Degrees

At PRTS we offer the following three degrees:

  1. Master of Divinity (MDiv)
  2. Master of Arts (MA [Religion])
  3. Master of Theology (ThM).

We also anticipate beginning a Doctoral Program (PhD) in the fall of 2016.

Master of Divinity (MDiv)Master of Arts in Religion (MA)Master of Theology (ThM)Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Master of Divinity (MDiv)

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) educates and prepares men for official, ordained ministries of instruction and leadership in the church as pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and teachers. The goal is to furnish students with every tool they will need to bring the Word of God to the part of God’s church they serve.

The program is rigorous and thorough, covering exegesis, church history, systematic theology, homiletics, pastoral theology (teaching, leadership, counseling, church order and discipline, and missions), biblical interpretation, and practical theology (human relationships, Christian living, and church administration).

MDiv Objectives

The aim of the MDiv is to teach students to:

  • Exegete individual passages of Scripture accurately, employing their knowledge of the original languages, historical circumstances, and literary and theological relationships;
  • Understand the major issues in faith and life that the Church has confronted throughout its history, and the system of truth revealed in the Scriptures;
  • Systematize exegetical, historical, and theological data into a consistent and coherent theology, and explain how that theology applies to personal beliefs and behavior;
  • Use homiletical skills to proclaim the Word of God to the congregation biblically, doctrinally, experientially, and practically;
  • Show effective pastoral skills in leading worship, teaching youth, exercising leadership and administration, counseling publicly from the pulpit and privately, implementing church order and discipline, and promoting evangelism and missions;
  • Respond with discernment to contemporary trends in biblical interpretation and to contemporary and cultural movements;
  • Understand human relationships, Christian living, and church administration, thereby assisting him to become a sound, sensitive, and edifying servant of the Word in his future ministry.

The current program requires a total of 106 credits, including Greek and Hebrew (94 credits if sufficient Greek and Hebrew have already been completed), which must be completed in eight years or less.

MDiv Curriculum (106 credits)

(click here for a print-friendly PDF version). 

Old Testament Department (17 Credits Total)

111 Hebrew I (3 credits)
112 Hebrew II (3 credits)
120 Methods of Hebrew Exegesis (3 credits)
121 Old Testament Exegesis I: Narratives (3 credits)
122 Old Testament Exegesis II: Poets and Prophets (3 credits)
132 Old Testament Introduction (2 credits)

New Testament Department (19 Credits Total)

201 Greek I (3 credits)
202 Greek II (3 credits)
220 Methods of Greek Exegesis (3 credits)
221 New Testament Exegesis I: The Gospels & Acts (3 credits)
222 New Testament Exegesis II: Epistles & Revelation (3 credits)
232 New Testament Introduction (2 credits)
233 Text and Translation of the Bible (2 credits)

Historical Theology Department (13 credits total)

311 Ancient Church History (3 credits)
312 Medieval Church History (3 credits)
313 Reformation Church History (3 credits)
314 Modern Church History (3 credits)
322 Reformed Theological Research (1 credits)

Systematic Theology Department (24 credits total)

411 Systematic Theology I: Prolegomena (2 credits)
412 Systematic Theology II: Theology Proper (2 credits)
413 Systematic Theology III: Anthropology (2 credits)
414 Systematic Theology IV: Christology (2 credits)
415 Systematic Theology V: Soteriology (3 credits)
416 Systematic Theology VI: Ecclesiology (2 credits)
417 Systematic Theology VII: Eschatology (2 credits)
421 Introduction to Apologetics (3 credits)
324 Puritan Theology (2 credits)
432 Biblical Ethics (2 credits)

One of the following:
441b Symbolics: The Three Forms of Unity (2 credits)
441c Symbolics: The Westminster Standards (2 credits)

Preaching Department (12 credits total)

511 Homiletics I: Sermon Preparation, Construction, & Delivery (3 credits)
512 Homiletics II: Reformed Experiential Preaching (2 credits)
513 Homiletics III: Sermon Preparation for Special Services (2 credits)
521 Practice Preaching I-V (1 credit per semester for 5 semesters)

Pastoral Department (13 credits total)

611 Foundations and Process of Biblical Counseling (3 credits)
612 Issues in Biblical Counseling (2 credits)
613 Teaching and Youth Ministry (2 credits)
614 The Christian Minister and Ministry (3 credits)
626-628 (or 629) Ministry Practicum – Internship (3 credits)

