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America's Best Schools for Master's in Theology

by Heather Clark

Whether seeking a career in ministry, religious research or spiritual education, a graduate degree in theology will provide students with necessary knowledge in a variety of disciplines useful for a theologian, such as language studies, cultural impact and history. Within the United States are several long-established centers of religious learning that offer a variety of masters and doctorate programs.

Harvard Divinity School

Founded in Cambridge, Mass., in 1816, the Harvard Divinity School was the first non-sectarian theology school to be established in the United States. Here, a student can enroll in one of four graduate programs: Master of Theological Studies (MTS), Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theology (ThM) and Doctor of Theology (THD). Depending on area of concentration, degree programs may include language courses and field study. In the 2013 edition of the U.S. News and World Report, Harvard University tied with Princeton for the number one spot among National Universities.

University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame was founded as an all-male, Catholic center of higher learning in 1842. Since that time, the university, located just north of South Bend, Ind., has broadened to a coed school with one of the top-rated theology programs in the country. At Notre Dame, the six levels of concentration (or reflection) are: moral theology, history of Christianity, liturgy, biblical studies, systematic theology and world religion and world church. Graduate programs offered are Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts (MA), Master of Sacred Music and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Duke Divinity School

The Divinity School was the first of Duke University's 10 graduate schools, established in Durham, N.C., in 1926. Currently offered at the school are seven graduate programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Practice (MACP), Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS), Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry (DMin) and Doctor of Theology. Additionally, the school offers two dual-degree programs: Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work in conjunction with the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social Work and Master of Theological Studies/Juris Doctor in conjunction with the Duke School of Law. In 2013, Duke University was ranked eighth in the national universities category of the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges.

Boston University School of Theology

The founding school of Boston University, the School of Theology is the oldest theological learning center for American Methodism. The school offers a total of seven graduate programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Sacred Theology (STM), Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology. Available dual-degree programs are Master of Divinity/Master of Sacred Music and Theology and Social Work (MDiv/MSW, MTS/MSW and DMin/MSW)

About the Author

Heather Clark is a professional writer with a bachelor's degree in communications from Austin Peay State University, where she was a features writer for the "AllState" campus newspaper. In addition to being a contributor for various websites, she is also a full-time staff writer/photographer for the "Courier," the U.S. Army news publication for Fort Campbell, Ky.

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