An affordable and accessible academic degree designed for teachers and others seeking a solid foundation in the theological discipline.

Increase your knowledge and appreciation for theological study

The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) is a 36 hour general academic graduate degree providing a serious study that covers Scripture, historical and systematic theology, comparative theology and ethics. Theology in this instance is understood to encompass both critical religious study–primarily of the Christian religion–and its practice. As such courses may contain theoretical and spiritual formation components. Many students choose the M.T.S. solely as a way to increase their knowledge of Christianity as well as to bring that knowledge to their families, careers, or individual lives. The program builds on either the B.R.S. or on undergraduate degree programs earned elsewhere. The degree represents a minimum of two-year study.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) program imparts a general foundation in the biblical and theological disciplines. Distinctively, the outcomes of the M.T.S. program are to prepare graduates who,

  1. Have strengthened foundations for enriching personal spiritual faith and developing spiritual maturity.
  2. Have enhanced their understanding of biblical theology through systematic analysis of Scripture in its social, historical, and literary settings.
  3. Have an increased understanding and appreciation for diverse worldviews.

The Program

The spiritual dimension and development courses bracket the program but are operative throughout.  The advanced courses M 1 through M 11 provide evidence that the student has comprehensive understanding of the biblical text, the theological message of the Bible, and exegetical methodology needed to complete the master’s program.  These courses culminate with a series of essays calculated to measure the student’s ability to think critically about modern topics in view of the ancient text of scripture.  Specialty courses are electives and may be drawn from any course numbered MRS 100-500, 700.  The recommended order is as follows:

Orientation to Research and Writing (Non-credit)
MRS 622A Search for Spirituality
M1Critical Introduction to the Old Testament
M2Critical Introduction to the New Testament
M3Biblical Theology
M4Biblical Hermeneutic
M11Critical Analysis in Biblical Studies
One course from the MRS 100s
One course from the MRS 400s or 500s
One course from the MRS 700s
Two electives chosen from MRS 100-500s, 700s
MRS 633 Being Christian in a Secular Environment
Capstone Essays
Pass one graduate proctored comprehensive exam.
*B.R.S. graduates who have credit for BRS 16.6 or BRS 100 substitute a course of their choice.

Because OI is a distance learning institution and operates without defined semesters or terms, students work at their own pace.  Courses are normally completed one at a time, but a student is not prohibited from enrolling in multiple courses simultaneously. Credit is calculated according to the semester system. The final grade point average must be a minimum on a 4.00 scale on the credits used for the degree. If a student reaches the end of the curriculum with less than a 3.00 G.P.A., he/she may take additional courses to substitutes for, or offset, a “C” grade.

Time Allowance

The projected completion time for the M.T.S. degree is 24 months of full-time uninterrupted study. The cost for students who reside in the 35 developed countries listed under Financial Information is a one-time $25 registration fee and a tuition charge of $450 per quarter. Tuition and fees are guaranteed for only two (2) years. At this rate, students residing in one of the 35 developed nations may expect to pay $3,625 if they complete the M.T.S. with 24 months. Allowing for a modest increase in tuition after 24 months, students who extend their studies to 36 months may expect to pay $5,875. Textbooks and other resources are available online in an electronic format, without cost to the student. Any purchase of hard copy books is totally optional. Incarcerated students living within the United States are assessed only the $25 registration fee but are responsible for securing hard copy textbooks, which will run about $625 for the master’s degree.

Admission into the M.T.S. Program

Admission to the M.T.S. program will require the following:

  1. Submission of an official transcript that indicates completion of a bachelor’s degree (minimum 120 credits with appropriate general education courses) or higher degree from an accredited or nationally approved institution.  (In the event a student cannot, for reasons beyond his/her control, submit official documentation of having completed the bachelor’s degree, he/she may appeal to the Registrar and state the reasons. The Registrar and Chancellor will review the appeal and make a judgment as to how the requirement may be satisfied.)
  2. Completion of 15 credits of Foundations courses (MRS 622, M 1, M 2, M 3, and M 4) with a 3.00 grade point average.
  3. Submission of all required activities, papers, and forum postings associated with the Foundation courses.
  4. Passing two qualifying examinations.
  5. Having no financial obligations to the University.
  6. Submission of a TOEFL score of 530 or above or acceptable substitute (80 iBT, 6.5 IELPS, 58 PTE score) by students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is not in English.

Prior to acceptance into the M.T.S., the student’s writing ability will be assessed by way of a review of performance on the essays developed in course essays. If the student is weak in writing skills, a decision on admission may be delayed until he/she has completed M 11 Critical Analysis in Biblical Studies, which includes more extensive writing.Students holding the Master of Religious Studies (M.R.S.) degree with at least 18 credits earned after January 1, 2012, may complete the accredited M.T.S. by completing 18 additional, unduplicated credits from courses numbered 100-500 or 700.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of six (6) semester credits may be accepted in transfer toward the M.T.S., provided the credits are (1) religious in nature, (2) come from an accredited institution, and (3) have not been applied toward another degree. No credit will be applied toward the M.T.S. that has been used for another graduate degree issued by the Oxford Institute.


Once formal admission is granted, the student is assigned to the M.T.S. curriculum. Courses that have been completed from this curriculum will count toward the M.T.S. degree. Students already registered normally follow the degree plan in effect at the time of registration or admission to a particular program.  Continuing students are directed to the notes below and their online work sheet. Transference to a later plan means that all requirements in this plan must be fulfilled.