Missions Department (4 credits total)

631 Foundations of Reformed Missions (2 credits)
632 Evangelism and Church Planting (2 credits)

General Degree Requirements (4 credits total)

701 Nature and Method of Biblical Theology (2 credits)
702 Hermeneutics (2 credits)

*Prior to the 2015-16 academic year, the MDiv program consisted of 115 credits (including Greek and Hebrew). See here for a print-friendly version.*

The Master of Arts in Religion (MA)

This program educates and prepares the student for service in a teaching capacity. It can be used as a terminal degree for those who desire a theological background and training for various callings other than full-time, ordained gospel ministry. It can also be used as a transitional degree to additional graduate studies, particularly a PhD program in religion or theology. Students may choose one of four emphases: Old Testament, New Testament, Historical Theology, or Systematic Theology studies. In either case, the program provides a thorough grounding in the Scriptures, in Reformed theology, and in church history.

MA Objectives

The goal of the MA is for students to:

  • Exegete individual passages of Scripture accurately, employing their knowledge of the original languages, historical circumstances, and literary and theological relationships;
  • Understand the major issues in faith and life that the church has confronted throughout its history, and the system of truth revealed in the Scriptures;
  • Systematize exegetical, historical, and theological data into a consistent and coherent theology, and explain how that theology applies to personal beliefs and behavior; and
  • Respond with discernment to contemporary trends in biblical interpretation and to contemporary and cultural movements.

The MA (Religion) requires a total of at least 65 credits (depending on emphasis), including Greek and Hebrew, and must be completed in five years or less (two is possible). The program requirements for the four emphases can be found by clicking on the following links:

The Master of Theology (ThM)

This course of study expands and deepens a student’s abilities in ministry. It is designed for students who possess a Master of Divinity degree or equivalent to help them take their learning to a higher level. It can be used as a terminal degree or as a transitional degree to additional graduate studies, particularly a PhD program in religion or theology.

ThM Objectives

Students in the ThM program are taught to:

  1. Exegete individual passages of Scripture accurately, employing understanding of the original languages, historical circumstances, and literary and theological relationships
  2. Articulate the major issues of faith and life that the church has confronted throughout its history
  3. Articulate confessional Reformed theology on exegetical, biblical, and theological grounds
  4. Systematize exegetical, historical and theological data into a consistent and coherent theology, and explain how theology applies to personal and church beliefs and actions. Demonstrate leadership abilities in ecclesiastical and academic environments, especially in relating these truths to the church today.
  5. Respond with biblical discernment to contemporary trends in biblical interpretation and apply a sound Christian worldview to contemporary cultural issues that impact the church today. Understand, analyze and respond to current trends and crises in specialized disciplines and contribute new vistas of thought to these issues.
  6. Demonstrate an ability to apply biblical and theological studies to ministry, whether pastoral or academic.
  7. Demonstrate academic competence in the chosen field of study, including proficiency in the methods and tools of theological research and writing by conducting graduate level research and evidencing skills of critical analysis.

ThM Application Requirements

Applications for admission to the ThM degree program at PRTS must be received by the registrar’s office by May 1 for the fall semester and by September 1 for the spring semester. Applications received after either of these dates may also be considered; however, we cannot ensure that immigration forms for international students will be satisfactorily processed, should the applicant be admitted after the date given. Applicants to the ThM should include in their application:

  • A completed PRTS application for admission.
  • Evidence of the possession of a Master of Divinity Degree or its equivalent. If, at the time of application, the applicant has not completed his previous degree work, any admission to PRTS would be conditional on the completion of the degree. Evidence of this degree should be presented prior to enrolling in any ThM coursework.
  • An academic writing sample, preferably a research paper previously submitted in a graduate-level course.
  • A letter of recommendation from a former instructor (preferably in the area specified as the major for the ThM degree), indicating ability and promise for the ThM program.
  • A letter of recommendation from a minister or, in the absence of a minister, the consistory or equivalent (session, council, board) of the student’s local church. This letter should indicate, among other things, membership in good standing in this local church. Also helpful, though not required, is a letter of a denominational leader or body, indicating the usefulness of this course of study for this individual, and the body of which he is a part.

