The Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.A.T.S.) is an academic M.A. degree, designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of the content of the Christian faith. The M.A.T.S. program is ideally suited for persons wishing to gain a foundational understanding of the core theological disciplines for personal enrichment and growth, for the enhancement of their ministries in nonordained capacities and/or as an introductory graduate theological degree. This degree is also offered in tandem with several other graduate degrees in other schools of the university. The M.A.T.S. degree does not provide the breadth and depth of preparation expected or required by most churches and denominations for pastoral ministry roles or for ordination .
The curriculum includes four courses in biblical studies, four courses in Christian history and doctrine, and four elective courses. The program concludes with a capstone course in which students draw upon the biblical and theological disciplines to reflect on their faith and vocation and integrate those reflections in a coherent thesis assignment.
The requirements for the M.A.T.S. degree can be completed in two years of full-time study. The program requires at least 37 credit hours, with a minimum of 24 credit hours being completed at Beeson Divinity School.
- 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 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.
Students who fit one or more the criteria above and enter the M.A.T.S. take required courses (25 credits) and electives (12 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.
25 Credit Hours
Beeson retains the evangelical conviction that Holy Scripture norms theology, life and ministry. Thus, students take courses in Old and New Testament Theology, four courses in history and doctrine, two courses in biblical exposition, and one course in faith and vocation.
12 Credit Hours
Students in the M.A.T.S. program have the opportunity to customize the degree by choosing one of four tracks for his or her electives: General Studies, Biblical Studies, History and Doctrine Studies, and Greek Studies.
M.Div./M.A.T.S. Tuition & Fees
Beeson offers a very competitive and affordable tuition to students. When compared with peer institutions, tuition and fees for the Beeson M.Div. are 14.7% less. Average tuition at 10 peer institutions* in 2021-22 was $19,352, compared with $16,642 at Beeson Divinity School.
The tuition for the 2022-23 academic year for full-time students is $8,241 per semester. Full-time enrollment is 9-12 credit hours (M.Div.) and 9-13 credit hours (M.A.T.S.).
The tuition rate for students taking fewer than 9 credit hours is $784 per credit hour. Students taking more than 12 credit hours (M.Div.) or 13 credit hours (M.A.T.S.) are charged $784 for each credit hour above those limits.*Peer institutions include: Asbury Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary, Denver Seminary, Duke Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Tuition data derived from 2021-22 Annual Data Table, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
University fee per semester is $320. University fee for an Interterm or summer term is $200. Vehicle registration fee per semester is $30.
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.
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 Allie Picou at 205-726-2905.
Overview and Deadlines
All full-time students at Beeson receive scholarship assistance due to the generosity of Mr. Beeson’s endowment and the continued support of many donors. The minimum amount of scholarship assistance that a full-time student receives is $2500 per semester.
On average, scholarships cover approximately half of the tuition cost for students.
A student’s application for admission to Beeson is also his or her application for these scholarships. Therefore, students should present their best writing and recommendations in the application process.
The application deadline for scholarships is the same as the deadline to apply (March 1 for fall applicants; Oct. 1 for spring applicants), except for tier one scholarships for fall applicants.
Tier One Scholarships
The scholarships listed below with an asterisk (*) are tier one scholarships, which are the highest amounts, covering 65-100% of tuition. To qualify for one of these scholarships, students must have:
- An undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or above (on a 4.0 scale)
- Strong Christian character and ministry leadership potential, demonstrated in previous roles of service in church and/or community
- Expressed commitment to enter vocational Christian service upon graduation
Applicants wishing to be considered for a tier one scholarship must:
- Complete all application requirements for admission to the M.Div. degree program by Jan. 15 (for admission to the following fall semester) or Oct. 1 (for admission to the following spring semester).
Please note that this application deadline date differs from the standard application deadline date for fall admission.
- Write and submit an essay on the Apostles' Creed (also due by Jan. 15 or Oct. 1). See essay guidelines in the application portal.
The admission and scholarship committee will review all applications. If necessary, finalists for tier one scholarships will be invited to an additional interview with members of the admission and scholarship committee.
The following scholarships are awarded based on a student’s application to Beeson Divinity School and available scholarship funds.
*Denotes a tier one scholarship. See above for criteria.
Beeson Advisory Board Annual and Endowed Scholarship: The board consists of men and women who are committed to the mission of Beeson Divinity School. This board supports the work of the faculty and administration of the school and, when called upon, provides advice, counsel and support for the school.
