Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.A.T.S.)

The main mission of Beeson Divinity School is “to prepare God-called individuals to serve as ministers in the church of Jesus Christ." Thus, Beeson Divinity School focuses on the Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.), the most-recognized broad-based preparatory degree for professional ministry. However, the M.Div. degree does not fit the objectives of a smaller number of students the divinity school faculty wishes to serve. These include the following:  

  1. Individuals who want to deepen their understanding of the content of the Christian faith so they can integrate the Christian faith more effectively in professional vocations and volunteer ministry settings. Such individuals may include those wishing to take a divinity degree in conjunction with a primary graduate degree taken in another school of the university.
  2. Individuals already serving in permanent positions in ministry settings in financial, managerial, and other non-pastoral roles who wish to gain a better understanding of the content of the Christian faith. 
  3. International students who have received ministerial training in their home country whose governing body wishes them to study in the United States.

The faculty of the divinity school have designed the M.A.T.S. degree program for individuals such as these. Applicants must state in the admission application that they are not seeking to prepare for traditional church ministry. The faculty does not consider the M.A.T.S. program adequate preparation for Ph.D. studies, so students wishing to use the M.A.T.S. for this purpose will not be admitted.

Students in the M.A.T.S. program may not take DVPM courses, DVML courses, or DVHD 701 without permission of the associate dean. Students in the M.A.T.S. program may take language courses as electives but should be advised that the faculty have set the biblical languages curriculum in a building, sequential manner. Thus, if students take fewer than four courses in an individual language, they may not gain the facility they desire in that language.

This degree requires at least 40 semester credits, with a minimum of 27 credits being completed at Beeson Divinity School. A grade point average of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale is required. Students are required to satisfy all student accounts.

Degree Objectives

  • Demonstrate the ability to use appropriate principles of interpretation in the analysis of English Bible texts.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use relevant biblical, historical, and theological data and methodology to articulate key evangelical doctrines in the context of one’s denominational tradition.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of key principles and practices of Christian spiritual formation.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use relevant biblical, historical, and theological data and methodology to articulate an understanding of vocation that meaningfully informs one’s life and work in the world.

View Curriculum

Program Design

Students who fit one or more the criteria above and enter the M.A.T.S. take required courses (34 credits) and electives (6 credits) in biblical studies, historical and doctrinal studies, and a capstone course in faith and vocation. Students who complete this degree will learn how Scripture and theology inform and transform every arena of life.

Biblical Studies

15 Credit Hours

Beeson retains the evangelical conviction that Holy Scripture norms theology, life and ministry. Thus, students take courses in Biblical Interpretation, Old and New Testament Theology and two courses in biblical exposition.

Historical and Doctrinal Studies

15 Credit Hours

Unique in theological education, Beeson teaches theology and church history together in an integrated four-course sequence. Students learn key doctrines such as Scripture, Christology, Pneumatology, Justification, Creation, and Anthropology as they unfold and develop in the history of the Christian church.

Spiritual Formation, Missions, Faith & Vocation

7 Credit Hours

Since every Christian must believe and proclaim the gospel, M.A.T.S. students learn how to follow Jesus Christ in spiritual devotion and diverse vocations. Students take courses in spiritual formation, missions and a summative course, Faith & Vocation, to learn the implications of the gospel for all of life.

Joint Degree Programs

Joint-degree programs allow students to earn two degrees concurrently with fewer credit requirements than needed to earn the degrees separately. Joint-degree programs require separate admission applications to each of the respective schools. Students seeking to enter a joint-degree program must meet admission requirements for both schools participating in the joint program.

Beeson Divinity School's primary degree is the Master of Divinity, and our student body is small. As such, our course work offerings are limited. Classes are offered during the day only, Tuesday through Friday. The curriculum structure is integrative and requires incremental progress from one semester to the next. Joint degree students are encouraged to plan their course work well in advance to minimize scheduling or sequencing conflicts. To receive divinity school scholarships, joint degree students are expected to take a minimum of nine divinity credit hours per semester.

