Master of Theological Studies - Franciscan Theology - 100% Online

Apply Integrated Faith Studies to Causes That Move You

Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego

Your Online Master of Theological Studies Degree at Franciscan School of Theology

Explore the Connection Between Faith and Service, No Matter Where You Are

The online Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology (MTS) is a two-year academic program offered by the Franciscan School of Theology in partnership with the University of San Diego. 

Designed for working professionals and recent undergraduates alike, this unique online program is ideal for those pursuing careers in religious education, parish support, or ministry, or as preparation for further academic work. The MTS degree program also welcomes those seeking a deeper understanding of faith-based service.

Who is the MTS Degree For?

Educators. Community leaders. Seekers. This online Master of Theological Studies program is designed for those seeking to immerse themselves in the teachings of the Franciscan Catholic faith, no matter their background. Our curriculum helps students construct a strong foundation for teaching and serving in their parish or in their wider communities and is built to accommodate all timelines, schedules, and experience levels.

Students of the MTS program are:

  • Parish, Church, Campus/College Ministry
  • Educators and Teachers
  • Business Professionals
  • Counselors/Medical Professionals
  • Aspiring Theologians
  • Military Professionals
  • Community Leaders
  • Seekers
  • Career Changers
  • Individuals looking for something more
  • Individuals looking to integrate their faith into their respective careers

Admissions (Earn Your Degree in 24 Months)

Getting Started with Your Master of Theological Studies Degree Application

Students are accepted throughout the year for admission into one of three semesters (Spring, Summer, and Fall). Students typically take two courses in each 14-week semester, focusing intensively on one 7-week course at a time.

Admission application packets are accepted on a rolling basis. A decision will be recommended by the Review Committee within one week of your application being submitted. For details on specific requirements needed for admission, please visit our Admissions page.

If you are interested but do not meet all of the published admissions requirements, please contact an enrollment advisor via the form above.


Curriculum

The Master of Theological Studies program curriculum provides students with a foundation of theological knowledge in the Roman Catholic tradition, as interpreted by Saint Francis of Assisi. Students will develop their own interpretations of his teachings, as well as learn to apply this foundational knowledge to their professional and personal objectives.

MTS courses are as follows:

Foundational Courses

  • Following Francis: An Introduction to the Franciscan Tradition
  • Introduction to Theology: How does one study God in the world?

Core Courses

  • Christology: Who Do You Say That I Am?
  • Ecclesiology: Building the 21st-Century Church
  • Moral Theology: Conscience and the Common Good
  • Spirituality: Spirituality for the Digital Age
  • History: Unity, Diversity, Change Over Time
  • Intercultural Theology: Unity, Diversity, and Change Today
  • Old Testament: Our Jewish Roots: An Introduction to the Old Testament
  • New Testament: The Cradle, The Cross, and The Community

Capstone

  • Finding Your Voice in the Franciscan Tradition

Program Goals

The MTS program learning outcomes are intended to prepare students to:

Interpret and Apply Theological Knowledge

Not only will the online MTS degree program prepare students to enter religious education or professional ministry in the Roman Catholic Church — this program provides students a bedrock on which to build their own interpretations and proposed applications of this service-based faith tradition, whatever their life and career goals may be.

Identify Areas of Service and Need 

Part of the Franciscan School of Theology’s mission is to prepare women and men for lives dedicated to solidarity with those on the margins of society and the Church. The Franciscan focus on the joy of creation and service to others will help students identify places in their own communities that could be better served with compassion and understanding.

Construct a Coherent, In-Depth Theological Capstone

An MTS capstone demonstrates each student’s ability to develop a coherent theological argument on a topic about which they feel passionately. The capstone may contain an experiential component integrating personal, professional and pastoral concerns, and will demonstrate skill in developing a theological framework to situate the topic within the commitment of faith.

