Master of Theology for Roman Catholic Deacons (M.Th.)


This degree is designed for already credentialed and practicing ministry professionals who wish to foster self-improvement and motivation in the pursuit of theological education as an end in itself or in preparation for doctoral studies. With a specialized focus upon a specific theological agenda, the M.Th. is ideally suited to the ministry professional who desires to update previous ministry training with particular attention to theological refinement.
An applicant who holds a bachelor’s degree and has completed a three year diocesan-approved diaconal training program which has led to ordination as a Roman Catholic deacon may earn the Graduate Theological Foundation’s Master of Theology for Roman Catholic Deacons.  Requirements include providing documentation to verify training and ordination, completion of two courses taken through the GTF and submission of a 35,000-40,000 word  Master’s Thesis.
This degree is a 30 credit program that may be completed in no less than eighteen months and no more than three years.  
  • 18 credits (Diaconal Ordination Verification)
  • 6 credits (2 courses)
  • 6 credits (thesis)
Admission Requirements
  1. Baccalaureate degree or equivalent validated by a transcript
  2. Five years of accumulated experience in a cognate field of ministry (lay, religious, ordained)
  3. Completion of a diaconal training program
  4. Completion of the Application Procedure

Program Requirements 

  1. Students are expected to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the Student Handbook of the year of their acceptance with a particular focus on their particular degree program.  Students are bound by the academic and financial requirements of the Handbook in use at the time of their acceptance.  The current Student Handbook, as well as past years’ Handbooks, can be viewed here
  2. Student must provide documentation of completion of diaconal training program.  
  3. Student must complete two required courses through the GTF (see below).
  4. Completion of the Master’s Thesis of 35,000-40,000 words and submission of one electronic copy including the Thesis Supervisor’s evaluation forms. 

All academic requirements must be met by March 1 of the intended year of graduation.
All financial requirements must be met by April 1 of the intended year of graduation. 

Two Required Courses 
Students are required to take two online E-Tutorial courses in Theology from the GTF.  E-Tutorials are one-on-one tutorials with a GTF faculty person that take place entirely by email.  
NOTE: For Paper Guidelines, please Click Here.
Research Methodology
Research Methodology is a required reading and writing course for all students completing a thesis.   The Research Methodology requirement is explained here.
Selection of Faculty Thesis Supervisor and Nomination Procedure 
Students select a GTF faculty member to serve as Thesis Supervisor. This enables the student to receive helpful and pragmatic evaluative feedback from a member of the faculty in the developmental process of producing the doctoral thesis. The role of the faculty Thesis Supervisor is responsive and suggestive. The faculty person is encouraged to limit feedback to pragmatically helpful hints and suggestions and not to attempt any censorship of the thesis. The exercise of discretion with respect to time demands is very important for both the student and faculty member. The faculty Thesis Supervisor must give final approval of the student’s work by submitting the Thesis Supervisor Report Form.
  • The student peruses the Faculty Details page and makes a selection.
  • The student completes the Faculty Thesis Supervisor Nomination Form 106 (Forms).
  • Academic Affairs provides the nominated faculty member with Form 106.
  • The selected faculty member notifies Academic Affairs of acceptance of student nomination.
  • Academic Affairs informs the student and faculty member of relationship approval and contact information is provided. 
Master’s Thesis  
The master’s thesis is a research-based academic work of 35,000-40,000 words, which addresses some topic, issue, or problem in the field of theological inquiry and demonstrates a grasp of the literature and philosophical/theological components required in the treatment of the selected topic. The master’s thesis must include a table of contents and bibliography of a minimum 20 sources, with annotations for the 10-12 key sources. The thesis must be written in 12 point Times New Roman (or comparable) font, and double spaced.
When the thesis in its final form has been reviewed and approved by the student’s Thesis Supervisor, it must be submitted to the GTF for final review. One copy of the master’s thesis must be submitted electronically to the Office of the Registrar, by March 1 of the intended year of graduation.   Click here to fill out the form to request the email address of The Office of the Registrar.
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