Houston Graduate School of Theology

Masters Degree Plan

Master's Degree Programs

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is the normative degree for those entering ordained ministry or other ministerial leadership positions. The MDiv is designed to encompass the breadth of traditions reflected in our students and staff while connecting those traditions to the historic Christian church and faith. The depth of the HGST course work is enriched by the diversity of tradition and experience represented by our students and faculty.

The purpose of this degree program is to provide students with a broad, thorough theological, biblical, and historical background so that they will be prepared to be spiritually mature, missional leaders for ministry in the wide variety of ministries represented in the 21st-century world, including pastoral, administrative, chaplaincy, and social service ministries. The degree requires 75 credit hours.

MDiv Required Courses - 50 credit hours                           

  • Biblical Hermeneutics

  • The Christian Story (I and II)

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Spiritual Disciplines and Practices

  • Integrative Experience (I and II)

  • Culture and Context

  • Christian Canon (Old Testament and New Testament)

  • Pastoral Care

  • Christian Ethics

  • Clergy Professional Conduct and Ethics

  • Systems Thinking in Organizational Contexts

  • Transformational Leadership

  • Principles of Preaching

  • Christian Theology

  • The Missional Church Movement or Missional Theology (select one)

MDiv Electives – 18 credit hours

Field Education – 6 credit hours

MDiv Capstone – 1 credit hour

Total MDiv degree program – 75 credit hours     

 

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) is an academic degree focused on a specific theological discipline or a concentration within a general theological discipline. This degree is designed for those who desire to continue beyond the MTS into further graduate study or who desire a focused area of learning at the graduate level.

HGST offers three concentrations in the MTS degree: Biblical Studies, Christian Spirituality, and Theological Studies. The final project for the MTS degree is the presentation of a student portfolio and summative paper in the area of concentration as part of an interdisciplinary capstone course that includes an entire cohort of MTS students during the final semester. The degree requires 41 credit hours.

Biblical Studies Concentration

MTS-Biblical Studies Required Courses – 15 credit hours: 

  • Biblical Hermeneutics

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Christian Canon: Old Testament

  • Christian Canon: New Testament

  • Christian Theology

Concentration Electives* – 12 credit hours
(*Selected from Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Interpretation, Greek, New Testament, and Old Testament courses)

Biblical Languages – 12 credit hours

MTS Capstone – 2 credit hours

Total MTS-Biblical Studies degree program – 41 credit hours

Christian Spirituality Concentration

MTS-Christian Spirituality Required Courses – 21 credit hours:

  • Biblical Hermeneutics

  • The Christian Story I

  • The Christian Story II

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Christian Canon: Old Testament

  • Christian Canon: New Testament

  • Christian Theology

Concentration Electives* – 12 credit hours
(*Selected from Christian Spirituality courses)

Biblical Languages – 6 credit hours

MTS Capstone – 2 credit hours

Total MTS-Christian Spirituality degree program – 41 credit hours

Theological Studies Concentration

MTS-Theological Studies Required Courses – 21 credit hours:

  • Biblical Hermeneutics

  • The Christian Story I

  • The Christian Story II

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Christian Canon: Old Testament

  • Christian Canon: New Testament

  • Christian Theology

Concentration Electives* – 12 credit hours
(*Selected from Church History, Christian Spirituality, Philosophy and Ethics, Systematic Theology, and Theological Studies courses)

Biblical Languages – 6 credit hours

MTS Capstone – 2 credit hours

Total MTS-Theological Studies degree program – 41 credit hours

The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) is a professional degree that integrates the most current trends in counseling theory with study of Christian faith and practice, thereby enabling students to integrate the principles of biblically based spirituality with counseling practice for leadership with the client, within the community, and to the church. The degree requires 68 credit hours.

The MAC is designed to provide students with a Christian-based, educational opportunity that will prepare students for licensure through the Texas State Board of Professional Counselors, to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and/or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Students should refer to the respective board for complete information on how to achieve counseling licensure in the State of Texas. Several degree plans are available, depending on student career plans.

The MAC for LPC Preparation

MAC Theological Requirements – 6 credit hours

MAC Required Courses – 48 credit hours

  • Counseling Research and Statistics

  • Professional Orientation

  • Human Growth and Development

  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy

  • Appraisal and Assessment in Counseling

  • Counseling Skills and Techniques

  • Psychopathology

  • Addictive Behavior and Treatment

  • Prevention, Intervention, and Consultation

  • Marriage and Family Dynamics

  • Counseling Diverse Populations

  • Group Process and Practice

  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling

  • Lifestyle and Career Counseling

  • Counseling Practicum

  • Counseling Internship

Counseling Electives – 12 credit hours

Integrated Capstone – 2 credit hours

Total MAC degree program – 68 credit hours


The MAC for LPC with LMFT (or LMFT only) Preparation

MAC Theological Requirements – 6 credit hours

MAC Required Courses – 54 credit hours

  • Counseling Research and Statistics

  • Professional Orientation

  • Human Growth and Development

  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy

  • Appraisal and Assessment in Counseling

  • Counseling Skills and Techniques

  • Psychopathology

  • Addictive Behavior and Treatment

  • Prevention, Intervention, and Consultation

  • Marriage and Family Dynamics

  • Counseling Diverse Populations

  • Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Group Process and Practice

  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling

  • Lifestyle and Career Counseling

  • Counseling Practicum

  • Counseling Internship (I and II)

Counseling Electives – 6 credit hours

Integrated Capstone – 2 credit hours

Total MAC degree program – 68 credit hours

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) is a professional degree for students preparing to serve in a variety of contexts and specialized ministries. The biblical, theological, and spiritual foundations ground students in historical hermeneutical and doctrinal understandings. Concentrations are offered in Missional Leadership, Public Theology, and Spiritual Direction, allowing students to acquire knowledge and skills in a focused area. The final evaluative capstone follows a supervised, focused practicum, which concludes with a comprehensive, integrative written project. This degree requires 38 credit hours.

