What Can You Do with a Theology Degree?

Date Published

June 19, 2022

Home / Blog / What Can You Do with a Theology Degree?

Published by Calvin Seminary

What Is a Theology Degree?

To study theology is to study God and God’s world. At Calvin Theological Seminary, a theology degree—a degree shaping your mind and heart to the ways of God—can open a world of opportunities within Christian ministry. But it also can enhance your work in business, STEM, the arts, and more. The world belongs to God, and understanding theology more fully can enhance every area of our lives. 

Theology Degrees at Calvin

Master of Divinity (MDiv)

3–4 years of study

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) program offers a comprehensive theological degree forming a solid foundation to build upon for a lifetime of ministry.

CTS seeks to form MDiv graduates who deeply consider the questions of: 

  • What is our ministry context? 
  • How does the gospel engage our context?
  • What is God calling us to in this context
  • What is the person and role of a servant leader in this context?

These four questions serve as the guiding goals in CTS’ recently revamped MDiv curriculum.

The CTS MDiv is a natural path to ordained ministry, including ordained ministry in the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), offering varying levels of engagement with biblical languages and preaching. This degree can also be customized to equip nearly any outcome in Christ-centered ministry. 

Master of Theological Studies (MTS)

2–3 years of study

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program empowers you to understand the Christian faith more deeply while equipping you for further academic study and careers enriched by a strong understanding of theology.

Through the MTS program, you will discover the depths of the Old and New Testaments, Greek language, Christian theology, and apologetics.

If you are looking to pursue master’s level graduate study in theology and your desired outcome does not include ordained ministry, the MTS is a great option for a quicker learning process than the MDiv, while still allowing you to dig deep into the implications of God’s Word in God’s world. 

Master of Theology (ThM)

1–2 years of study

Once you have achieved an MDiv or MTS degree, your next step in learning may be to pursue a master’s of theology degree. The Master of Theology (ThM) is a post-MDiv/post-MTS program designed for advanced study and academic research in a specialized area of the theological curriculum. After becoming a seminary graduate (MDiv or MTS), you will then have the opportunity to extend your education in a particular field or to prepare for doctoral-level work through a one- to two-year ThM program and a capstone thesis or a major research paper.

In short, the ThM program builds on the foundation of your MDiv or MTS degree to bring a new level of study and scholarship to edify the church and the world. 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

4–5 years of study

After earning the distinction of Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, or Master of Theology, you will meet the prerequisite degree requirements to apply to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program at Calvin. The PhD program is designed to equip you for teaching and research in colleges, theological seminaries, and universities, and for advanced church leadership.

As a PhD student at Calvin, you can focus your studies in one of the following concentrations:

  • History of Christianity
  • Moral Theology (Ethics)
  • New Testament
  • Philosophical Theology
  • Systematic Theology

What Can You Do with a Theology Degree?

Start a Theology Career in the Church

Within traditional ministry, a theology degree can prepare you for the following roles:

  • Pastor: Preach, teach, counsel, practice pastoral care, and lead your church in following Christ as a community of disciples. In many cases, an MDiv is required for pastors.
  • Missionary: Share the gospel, translate Scripture, make connections, and empower local communities to plant and multiply churches. Specific educational requirements vary by position and mission organization.
  • Chaplain: Provide spiritual guidance and pastoral care within a specific context, such as a branch of the military or a hospital or healthcare system.

Get a Theology Job Outside of the Church

Outside of traditional ministry, a theology degree may also prepare you for the following roles:

  • Nonprofit job: Lead a general or faith-based nonprofit, with a foundational leadership and ministry skill set.
  • Teaching position: At every level of education, from early childhood to graduate school, Christ-centered schools are looking for teachers who take theology seriously and share God’s truths with their students.
  • Any job: All of our work happens in God’s world. Having a theological perspective on our vocation brings our purpose into view. The priesthood of all believers is the belief that every member of the church serves with meaning in—and can participate with Christ in the redemption of—their sphere of influence. Therefore, this concept reminds us that all can benefit from further theological education, no matter their field of work. 

Become a Theologian

What Is a Theologian?

A theologian studies God and God’s world. Theologians can look like scholars, professors, and authors. They can also look just like you.

How to Become a Theologian

  1. Read and converse about the Word of God and the works of God (creation), engaging with texts and people who inspire and challenge you to learn more.
  2. Study at a theological school. Consider Calvin Theological Seminary, where all our teaching and formation grow from a shared understanding of God’s Word as articulated in the Reformed confessions.
  3. As you continue reading and conversing about theology, share your findings in a Christ-centered community that will continue the ongoing work of theology, in thought and practice.

Theology Jobs by Degree

What to Do with a Master of Divinity (MDiv)

An MDiv can prepare you for many roles, including:

  • Ordained pastor: Become a Minister of the Word in the CRCNA or another denomination.
  • Missionary: Serve in the gospel-centered work of church planting and discipleship. 
  • Chaplain: Engage in pastoral care within a specific vocational context, such as healthcare or the military.

What to Do with a Master of Theological Studies (MTS)

An MTS can prepare you for many roles, including:

  • Nonprofit leader: Engage in nonprofit work, especially in faith-based organizations.
  • Parachurch or denominational leader: Lead parachurch or denominational ministries with a deep understanding of theology and practice.
  • Teacher: Pair an MTS degree with your existing teaching credentials to teach Bible, theology, or related subjects at a Christian school.

What to Do with a Master of Theology (ThM)

A ThM can prepare you for many roles, including:

  • Researcher: Dive deeper into a specific area of theology and share your findings.
  • Author: Use your knowledge of theology to reach fellow scholars or laypeople through writing and publishing your work. 
  • Pre-PhD student: Join the many students who use their ThM work to prepare for PhD study.

What to Do with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD can prepare you for many roles, including:

  • Professor: Share your knowledge through undergraduate- or graduate-level teaching. 
  • Author: Curate your learning and research through written works.
  • Center or institute staff: Serve as a leader for a faith-based center, institute, think tank, or other organization that values theology. 

Start Your Theology Career Today

Apply now to study at Calvin Theological Seminary and to follow your calling in theology.


Visit Calvin Theological Seminary’s Campus

We can’t wait to host you on campus! Schedule your visit today, or, if you need more time to find a date that works for you, please request information so we can continue the conversation about supporting your calling!