Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego

Connect Your Faith to Your Purpose

The Franciscan School of Theology takes a practical approach to theological instruction by placing faith traditions into a contemporary context. Students of the online Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology are asked to consider the effects technology, cultural diversity and social justice have on today’s Catholic tradition. This framework prepares graduates to be adaptable teachers and faith leaders in the 21st century. 

With an online Master of Theological Studies – Franciscan Theology degree, graduates will be qualified to teach theology at the elementary, high school and community college levels, or enter a profession in college or youth ministry. Students who do not aspire to teach or serve in the church will still make valuable faith-career connections in this dynamic program, or open altogether new doors.

Course of Study

Students will complete 11 courses, including a capstone course, equaling 36 course units. Each student will also be required to complete an orientation course (no credit units) or all USD online programs.

Program Course Curriculum

The MTS – Franciscan Theology program takes place over 6 semesters spanning 24 months, featuring 2 courses per semester (except the capstone, which fills an entire semester). Below is the course schedule students can expect.


 What is Theology?

Theology is the academic study of religion and spiritual practices from around the world, most often focused on the world’s major religions. Theology contains elements of philosophy, history, sociology and even science as it seeks to answer questions about human existence, the presence of the divine and the meaning of life itself. 

The study of theology is not always rooted in a specific religion, but many students find that exploring world spiritualities through the lens of one faith can lend crucial context to their academic and personal experience. For example, the MTS – Franciscan Theology degree program is open to students of any faith but guided by what we call the Franciscan Difference. 

Though our academic instruction emphasizes multicultural perspectives, each course is anchored in the vibrant Franciscan tradition of respect, compassion, and inclusivity. The teachings of St. Francis of Assisi are as relevant today as they were in the twelfth century, and the FST curriculum — from historical examinations, to the study of scripture, to Moral Theology — reinforces his optimistic and hopeful vision for a unified world.

Why Are Online Theology Courses Important?

With a broader understanding of world faith traditions throughout the millennia, we can begin to see how the age-old tenets of a given faith system apply to our contemporary world. The virtual format of this online master’s program enables anyone, anywhere to access the world-class instruction for which the Franciscan School of Theology is renowned, further expanding the inclusive intention of cross-cultural theological studies. Our foundational theology courses give students historical and social context for the evolution of religion over time; more advanced theology courses challenge students to find their own place within a spiritual tradition, whether that’s entering the clergy, educating others, providing crucial service or continuing their studies to build a deeper intellectual bond with their faith. 

Most importantly, the study of theology in any format enables us to make deeper connections to the wider world, opening doors to other schools of thought and worship and encouraging greater global unity in the process.

Master of Theology
Class of 2019
"It is a superlative education in faith” taught by the “most scholarly people in the world...It’s very grounding and it’s very satisfying.”
Michael Brown, Master of Theological Studies - Franciscan Theology
Master of Theology
Class of 2017
“The professors at FST are world-renowned academics and theologians. They are second to none in their knowledge of what is being communicated and studied.”
Justin Combs, Master of Theological Studies - Franciscan Theology
Master of Theology
“At the personal level, the formation as FST helped me become a better human being in seeing Christ in my brothers and sisters. I have learned to be more authentic with myself, to judge less and listen more, as well as to be attentive to the signs of the times and to respond accordingly. At the professional level, FST has equipped me with the education to apply my leadership skills, ability to analyze information critically, and capacity to make thoughtful decisions.”
Maria-de-Valencia, Master of Theological Studies - Franciscan Theology
Master of Education
Class of 2016
“It has been my great privileged to be a physician, and from my work at FST, I strive to link observations and concerns from my experience as a physician, together with a potential Franciscan response is drawn from the message of beauty, joy, and goodness, that can be found in the Franciscan trandition’s approach to the care of the sick.”
Margaret E. McCahill, OFS, MD, MTS, Master of Theological Studies - Franciscan Theology
ats. The Association of Theological Schools. The Commission on Accrediting
WASC accredited
Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego