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Advising Center

Master of Theology (ThM) Advising

The Advising Center wants to help you make informed decisions as you progress toward graduation. ThM students often ask three questions:

1. How do I qualify for the Last Year Free (LYF) ThM scholarship?

LYF is a special scholarship program for new and continuing students enrolled in the Masters of Theology (ThM) program in the fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018 semesters. If you meet the following criteria during the final 24 hours of the ThM, you may recieve the LYF Scholarship.

  • Be in good standing with DTS during the last 24 hours (no holds);
  • GPA is 2.5 or higher during the last 24 hours;
  • Complete at least 6 hours in a classroom on an approved campus (Dallas, DC, or Houston) each session in which the LYF scholarship is received (exception: final session); and
  • Submit the normal financial aid application via campus net in February for the summer and fall sessions and in September for the winter and spring sessions.

The scholarship covers tuition only for courses needed to complete the ThM (required and electives) when they are taken in a classroom on an approved campus (Dallas, DC, Houston)  during the final 24 credit hours (usually hours 97-120) of the student's program.

The only non-residential courses covered by LYF are the internship, thesis, and RS102. For more detailed information, please visit our LYF page.

2. How do I choose a ministry emphasis?

Select an emphasis that aligns best with your own gifts and ministry goals. A detailed list of emphases and their breakdown by credit hour can be found to the right.

Key Questions

  • How does the stated purpose of this emphasis strengthen my gifts and shore up my weaknesses?
  • What skills or concepts do I want to gain or master as a result of my study?
  • Do the internship requirements contribute to my ministry direction?
  • If I complete the required artifacts will they represent me well to future employers?

Formal Process

You can select an emphasis on your Student CampusNet page. From General Information, select Forms and Information and choose the ThM Emphasis Request Form.

A faculty advisor and an academic advisor will evaluate your request. They may want to meet with you. You may simply receive an email from the Advising Center reminding you of the requirements and inviting you for a response.

3. Should I write a thesis or take RS102?

All ThM students must complete an integrative research project:


A thesis is a two or three credit hour independent research paper on an approved topic under the supervision of two faculty advisors. Students are allowed three semesters to complete a thesis, and may apply to begin a thesis during fall, spring, or summer semesters. The ThM thesis must be related to a student’s emphasis.


RS102 is a one-semester, two-credit course which provides opportunity and guidance for the writing of a summative research paper on a topic connected with your ThM emphasis. RS102 is only offered during spring semesters at the Dallas or Houston campuses.

All students are encouraged to carefully evaluate which option will best prepare them for their planned ministry contexts. Some doctoral programs require a substantial thesis project for admittance while others request shorter RS102 length writing samples.

Please see the Thesis vs. RS102 handout to the right for more detailed information.

4. How can I meet the 48-hour residency requirement?

48 credit hours of the ThM degree must be completed at the Dallas, DC, or Houston campuses. See your residency requirement for more information regarding residency. DTS currently offers three options for completing the 48-hour residency requirement:

  1. Live in Dallas, DC. or Houston for the duration or the majority of the degree.
  2. Take courses in Dallas every summer for 7 years (10 weeks for 3 summers).
  3. Spend 15 months in Dallas. See Residency Schedule for details.

ThM Timeline

0 – 30 hours into the program
31 – 60 hours
61 – 90 hours
91 – 120 hours
Schedule an Advising Session ThM Degree Worksheet Pre/Co-Requisite Info ThM Emphases Thesis or RS102?Create Your Schedule


Department Information

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