ThM Program Requirements

322 Reformed Theological Research

All ThM students must successfully complete (“B-” or better) 322 Reformed Theological Research. Reformed Theological Research is offered every fall semester as a modular course; it is strongly recommended that students complete this course as their first course (or in conjunction with their first three-credit course). It should be noted that 322 must be completed on campus; there is no distance learning equivalent.

Concentrations and coursework requirements

A total of 31 credit hours must be completed with a minimum 3.0 grade point average (B) for the completion of the ThM program. The program must be completed within 6 years of matriculation; any exception must be approved by the president and academic dean. ThM students will choose a concentration in one of three areas: Biblical Studies, Reformation and Post-Reformation Theology, and Systematic Theology. Each of these concentrations is designed for either ministers desiring advanced training beyond the MDiv or students desiring to pursue doctoral studies. Students choosing a ThM in Biblical Studies must demonstrate competency in Hebrew and Greek, having completed a minimum of one year of biblical Hebrew and one year of biblical Greek. It is particularly the purpose of this concentration to sharpen exegetical skills, to learn to employ effectively the discipline of Biblical Theology for scriptural study and exposition, and to be able to defend the integrity and authority of Scripture.

The ThM degree can be earned following one of two tracks: either the ThM by classes only, or the ThM by classes and thesis. The first is designed for those intending the degree to be terminal; the second for those intending the degree to be transitional to further graduate study (such as a PhD). If a ThM student, admitted to the classes only track, desires during the program to pursue a ThM by the classes and thesis track, the student may apply to the faculty for permission to do so providing the successful completion of at least one 3-credit ThM course. The student should then pursue the thesis track by presenting a thesis proposal of approximately five pages outlining the originality, viability, and potential of the thesis to his academic advisor. The application will then be brought forward for faculty consideration. Admission to the thesis track requires approval of both the general faculty, as well as that of the faculty member who would serve as thesis supervisor.

All students admitted to the ThM by classes and thesis track will complete 25 credits of coursework (of which at least 18 credits, or 6 courses, must be in the student’s chosen area of concentration) and a 6-credit thesis. All students admitted to the ThM by classes only track will complete 31 credits of coursework (of which at least 21 credits, or 7 courses, must be in the student’s chosen area of concentration).

ThM classes can be taken as follows:

  • Completion of paired ThM and MAR/MDiv courses. ThM students choosing paired courses will be asked to fulfill a higher standard of course requirements, amounting to no less than 30% more work . Normally, the ThM student choosing this option will not take introductory MDiv/MAR courses.
  • Completion of ThM-specific courses. Special ThM level classes will be offered in the above-mentioned concentrations (see academic catalog for course descriptions). These classes may be offered as individual classes, or special tutorial seminars. These seminars will meet five times for three hours, either as a module, or throughout a semester .
  • The Thesis: Students accepted by the faculty into the ThM by classes and thesis track will write a 100–200 page thesis on a topic related to the student’s concentration, and approved by the appropriate faculty supervisor. The thesis is valued at 6 credits .

In order to maximize benefit to resident ThM students attending PRTS on scholarships, all such students are required to audit one MDiv course a semester, the course to be chosen in consultation with the faculty. They are also encouraged to attend at least one practice preaching session a week and participate in the subsequent discussion. There will be no charge for auditing these courses.

Residency Requirement

At least one-half of the coursework towards the ThM must be completed through on-campus classes (modular courses qualify as on-campus courses). Up to one-half of the coursework may be completed through a combination of: 1) transfer of credit; 2) distance learning courses (i.e., courses that virtually “meet” synchronously with on-campus classes); 3) independent studies (a maximum of two courses can be taken as independent study).

Comprehensive Exam Requirement

Each ThM student, matriculating in the program as of the fall semester of the 2013-14 academic year, must take a comprehensive examination at the end of the program. This comprehensive exam will focus primarily on the student’s particular concentration. Deadlines for passing the comprehensive examination are stipulated in the academic calendar.

