Master of Theological Studies in the Christian East & the Contemporary World

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) in Eastern Christianity and the Contemporary World is a 36-credit hour graduate degree comprised of six taught modules and a 14,000-word dissertation. Each term has two online modules where lectures, seminars, and other research related activities are provided.

Each module is comprised of 15 weeks of study. Within each week you will read required material in addition to researching other sources. During each module, you will engage in online discussions moderated by your lecturer. The remaining time of your module is reserved for your private research and writing. Typically, each module will require that you submit 2 research papers. An average paper is 3000 words.

It is possible to register for studying a-la-carte modules. For example, you can take one or two modules if you are interested in a topic but are not planning on pursuing the MTS degree.

At the end of your taught modules and upon satisfaction of the academic requirements, you will then advance to independent research where you will write your 14,000-word Master dissertation. The dissertation topic must be approved by one of the faculty members of Agora University who will act as a first reader. Agora University will then appoint a second reader based on the topic. Typically, students have six months to complete and submit the dissertation.  There are three 6 credit hour modules, three 3 credit modules and a 9-credit hour thesis.

Program Objectives:

The student will utilize the knowledge and skills attained through studying the theological foundations of Orthodox Christianity as a hermeneutic to understand contemporary issues, to challenge inaccurate or unsupported claims, to make careful comparisons across time, space, and culture, and to take an informed position as students at an international university and as global citizen.

Program Outcomes

The MTS program outcomes are intended to prepare students to:

  • Equip students with the framework and tools to engage with contemporary challenges from Eastern Christian Wisdom.
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the specified theological discipline.
  • Exhibit a focused knowledge in a chosen theological discipline.
  • Conduct research and construct a theological argument.
  • Communicate coherently, effectively, and persuasively in writing.
  • Interpret and apply theological knowledge in relation to contemporary issues.
  • Construct in a thesis a coherent, sustained theological argument in an area of specialized study.

Courses Offered

The Christian Doctrine of God and Diversity (6 Credits)

We study the development of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and related themes from Scripture to the 20th century. We pay close attention to significant texts in the Christian tradition (including creedal statements, and the writings of Origen, Augustine, and others), and to discussions of the doctrine of the trinity and its relationship to diversity. The course requires careful reading of key primary texts and secondary sources.

The Old Testament and Suffering (6 Credits)

In this course, we will be examining the phenomenon of human suffering as our approach to encountering the scriptures, focusing on the Old Testament. By exploring the notion of suffering in the human condition, we will unlock some of the more important points of Christian theology that will provide us with the exegetical framework for reading, understanding, and integrating the Old Testament narrative into our lives.

The Gospels for Today’s World (6 Credits)

This course will focus our study on the Synoptic Gospels and its relation to Ethics. The course will help you to understand the foundational basis of the Synoptic Gospels and the modern theories and hypothesis circulating at the moment in the academic circles. Moreover, we will shed some light on the parables of Christ, as they represent a landmark in the teachings of Jesus, through which we can grasp the contextual ethos of the first-century culture. Finally, we will relate the Synoptic Gospels to Ethics to discover how it can inform and reform our ethical perspectives and stances in a multicultural world.

Liturgical Renewal (3 Credits)

Liturgical rites and texts have always evolved to meet contemporary challenges to the Church’s mission, and to present a faithful witness of the Church’s faith and life. Liturgical development usually occurs either organically from the bottom up, or hierarchically from the top down. The Coptic liturgical tradition is no exception. In this module, students will be introduced to the general patterns of liturgical development through a close reading of sources and scholarly reflections on the topic. This familiarity with the sources and methodology of liturgical analysis will guide the discussion of some contemporary issues of liturgical reform in the Coptic Church today.

Church, Culture and Tradition (3 Credits)

Church, Culture, and Tradition is a 3-credit module, which aims to investigate the meaning of the Church and its diverse expressions through a study of ecclesiology, Tradition and culture. The module will start by defining the term ‘Tradition’ followed by an overview of the true identity of the Church and its expression within different contexts throughout history. The module will then discuss our contemporary context and the appropriate ways of engaging with a theology of incultration by incarnating in a multi-cultural and pluralistic society.

Second Century Christians: Politics and Ethics (3 Credits)

This course will focus on certain aspects of Second century Christianity along with its implications and applications on everyday life. The main aim is to allow students to acquire a comprehensive view of the climate of this historical era to enable them to obtain a perception to how it is relevant to modern day Christian life. Students will be able to relate the core Christian message to the ethical dilemmas of modern societies, which in turn allows a much positive engagement in society to proclaim the kingdom of God. The course would help those who are interested in Apologetics as they will be acquainted with apologetic works of Second Century Christianity.

Master Dissertation (9 Credits)

Upon satisfaction of the academic requirements, you will then advance to independent research where you write your 14,000-word Master dissertation. The dissertation topic must be approved by one of the faculty members of Agora University who will act as a first reader. Agora University will then appoint a second reader based on the topic. Typically, students have six months to complete and submit the dissertation. Please refer to the Master Thesis Guide for details.