MACM Theological Requirements – 12 credit hours

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Christian Canon: Old Testament

  • Christian Canon: New Testament

  • Christian Theology

MACM Concentration Requirements – 18 credit hours (each concentration)

Missional Leadership

  • Culture and Context

  • The Missional Church Movement

  • Systems Thinking in Organizational Context

  • Transformational Leadership

  • Leadership in Postmodern Culture

  • Missional Theology

Public Theology

  • Public Theology

  • Faith and Health

  • Culture and Context

  • Reconciliation and Justice

  • Community Development

  • Systems Thinking in Organizational Context

Spiritual Direction

  • Spiritual Disciplines and Practices

  • Theological Foundations of Christian Spirituality

  • History of Christian Spirituality

  • Christian Devotional Classics

  • Techniques and Principles of Spiritual Direction

  • System Thinking in Organizational Context

Field Education – 6 credit hours

MACM Capstone – 2 credit hours

Total MACM degree program – 38 credit hours

Certificate Programs

HGST has designed the Certificate in Christian Spirituality for clergy, counselors, other religious professionals and lay persons who wish to enhance their ministries with a thorough yet practical program that will enable them to lead and teach in institutional settings, small groups, and one-on-one situations in the areas of spiritual formation and spiritual direction. This certificate requires 15 credit hours. By the completion of this certificate program students will be able to:

  • Articulate the role that history and theology of spirituality play in various faith traditions and Christianity as a whole

  • Explain the role of spirituality in life and ministry, including both individual and corporate dimensions

  • Integrate the study of spirituality into the practice of ministry

  • Integrate the disciplines of spirituality into life

Certificate in Christian Spirituality requirements - 9 credit hours

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Spiritual Disciplines and Practices

  • Systems Thinking in Organizational Contexts

Christian Spirituality electives - 6 credit hours

Total Certificate in Christian Spirituality program: 15 credit hours

Students who desire more extensive preparation in the area of Christian Spirituality and who feel called to serve as Certified Spiritual Directors should seek the Certificate in Spiritual Direction. This certificate requires 21 credit hours. By the completion of this certificate program students will be able to:

  • Articulate the role that history and theology of spirituality play in various faith traditions and Christianity as a whole.

  • Explain the role of spirituality in life and ministry, including both individual and corporate dimensions.

  • Integrate the study of spirituality into the practice of ministry.

  • Integrate the disciplines of spirituality into life.

  • Exhibit the ability to spiritually direct individuals and groups with integrity, discernment, and sound theological principles.

Certificate in Spiritual Direction requirements - 18 credit hours

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Spiritual Disciplines and Practices

  • Systems Thinking in Organizational Contexts

  • Techniques of Spiritual Direction

  • Spiritual Direction Practicums I and II

Spiritual Direction elective - 3 credit hours

Total Certificate in Spiritual Direction program: 21 credit hours

The Certificate in Missional Leadership is designed for men and women involved in ministry and desiring to be more missional in thought and action. For those seeking to participate in the mission of God in the world, this certificate offers theological, biblical, spiritual, and philosophical foundations for such ministry. The graduate certificate may stand alone for those already in ministry and not desiring a master’s degree. However, the student may also pursue the Certificate in Missional Leadership as part of an MTS in Theological Studies or an MDiv degree. This certificate requires 15 credit hours. By the completion of this certificate program students will be able to:

  • Articulate missio Dei as revealed in Scripture and in historical Christian writings.

  • Establish the practice of cultural exegesis as a foundation for ministry.

  • Incorporate the skills and qualities necessary for ministry leadership with a view toward personal, congregational, and community transformation.

  • Integrate an understanding of missio Dei into a practice of ministry that impacts the global culture.

Certificate in Missional Leadership requirements - 15 credit hours

  • Christian Spirituality

  • Culture and Context

  • Systems Thinking in Organizational Contexts

  • Transformational Leadership

  • The Missional Church Movement

Total Certificate in Missional Leadership program: 15 credit hours

The Certificate in Biblical Languages is designed for men and women who desire to develop competencies in translating Biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek. This certificate offers completion of 24 hours of biblical languages—12 hours of Biblical Hebrew and 12 hours of New Testament Greek. The graduate certificate may stand alone for those already in ministry and not desiring a master’s degree. However, the student may also pursue the Certificate in Biblical Languages as part of the MTS in Biblical Studies or the MDiv degree. By the completion of this certificate program, students will be able to demonstrate exegetical competencies in Biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek.