Capstone requirements are set by each field committee according to their own instructional purposes. This is typically two courses with major research papers for biblical studies and a thesis for historical and theological studies.
The thesis capstone is the ordinary capstone for students in the fields of Apologetics, Systematic Theology, and Church History (or Historical Theology).
Approval of the thesis proposal by the academic advisor and/or the field committee should be obtained within the semester after coursework is completed. Upon approval of the thesis proposal, the field committee will appoint a faculty member to share with the academic advisor the responsibility of reading and approving the thesis.
The thesis receives a letter grade and accounts for the final 10 credit hours of the ThM degree. A high standard of scholarly research and writing is expected. The word limit for the thesis is 50,000 words (excluding bibliography). The thesis must also conform to the format and bibliographic style requirements in the format guidelines for WTS theses, dissertations and projects, which is available at the Center for Theological Writing and online. As an aid for formatting, students are also required to complete the online format guidelines check-in form prior to submission.
Three copies of the completed thesis must be submitted to the Academic Affairs Office by March 1 for graduation the following May. The corresponding thesis fee must be paid prior to submission.
The faculty committee approves theses by May 1. If approved, some minor corrections may be required. The student must submit two copies of the approved thesis in final form to the academic affairs office by May 15.
Two-Course Capstone with Major Papers
The two-course capstone is the ordinary capstone for students in Old and New Testament.
A ‘capstone course’ is defined as any course within the student’s concentration that culminates with a major research paper. After completing three courses, the Biblical studies student may begin his or her capstone coursework. The requirement is comprised of two capstone courses. Hence, including the baseline coursework requirement, the total minimum number of courses for a biblical studies ThM student will be eight.
Capstone courses may include any course within the student’s concentration, including independent studies, even if the student has already taken the maximum two independent studies as part of the baseline ThM course requirement.
The major research paper substitutes the normal course paper and should be 30-35 pages in length. Students must secure approval from the instructor of the course to make a course a “capstone course.”