Juris Doctorate (J.D.)

The M.A.T.S/J.D. degree program combines work in Beeson Divinity School and The Cumberland School of Law. The program takes approximately five years to complete. Students must apply for admission to each school separately. They must complete their first semester of law school before applying to the divinity school. Law students applying to the dual degree program must maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average.

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

The M.A.T.S./M.S.W.. degree program combines work in Beeson Divinity School and The School of Public Health. Students in the program will be equipped with the theological knowledge required to integrate social work with the gospel. Students in both programs will choose a concentration in either clinical social work or global community development for the social work portion of their studies. Students must apply for admission to each school separately.

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Tuition, Fees & Financial Aid

2016-2017 Tuition and Fees
ChargeAmount
Tuition $6,539
Per Credit Rate $621
Per Credit Rate (January, June, July) $249
*Fees $540

*Technology Fee ($175) and Campus Life Fee ($100) are per semester

**Following the acceptance of a student, Beeson asks for a non-refundable $200 deposit as confirmation of your intention to enroll for the coming semester. The deposit will be applied toward your student account upon enrollment.

Financial Aid

Current and prospective divinity students are highly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for need-based aid programs such as federal work-study jobs and federal student loans. 

Processing time for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is up to four weeks. The FAFSA report is necessary for all student loan programs available through Samford University.

If you have questions, please contact Dougles Johnson at 205-726-2905.

FAFSA

Application Process

Admission/Scholarship Deadlines

October 1 - Spring Admission
February 15 - Fall Admission

Applicant's Checklist

All items on this checklist must be received by the application deadline. Further instruction is given on the online application.

  • Completed online application
  • Personal Faith Narrative Essay
  • Academic Essay on the topic of the Apostles' Creed
  • Academic Recommendation (to be completed by a college-level instructor)
  • Pastoral Recommendation (to be completed by your senior pastor, other member of the pastoral staff or campus minister; cannot be a family member)
  • Church Endorsement (to be completed by the governing body of your church of membership). *This may be completed, if needed, by the same person who completes your pastoral recommendation form. However, please make the pastor aware he/she will need to complete both recommendation forms.
  • Admission Interview:
    Each applicant is responsible for scheduling an interview. Interviews must be completed prior to the application deadline. It is recommended that your interview be completed on campus, but if this is not possible, interviews conducted by phone or Skype are acceptable. Schedule your interview by contacting Sharon Head at shead@samford.edu.
  • Official Transcript: Official transcript(s) from all undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate institutions previously attended should be mailed to:

    Beeson Divinity School
    Office of Admission
    800 Lakeshore Drive
    Birmingham, Alabama 35229

    Or, an official electronic transcript can be emailed to: shead@samford.edu.

    A final transcript also is required upon completion of your undergraduate degree. Transcripts are considered official only when they bear the issuing institution's seal and arrive with the seal intact.
  • $35 non-refundable fee that may be paid by credit card when submitting online application (not required for graduates of Samford University)

International Students

The application process for international students is unique and can seem complicated. It is our hope that this page will reduce this stress by taking you step by step through the process.

Preliminary Evaluations

Prospective international students must complete and submit the following evaluations to the Beeson Divinity School Office of Admission before beginning the standard application process for admission.

  • World Educational Service (Official course-by-course transcript of academic work sent through World Educational Services)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Any applicant whose native language is not English must also submit a score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL. Students should arrange to take the TOEFL by visiting www.toefl.org or by writing to Educational Testing Service at P.O. Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Once the above material is completed, an international prospect may begin the standard application process below. Following an admission decision, the applicant will need to complete the Affidavit of Financial Support, including an official bank statement.

*A note regarding student visas: The United States Information Agency's insurance regulations for J visa holders require international students and their dependents to have and maintain health insurance during residency in the United States. Proof of coverage is required before registering for classes. The law mandates that Samford University must deny student status to international students who do not continue to comply. Information about specific carriers, minimum coverages, and premium costs is available from Samford University Health Services.

Please contact Jennifer Beck if you have any questions.

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