Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology

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At a Glance

The MTS-Franciscan Theology degree is an academic program that takes a joyful view of our faith. You focus on one class at a time.

24 Months
36 Units
September 3
August 2

Summer, Fall and Spring Start Dates

Have questions about the Master of Theological Studies - Franciscan Theology program?

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

The MTS-FT offers a blend of academic engagement and spiritual reflection, designed so you can complete assignments around your schedule while still connecting with fellow students and instructors in a respectful and down-to-earth environment. The program is grounded in the Catholic Franciscan tradition and provides a space in which deep Catholic theological study meets compassionate action.

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 – FT degree is also suitable for anyone of any age interested in furthering their knowledge of Franciscan theology.

Living into the Franciscan spirit of generosity, community, and joy, the FST faculty have collaborated to create comprehensive, enriching, and challenging courses for this degree program.

Students of the online MTS-FT program study with renowned scholars whose teachings are drawn from significant research and lives of active service in parishes, schools, and community involvement. With a small student-teacher ratio, every student gets access to a wealth of knowledge and lived experiences.


Educators. Community leaders. Seekers. The online Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology 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.

  • Parish, Church, Campus/College Ministry
  • Educators and Teachers
  • Business Professionals
  • Counselors/Medical Professionals
  • Aspiring Theologians
  • Military Professionals
  • Community Leaders
  • Career Changers
  • Retired Individuals
  • Individuals who seek to know more about Franciscan theology
  • Individuals looking to integrate their faith into their respective careers

How to Apply

Get a closer look at the application process with detailed instructions about how to apply for your career-building online Master of Theology degree program.

Career Options

Graduates of the MTS-FT program go on to work or serve in a multitude of fields, many of them not strictly related to the diocese. The MTS-FT 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’s on-campus MTS program include:

  • Attorneys
  • Campus Minister
  • Chaplain
  • Counselor
  • Educator
  • Faith Formator
  • Healthcare Provider
  • Human Rights Advocate
  • Liturgist
  • Member of the armed forces
  • Musician
  • Non Profit Leader
  • Pastoral Minister
  • Program Director
  • School Administrator
  • Social Worker
  • Youth Minister

Admissions (Earn Your Degree in 24 Months)

Getting Started with Your Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology Degree Application

Admission application packets are accepted on a rolling basis. For details on specific requirements needed for admission, please visit our Admissions page.

Our application process embraces a comprehensive perspective. If you have an interest in joining our program but don’t fully meet the stated admissions criteria, feel free to connect with one of our enrollment advisors. They can provide personalized guidance to assist you in fulfilling the requirements.
Or, if you are ready to apply, we make it easy to start your application process.

academic calendar

Degree candidates are admitted throughout the year to begin their program during 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.


The Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology program curriculum provides students with a foundation of Franciscan theological knowledge in the Roman Catholic tradition. Grounded in the theological and spiritual tradition of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, this program includes both academic knowledge and practical wisdom that students can apply to their professional and personal objectives.


Program Goals

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

Interpret and Apply Theological Knowledge

Not only will the online MTS-FT 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-FT 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.

Hear From the MTS-FT Community

Imagine diving deep into the Franciscan Tradition, with an awareness of God’s creation and beauty around you…all on your own time. Since this degree is completely asynchronous, you can log on any time in your time zone to access course materials: lectures, exercises, readings, interactive assignments, and more. This degree offers a significant academic exploration of what matters most. Imagine that.

I have been intimately involved in almost every aspect of this degree program from its inception, having both designed and taught a class. This has instilled great confidence in me concerning the MTS-Franciscan Theology degree. We have worked with renowned Franciscan scholars in order to bring the best of Franciscan education to you. We have also been aided by the University of San Diego to bring the best practices in online education to you as well. All of this allows us to offer a unique opportunity to attain a degree in Franciscan theology that you would have previously had to travel to Rome or San Diego to achieve. St. Francis said that the world is our cloister, now you don’t have to leave your place in the world to achieve this learning.

The MTS in Franciscan Theology program has been a wonderful experience for me. As a minister serving on the East Coast, it has been amazing to be able to work on a degree at a school with so many experts in the Franciscan world. And as a busy professional with a family, I am able to get my work done when it is convenient for me. Surprisingly, I’ve formed a comradery online with my classmates and my professors have been available for me whenever needed. I highly encourage anyone who is wanting to learn more about theology, experience the Franciscan tradition, and grow in their faith to take some time to learn more about this new program at USD.


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.


The faculty for the Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology are leading Franciscan scholars working together to present the wisdom of Franciscan theology and the beauty of lived experiences within the tradition.

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.

Please note FST’s discounts are only available for On-campus programs.

Transfer Credits

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

Master of Theology

Why Choose Online Learning Through the Franciscan School of Theology?

In addition to working alongside world-class faculty, the Franciscan School of Theology’s partnership with the University of San Diego enables FST 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, FST’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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

How much is my tuition?

The cost for the Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology is $800 per unit.

With 36 units the full cost of tuition is $28,800.

Tuition amounts shown on this website, or in other university publications or web pages, represent tuition and fees as currently approved. However, the Franciscan School of Theology reserves the right to increase or modify tuition and fees without prior notice and to make such modifications applicable to students enrolled at FST at that time as well as to incoming students. In addition, all tuition amounts and fees are subject to change at any time for correction of errors. Please note that the displayed tuition covers only the cost of courses, and additional expenses such as books and other fees are not included.

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