Master of Studies in Theology

Candidates for the M.St. in Theology are required to follow a course of instruction and directed research for three terms and to present themselves for examination in one of seven subjects

  • I. Old Testament

  • II. New Testament

  • III. Christian Doctrine, specialising in one of four fields:

    • History of Doctrine: Patristic Theology (c. AD 100-787)

    • History of Doctrine: Scholastic Theology (c. AD 1050-1350)

    • History of Doctrine: Theology of the Reformation Period (c. AD 1500-1650)

    • Modern Theology (post-1789)

  • IV. Ecclesiastical History, specialising in one of five historical periods:

    • AD 200-600

    • AD 400-1100

    • AD 1000-1500

    • AD 1400-1800

    • AD 1800-the present

  • V. Christian Ethics

  • VI. Science & Religion

  • VII. Biblical Interpretation

The examination consists of three elements:

  • A Two essays of not more than 5,000 words each

    Essay proposals must be submitted for consideration by the Faculty’s Graduate Studies Committee by Monday of Week 0 of Hilary Term. The completed essays[For students starting before MT 2018: (two copies of each)] must be submitted for examination by Friday of Week 0 of Trinity Term.

    B A dissertation of not more than 15,000 words

  • The dissertation proposal must be submitted for consideration by the Faculty’s Graduate Studies Committee by Monday of Week 0 of Hilary Term. The completed dissertation[For students starting before MT 2018: (two copies)] must be submitted for examination by Friday of Week 8 of Trinity Term.

    C A written examination of three hours’ duration

    The written examination takes place in [For students starting before MT 2018: Week 10 or 11 of ]Trinity Term.

All essay and dissertation proposals should comprise a title, a short statement of how the subject will be treated, a bibliography of core texts (both primary and secondary), and the signature of the supervisor indicating his or her approval. The titles and content of the essays and dissertation should not substantially overlap with each other. For candidates intending to proceed to doctoral study, the topic of the dissertation should normally be such as to provide a foundation for doctoral research.

All submitted work should be double-spaced in font-size 12.

Candidates must not put their names on the written examination papers or on any submitted work. All submitted work must be [For students starting before MT 2018: printed and sent in a parcel bearing the words, ‘M.St. in Theology’, to the Chair of Examiners, c/o the Examination Schools, High Street, Oxford.] [For students starting from MT 2018: uploaded to the Assignment section of the MSt Theology WebLearn site. Each submission will require the candidate to make a declaration indicating that this is their own work.]

Each candidate is also required to present himself or herself for an oral (viva voce) examination unless individually dispensed by the examiners.  This [For students starting before MT 2018: will take place within a few days of the written examination, and ]may include [For students starting from MT 2018: a ]discussion of the candidate’s work in any of the three elements listed above.

Within this general pattern, particular requirements pertain to certain subjects, as indicated below.

  • I. OLD TESTAMENT

    A and B (essays and dissertation) as above.

    C (the written examination) is on prescribed Old Testament Texts in Hebrew. [For students starting before MT 2018: Candidates are notified of the set texts at the beginning of Michaelmas Term.]

    II. NEW TESTAMENT

    A and B (essays and dissertation) as above.

    C (the written examination) is on prescribed New Testament Texts in Greek. [For students starting before MT 2018: Candidates are notified of the set texts at the beginning of Michaelmas Term.]

  • III. CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

    A and B (essays and dissertation): All work must fall within one of the four specialised fields listed above under Christian Doctrine.

    C (the written examination) takes particular forms for the different fields. In the History of Doctrine specialisms, the examination includes passages for translation and comment from prescribed texts: Greek or Latin texts in the case of Patristic Theology; Latin texts in the case of Scholastic Theology; and Latin, German, or French texts in the case of Theology of the Reformation Period. In each of these cases essays will also be set, both on the prescribed texts and on general topics within the same period. [For students starting before MT 2018: Candidates are notified of the set texts at the beginning of Michaelmas Term. ]In the Modern Doctrine field, the examination will be on Methods & Styles in Theology.

    IV. ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

    A and B (essays and dissertation): Students may choose to write one of their essays on a topic which falls outside their primary period of study, provided that they obtain the prior written permission of their supervisor and the course coordinator.

    C (the written examination) is a general paper on the Nature & Practice of Ecclesiastical History. Candidates will be expected to show knowledge of a range of historiographical approaches to key questions in ecclesiastical history and of the variety of approaches to historical method which have emerged as a result of the professionalisation of teaching and research in history and of the introduction of new methods into the writing of history.

    V. CHRISTIAN ETHICS

    A and B (essays and dissertation): The topic of one essay must be one or more select texts in Christian Ethics, which may include classic expressions of diverse Christian traditions, the works of major theologians, or texts on a chosen ethical theme; the topic of the other essay must be a practical issue—whether sexual, medical, economic, or political—in terms of Christian ethics; the topic of the dissertation must fall within Christian Ethics.

    C (the written examination) is on Christian Moral Concepts & Methodology: Contemporary & Historical Discussions.

    VI. SCIENCE AND RELIGION

    A and B (essays and dissertation) as above. In proposing titles for essays and the dissertation, candidates should explain in which pieces of work they will demonstrate competence in (a) exploring a historical debate in which scientific and religious issues are involved; (b) exploring a philosophical debate with a bearing on the discussion of science and religion; (c) analysing a contemporary issue on the interface between science and religion.

    C (the written examination) is on topics in Science and Religion.

    VII. BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

    A and B (essays and dissertation): All work must fall within one period in the history of biblical study. The period is selected by the student in consultation with his or her supervisor.

    C (the written examination) is on the History & Principles of Biblical Study with special reference to a selected period. The period is the same one as that on which the student has worked for the essays and dissertation; where there is more than one candidate in the examination, each will be able to answer on the period which he or she has studied.