Beeson Divinity Alumni Scholarship Fund: This endowed scholarship was established by the first graduating class of Beeson Divinity School.
John Wesley Beeson Scholarship: Named after longtime Methodist minister and the father of Beeson’s founder, this endowed scholarship is awarded in the amount of $7000/year to students who demonstrate academic excellence when applying to Beeson Divinity School. Priority is given to students preparing for the M.Div. degree.
Ralph Waldo Beeson Scholarship: Named after Beeson’s founder and faithful Presbyterian layperson, this endowed scholarship is awarded in the amount or $5000/year to many full-time admitted students.
Brookwood Bryant Strain Divinity School Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was established in honor of the founding pastor of Brookwood Baptist Church.
Vaughn Burrell Scholarship: This scholarship was named for longtime Birmingham businessman Vaughn Burrell, who was an active member and leader in the First Nazarene Church of Birmingham.
Dr. Reginald Calvert Racial Reconciliation Annual and Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship was initially established by a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Wilson in honor of Beeson alumnus and pastor Dr. Reginald Calvert.
Dan International Student Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was named for Rev. Emmanuel Titus Dan and his wife, Fulga Pascu Dan, who served as cross-cultural missionaries among Romanians in the United States and Australia. They served with the IMB of the SBC in their retirement. They are the parents of Dr. Stefana Dan Laing of Beeson Divinity School.
Aletha Dawson Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was named for the late daughter-in-law of Rev. L. O. Dawson, the founding pastor of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church.
Day-Sanders Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was named for the mother and grandmother of retired Beeson professor, Dr. Norfleete Day.
*Dean’s Scholarship: This endowed scholarship is awarded to a select number of M.Div. students who have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or above (on a 4.0 scale), demonstrate strong Christian character and ministry leadership potential through previous roles of service in church and/or community, and who have an expressed commitment to enter vocational Christian service upon graduation. The dean scholarships range from $10,000 to $14,000 per year.
Lillian Payne Donahoo Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was established by J. W. Donahoo in honor of his late wife, Lillian Payne Donahoo.
Katherine M. Eakin, Phillip & Martha Inman Endowed Scholarship at Beeson Divinity School: This scholarship was established by Katherine Eakin in honor of Phillip & Martha Inman, supporters and friends of Beeson Divinity School.
Elaine Annual Scholarship: This annual scholarship was given in honor of Elaine Cook by her husband and Beeson Divinity School alumnus, Darrell Cook.
Banks and Evelyn Farris Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was given in honor of Banks and Evelyn Farris. Mr. Farris was the vice president for Alabama Power.
Gary and Alta Faye Fenton Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was named for Dr. Gary D. Fenton, retired pastor of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, and his wife, Alta Faye.
Claude Heard Ford Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was given in honor of Claude Heard Ford, M.D. by his wife.
Fullman-Trott Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was funded in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John Fullman and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Trott by their nephew Mr. Herschel H. Day.
*Timothy George Scholarship for Excellence: This endowed, full-tuition scholarship was named for the founding Dean of Beeson. It is usually awarded to one or two students annually. Recipient(s) must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or above (on a 4.0 scale), demonstrate strong Christian character and ministry leadership potential through previous roles of service in church and/or community, and be preparing to serve in pastoral roles in a congregational context.
Mark Gignilliat Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship was named for Beeson Old Testament and Hebrew professor, Dr. Mark Gignilliat.
Rev. Robert Gladney, Jr. Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was named for Bob Gladney, former staff member at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama; First Baptist Tuscaloosa, Alabama; First Baptist Jackson, Mississippi; Springhill Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama; and Central Baptist in Decatur, Alabama.
*Lynn and Bill Hairston Annual Scholarship: This annual scholarship was named for Lynn and Bill Hairston, supporters and friends of Beeson Divinity School.
*Mary and Victor Hanson, III Beeson Divinity School Scholarship: This annual scholarship was established by Mary and Victor Hanson, longtime supporters and donors to Beeson Divinity School.
General Holle Military Chaplaincy Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was established in honor General Everett H. Holle for his outstanding leadership in the military and community.
Winfred Ann Turner Hull Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was given in honor of Mrs. Leland Hull, who served as very effective Bible teacher to groups of young mothers at St. Luke’s Episcopal, St. Peter’s Anglican and Cathedral of the Advent.
General James M. Hutchens Military Chaplaincy Scholarship: This annual scholarship was established in honor of General James M. Hutchens, the first chaplain wounded in Vietnam. He later was awarded the Purple Heart and two Bronze Star Medals for valor. By the time he retired in 1994, General Hutchens had earned the rank of Brigadier General.
