DTS' ThM

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Hello everybody!!!

    Along the lines with my other post concerning the ThM as a 4th year add on to the MDiv:

    I would like to hear some feedback about Dallas Theological Seminary's Master of Theology program: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the the not so ugly.

    Should they get back in the real world and downgrade to an MDiv?

    Does anyone really need a 4 year Master's degree?

    Et al?

    I would especially like to hear from some DTS grads.

    I want to go on record on the "get go" that some of the best scholars I have know over the years have been DTS folk. I took my Greek under Jim Allman @ Crichton College and he now teaches Old Testament Interpretation @ DTS.

    One of my profs @ Mid America made the statement that he felt that DTS had largely had a major impact on saving the Doctrine of infallibility.

    Let me hear from you.

    sdg!:laugh:

    rd
     
  2. StefanM

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    A four-year master's is ridiculous. If DTS wasn't so pricey, it might be more enticing, but without significant cash savings, a ThM at DTS =loans, loans, loans.
     
  3. TCGreek

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  4. preachinjesus

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    DTS' ThM is the most robust degree to prepare pastor-teachers for the ministry. Granted while you pay a bit...okay alot...more and spend an extra year (or 30 credit hours) in study hall sheol. But it's worth it.

    If I had it to do again, I'd probably go to DTS and suck it up for 4 years. The DTS ThM is simply the best ministry prepatory degree available for ministers.

    It is heavily theological and linguistical which is exactly what we need in more of ministry.
     
  5. Jack Matthews

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    Personally, as a layman, I have a tremendous amount of respect for DTS. I really don't think I'd go so far as to say they "saved" the doctrine of infallibility. They're not big enough to be quite that influential. But the calibre and quality of the people who've graduated from there and who are serving in ministry is very high, at least in the same ball park with the larger SBC schools, and even up there with some of the more academic institutions.

    A four year Master's program in theology? Why so many hours? That sounds like something an academic divinity school would require. I always thought that the attraction of the evangelical seminaries over divinity schools like Vanderbilt or Duke or Brite was the fact that the Master's degree hours were arranged and balanced so that students could get practical experience in the churches rather than spending all their time in class. I went to Vanderbilt's divinity school after finishing law school, but that was to be in the academics. I wasn't training for vocational ministry. If I had been doing that, I'd have considered a school like DTS, Moody, or SBTS, because of the practical experience they offer.
     
  6. Brandon C. Jones

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    I don't think DTS will change any time soon because it's long been a distinguishing feature of their major program. However, if students avoid going there more and more because of the mandatory fourth year, then they might have to change a bit.

    Personally, I think they should downgrade because it leads, IMO, to a watered-down Th.M. since it is the standard degree there as opposed to an M.Div.

    Usually, someone pursues a Th.M. for academic purposes either as a springboard to a decent Ph.D. program and/or a chance to specialize in one field. Another benefit of it is the chance to switch schools and work with a different faculty. It also typically takes two years if you write a thesis. DTS lacks this option and only has their Ph.D. program (which they shorten for those with a Th.M.-very unique) to offer students who want to take the next step academically.

    In turn, they have little to offer to two big chunks of prospective students:

    A. Those with an M.Div. who want to work with their faculty in an area of specialization for a short time.

    B. Those with an M.Div. who want to earn a Ph.D. at DTS but are dissuaded when they see how much more coursework is expected of them (I believe the difference is in excess of 20 hours but I'm not sure) compared to their intra-DTS counterparts who of course already have a Th.M. DTS suddenly pales in comparison to other schools price notwithstanding.
     
  7. mjohnson7

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    Dallas is pricey, however their ThM can be completed in 3 years if students take advantage of courses being offered year round. It is still 120 hours, but take a look at the faculty of every major evangelical seminary in the US and you will see DTS graduates. That counts for a lot. Their graduates have largely proven themselves to the evangelical world...i.e., they can run with the big dogs (academically speaking). Their language preparation is extensive.

    My opinion is if you're considering an academic career and your not sold out on it being an SBC school, go to either DTS or some place like Vandy, Duke, or the Ivies.

    For whatever that was worth! (not trying to steal that from Rhet)

    Matt
     
  8. mjohnson7

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    In response to what Bro. Jones mentioned, I would point out that you can go to DTS and work with their faculty on a Masters degree if you already hold an MDiv. It is called the Master of Sacred Theology (STM). According to DTS, for those who already hold an MDiv, they have the STM. After completion of it, you can go into the PhD with the same standing as someone with a ThM. The ThM and STM are essentially the same thing but with different nomenclature.
     
  9. Brandon C. Jones

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    Oh that's right, thanks for pointing that out. Silly nomenclature issues. That eradicates group A above, but group B is still alive and well.

    I never meant to knock their academic respectability, but I'm hesitant that DTS, with their 23 extra hours of curriculum for everyone, can magically make a "normal" M.Div. student into a "normal" Th.M student from other programs designed for upper-crust students who are interested in academics. That's the context of my "watered-down" remark. Of course, the typical disclaimer applies here that applies on all posts about schools: students can rise above or fall beneath any school's reputation and DTS is no exception.

