Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego

Trust the theological studies program endorsed by religious institutions and highly rated by students.

Designed for working professionals and recent undergraduates alike, this two-year academic program is offered by the Franciscan School of Theology in partnership with the University of San Diego. It is ideal for those pursuing careers in religious education, parish support, or ministry, as preparation for further academic work, or for those looking to incorporate a knowledge of faith into their existing profession.

The MTS degree program is based in the Franciscan Catholic tradition: a joy-filled faith study that promotes a heart of service, solidarity, and compassion, as well as using faith studies to enact positive change in communities from local to global.

Speak to an Enrollment Advisor

Applications for admission are accepted on a rolling basis. A decision will be recommended by the Review Committee within one week of your application being submitted.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to regulations from the Department of Education, FST at USD is only accepting applications from residents in specific U.S. states and territories for enrollment into our 100% online degree programs. Please check our State Authorization Status List for the states and territories from which we can enroll residents in our 100% online degree programs. Programs are only considered to be 100% online degree programs if they have no physical presence (classes, fieldwork, or otherwise) in those states or territories.

Ideal Program Candidates

Whether you are an aspiring educator who wishes to teach theology or a mental health counselor seeking to reach patients on a deeper level, our program is designed to accommodate a broad spectrum of career goals and interests. Successful applicants possess a strong desire to approach their career or pursuits from a compassionate place informed by faith. While a prior understanding of the Catholic tradition is helpful, it is not necessary.

Students of the MTS program are:

  • Parish, church, campus/college ministry
  • Educators and teachers
  • Business professionals
  • Counselors/medical professionals
  • Aspiring theologians
  • Military personnel or veterans
  • Community leaders
  • Seekers
  • Career changers
  • Individuals looking for something more
  • Individuals looking to integrate their faith into their respective careers

Admissions Requirement

The Franciscan School of Theology welcomes all students who wish to explore deeper meaning in their lives or careers, no matter their backgrounds.
Requirements for applicants to the Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology are as follows:

  • Must have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or the equivalent from a non-US school*.
  • GPA 2.8 or Higher
  • Must submit a completed application (See below for more details)
  • Application Fee $50 (connect with an advisor to have your application fee waived)
  • Official Transcripts

*Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Vice President for Academic Affairs when compensatory factors are present.

Application Details

Your complete application must include the following:

  • Application form
  • $50 application fee (connect with an advisor to have your application fee waived)
  • Statement of Purpose (see below)
  • Official transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended*
  • Letters of Recommendation (see below)
  • International students must submit additional elements including but not limited to:**
    • Financial Declaration Form
    • TOEFL score of 85 or more

*Students who wish to transfer credit from other institutions please connect with your enrollment advisor.

**If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, please connect with your enrollment advisor.

Statement of Purpose

Your statement of purpose should do the following:

  • Tell your academic and/or ministerial story (Please note: This is not a confession or a conversion story.)
  • Explain a brief theological perspective you might have (or that you hope to pursue).
  • Describe a professional goal you have in mind. A few examples might be:
    • I’d like to advance my career at the parish level.
    • I’d like to become a more effective leader in an established non-profit organization.
    • I’d like to grow in knowledge in order to be able to serve others.

Applicants are asked to address all three points. An acceptable statement of purpose should be between 500 – 700 words. When writing your response, please remember that this is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your writing skills and academic readiness.

Letter Of Recommendation Requirements

  • The Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology program requires a minimum of one letter of recommendation (if the letter of recommendation is written by an individual who can speak to your academic capacity), 2 otherwise.
  • Recommendations should address both academic and personal qualities, with a focus on one’s academic capacity as an applicant. Please tell your recommenders to watch for an email request from
  • Once you have saved an electronic recommendation, an email request will automatically be sent to the recommender on your behalf. Please advise your recommender to look for this email in their inbox, as well as their spam or junk-mail folder, as emails do occasionally get filtered out.

Financial Aid

  • Financial aid is available through the Federal Direct Loan Program, open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
  • USD also offers interest-free payment plans.
  • USD also makes it possible for employers to pay your tuition.

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.

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.

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.


Start Your Application Now

What Happens Next?

Applying to a graduate program can be complicated – which is why we are here to help answer your questions and even pay for your transcripts! If you have questions regarding the application, contact one of our enrollment advisors who will be able to answer your questions and assess your situation. Our enrollment advisors will also assist you with ordering and tracking your transcripts.

Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. You can apply and start in any semester (spring, summer, or fall).  Ready to apply?

Start your application online.

Special Note: please anticipate that some colleges and universities can take 2 – 3 weeks to prepare and send official transcripts. Your application package is not complete until all official transcripts are received.

Completed Application Deadline
December 1, 2021
Registration Deadline
December 13, 2021
First Course Start Date
January 11, 2022
First Course End Date
February 28, 2022
Second Course Start Date
March 1, 2022
Second Course End Date
April 18, 2022
Completed Application Deadline
August 12, 2021
Registration Deadline
August 27, 2021
First Course Start Date
September 7, 2021
First Course End Date
October 25, 2021
Second Course Start Date
October 26, 2021
Second Course End Date
December 13, 2021
Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego
WASC accredited
ats. The Association of Theological Schools. The Commission on Accrediting