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Career Options

Graduates of the MTS program go on to work or serve in a multitude of fields, many of them not strictly related to the diocese. The MTS is a popular program for service providers, among others, who wish to treat the “whole person” in their profession, drawing from their knowledge of people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. Graduates of the Franciscan School of Theology MTS program include:

  • Attorneys
  • Campus ministers
  • Chaplains
  • Counselors (individual, marriage and family, school, etc.)
  • Doctoral students
  • Educators
  • Faith formators (teachers and catechists)
  • Healthcare providers
  • Human rights advocates
  • Liturgists
  • Members of the armed forces
  • Missionaries
  • Musicians
  • Nonprofit leaders
  • Pastoral ministers
  • Priests
  • Program directors
  • School administrators
  • Social workers
  • Youth ministers

Tuition

The Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology program requires a minimum of 36 total credit hours. At $800 per credit, the total tuition is $28,800 before potential scholarships and financial aid.


Financial Aid

One of the FST’s highest priorities is to ensure that sufficient tuition and financial aid support is available to all eligible MTS program students. We recommend that applicants apply for financial aid when they apply for admission. Please notify the Admissions department as soon as possible if you will be applying for financial aid.

Financial aid is available through the Federal Direct Loan Program, open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Federal School Code for FST is G11792.

Recipients of financial aid will be notified of their award after their acceptance to FST.

Learn more about financial aid


Transfer Credits

The online Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology allows students to transfer up to six units of relevant master’s level coursework taken at an accredited institution prior to enrollment in the online MTS program. Please note, academic director review and approval are required.


Accreditation

The Franciscan School of Theology is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

The Franciscan School of Theology regularly assesses its academic programs to ensure that they continue to provide the desired depth and breadth of theological education and that they conform to the standards of the WASC and ATS accrediting agencies.


Why Choose Online Learning Through the Franciscan School of Theology?

In addition to working alongside world-class faculty at the Franciscan School of Theology, our partnership with the University of San Diego enables us to provide competitive flexibility. Designed for busy working professionals who want to earn their master’s degree while balancing the demands of work and family life, Franciscan School of Theology’s convenient yet rigorous online program helps students achieve their educational goals on their own schedule.

As an online graduate student, you will have access to your classroom at any time and can view your assignments, syllabus, and course resources from any computer with internet capability. The online courses embody the same learning outcomes, educational rigor, and high level of academic excellence as our on-campus programs.

Why the Franciscan School of Theology at USD?

  • Utilize multiple university resources
  • Access to numerous USD services
  • Immersive and unique career and personal-building education
  • Accomplished professional faculty with extensive education/teaching experience
  • Small class sizes with a small instructor-to-student ratio
  • Strong networking opportunities with faculty/peers through online collaboration
  • 100% online = flexibility for working professionals
  • Complete your degree in 24 months

Start your Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology journey today. 

Learn more about earning your master’s degree online at the Franciscan School of Theology.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does the Franciscan School of Theology admit lay persons?

Our students come from all walks of life, both lay and religious. Our Requirements Page gives more information about requirements for our degrees and non-degree programs.

Do I have to be Catholic to attend FST?

The Franciscan School of Theology gladly welcomes people of all beliefs to share in the Franciscan Spiritual and Intellectual Tradition. You do not need to be Roman Catholic to attend, though FST is a Roman Catholic institution.

What do graduates do with their degrees?

Our graduates go on to serve in all sectors of society. You will find FST alumni working as educators, pastoral ministers, priests, counselors, campus ministers, social workers, nonprofit leaders, chaplains, missionaries, school administrators, liturgists, youth ministers, doctoral students, faith formators, human rights advocates, musicians, program directors and in many other fields.

Does the Franciscan School of Theology offer financial assistance? 

Yes. Financial aid is available through the Federal Direct Loan Program, open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Federal School Code for FST is G11792. Recipients of financial aid will be notified of their award after their acceptance to FST.

Does the Franciscan School of Theology admit international students?

The Franciscan School of Theology has a long history of welcoming and enrolling students from all over the world, and the online MTS program makes it more accessible than ever.

Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego