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    Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
   
 
  Sep 22, 2017
 
 
    
Academic Catalog 2017-2018

Master of Theology, Th.M.


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The purpose of the Seminary’s Master of Theology degree program is to provide the post-M.Div. student with an opportunity for advanced guided research under the supervision of a faculty member in a special area of theological study. Some students choose this program to enhance their academic qualifications for post-graduate or doctoral studies. Other students choose this program primarily to extend their preparation for ministry in a local church, on the mission field, or in other positions of denominational service. The Th.M. is designed to build leaders through personal mentoring by the faculty and by advanced study.

While the ThM program is designed as a residential program, some students choose to complete their degree program as non-residents. 12 of the 24 hours in the ThM program are reading and research oriented classes that do not require traditional classroom meetings. Although it is contingent upon course offerings, the remaining 12 hours in the ThM program can possibly be completed in a modified residency format. This would include enrolling in hybrid classes, inter-term classes, extension center classes, and/or online classes (note that up to 6 hours in the ThM program may be taken in online classes). Since the availability of modified residency courses varies across academic disciplines, students interested in completing the ThM program as non-residents are very strongly encouraged to speak with their prospective major professor about this possibility before enrolling in the ThM program. Southeastern does not guarantee the possibility of completing the ThM degree in a modified or non-residential format.

Each Th.M. student must select a Major Field of study (Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, or Applied Theology). Within the field of Biblical Studies students may specialize in Old Testament or New Testament. Within the field of Theological Studies students may specialize in Theology, Philosophy, Church History, or Christian Ethics. Within the field of Applied Theology students may specialize in Preaching, Evangelism, Missions, or Biblical Counseling. Students should be aware that elective course offerings may be limited with various disciplines.

The Th.M. Program has a regular and a thesis option. Admission requirements and the degree hours are the same for both options; however, the coursework differs. Students should consult with their potential Major Professor and/or the Director of the Th.M. program to determine which option best meets their academic goals.

Admission Requirements

Graduates of accredited colleges, universities, and seminaries who have earned the M.Div. degree or graduate theological degree with equivalent theological background may apply for admission to the program of studies leading to the Master of Theology degree.

Admission to this program requires facility with both biblical Greek and Hebrew. Facility is defined as transcript evidence of six hours of coursework of each language at a Master’s degree level. Students may request the substitution of an ancillary research language (i.e., German, Aramaic, etc.) for either Greek or Hebrew (but not for both) during the admission process. However, substitutions are rare and will only be granted for research specific reasons.

M.Div. graduates from Southeastern will follow a simplified admissions procedure which consists of the Character References and Pastor Reference on the online application to be omitted. Any questions with the simplified admissions process for M.Div. graduates from Southeastern can be answered by the Admissions Office. Applications from non-Southeastern graduates will follow the steps below. Applications for admission to the Th.M. program should be made at least 60 days prior to matriculation.

Admission to the Th.M. program is based upon the following application elements: 

  1. A completed set of application forms, including the Church Recommendation form, Personal Statement, Spouse’s Personal Statement, Divorce form, Medical History, Immunization Record, and Th.M. Application form (and application fee). Applicants must also sign a copy of the “Southeastern Covenant.”
  2. A transcript showing the satisfactory completion of the Master of Divinity degree or graduate theological degree with equivalent theological background, with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for all Master’s level work is required for admission into the Th.M. program.
  3. Official transcripts are required from all graduate and undergraduate studies. Note that Southeastern students should already have these transcripts on file.
  4. Transcript or other evidence of satisfactory completion of all language requirements as described above.
  5. Five references (non-family): 1 pastor; 2 personal character references; 2 academic (at least one from the field of desired specialization, but not from a prospective Major Professor).
  6. A graded research paper from the M.Div. program or an equivalent demonstration of research skills and scholarly writing ability is required.
  7. Students for whom English is a second language and have not obtained a degree from an academic institution within the United States should have a minimum TOEFL score of 100 (for the internet-based TOEFL) or 600 (for the paper based TOEFL). TOEFL scores must be less than 24 months old to be considered valid by the Seminary.
  8. Applicants must complete a Major Professor Request Form and essay (500-750 words) in which they designate a possible Major Professor and summarize their interest in the field concentration and their scholarly preparation for their desired specialization. Applicants may be approved only if there is a Major Professor available who agrees to work with the student in the desired discipline of major concentration. Applicants are required to meet with the desired Major Professor, in person, by phone, or other means, in order to discuss the student’s academic interests and planned course of study before completing the Major Professor Request Form.
  9. Applicants must have a Major Professor Evaluation Form completed and submitted by the Major Professor that agrees to work with the student. The prospective student is required to seek out the Major Professor of their choosing and also to be sure that the professor has the Major Professor Evaluation Form for the scheduled meeting.

