The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) degree is a program tailored to fit the needs of those seeking advanced doctoral studies or careers in teaching or research. It has also proven to be a good fit for students called to serve in lay ministry roles throughout the church, academy, and world.

Defining features of our program include: 

Rigorous academic training
The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) program provides a two-year curriculum which covers foundational areas of history, theology, and Scripture with the flexibility to pursue electives in one's area of interest. There is also a required thesis component that students complete during their final year under the direction of our distinguished faculty members.

Community of scholars
Our academically rigorous curriculum is enriched by vibrant worship, opportunities for spiritual formation, the close-knit student community, and mentoring for the doctoral application process and makes the M.T.S. a premier program for those seeking preparation for their ministry to the world in an intentional Christian community. Our M.T.S. students participate in spiritual formation during the first year of study. Spiritual formation creates a unique opportunity for students to support each other in prayer, fellowship, and community.

Preparation for the future
Our M.T.S. graduates have gone on to serve as leaders in the academy, church, and world through:

  • Doctoral or further graduate studies at top universities such as Duke University (Ph.D. and Th.D.), Princeton Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, University of Notre Dame, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, among others
  • Teaching and administrative positions in K-12 schools or higher education
  • Ministry positions in music and children's ministry and director of religious education
  • Non-profit management
  • Academic publishing/university press positions
  • Counseling or chaplaincy positions
  • Corporate or government consulting

More information »

Admission & Application Information

Admission requirements

  • Demonstrated program goals commensurate with this degree program
  • Commitment to some form of diaconal or lay ministry
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25 in a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university prior to the intended date of enrollment

Application requirements


  • M.T.S. applications are accepted on a rolling basis from September to June 15. Applicants must submit by January 15 to be considered for the Petry Scholarship and University Scholars Program.  
    • Online applications must be submitted by midnight E.S.T. on the final stated deadline date. All applications and supporting documents must be received in the admissions office by 5:00 p.m. on the stated deadline date. If the application deadline date falls on a weekend, all applications and supporting must be received in the admissions office by 5:00 p.m. on the Monday after the deadline date.
    • There is no January enrollment for degree-seeking students.

Financial Aid

With careful planning, budgeting, and counseling from our Financial Aid office staff, students often find Duke to be more affordable than they initially assume. By taking advantage of the scholarships, grants, and outside aid available, many students are able to graduate debt-free.

M.T.S. applicants are eligible to be considered for the four Petry merit-based scholarships (100% tuition) and M.T.S. scholarships (22% tuition per year of study). Scholarships are awarded based upon the combination of academic performance and promise for ministry. There is no separate application for scholarships.


Find more detailed information about tuition, fees, and outside financial aid »













A Deep Engagement with Tradition

“The curriculum pushes you to deepen your understanding of the tradition and the church that receives it. Inside and outside of the classroom you’re challenged to articulate the views of your own denomination while deeply engaging the views of others. We see and value our differences, but we also see that across the denominations there is a common tradition with profound agreements. In the past year I’ve developed intellectually through demanding courses taught by incredible scholars. I feel prepared for further work in my field.”