Master of Arts in Theological Studies
Entering the academy of theologians and Biblical scholars requires different preparation than a call to pastoral ministry. The master of arts in theological studies (MATS) is designed to meet these specific needs, while also welcoming its students into the community life of the Seminary. Though most of a student's studies are focused in academic disciplines, North Park recognizes the need for formational work in all Christians' inner lives, so we include a series of spiritual formation and field education experiences as elements in the MATS program.
North Park's MATS is a two-year program intended for persons who desire graduate study in Bible, theology, and church history, but do not anticipate vocational ministry as a pastor or staff minister. Often MATS graduates continue studies to pursue a doctoral degree in a biblical or theological field, perhaps leading to a career as a professor and scholar. The program may also be appropriate for for lay persons who desire greater theological knowledge in order to serve within their local congregations. Read the full list of learning outcomes in the NPTS catalog.
The MATS curriculum is designed as an intensive study of the Bible, Christian history, and theology, with the expectation that students will become experts in a major concentration area. This curriculum includes a prerequisite for Biblical languages if an Old or New Testament concentration area is selected. The following items are designed to help you plan your studies:
North Park Theological Seminary prepares women and men for ministry in its many forms, through both academic training and spiritual formation. The evaluative processes throughout your program aid in assessing your progress both academically and spiritually, as well you in your ongoing vocational discernment. You will participate in the following as a student in the MATS program:
- First Week: New students are invited to campus during the week prior to the start of classes to become familiarized with the Seminary community and available resources.
- Vocational Excellence: The Seminary is committed to preparing you both academically and formationally for a call to ministry. All students will participate in the Vocational Excellence field education experience, which includes several assessment pieces. On-campus students should register for this in the first semester.
- Field Education Planning: During your first year, you should meet with the field education faculty to devise a plan to complete your field education requirements throughout your Seminary program. A plan should be in place before you go through the Degree Candidacy evaluation.
- Degree Candidacy: Following the completion of one-third of your degree program, typically in the spring of the first year, you will apply for degree candidacy, helping make sure you are on track in your program.
- Field Education Credits: You should be well under way in your required field education experiences. Contact the Field Education Office if you have any question about fulfilling your requirements.
- Thesis: Most MATS students choose to complete a master's thesis to further their research skills in preparation for doctoral study. See the Student Academic Handbook for further guidelines on the stages of a thesis project.
- End of Studies: At the completion of two-thirds of your degree program, you will begin this evaluation program which will aid in determining your readiness for ministry.
- Graduation: The Seminary Commencement and Consecration Service is a chance for the whole NPTS community to celebrate graduating students and wish them well on their journeys in ministry.