6.8.2.a Fields of Specialization
The Th.M. degree is offered in two fields: Biblical Studies and Theological Studies. Each candidate must select a major area of concentration within his or her chosen field. The following fields of study are offered: Biblical Studies: with majors in Old Testament or New Testament; Theological Studies: with majors in Church History, Systematic Theology or Apologetics.
In each field a faculty committee has supervision of the work of the candidates. This Field Committee will assign each candidate an academic advisor.
Six courses are required for the Th.M. degree. The candidate’s courses must be approved by his or her advisor as he or she registers for them.
Each course will meet ordinarily for two consecutive hours on one day of the week. At least three of these courses must be in the candidate’s major area of concentration. The candidate may choose the remaining studies from any of the advanced level courses (Th.M. and Ph.D.), or from approved graduate courses of study in other institutions of higher learning. Up to two of the six courses may be taken as directed reading. Normally, the candidate may transfer a maximum of two graduate courses from other institutions of higher learning, only one of which may count towards the three required courses in the candidate’s major area of concentration. A candidate who has completed the M.Div. degree at Westminster may petition the Th.M. Field Committee for permission to transfer a third graduate course from another institution of higher learning. However, each student will be required to take at least two courses in his or her chosen field at Westminster.
When planning to take a course at another school, the student should consult his or her advisor, make arrangements for enrollment at the other school, and report to the Westminster Registrar in writing before the beginning of the semester when he or she will enroll at the other school. Failure to conform to these stipulations may result in removal of the student from the program and in the refusal of Westminster to count these courses toward degree requirements. If no Westminster course is taken the semester a student is enrolled elsewhere, the student will not pay a fee to Westminster.
The policies pertaining to PT 031P, PT 033P Advanced Theological Writing are the same for all degree programs. See section 5.3.c.
Each candidate must complete PT 421P Theological Bibliography and Research Methodology. Candidates for advanced degrees (Th.M. and Ph.D.) take this course on a pass/fail basis and without tuition charge in the first year after the student enrolls.
Credit for work pursued before the completion of requirements for the M.Div. degree shall be limited to two courses (see section 6.1.b). No courses credited toward the M.Div. or other degree may be a part of the program for the Th.M. degree.
Under an arrangement with the Jerusalem University College, students, selecting either Old Testament or New Testament as a major, may complete some of their program requirements at JUC. See section 5.7 further details.
The candidate is required to maintain a general academic average of 3.00 after the completion of three courses in the Th.M. program. If an average of 3.00 is not maintained, the student will be withdrawn from the Seminary. The average recognizes the thesis as the equivalent of four courses.
Upon initial matriculation, students entering the Th.M. program in are required to sustain examinations demonstrating competence in Biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek. Failure to demonstrate competence on either of these examinations will result in remedial language study and evaluation, supervised by the examiner, to be completed during the first semester of enrollment. These language assignments must be completed in the semester in which they are assigned. Should the student not fulfill the requirement, the faculty maintains the right to place the student on academic probation, pending completion of the language requirement. While knowledge of the original languages of Scripture is required of all Th.M. students, special aptitude in Hebrew is requisite for specialization in Old Testament, and in Greek for specialization in New Testament. Entering ThM students in Old Testament must demonstrate knowledge of grammar and reading proficiency at an advanced M.Div. level in Hebrew upon initial matriculation. ThM students in NT must demonstrate the same level of expertise in biblical Greek. Such expertise will be demonstrated by means of a placement exam taken upon initial matriculation in the ThM programs, and commencement of those programs is contingent upon successfully passing the placement exam. See the seminary website for a description of the exams.
Moreover, the candidate must demonstrate a working knowledge of French, German, Dutch, or ecclesiastical Latin. If another language is of particular value for the candidate’s studies, the Field Committee, upon request, may approve its substitution. An examination in the language chosen must be sustained prior to the submission of the thesis. If the examination has not been sustained, the candidate cannot submit the thesis to the Academic Affairs Office.
A master’s thesis on an approved subject within the candidate’s major area of concentration is required. Approval of the thesis proposal by the academic advisor and/or the Field Committee should be obtained within the semester after coursework is completed. Upon approval of the thesis proposal, the Field Committee will appoint a faculty member to share with the academic advisor the responsibility of reading and approving the thesis. The master’s thesis must reflect a high standard of scholarly research and writing.
The thesis must conform to the format and bibliographic style requirements in “Format Guidelines for WTS Theses, Dissertations and Projects,” available from the Library and online. Three copies of the completed thesis, with the appropriate fee, must be submitted to the Academic Affairs Office by April 1 (see the Academic Calendar if the 1st falls on a weekend) for the following May. (See below for quality of paper required for approved copy.)
The faculty committee must approve the thesis by May 1. If approved, some minor corrections may be required. The student must submit two copies of the approved thesis in final form to the Academic Affairs Office by May 15 (see the Academic Calendar for the date if the 15th falls on a weekend). One copy must be printed on 20 lb., 100 percent cotton content paper. The other may be printed on white multipurpose paper. No holes should be punched in the pages, and the thesis should be submitted flat in a box that is well protected so that the pages do not bend.
6.8.2.e Comprehensive Oral Examination
A comprehensive oral examination shall thoroughly cover the candidate’s major area of concentration. It shall be conducted by faculty members who meet as a committee for that purpose, under the direction of the coordinator of the department in which the student is majoring. All faculty members present shall have the opportunity of taking part. To be sustained, this examination must be approved by a majority of the faculty members present. The oral examination must be sustained at least two weeks before the commencement at which the degree is expected to be conferred.
6.8.2.f Program Time Limit
The maximum length allowed to complete all work for the degree of Th.M. is six years from the date of matriculation including any leave of absence or withdrawal period. For a comparison of the number of semesters required to complete the degree based on enrollment status, please refer to the Program Length table. If the student has transferred from the Ph.D. program, the date of the student’s matriculation into the Ph.D. program will be used to determine the time limit. Students are responsible to report to the Registrar when actions have been taken to meet deadlines in their program. International students must be full-time each semester and are allowed four semesters from the date of matriculation to complete the degree program (section 5.1.2 'Full Time Status').
The Th.M. degree shall be granted only to persons enrolled at Westminster at the time of the completion of their program of study.