    Admittedly, this is a cart-horse issue since DTS created the Th.M. and others responded to what they did so who knows? :)
     
    #9 Brandon C. Jones, Mar 2, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2007
  10. mjohnson7

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    Bro. Jones,

    You're right, group B would still face the problem you mentioned. The way I look at is....if you want to have a Dallas Seminary PhD on your academic vitae....that's the price you have to pay.

    In Christ,
    Matt
     
  11. StefanM

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    Yes, but I hope such a student doesn't have a family or any outside responsibilities!
     
  12. mjohnson7

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    Stefan, I realize going to school full-time, especially graduate school, when one has a family, a full-time ministry (or other job) is challenging. It is very challenging! But ministers have been doing it for years! It can be done...it's called sacrifice..... something many preachers these days know little about. Yes, it could mean getting up at 5:30 as opposed to 8 or 9...heaven forbid. Unless your family is independently wealthy....this is the way it's always been done. Sacrifice. Ask people like Rhetorician if it was easy getting their degrees. It's not...pure and simple.

    If that seemed like a rant, I apologize!

    Matt
     
  13. StefanM

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    Cramming 120 graduate hours into 3 years is not sacrifice when you have a family. It's negligence. Sure, maybe some highly motivated singles could do it, but it's hard enough to attempt 120 undergraduate hours in that period of time. Graduate hours...that's an entirely different ball game.

    Remember...9 hours is full-time for graduate-level work.
     
  14. TCGreek

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  15. preachinjesus

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    the degree is set up to be done in three years. Rather they go out of their way at DTS to provide a framework for a four year degree.

    Also don't forget that there are January and summer session available.

    again try it around a four year degree. It is no different than an undergraduate in terms of credit length. Now the graduate hours do require more work, but in reality if one is going to any seminary degree that is the case.

    Many married couples go through the traditional MDiv in 3 years which equates to the exact same number of hours per semester as the ThM at DTS. Your comments are a bit unfounded imho.
     
  16. StefanM

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    Attempting to finish the ThM in four years isn't unreasonable for many people. I never said that. What I said was that to try to do a four-year, 120-hour, graduate degree in three years is not reasonable if you have outside responsibilities or a family.

    I've seen their recommended 3-year plan for the Th.M.:

    For the first semester of the second year, DTS recommends taking 18 graduate hours.

    Now, I've not been to DTS, nor do I plan ever to go, but that seems like an oppressive load for anyone, even more so for those with responsibilities outside of class.

    At my graduate school (in history), one cannot even take more than 15 hours of undergraduate or graduate credit in one semester without going to the Dean for special permission.

    Perhaps graduate work in history is more demanding, but even the thought of taking 18 graduate hours in one semester makes me want to see a psychiatrist.
     
  17. Jack Matthews

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    If 120 hours is the requirement, and you can practically go anywhere else and get both a Masters and Doctorate for that investment of time and money, why not have both degrees?

    Looking at the course requirements for this particular degree at DTS, it almost looks like an academic officer got together with a financial officer and invented a way to keep students on the campus longer, and collect more money. 120 hours is two graduate degrees in just about any subject. If you've got the money and the time, go for it. DTS is a great school, no doubt about it, but there are other schools that are just as good at producing high quality graduates as they are, for a much lower investment of time and money. Southwestern and Southern in the SBC network offer more variations in their degree programs, are most definitely of equal quality and far less expensive.
     
  18. EdSutton

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    One who chose the route to an MDiv and then ThM would spend about as many class hours at , say, SBTS or SWBTS, as Dallas. It all depends on what ones aims are. SBTS woud require some 88 hrs for an MDiv, 24 or so for a ThM, and 66 for a PhD, a total of some 178 Semester hours. SWBTS has a basic MDiv of some 91 hours, ThM of 24, and a PhD, as well, but I don't know the hours but would assume it is comparable to Southern, so I'll assume 60 hrs., for a total of some 181. DTS has a 120 hr ThM, and a 60 hr PhD for a total of 180 hours. To me, the two or three hours are really not that significant, at that level.

    Yes, one can receive about any degree of any value of his or her choosing. It's kinda like going to a good restaurant, with all sorts of menu choices. Do you want steak, can you afford it, or will you either have to settle for or choose a hamburger?

    You will get out of any of them what you put in. And the top level schools are certainly well above some of the 'junk' 'degree mills' out there. Just a layman's opinion, who has multiple friends from both Dallas and Southern.

    Ed
     
  19. Paul33

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    This would be reasonable:

    Earn an A.A. from a community college.
    Transfer to DTS for a Th.M. and earn a B.A. in Bible and M.A. in Theology.

    This would make a total of six years and be on par with other graduate school majors.

    Then earn the Ph.D. in three more years.

    Seminaries that require the same amount of work for students who earn undergrad Bible degrees are taking advantage of their history, when the M.Div. was the B.Div.

    A four year Master's degree is a joke. We need more BJU type models of graduate school.
     
  20. RevGKG

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    As a DTS alum, I am deeply thankful for the instruction I received. And yes, it can be done with a family (we had four teenagers at home during my DTS days). If DTS is where God wants you to study, He will provide the resources necessary. I left DTS after graduation with all tuition paid and NO loans and my family did not miss any meals.

    Seek where God wants you to train and then work to meet the requirements of that training.:godisgood:
     

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