Basic Graduate Theological Studies

Start with the basics.

27 semester hours. 9 courses. Complete in 1-2 years.

Discerning which direction to go?  Start with the basics.

The Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS) program is a great starting point and provides a broad master’s level foundation in seminary courses to complement your journey in ministry. With courses in biblical studies, church history, theology and practical ministry, you will gain a solid theological foundation to enhance your ministry as a pastor or lay leader in the Church.

United’s Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Ministries and Master of Theological Studies all build on the core curriculum of the BGTS. That means you can start here and go on to earn your master’s degree or complete the BGTS as a stand-alone certificate.

United’s BGTS program is designed for:

  • Pastors who would like graduate training to enhance their ministries and do not require a master’s degree for ordination.
  • Laypersons who desire greater knowledge of theological subjects in order to become more effective leaders in their churches.
  • Potential Deacons in The United Methodist Church who already hold a professional master’s degree.*
  • Potential Elders in The United Methodist Church. Since the BGTS courses are also requirements for the Master of Divinity, the BGTS can be a stepping stone to ordination as an elder.

*United cannot confer ordination, but is approved by The United Methodist Church to offer the BGTS to those seeking ordination.

United Theological Seminary offers all the courses that meet The United Methodist Church’s requirements for Basic Graduate Theological Studies. For United Methodists seeking Deacon’s Orders, this coursework must be in conformity with the requirements of the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the BGTS program.

This coursework is at the master’s studies level, and the standards for admission are the same as for master’s degrees.


Educational Requirements for Deacons

The United Methodist Church has opened four different educational paths for those seeking ordination as Deacon:

  • Completion of the Master of Divinity degree.
  • Completion of a master’s degree program from a graduate theological school, such as United’s Master of Arts in Christian Ministries or Master of Ministry
  • Supplementing a non-theological master’s degree with the BGTS
  • For persons 35 years of age or older who are recommended by their conference Board of Ordained Ministry, completion of a bachelor’s degree and professional licensing program and eight semester hours of graduate credit PLUS the BGTS

Note: Financial aid is not available for the BGTS, and scholarships are limited. To qualify for financial aid, consider one of our degree programs.

The course catalog and planning guide are provided to assist you in mapping out your degree or certificate program at United. Download the course catalog and BGTS guide by clicking on the buttons below.

For additional help, contact us!

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