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Degree Planning

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Real-Time Requirements Chart

Real-time degree requirements (previously “face-to-face” or “residential credit”) for each degree are listed above. Courses that previously counted toward face-to-face or residency also meet real-time requirements. Directed learning courses are completed by students outside a real-time learning community and instruction from a professor.

Course TypesDefinitionCourse Sections
Real-Time Courses

Courses where professors and students physically meet in a location.

  • Semester long
  • Hybrids
  • Intensives (Winter or Summer)
  • Immersive Courses
  • Ministry Residency

Campuses: Dallas, Houston, DC, Atlanta

Extension, Teaching, or Mobile Locations: AR, AU, FW, EU, GB, HK, IN, NA, NC, NP, SA, PL, PX, WA, WL, etc.

Immersive Studies: MW52**

Ministry Residency: EML5801 & EML5802

Video Conference (Online)Courses with weekly video conferencing sessions between professors and students.RV or LS (AV, HV, DV, etc.).OL-Live.
Directed Learning Courses
Traditional OnlineCourses mostly composed of pre-recorded online videos and forum interaction (may have limited video conferencing sessions)OL
Independent StudiesStudents work one-on-one with a faculty member remotely or on-campus.**5901
Special TopicsStudents participating in special conferences, training, or programs.**5905
Internship or ApprenticeshipStudents integrate their classroom training with ministry experience.INT5*** or MW5102
Spiritual Formation (Credit)Students meet with a mentor or fellow students focusing on identity, community, integrity, and fidelity.SF5201-5204 or SF5215, SF5220, SF5225, SF5230
Research CoursesStudents research and write on a topic relevant to their degree, academic interests, or ministry direction.EML5950, RS5101, RS5102, RS5103, or **5902 (Thesis)
Dual Degree Requirements

Students may earn a second Master’s degree by adding additional hours to one’s current or previously completed degree. Students should keep the following points in mind:

  • Students must submit a reclassification request with their dual-degrees selected in the application. DTS graduates must reapply through Admissions to earn a second degree.
  • Students who reclassify to a dual-degree fall under the current degree requirements for each degree as listed in the catalog.
  • Students must complete the unique requirements in each degree, which includes the possibility of two internships.
  • Students will graduate when they complete the required courses and hours for their dual-degree.
  • Core classes (BE, ST, PM105/5101) may be shared between degrees.
  • Students may exceed the minimum number of hours indicated in the chart below.
  • With approval, students may earn the MBTS through an additional 18 credit hours to any other DTS Master’s degree.
  • Dual-degree students (regardless of campus) will work with the Director of Academic Advising to craft a degree completion plan given the unique and complex requirements involved.
 DegreesMinimum Hours RequiredTime Limit
 2-year MA + 2-year MA* 907
 2-year MA + MACP 1058
 2-year MA + MAC 1158
 2-year MA + ThM 1459
 ThM + MACP 15010
 ThM + MAC 15510

*Combining the MAAE with another MA requires 92 hours.

Degree Planning Steps

Step 1: Know Your Overall Degree Requirements

Students are required to meet the degree requirements set forth in the catalog in which they first began taking classes in a Master’s degree. If students reclassify, then he/she will be required to meet the degree requirements prescribed in that catalog. Each catalog covers one academic year (Fall-Summer). Because degrees can change from year to year, students are expected to know the requirements in their catalog and confirm courses and graduation plans with their academic advisor.

Step 2: Know Your Time Limit and Real-Time Options

Each degree has a time limit identifying when students must complete all degree requirements. This time limit begins from the first class a student takes at DTS. Example: If a MACL student begins in Fall 2020, he/she has a 7-year time limit that ends in Summer 2027.


Some degrees require students take a certain number of courses in real-time (online or at a DTS location). The current real-time requirements and time limits are posted on the Degree Overview Chart. While not all degrees require real-time courses, students are encouraged to take BE, ST, or electives in real-time to make stronger connections with fellow students and faculty. If students reclassify to another degree, these real-time courses will help meet those requirements.

Step 3: Create Your Own Degree Plan

While the degree requirements will be the same for students in the same degree entering at the same time, each student’s degree completion plan will look different. The Advising Center wants to equip students to craft a personalized degree plan from the degree-specific advising pages linked above and other resources on our website. Each student’s life commitments, ministry direction, and financial situation are unique and need to be considered when developing a degree plan. Students should develop a plan that allows them to finish all requirements at least one-year prior to their degree time limit. Example: If a student’s time limit ends in Summer 2025, then the student’s degree plan should have the final class in Summer 2024.

Each catalog and degree-specific page has a general plan students may use in a preliminary fashion. These plans do take into account prerequisites but students should check the schedule page for any prerequisites needed in their degree or possible elective selection. Advisors are available to review a student’s degree plan by email or by appointment.

Step 4: Review and Revise Your Plan Each Year

Advisors and students may have a clear and wise plan that takes into account life, finances, ministry, family, etc. However, we may need to revise and revisit these plans. It is best to meet with an academic advisor once a year to review your existing plan and identify your next steps. Or, your yearly advising meeting may be to revise your current degree plan or consider other degree options due to clarification regarding future ministry. Some students may need to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) when he/she does not plan to take a class, internship, or Spiritual Formation (SF) in a fall or spring semester.

We recognize these changes may be difficult. Academic advisors are available to help students evaluate their current degree plan, clarify future ministry direction, and identify possible next steps.