Online Graduate Degree in Theological Studies

Southwestern College Professional Studies’ Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) program is designed for those who want to pursue graduate work in theology and biblical studies. It is also suitable for those who want to minister more effectively in the church or in a church-related ministry. This Master’s degree in Theology online program uses non-traditional formats that are well-adapted to the needs of contemporary learners. If you are interested in Christian colleges in Kansas, check out the theology school at Southwestern College. We help current and future pastors better understand the world through scripture, theology and faith-based practices.

If you are looking for an opportunity to practice ministry and work on a Master’s degree at the same time, our Master’s degree in Theology online could be right for you.

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Required Courses

Major Courses

SMIN503 Studies of the Old Testament
SMIN505 Studies of the New Testament
THEO510 Theological Research Methodology
THEO511 History of Christianity I
THEO512 History of Christianity II
THEO521 Systematic Theology I
THEO522 Systematic Theology II
THEO523 Systematic Theology III
THEO530 Spiritual Theology
THEO540 Philosophy of Religion
THEO545 Theological Ethics
THEO550 Science and Religion
THEO565 Studies in Theologians
THEO595 Thesis

Elective Courses

THEO595B Continuing Thesis
THEO596 Workshop in Theological Research and Careers

Course Descriptions

SMIN503 Studies of the Old Testament

This course provides an introduction to the literature and history of ancient Israel with special attention given to the thirty-six books of the Hebrew Bible. Ancient and Near-Eastern texts will be considered in light of the context that they provide for understanding early Judaism. Attention will be given to how to utilize Old Testament Scriptures in a variety of church and para-church ministries.

SMIN505 Studies of the New Testament

This course provides an introduction to the 27 books that constitute the New Testament. This course will take into account the Jewish and Greco-Roman milieu in which the New Testament developed. Attention will be given to how to utilize New Testament Scriptures in a variety of church and para-church ministries.

THEO510 Theological Research Methodology

This course enables learners to obtain an understanding of what is expected in graduate level theological research and to begin work on the organized research for their forthcoming master’s thesis. A proposed thesis topic and a research bibliography are developed in concert with the course instructor. The finished product of the course includes an annotated bibliography of pertinent research materials, a preliminary outline of the entire thesis (to three levels), and an estimated writing schedule.

THEO511 History of Christianity I

This course provides an account of the history of the Christian church from its inception in the first century of the Common Era to the time of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. Special focus is upon the development of Christian doctrine by major figures and movements, including the Seven Ecumenical Councils.

THEO512 History of Christianity II

This course provides an account of the history of the Christian church from the Protestant Reformation to the present day. The focus is upon the theological developments that characterize the various strands of Christian tradition in the modern period, and the major figures and groups that are representative of them. Prerequisite: THEO511

THEO521 Systematic Theology I

This course begins the systematic study of the Christian faith as articulated in the Nicene Creed. This course focuses on the First Article, which includes Trinity, the divine attributes, the doctrine of creation, the nature of the human person (theological anthropology) and the God/World relationship.

THEO522 Systematic Theology II

This course continues the systematic study of Christian faith by focusing on the Second Article of the Nicene Creed, which includes the person of Jesus Christ (Christology), sin (hamartiology) and salvation (soteriology).

THEO523 Systematic Theology III

This course concludes the systematic study of the Christian faith by focusing on the Third Article of the Nicene Creed, which includes the Holy Spirit (pneumatology), the church (ecclesiology), sacraments and the Last Things (eschatology).

THEO530 Spiritual Theology

This course examines theology as a spiritual discipline, an act of worship undertaken by the Church in service to God for the sake of the world. The focus is upon the affective dimension of the theological enterprise. Major figures and systems of spiritual formation will be examined, such as Hesychasm, Ignatian spirituality and other monastic forms.

THEO540 Philosophy of Religion

This course is an investigation into the nature and role of philosophy in religion, the relationship of faith and reason, the use of religious language, of the arguments for and against the existence of God, and the clarification and defense of the attributes of God in a particularly Christian theistic perspective.

THEO545 Theological Ethics

This course is a survey and evaluation of various ethical systems and representatives of those systems from within a Christian framework. Emphasis will be placed on, but is not limited to, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, the Utilitarians, Kant and a study of various issues in meta-ethics and normative ethics, as well as an investigation of ethical decision-making and case studies. The cases will potentially cover various topics currently being debated in ethics, e.g., abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, infanticide, surrogate motherhood, business ethics, environmental issues, etc.

THEO550 Science and Religion

This course is a study of various issues that arise in the potential integration of science and Christian theology (e.g. models of integration, the distinctness of religion, relationship of scientific methodology to theological methodology, the range of positions in the creation/evolution debate) as well as an investigation of selected topics in philosophy of science relevant to a Christian perspective (e.g., the realist/antirealist debate, the nature, formation, use, and confirmation of scientific laws and theories, scientism and the assumptions and limits of science).

THEO565 Studies in Theologians

This course is designed as a rotating topical course that will examine the major works of influential modern theologians. To be included are such major figures as Karl Barth, Wolfhart Pannenberg and Jürgen Moltmann. Prerequisites: SMIN503, 505 and THEO511, 512, 521, 522, 523, and 540.

THEO595 Thesis

This 12-week course is designed to facilitate the writing of the thesis. The course will require regular periodic submissions of chapter/section drafts for professional guidance/critique. The finished product is a completed master’s thesis of 35-50 pages that constitutes an original scholarly contribution to the field of inquiry. Prerequisite: Completion of all courses in the learners’ program.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted into the MATS program, candidates must submit the following:

Southwestern College Professional Studies Graduate Program Application form – Application forms are accepted on an ongoing basis. No application admission fee is charged. Complete the online application.

Official transcripts of all prior college/university coursework – Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).

Print a copy of the transcript request form and mail the request to the institution which awarded your bachelor’s degree.

Two confidential letters of recommendation – using the Graduate Recommendation Form (at least one from a current or former employer).

A one page Admissions Essay – submit your written statement electronically to graduate@sckans.edu or via mail or fax to 316.688.5218.

Resume- Applicants should have at least three years of professional work experience.

All international learners must show evidence of their English language ability by providing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) report. A score of 550 (paper test) or 213 (computer-based test) on the TOEFL is considered the minimum acceptable for admission to the MASM program.

Applicants who hold bachelor’s degrees from a U.S. institution or from an institution in another English-only speaking country will receive a waiver of the TOEFL. Applicants who are from native English speaking countries are not required to take the TOEFL.

Admission requirements may differ for international learners, or for learners whose undergraduate degrees were awarded outside of the United States. Please contact an admissions counselor for more details.



In addition to the above, it is recommended that candidates have a working knowledge of word processing and presentation software.


A candidate’s file must be complete before an admissions decision may be made. It is the responsibility of each candidate to provide all of the information requested above. Candidates will receive a letter of admission to the program.

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Southwestern College’s master of arts in theological studies (MATS) program is a nondenominational program designed for the individual interested in the examination of theological principles and constructs of Christian doctrines.