for history and theology, this program offers an opportunity to explore historical, ethical and constructive dimensions of the contemporary theological imagination. Students within this concentration are required to take at least 3 credit hours of advanced coursework in both historical and theological studies.

Public and Pastoral Leadership (PPL) – This concentration offers an opportunity to bring together theory and practice as a way to re-imagine and actively engage God’s world. Students in this concentration are required to take the PPL foundational courses as well as a full-year PPL ‘studio’ and two units of a field placement as part of their program.

Integrative Studies – A generalist’s choice, this concentration allows study in all of the above subject areas and equips the degree-holder with a broad base of knowledge in theological studies. At least one advanced elective must be taken from each of the above concentrations.

Length of Program

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree is a 48 credit-hour program, and can be completed in two years of full-time study. However, if a student wishes to study part time, all courses required for this degree must be completed in seven years from the date of first registration. An M.A.T.S. student can expect that a typical workload within a Master’s level course will be, depending upon the subject matter and course style, up to 100-125 pages of reading per week per 3 credit course and that evaluation will be made (in addition to seminar preparation and participation) on the basis of a 25-30 page research paper or its equivalent.

Transfer Credit

VST has a relationship with UBC’s Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies (CNRS) Department that allows VST students to take graduate courses offered by that department as electives. For a course listing and detailed descriptions, please see the CNRS Department website ( Students are also welcome to take advantage of course offerings at Regent College. Please see their websites ( for more details.


Please visit the Admissions page for more information.

Course Requirements for Master of Arts in Theological Studies Degree

Foundational Core:

• HB500 – Introduction to Hebrew Bible I (3 credits)
• HB600 – Introduction to Hebrew Bible II (3)
• HIS500 – Christianity and Judaism in Late Antiquity (3)
• INT500 – Research Methods and Theological Disciplines (3)
• NT500 – Synoptics (3)
• NT501 – Paul (3)
• TH500 – Constructive Theology 1 (3)

Plus One of:

• Denominational Studies Elective (3)
• LS500 – Introduction to Christian Worship (3)
• PT500 – Public and Pastoral Leadership (3)
• Spirituality Elective (3)
• TH570/571 – Pluralism/World Religions (3)
• ETH500 – Christian Ethics (3)

Advanced Coursework:

• 24 Credit Hours Total (at least 12 credit hours in chosen area of Concentration)

Final Major Evaluation

Students typically complete their MATS program by sitting a six hour comprehensive examination in their last semester of studies. A comprehensive examination normally takes the form of writing 6 essays in response to a set of questions—at least one of the questions to be outside the student’s area of concentration.

A MATS student may petition to the Research Degrees Committee to be allowed to complete her/his course of study by researching and writing a thesis. The thesis would be an advisable path for those, for example, who will be applying for further academic study at other universities. If the thesis option is chosen and approved by the Research Degrees Committee, the thesis counts as 6 credit hours of advanced coursework (over and above the 12 credits required in a student’s concentration).

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