Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Th.M. Program in Biblical Studies 

Overview:  The Th.M. Program in Biblical Studies allows a student to specialize in Old Testament, New Testament, or Biblical Theology/Studies. 

·       The program is tailored to the particular needs of each student through consultation with the Th.M. program director. 

·      All classes must be taken at the Th.M. (900) level. Four of the courses must be designed for the Th.M. level “from the ground up” while four others may be either of that same kind or they may courses that are elevated to the Th.M. level from a lower level. Of the four that must be Th.M. courses from the ground up, two are required of all students: The Th.M. Research Seminar in Biblical Theology and the Th.M. course in Theological Hermeneutics. Most courses may be elevated to the Th.M. level (especially 600 or 700 level courses).  Check with the relevant professor if you have questions about the feasibility of elevating a particular course.     

·       Students have the option of arranging to do some courses as Directed Study research projects carried out under the supervision of a faculty member from the Biblical Studies Division (these need to be arranged well in advance of the semester in which they will be taken).

·       Students may take up to two courses through the Boston Theological Institute (e.g., at Harvard Divinity School or the Boston University School of Theology).

·       Students are either invited to write a thesis or allowed to choose one of their other courses to also serve as a “Writing Course” where they are expected to demonstrate many of the same skills which would be reflected in the writing of a thesis. (Note: thesis writing is by invitation only. One may feel free to express interest in writing a thesis to a potential supervisor.)

Policies relating to the Th.M. in Biblical Studies

·        Students must submit an approved Program Plan to the Registration Office by the second week of their first semester.  Those who do not submit an approved program plan will be dropped from all of their courses and placed on hold to prevent future registration. (There have been too many problems in the past with students who have not had approved Program Plans and have had to extend their time in study due to taking courses that did not fit the program.)

·        Each student’s program plan proposal should reflect their particular needs and objectives which may include:

1.     Deepening your knowledge of biblical backgrounds and theology.

2.     Gaining further experience and expertise in NT exegesis to sharpen your knowledge and skills.

3.     Exploring an area of particular interest or relevance.

4.     Filling in gaps remaining from your previous studies.

5.     Preparing for further studies at the doctoral level (which will have much in common with the previous approach).

6.     The Th.M. in biblical theology should reflect a combination of courses intended to strengthen your grasp of biblical theology, particularly courses or directed studies in biblical theology and exegesis.

·        Students may not take more than four language courses (OL, GL or RL) in the ThM program (one in the core courses and the two electives is the maximum).  If you want to study more languages you might want to consider our MABL program.

·        Rough guidelines for elevating courses to the Th.M. level are as follows (actual elevation requirements are determined by the professor in consultation with the Th.M. director):

         1.    Adding reading only:  about 1000-1500 additional pages

         2.    Adding writing only:  about 5-15 additional pages

         3.    Adding reading and writing:  about 500-1000 additional pages reading and 5-10 additional pages writing. 

·        If you are planning on doing a directed study course as part of your program you are to arrange that at the beginning of the year and have the faculty member initial the margin of your program plan indicating his or her intention to lead you in the directed study.

·        All of your classes are to be taken within the Biblical Studies Division of GCTS or within biblical studies departments within the BTI (Boston Theological Institute).  No more than two courses for the ThM may be taken through the BTI (see http://www.gordonconwell.edu/hamilton/registration/policy.php#bti) and no more than half of a student’s courses in a given semester may be taken at another BTI school (thus to take one course at another BTI school you must take one at GCTS that same semester).  Directed studies should be led by faculty members who are members of the Biblical Studies Division.

·        Courses may not be transferred into the Th.M. program.

·        Courses which provide educational background which is considered to be assumed on the part of M.Div. graduates (such as Old Testament or New Testament Survey) are not normally applicable to the ThM program.  Courses that are listed at the 500 level must normally be elevated to ThM level if they are to count towards the program.  No more than one 500 level course (even elevated) will be allowed on a program plan.

·        SemLink courses are also not applicable to the ThM program.

Changes to a Program Plan

Any changes to a program plan must be justified by one of the following:

1.     A student who is invited to write a thesis and chooses to do so will need to drop 2 courses from the program plan.

2.     A course that has since been dropped by the schedule or added to the schedule may need to be dropped or desirable to add.

3.     A student may become aware of the possibility of a directed study that particularly fits their educational needs and goals.

4.     A student may need to change their program plan due to serious health problems of the student or their immediate family which impedes them from taking the same number of courses in a given semester.

Changes to a program plan must be approved before the registration period for Th.M. students for the relevant semester has terminated since after that point it is unlikely that there will still be an available seat in the desired course.

Note:  Program plans should be prepared with great thoughtfulness since they will not be altered based on perception of the workload of a planned course or based on the shifting interests of the student.