The­sis Requirements

The fol­low­ing steps out­line the require­ments for those matric­u­lat­ing in the thesis-track pro­gram as of the fall semes­ter of the 2013–14 aca­d­e­mic year:

  1. All students accepted into the ThM program are accepted into the course-based track of the ThM. In order to enter the thesis-based track of the ThM, the student, after successfully completing the Research Methodology course and at least one other course with a grade of “B” or higher, must make application to the academic dean by presenting a 2-page pro­posal of the the­sis topic. The aca­d­e­mic dean will then bring this initial proposal to the entire fac­ulty for consideration.
  2. If the initial pro­posal is accepted by the faculty, the reg­is­trar will be informed and the stu­dent will then be enrolled in the 6-credit the­sis and be assigned a the­sis advi­sor; in most cases this enrollment in the 6-credit thesis will occur in the student’s final semester. Finan­cial oblig­a­tions for enroll­ment in the the­sis will be treated as enroll­ment in any other course.
  3. The stu­dent will next present to the thesis advisor a 10-page prospec­tus of the the­sis which must include: jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the the­sis, delim­i­ta­tions, review of lit­er­a­ture rel­e­vant to topic, a syn­op­sis of chap­ter devel­op­ment detail­ing the over­all method­ol­ogy, and out­line of the­sis. Much of this can serve as intro­duc­tory mate­r­ial for the final draft.
  4. The stu­dent must present his or her thoughts and research in an accept­able style and for­mat. The for­mat­ting is accord­ing to Kate L. Tura­bian: A Man­ual for Writ­ers of Term Papers, The­ses, and Dis­ser­ta­tions (8th ed.).
  5. The stu­dent should sub­mit chap­ters to his or her advi­sor as they are com­pleted for input and pos­si­ble revisions.
  6. Dead­lines for graduation or conferral of degree:
    1. The stu­dent must sub­mit the 100–200 page the­sis to his or her faculty advisor by the last Monday in September (for a December conferral of the degree) or by the first Mon­day in Feb­ru­ary (for a May graduation); at this time a sec­ond reader will be assigned.
    2. The final copy (in elec­tronic for­mat – MS Word) must be pre­sented to the reg­is­trar and head librar­ian no later than the last Monday in November (for a December conferral of the degree) or the first Mon­day in April (for a May grad­u­a­tion). This will allow time for the library staff to check for for­mat­ting vio­la­tions and for any final cor­rec­tions to be made. Be sure to read the guidelines for submitting theses to the librarian.
    3. Fail­ure to reach either of the above two dead­lines will result in a delay of the student’s degree conferral or graduation.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Disclaimer: PRTS has submitted a proposal to its accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), petitioning approval to begin a PhD program. Although we cannot officially begin the accredited program until that approval has been granted, we are allowed to begin offering course work on a non-matriculating basis. Those interested in becoming candidates for the prospective program may apply (complete form below) with the understanding that acceptance will be as a non-matriculating student. Upon ATS approval to launch the program officially, credits earned will be applied toward fulfilling the degree requirements.

Vision and Mission

In preparing students to serve Christ and His church through biblical, experiential, and practical ministry, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary (hereafter PRTS) is seeking to extend its academic programs to a doctoral program (hereafter PhD program).

Foundational for the PhD program is the rationale for the academic and spiritual formation of the student. First, a worldwide demand is growing for a comprehensive doctoral program that captures academic rigor and integrity, and then joins this with biblical piety (pietate cum scientia conjungenda)—in other words, a doctoral program designed to serve the ministry of both the academy and church (teaching and preaching). Secondly, aspiring doctoral students from around the world are looking for a PhD program that is affordable and accessible.

PRTS seeks to adhere to the Reformed and Puritan tradition of blending learning and piety as exemplified by John Calvin (1509-1564), William Perkins (1558-1602), William Ames (1576-1633), Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676), Archibald Alexander (1772-1851), and many others. We aim to do so by offering a PhD program that is distinctive in its academics and biblical piety; this will be evident in the admissions requirements, the program’s academic rigor, and the spiritual formation components of the program.

Academics

The PhD program will be academically rigorous as we seek to offer a comprehensive doctoral program with high, measurable, and internationally peer-reviewed academic standards. The academics of the program will be further enhanced by a dedicated faculty for the doctoral program combined with qualified, PRTS-approved scholars serving as adjunct faculty and co-advisors for the doctoral student. The program will be further enhanced by external courses to be taken by the PhD student outside PRTS, and the goal of publishing the doctoral dissertation with an academic and internationally-recognized publishing house.

Research

Research programs at PRTS, such as the PhD program, are supported by a vast number of primary and secondary sources, and other research resources as found in the Puritan Research Center (hereafter PRC). The PRC is the culmination of a dream that is decades old and offers exciting possibilities for promoting the appreciation of Reformed and Puritan literature around the world. The PRC’s aim is to assemble the largest possible collection of resources on the Puritans, including antiquarian books (mostly from the seventeenth century) and modern reprints of Puritan writings, as well as secondary source materials on the Puritans such as books, dissertations, and articles. Presently, the collection of Puritan writings is one of the best in the world, and the seminary is committed to make it even better, desiring to digitize the article file and make it available online. Its specialty is a rare collection of antiquarian material, of which numerous titles have only a few known copies in the world.