Mathews-Thielman Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was established to honor two of the longer tenured professors at Beeson: Dr. Ken Mathews, retired professor of Old Testament, and Dr. Frank Thielman, professor of New Testament and Presbyterian Chair of Divinity.
F. Frederick Moss and Mary Della Moss Endowed International Scholarship in Biblical Theology and Applied Evangelism: This scholarship was named in memory of F. Frederick and Mary Della Moss, who were members of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church. While in the Navy, Frederick would conduct Chapel services if a chaplain was not available. Both Fred and Mary Della were strong advocates of missions.
Dolores Emanuel Nation Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship was named in memory of the mother of Beeson alumnus Philip Nation, who serves as the vice president for Thomas Nelson Bibles at HarperCollins Christian Publishing.
Nancy Norton Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was established by Mr. John Norton in memory of his late wife, Nancy.
Dr. Patricia Outlaw Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship was named for retired Beeson professor Dr. Patricia Outlaw.
Joe Nix Quin Scholarships: This scholarship was named for Samford graduate and successful pharmacist, Joe Nix Quin.
The Jennifer Davis Rash Scholarship: Jennifer is a Beeson graduate and has served on search committees for both the Beeson Dean and the Samford President. The scholarship was established on the 25th anniversary of her employment at The Alabama Baptist, where she is now president and editor-in-chief.
James V. K. Ratliff Scholarship: This endowed scholarship was established by the family of Mr. Ratliff, a longtime Birmingham business leader and active member of Mountain Brook Baptist Church.
Allen Ross Scholarship: This scholarship was given in honor of longtime professor of Old Testament, Dr. Allen Ross. The scholarship is awarded to a rising third year Beeson Divinity School student.
Schultz Family Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship was established by the Schultz family to help share with others what God has provided for their family and to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Antonio Smith Scholarship: This scholarship was named for the son of Dr. Robert Smith Jr., the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity and professor of Christian preaching at Beeson Divinity School.
*Robert Smith Jr. Scholarship: This scholarship was established in honor of longtime faculty member Dr. Robert Smith Jr. for his more than 20 years at Beeson and more than 50 years of preaching God’s Word.
Lucille Burgess Walls Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship was named in honor of the mother of James Walls, a friend of Beeson and attendee of Lay Academy.
T. Andrew Westmoreland Scholarship: This scholarship was named in honor of the eighteenth president of Samford University, who was a strong supporter and advocate for Beeson Divinity School.
Roger Willmore Endowed Scholarship: This scholarship was given in honor of Dr. Roger Willmore, former Alabama pastor and Director of Missions for Calhoun County Baptist Association.
Woodward Scholarships: South Roebuck established and endowed this scholarship to help candidates for international missions. Students interested in missions should see the Director of Academic Support Services for more information.
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.
M.Div./MATS Application Process
*October 1 - Spring General Admission and Tier One Scholarship Deadline
*If you missed the deadline but want to apply for the spring, please email Kyle Young.
January 15 - Fall Tier One Scholarship Deadline
**March 1 - Fall General Admission Deadline
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 and Vocation Essay**
- Academic Recommendation (to be completed by a college- or graduate-level instructor)
- Character Recommendation (to be completed by a pastor, church member, campus minister, mentor or employer who can speak to your Christian character and calling to ministry; cannot be a family member)
- Church Endorsement (to be completed by your senior pastor or church elder; cannot be a family member).
- Admission Interview:
Each applicant is responsible for scheduling an interview prior to the application deadline. It is recommended that your interview be completed on campus, but if this is not possible, interviews conducted by Zoom are acceptable. Schedule your interview through the application portal.
- Official transcript(s) from all undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate institutions previously attended. Please see the application portal for instructions about how to send the transcripts.
- $35 non-refundable fee (may be paid by credit card when submitting online application). The fee is waived for graduates of Samford University and students who come to a Preview Day or an official campus visit.
**Students applying for a tier one scholarship must also write an essay on the Apostles’ Creed and submit it by the scholarship deadline.
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.
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 by clicking on the "Apply Now" button below. Following an admission decision, the applicant will need to complete the Affidavit of Financial Support, including an official bank statement. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) requires proof of funds totaling approximately $30,000 (minus any scholarship assistance) in order for an I-20 to be processed, therefore it is recommended that funding is secured before the completion of the application process. Please contact Jennifer Beck if you have any questions.
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.