Questions and Answers about the Master of Theology in Middle Eastern Studies

Why ABTS?

ABTS believes in the holistic formation of leaders and seeks to help transform its students not only intellectually, but also affectively, and behaviorally. The curriculum is not based on developing theologians who are detached from the realities of life and of the local church. Rather, it is based on the importance of theological reflection on the local context of the church so that it effectively serves its community. ABTS does not seek to create identical copies of students. Rather, it respects the individuality of each student’s thinking and personality as created by God. ABTS seeks to refine students’ characters through holistic formation, critical thinking, academic research, and theological training.

How does ABTS support the students in their studies?

ABTS works with students through its theological programs and faculty to theologically prepare them as best as possible without requiring students to leave their ministry, family, or work. ABTS accompanies students throughout the whole period of study to enable them to reach the peak of their potential and fulfill God’s calling for their lives. This will reflect positively on their church in its local Middle Eastern context. In order to achieve this desired outcome, ABTS works on developing postgraduate studies in theology (MTh and PhD) to develop local theologians and writers who serve the Church in its Arabic context.

Who is the Master of Theology in Middle Eastern Studies designed for?

We have designed the MTh in Middle Eastern Studies for all who want to deepen their knowledge of the Middle East from a Christian (evangelical) perspective. Serving the church in this region requires adequate knowledge of the realities, riches, and challenges of the region, and the skills to study these in depth. As such, the program is open to Arab students who want to deepen their knowledge of their own context in order to be more fruitful in their ministry, but also to students from outside the region who (desire to) serve in the region or serve communities from the region elsewhere.

What are the key courses that I will study in the Master of Theology in Middle Eastern Studies?

The MTh in Middle Eastern Studies is structured around four core modules, each focusing on specific aspects of the region: Islam, Middle Eastern Christianity, Cultural Analysis, and History/Politics/Economics. After finishing these core modules, students will be guided through a specialization stage where they deepen their knowledge of specific aspects of the material through guided studies and research. The program culminates in a final thesis or project in which students use all their previous knowledge and skills.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program is designed in such a way that students should be able to finish it within 4 years. It is designed for part-time students who are able to devote 15 hours/week on average to their studies. Adequate guidance and support will be offered to make sure that students move through the program at a realistic pace.

What is the nature of the program?

The MTh in Middle Eastern Studies is a hybrid program. The majority of the program can be done online through distance learning. Apart from regular Zoom sessions, students are flexible in their planning. During the core modules, students are required to visit ABTS for the residencies (four one-week residencies, one during each module). These residencies are considered the highlights of the program by all alumni. The Seminary has designed this program to keep the costs as low as possible for students, providing them with an opportunity for higher theological education at the lowest cost possible.

What are the needed student qualifications for the program?

The MTh in Middle Eastern Studies is a first degree in theology. As such, it requires a previous bachelor’s degree, but not necessarily a bachelor’s in theology. Ministry experience in the Middle East or among people from the region is a plus.

Is proficiency in the English language needed for the program?

Yes, proficiency in the English language is needed for studying in the MTh program. Applicants must have taken the TOEFL exam or an equivalent language proficiency test to be accepted. Students can write their assignments in either Arabic or English, but reading material and lectures can be in English (depending on the student body). For this reason, understanding written and spoken English is more important than fluency in speaking or writing English.

Is the degree accredited?

The Arab Baptist Theological Seminary is an accredited member of the European Council for Theological Education (ECTE) and the Middle East and North Africa Association for Theological Education (MENATE). All our degrees were re-accredited by ECTE in 2023 and MENATE in 2024.

What if a student wants to pursue higher education in theology?

Since the programs at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary are accredited by the European Council for Theological Education (ECTE) (review previous question), the MTh allows students to continue their theological education worldwide, specifically with other seminaries that follow the educational standards of ICETE (International Council for Evangelical Theological Education).

What other programs are provided at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary?

The currently provided degrees are:
Certificate in Ministry – Online
Bachelor of Theology – Hybrid
Master of Theology in Middle Eastern Studies – Hybrid
Master of Theology in Biblical and Theological Studies – Online
• PhD in Theology in collaboration with 2 other seminaries in the region

How much does the Master of Theology in Middle Eastern Studies cost?

The cost of one credit is 150 US dollars, which is equivalent to 13,500 US dollars for the entire degree. The vision and mission of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary is to serve the church in the Arab world by equipping faithful men and women for effective service. Therefore, ABTS makes every effort to provide scholarships that cover the cost of study for Arab students. ABTS, through its partners, supports Arab students serving in the region who cannot afford the full financial cost of the program by a maximum of 90%, making study readily available to Arab leaders and ministry team members. Each student must complete a financial form before starting the program to ensure that scholarships go to the students most in need. For non-Arab students, application for financial assistance remains open, based on their family’s financial status and need, and provided they continue to meet academic standards and other graduate profile criteria satisfactorily. Applications for financial aid are received, and grants awarded, on a module-by-module basis. All students are expected to cover their travel expenses for the residency period. This includes ticket, accommodation, and food costs during their stay.

What is the difference between the Master of Theology in Middle Eastern Studies and the Master of Theology in Biblical and Theological Studies?

There are several key differences between the two master programs ABTS offers. The Master of Theology in Biblical and Theological Studies is a second degree in theology meaning that admission to the program requires (the equivalent of) a Bachelor of Theology, whereas the MTh in Middle Eastern Studies only requires a bachelor’s degree in any field. The first program focuses on the classical theological disciplines, whereas the MTh in Middle Eastern Studies focuses on the realities of the church in the Middle East. Thus, both programs are theological in nature, but they each have a different focus. The MTh in Middle Eastern Studies offers two tracks: a practice-oriented and a research-oriented track, whereas the MTh in Biblical and Theological Studies is fully research-oriented. Finally, the MTh in Middle Eastern Studies brings together students from the Arab region and students from outside the region, whereas the MTh in Biblical and Theological Studies focuses exclusively on Arab students.