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The Insider Details of A Theology Degree

When studying theology, there are many aspects to consider that are essential. As former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt described, curiosity – one of those aspects – is considered “the most useful gift.” Theology, in simple terms, is essentially the curious study of God – who He is, what He does, how He works, and most importantly, how we interact with Him. Therefore, theology is often seen as a subject catered to and for believers across denominations who are passionate about learning about God. With more than 89% of Americans believing that God exists, it’s no surprise that theology has become one of the most sought after degrees for those interested in preaching, teaching or serving in some faith-based capacity. 

Whether you are a curious person or simply someone who has always looked for ways to grow spiritually, gaining a theology degree is now seen as substantially more practical and meaningful than one might think. Housed within our Graduate School of Theology, the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree is open and available to everyone who is interested in broadening their horizons about God and His character. 

Interested in knowing more about our Master of Theological Studies degree? Read ahead and get some insider details about what you can expect from a theology degree, the courses you’ll take, and the types of job opportunities that are available. 

What To Expect From A Theology Degree

Honing in on your curious nature, gaining an MTS degree is ideal for people who are looking to experience something new and transformative. Whether you’re interested in transferring your in-class knowledge back to your home church or utilizing it to impact students in academic settings in the future, obtaining a theology degree goes beyond getting to know more about God, but rather about His power and will, and how it is incorporated into the world around you. Within a theology degree, you can expect to be challenged and propelled into considering new ideas and experiences while expressing your own beliefs. Throughout your graduate studies, you will hear from other believers across various denominations – all with valid questions and remarks on how they view God. In small group and large class discussions, you will experience a new level of empathy towards others’ feelings, thoughts and theological questions – all great skills to acquire for anyone seeking to lead a congregation or mentor others in the faith. 

Taught by various men and women in the faith, including theological scholars and professors, you will be led into new spaces of thought with the goal of becoming less defensive or inept to other ways of thought. Even aspects of what it means to be more open-minded to growing and a critical thinker as a potential preacher, counselor, or spiritual teacher, will also be embedded into your educational formation. 

Designed to prepare you for a future in academia or ministry, the Master of Theological Studies degree gives you the opportunity to become an expert in a specialized area of theological research and biblical studies. Equipping you with the skills to engage, deploy, and extend the Christian faith and tradition, you will build off your passion for scriptural studies while simultaneously serving the global church or in other settings including academic and contemporary society. The master’s degree in Theological Studies will also cultivate your love for theology, history, and scripture in an immersive and fully online environment. 

With five distinct concentrations in Old Testament, New Testament, Ancient and Medieval Church History, Modern American Church History, or General Theology, you will expand your current understanding of scripture knowledge with a wide range of career possibilities post-graduation, including pursuing a D.Div., Ph.D. or working in ministry.

What Types of Courses Are Offered

Theology, similar to mathematics and science, is a necessary branch of academia. Theologian and scholar A. W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In other words, theology deals directly with questions related to who God is, and why He created us. As such, courses within a theology degree are geared specifically to create open discussions and critical thinking in order to answer some of life’s most asked questions. 

This 48-credit-hour degree aims to cultivate your love for theology, history, and scripture in an immersive and fully online environment, with the goal of completion within two years. Through courses like Systematic Theology I, you will be introduced to various methods on understanding foundational Christian doctrines such as what is atonement, what is the trinity, what is providence, what makes up human selfhood, and what is the church. You will also take courses that require them to understand the historical contexts of scripture. 

Courses like Critical Interpretation of the Old Testament and New Testament and and History of Christianity I and II are designed to obtain an in-depth historical understanding of the Old and New Testaments while giving special attention to topics like the revelation, inspiration, canonicity, manuscripts and various versions of the sacred texts. Plus, through courses like Research Problems in Theology Research, you will gain additional insight into academic practices and processes by building research proposals in order to produce valuable scholarship in an area of your choosing. 

Under the careful guidance of our biblical experts, your goal of understanding theological knowledge will be exceeded through the usage of scriptural tools all with the main purpose of expanding your current understanding of God. 

What Types of Careers Are Possible

Through ACU Online’s Master of Theological Studies, you can begin the journey toward a meaningful career. Whether your interests are to become a pastor of a large congregation, teacher in a small group setting, or religious professor at a university, there are a wide range of fields that you can engage, deploy, and extend your Christian faith and tradition. These careers include: 

  • Music Minister | Managing a church’s choral and instrumental music for services and special occasions as well as work with a church’s pastor to determine which hymns and instrumental pieces fit the sermon and scriptures for a service. Starting pay at $33K per year. 
  • Nonprofit Coordinator | Assisting directors and other leaders of nonprofit organizations affiliated with a specific faith or denomination with organizational tasks. Starting pay at $38K per year. 
  • Youth Pastor | Directing and leading a church’s programs and curriculum for children, teens, and other young people of the congregation. Starting pay at $41K per year. 
  • Missionary | Providing services while sharing their religious faith with people in different cultures via a non-profit missionary organization or church congregation. Starting pay at $43K per year. 
  • Pastor | Leading church congregations in worship and other religious activities including preaching sermons, choosing scriptures and hymns, performing rituals like baptism and communion as well as counsel and teach parishioners. Starting pay at $47K per year. 
  • Religion Professor | Teaching college students about the history and practices of the Christian faith. Requires graduate degree. Starting pay at $94K per year. 

Studying theology is an area of study that should not be taken lightly. While it can be tedious at times, it does hold massive rewards for people who are naturally curious, driven and open-minded to learning more about God and humanity. Take the chance to see how theological studies can change your worldview. 

Visit our website and learn more about this exciting degree program and what it can do for you and the church at large. 

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