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Master of Theology (Th.M.)
The Master of Theology program (HEGIS 2301) seeks to encourage scholarly research and reflection in Orthodox theology. It is intended for qualified Orthodox students from America or abroad who wish to prepare for higher-level studies, teaching, and research, and for qualified non-Orthodox students who wish to specialize in Orthodox studies.
The normal length of the program is one year of full-time study, at the rate of 12 credits per semester, at least half of which must be in courses designed for students in the Master of Theology program, including preparation of the thesis. The program may, however, be spread over a longer period of time by students working on a part-time basis. The degree must be completed within two years of entrance into the program, after which time the student may be required to fulfill new requirements that may then be in force.
Admission to the program requires the Master of Divinity, or first graduate theological degree providing equivalent theological background, evidence of aptitude for advanced theological study, and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B), or its equivalent. The applicant's academic preparation must include the study of one ancient language and one modern language, both of which should be relevant to the field of study, as determined by the student’s program advisor.
Admission to the program also requires submission and acceptance of a thesis proposal.
Language examinations normally are taken at the time of the student's first registration in the program and must be successfully completed before submitting the thesis. Normally they consist of brief selections relevant to the student's field of study, which he or she is required to translate with the aid of a dictionary. Students with deficiencies may be denied admission to courses that presuppose a working knowledge of the language in question and may be required to undertake remedial studies.
Courses taken in the Th.M. program are intended to broaden and deepen the candidate's knowledge of the major areas of theology. A minimum of 18 credits in advanced course work, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B), is required for the degree. These are distributed between appropriate lecture courses and seminars at the “400-level.”
All 18 credits in advanced course work must be completed at St Vladimir's. Of these 18 credits, at least 12 must be completed in specially designated Th.M. seminars.
The thesis, written under the supervision of the student’s program advisor, must be based upon personal research and constitute an original scholarly contribution. The thesis is expected to be 60–100 pages in length. In other respects it should follow the guidelines given in the M.A. thesis style sheet, which is available online or from the Office of Academic Affairs.
Thesis Submission and Defense. After the advisor has accepted the final version of the thesis, two copies of thesis—on plain bond paper—must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs by the deadline indicated in the Academic Calendar. An abstract (resume) of 200–250 words, with the student’s full name as author, title of thesis, total number of pages, and name of advisor, must accompany the thesis. The thesis is then evaluated by two readers: the first is the student's thesis advisor, who must be a full-time or adjunct member of the faculty, and the second is appointed by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from among the other faculty of the seminary or, depending on the subject, from outside the seminary. The thesis will then be discussed and defended at a special meeting of the faculty, to which competent scholars from other institutions may be invited. These scholars will take part in the final faculty vote to recommend the candidate for the degree.
Library Copy. Additionally, the thesis in its final form—and on white, acid-free bond paper—is to be presented to the librarian for style and format check, also by the deadline indicated in the Academic Calendar for submission of degree theses. This copy of the thesis will be bound by and deposited in the library, to become a permanent—and public—monument to the student’s years at seminary.
Students who do not submit all required copies of the thesis by the deadline will not be permitted to graduate.
Degrees are awarded annually at the close of the spring semester. After a final review and vote of recommendation by the Faculty Council, the candidates’ names are submitted to the Board of Trustees for their approval.
Academic Honors. Upon unanimous recommendation of the candidate’s thesis readers and approval of the Faculty Council, he or she may receive commendation for the thesis.
Requirement To Satisfy Financial Obligations. No degree will be awarded or final transcript issued unless all financial obligations to the seminary, library, and bookstore have been satisfied. In the case of outstanding loans or other obligations not then due and payable, appropriate agreements must have been drawn up and all payments must be current.