Spiritual formation

Spiritual components of the PhD program may consist of assigned readings, experiential preaching (in theory and practice), and practical teaching ministry. Resonating with the Reformed and Puritan tradition of international learning, PRTS in summary seeks to establish a doctoral program with a strong international dimension that articulates biblical, Reformed doctrine, and biblical experiential preaching and teaching.

The rationale of our doctoral program (i.e., one that focuses on both scientia [academics] and pietas [biblical piety] within an international context) is furthermore supported by two considerations: technology and study expenses. The immense changes in the field of education through the deployment of technology is compelling many graduate programs to re-think their approach to research, education, and publication. PRTS implements a doctoral program with a well-built technology component offering digitalized primary and secondary sources for research and education (to this end, PRTS has smart-room(s) designed for distance education and the deployment of digital writing tools for publication). Indeed, technology is integral to the PhD program taking the classroom to the (non)-residential student with the hopes of a more effective knowledge transfer; in other words, the desire is for a hybrid or blended-learning environment that includes in-class contact sessions (on campus or online) and online-only sessions. Secondly, the cost of PhD programs are often so high that it is not feasible for students to attain such a doctorate; furthermore, to laden students with debt at the very point of them entering the ministry of teaching and preaching is questionable practice. Thus, PRTS seeks to address these challenges in a sustainable way; we aim to do so by: 1) using technology for the delivery of educational content where possible; 2) reducing the time required to be on-campus; and 3) providing scholarships as enabled. PRTS aims to do this without compromising its academic standards and spiritual focus.

PRTS prepares students to serve Christ and His church through biblical, experiential, and practical ministry, and aims to do so through a PhD program with concentration in Historical Theology (Reformation & Post-reformation Studies [beginning fall of 2016]), Biblical Studies (beginning fall of 2017), and Homiletics (beginning fall of 2018).

Admission and PhD Studies

General Admission requirements

The requirements for admission and study are subject to the educational and degree program standards set forth by ATS; admission requirements may vary, but will general include the following: Concerning those eligible for admission, PRTS seeks doctoral students that are academically talented (possessing a master’s degree with a GPA of 3.50 or higher and a GRE score of 158 or higher), called to the ministry, and have promise of local and regional impact in their ministry of teaching and preaching. For additional information see the Handbook for Doctoral Studies.

Applicants are invited to submit their application for PhD studies by beginning here. Please contact the registrar (jonathon.beeke@prts.edu) for application and admission inquiries, or for any inquires about the program.

PRTS will consider PhD application two times per academic year. The two deadlines are as follows: April 30 for admission in the Fall semester (August-December) and October 30 for admission in the Spring semester (January-May).

PhD Studies

The program consists of 12 (three-credit) courses (including a teaching and/or preaching requirement), comprehensive examinations, and the research, writing, defense, and publication of the doctoral dissertation.

Mandatory core courses include: A Research Methodology course appropriate to the emphasis of the PhD, Introduction to Reformed Piety and Spirituality, Teaching/Preaching Practicum, and a Dissertation Proposal course. For additional information see the Handbook for Doctoral Studies.

The outline below serves as an example of completing the PhD program in six years:

Year 1

  • 3 Credits – Introduction to Biblical Studies, Historical Theology, or Homiletics
  • 3 Credits – Introduction to Reformed Spirituality and Piety (on campus course)
  • 3 Credits – Research Methodology (on campus course)
  • 9 Credits – Courses 4, 5, and 6

Year 2

  • 12 Credits – Courses 7 – 10
  • 3 Credits – Dissertation proposal course (on campus course)
  • 3 Credits – Teaching and Preaching

Year 3

  • Complete Language Examinations
  • Comprehensive Examinations
  • Dissertation Research/Work

Years 4 and 5

  • Dissertation Research/Work
  • Dissertation Research/Work

Year 6

  • Dissertation completion
  • Dissertation Defense & Graduation

PhD Handbook

Answers to other questions related to the doctoral program (i.e., tuition, course information, etc.) can be found within the doctoral program handbook.