Tom Head

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Ken, Feb 28, 2001.

  1. Ken

    Ken member

    Tom, what is your view of GST/Potch ThM vs. Charles Sturt MTh.

  2. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    I'm glad you asked, Ken; *this* is the sort of thing I really like to do. So, taking things from the top:


    GST/Potch: First degree (bachelor's) or equivalent in theology, which must include a biblical language.

    Sturt: Bachelor's in theology or equivalent; no biblical language study is required unless the thesis necessitates it.


    GST/Potch: Research-based; thesis must be of 40,000 words or more.

    Sturt: Research-based; specific length of thesis not listed in the program description, but (in keeping with the Australian standard, as I see it) I would estimate the average length as hovering somewhere between 65,000 and 85,000 words.


    GST/Potch: The Th.M. is a general degree in theology and may be focused on any suitable theological field, but biblical studies, Christian doctrine, church administration, and church history are listed as representative specializations.

    Sturt: The distance Th.M. is available with two majors: New Testament study and theology. Students choosing the theology track may still specialize in a given field, as per above.


    GST/Potch: Not explicitly stated, but information on other programs leads me to think that 2-3 years would be about right.

    Sturt: 2 years full-time on campus, 4 years for part-time and distance learning students alike.


    GST/Potch: US$2,739.18 + fees (tuition is #1,900, which converts to the above figure in U.S. dollars)

    Sturt: US$2,514.59 + fees (tuition is AU$600 per 8-point unit; assuming two 8-point units per year, it would total to AU$4,800, which converts to the above figure in U.S. dollars)


    GST/Potch: None required.

    Sturt: None required.


    GST/Potch: GST is ecumenical (even interfaith) and doesn't subscribe to any particular denomination or tradition; Potch is Dutch Reformed, but does not require students to conform to any official university doctrine.

    Sturt: Sturt is non-sectarian, but has very strong ties to Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions.


    The two programs are pretty evenly matched, but I see strengths here:

    GST/Potch Th.M.:

    --- The process of choosing a suitable promoter is more flexible than it would be in an average Australian program.
    --- Barring administrative delays, it's quicker.
    --- For better or worse, a biblical language is required.
    --- For better or worse, the thesis can be shorter.
    --- I've been told that Potch is highly respected in Reformed circles.
    --- Potch is much older than Sturt (Sturt was founded 1996; Potch was founded in 1869).
    --- I get the feeling that Potch is much stronger in the area of Old Testament research.

    Sturt Th.M.:

    --- Barring unexpectedly high administrative fees, it's slightly cheaper.
    --- Two majors are available instead of just one.
    --- For better or worse, no biblical language is required.
    --- For better or worse, the minimum word count for the thesis is probably significantly higher.
    --- There's every reason to think that Sturt is highly respected in Australian Anglican and Catholic circles.
    --- I get the feeling that Sturt is slightly stronger in the areas of New Testament research and church history.



    [Note: This message has been edited by Tom Head]
  3. Michael

    Michael Member


    Since you like doing that, and since I like reading your evaluations [​IMG], how about doing the same with Potch and Unisa?


  4. Ken

    Ken member


    Are you refering to CS MTh (Hons) or the regular MTh or both... I thought the honours degree was by research but the regular MTh is course based. Is this correct ?

  5. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Indeed it is! Mea culpa. Information on the course-based Th.M. can be found here:

    The information I gave above, about GST/Potch vs. Sturt, applies to the Sturt Honours Th.M., which is described here:

    Glad you pointed this out.

    Worth mentioning: the non-Honours Th.M. (the dishonourable Th.M.?) costs exactly the same as the Honours Th.M. (AU$4,800), but can be completed in two years of part-time study instead of four, and does not require a thesis. The admission requirements look roughly identical.

    I believe the University of South Africa Th.M. follows more of a U.S. model, with coursework leading up to a culminating thesis, but I can't remember what I did with my UNISA prospectus. I expect I'll run across it within the next day or two. I've considered doing a UNISA Th.M. or Th.D. concurrently with the GST/Potch program, but would have to ask special permission (normally, regulations prevent students from being enrolled at two RSA schools simultaneously).


  6. Ken

    Ken member

    Do you have any information regarding the maximum amount of time in which one may pursue the CS MTh?

  7. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Hmmm... That's a good question.

    Most course-based Australian master's programs I've seen allow about twice as much time as projected; if that formula holds up in this case, I would expect that students probably have up to four years to complete the program.



    Tom Head
    co-author, Get Your IT Degree and Get Ahead (Osborne/McGraw-Hill)

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