The Major Professor Request Form and Major Professor Evaluation Form can be obtained here:

The applicant must waive all rights to privileged knowledge of the decision making process leading toward admission. All references and other evaluative documents will be confidential. The decision of the Admissions Office regarding a student’s application to the Th.M. program, acting officially on behalf of the faculty, should be considered as final. However, an applicant who fails to be admitted may re-apply with the same application materials for the following year. A third application requires a complete update of all application materials.

Master of Theology


Degree Requirements


The Master of Theology degree is awarded based upon the satisfactory fulfillment of the following requirements. All Th.M. students should consult with their Major Professor to determine the appropriate classes and course sequence that will enable timely graduation. Note that Th.M. students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate from the program.

  1. THM 8500 - Bibliographical Research  
    Ideally, candidates should complete THM 8500 Bibliographical Research in the first two months after admission.
  2. Concentration Electives
    Candidates take six hours of masters-level course work or Ph.D. seminars in their major field concentration.
  3. Free Electives
    Students are to take six elective hours of master’s level courses or Ph.D. seminars.
  4. THM 8580 - ThM Guided Reading I  & THM 8581 - ThM Guided Reading II 
    Candidates work with their Major Professor to complete THM 8580 and THM 8581 Th.M. Guided Reading I & II. Guided Reading is designed to be completed prior to enrollment for Guided Research.
  5. THM 8582 - ThM Guided Research 
    Students in the Th.M. program must complete an acceptable Guided Research project under the supervision of their Major Professor. The title, outline, and research methodology must be approved by the Major Professor at least by the beginning of the final semester prior to graduation, and the student’s final draft must be delivered to the professor no later than 45 days prior to graduation (see the Seminary Academic Calendar for official due dates). This research project is to be 40-60 pages in length and must follow Seminary standards in format and style, which is the most current edition of Kate L. Turabian, et al., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

Th.M. Summary


Upper-Level M.Div. Courses or Ph.D. Seminars - 12 Hours


  • Concentration Electives 6 semester hrs.
  • Free Electives 6 semester hrs.

Advanced-Level Requirements - 12 Hours


Total Hours - 24 *


Up to 12 credit hours in Ph.D. seminars taken as part of the Th.M. degree may be transferable into the Southeastern Ph.D. program. Please contact the Office of Ph.D. Studies for further information.

*Students who fail to complete THM 8582  Th.M. Guided Research in one semester (or students who do not wish to enroll in an academic course in a given semester) must enroll in THM 8000 Th.M. Continuous Enrollment, which is 3 credit hours. Credit hours for THM 8000 Th.M. Continuous Enrollment are not counted toward graduation.

Master of Theology (with Thesis)


Degree Requirements


The Master of Theology (with Thesis) degree is awarded based upon the satisfactory fulfillment of the following requirements. All Th.M. students should consult with their Major Professor to determine the appropriate classes and course sequence that will enable timely graduation. Note that Th.M. students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate from the program.

