Master of Biblical and Theological Studies (MBTS)

The MBTS is a 36-hour degree designed for working professionals and laypersons who desire to be equipped to serve in the workforce, at home, and in the church. The MBTS gives students an overview of the entire Biblical story, introduces them to key theological concepts, and has 12 free elective hours.


Bible Exposition 9
BE101 Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics 3
BE201 The Story of Scripture 3
BE505 The Kingdom and Covenants 3
Theological Studies 9
Other Theology courses 6
ST101 Theological Method and Bibliology 3
Ministry & Research 6
PM101 Spiritual Life 2
PM102 Evangelism 2
RS101 Orientation and Research Methods 1
RS103 Summative Research Project 1
Electives 12
MBTS-2015 Electives 12
36 Hours
complete 100% online
Dallas Houston DC Ext Sites


The MBTS degree is based on the principle that any follower of Christ will benefit from advanced training in biblical and theological studies, becoming a more effective minister of the gospel wherever they serve. This degree is intended for those not planning on vocational ministry training.


Complete 100% Online or at any DTS Location

The MBTS can be completed by taking courses online or at one of our eight locations.

See how online courses have made it possible for Pastor Keith Twigg to study at DTS while serving in Montana.

Houston attorney Julie Waters uses her DTS training in Free the Captives, an anti human trafficking organization.


Example Electives

  • BE547 - A Biblical Theology of Suffering, Disability, and the Church
  • BC225 - Abnormal Human Behavior
  • BC497 - Human Sexuality
  • CE325 - Legal & Financial Issues in Ministry
  • CE405 - Early Faith Foundations
  • CE412 - Ministry to Children at Risk
  • CE415 - Church Ministries with Youth
  • CE730 - Spiritual Formation in Historical Perspective
  • HT217 - Apostolic Fathers
    HT218 - Early Christian Apologists
  • HT240 - Readings in John Owen
  • ID201 - Computer Tools for Biblical Exegesis
  • MW103  - A Christian View of Art
  • MW305 - Theology and Contemporary Literature
  • MW801 - Reading Scripture to Change Lives
  • NT345 - Galatians and the New Perspective on Paul
  • NT420 - The New Testament in Contemporary Culture
  • PM341 - Role of Women in Ministry
  • SL305 - Dynamics of Christian Leadership
  • SL310 - Emotional Intelligence and Relationships in Leadership
  • SL335 - Personal Assessment & Ministry Vision
  • SL355 - Readings in Leadership/Current Issues in Leadership
  • ST405 - Roman Catholic Theology
  • ST505 - Theology & Society
  • ST610 - God and Evil
  • ST625 - Philosophy of Religion
  • WM315 - Ministry Latin American Contexts
  • WM420 - Mission Strategy for Unreached Peoples
  • WM535 - Theology & World Religions
  • WM540 - Applied Biblical Contextualization


This MBTS provides a flexible course of study for:

  • Business professionals or laypersons who desire a short program of seminary studies to equip them for effective ministry in the workforce, home, local church, or abroad
  • Missionary candidates who anticipate service in nonprofessional ministries whose mission board requires graduate study in Bible and theology
  • College graduates who want a shorter program of seminary studies as a supplement to their undergraduate work and are not planning on entering vocational ministry
  • Spouses of current DTS students who want to complete a program of graduate seminary studies

Program Goals

Students in the MBTS program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a general knowledge of the Bible, including a synthetic understanding of the major books;
  • Evidence a general knowledge of theology;
  • Evidence an ability to biblically and theologically support their views on a specific contemporary issue;
  • Evidence an increasing likeness to Christ as manifested in love for God, love for others, and the fruit of the Spirit; and
  • Evidence an interest and involvement in the local church or other ministries with which they are associated.


Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the MBTS are the same as for all programs of study at the Seminary. However, since the MBTS is primarily designed for individuals who desire to enhance their biblical and theological foundation for lay ministry in professional contexts, admission to the program will normally be limited to those who meet this purpose.

Transfer of Credit

Transfer of up to 12 hours of credit is allowed toward the MBTS program from accredited graduate theological schools. Students must have earned a grade of C or better (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) for a course to be considered in transfer. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the registrar’s office for information on eligibility for transfer credit.

Residence Requirements

While the MBTS can be completed entirely online, all of the courses are also offered as classroom courses on the main Dallas campus and at all of the seminary’s extension campuses. This is to enhance the learning objectives of certain subjects that may be better achieved through a live interactive setting as well as for those who prefer a traditional face-to-face format.

Regardless of mode of delivery (online, or in face-to-face courses in Dallas or at an approved extension), at least fifty percent of the course work required for the degree must be earned through DTS.

Course Requirements

Thirty-six semester hours of coursework are required as a minimum for graduation. Nine hours are prescribed in Biblical Exposition courses, 9 are prescribed in Theological Studies courses, 4 are in Pastoral Ministries, and 2 are required for a summative research project. The remaining 12 hours are taken in free electives in courses of interest to the student.

The program normally requires a minimum of two years of study. Some exceptions to the two-year limit apply for those who have previous advanced theological study or prior extensive undergraduate studies in religion and/or other appropriate foundational areas, thus allowing some students to finish the program in as little as one year. Contact the Admissions Office or Advising Center for more information. Students may pursue this degree on a year-round basis or during summers. By taking only one course per term (fall, spring, summer), students can still complete the program in four years. All work leading to the MBTS must, however, be completed within five years from the time of matriculation. Extension of this limit requires approval of the Credits Committee. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.

MBTS in Chinese

Since courses necessary to complete the MBTS are also available in Chinese, interested students may earn the MBTS in Chinese through the seminary’s Chinese Online Studies program and by taking some courses in residence at the seminary’s Hong Kong extension. More information on the MBTS in Chinese and on online courses in Chinese is available in
the Online Education section of this catalog under Special Programs and Sessions, in the Chinese Studies office, or on the seminary’s website at

Note: These curriculum plans are intended for new students only. Current students should refer to the degree requirements available from the Advising Center.

Two Year MBTS Plan

First Year

Fall Semester

BE101Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics3
ST101Theological Method and Bibliology3
RS101Orientation and Research Methods1

Spring Semester

PM101Spiritual Life2
Theological Studies course13

Second Year

Fall Semester

BE505The Kingdom and Covenants3

Spring Semester

BE201The Story of Scripture23
Theological Studies course13
RS103Summative Research Project1
  1. In consultation with the department of Theological Studies
  2. The online version of BE201 is currently in development and may not be immediately available.
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