  1. THM 8500 - Bibliographical Research 
    Ideally, candidates should complete THM 8500 Bibliographical Research in the first two months after admission.
  2. Courses and Seminars
    A candidate must complete 12 semester hours of study in upper-level M. Div. courses and/or doctoral seminars. At least six semester hours must be taken in Ph.D. seminars. Additionally, students must complete at least 9 of their 12 course and seminar hours in their field concentration. Th.M. students may not take more than nine semester hours in a single semester and no seminars may be taken prior to satisfactory completion of THM8500 Bibliographical Research. The Director of the Th.M. program may grant exceptions to these rules upon the request of the Major Professor.
  3. THM 8590 - ThM Thesis 
    The candidate must prepare a thesis on an approved subject within the major field concentration, following The SBL Handbook of Style, Second Edition: For Biblical Studies and Related Disciplines (Atlanta, SBL Press, 2014). A full prospectus, including a proposed subject and a plan of research for the thesis, must receive initial approval by the Major Professor. After initial approval the Major Professor will submit the prospectus to the Th.M. Office, and it will then be given to the second reader. The prospectus will then be returned to the student for corrections. The Director of the Th.M. program, together with the Major Professor and the second reader, will form the prospectus approval committee. Once the prospectus has received final approval, the student may commence work on the Thesis under the supervision of the Major Professor.
  4. Deadlines
    At least 45 days before the candidate expects to receive the degree three “final draft” copies of the Th.M. thesis must be submitted to the candidate’s Major Professor who will then submit two of these copies to Th.M. Office. The thesis will then be read and evaluated by the Major Professor and two other faculty readers. Following an oral examination, the student will submit the Thesis, in final form, for library review and electronic submission to ProQuest 15 days prior to graduation. These deadlines are final; thus, failure to meet deadlines may delay a student’s graduation from the Th.M. program. Please consult the seminary academic calendar for official dates and deadlines.
  5. Oral Examination
    Upon completion of the thesis, the candidate’s work will be evaluated by an examining committee composed of the Major Professor and the two faculty readers. Normally these will be professors within the candidate’s major field or with whom the candidate has studied in the Th.M. program. In this exam, the candidate will be expected to defend the thesis and to demonstrate academic competence in the area of specialization. Final approval will be determined by a majority of the committee.

 

Th.M. (with Thesis) Summary


Th.M. Courses - 15 Hours


Th.M. Thesis - 9 Hours


Total Hours - 24*


Up to 12 credit hours in Ph.D. seminars taken as part of the Th.M. degree may be transferable into the Southeastern Ph.D. program. Please contact the Office of Ph.D. Studies for further information.

*Students who fail to complete THM 8590 Th.M. Thesis in one semester (or students who do not wish to enroll in an academic course in a given semester) must enroll in 

  Th.M. Continuous Enrollment, which is 3 credit hours. Credit hours for THM 8000   Th.M. Continuous Enrollment are not counted toward graduation.

Note on Continuous Enrollment


Candidates for the Th.M. degree are required to maintain continuous, full-time enrollment until the degree is completed. Fees will be charged each fall and spring semester, including those semesters during which the Guided Research takes place. Continuous Enrollment is maintained by enrolling for at least one three-hour (3) component of the Th.M. program each fall and spring semester, including during the research stage of the program. Students who fail to complete their research after one semester of enrollment in THM 8582 Th.M. Guided Research, THM 8590 Th.M. Thesis, or students who do not wish to enroll in an academic course in a given semester, can maintain continuous enrollment by enrolling in, and paying for, THM 8000  Th.M. Continuous Enrollment.

Missionaries under full-time career appointment by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, as well as active duty, deployed military personnel, may receive special consideration regarding the continuous enrollment policy. Students who are appointed by the IMB will need to send an approved copy of the letter of confirmation from the IMB to the Th.M. Office in order to request an exemption from this policy. Deployed military personnel should consult with the Th.M. Office regarding continuous enrollment waivers.

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