Postgraduate students of the MThA are traditionally (for Russia) called aspirants, as in they aspire to become full doctors. The aspirant roughly corresonds to the western PhD student and upon completion of his studies receives the title of candidate, which opens up the opportunity to start work on a doctorate. The Master's programme is distinct from postgraduate studies of Candidate's programme. The Candidate's programme at the MThA trains academic, pedagogical and theological staff within the system of postgraduate professional theological education of the Russian Orthodox Church in accordance with the nomenclature of specialties in the MThA. The main goals of participating in postgraduate studies are: conducting academic theological research, taking candidate exams, writing a thesis for the degree of candidate of theology.
The period of study for full-time postgraduate students is 3 years, in correspondence students - 4 years.
Work of the postgraduate student is carried out according to an individual academic planwhich is approved by the student's department within 2 months from the moment of enrollment in the postgraduate study. The control over the performance of the postgraduate's individual academic plan is carried out by both an academic advisor, the department and the head of the postgraduate programme.
Applicants for postgraduate studies take entrance exams in theology and a foreign language. In addition to the entrance exams, applicants are interviewed by the Rector of the MThA, vice-rectors, the head of the post-graduate programme, and the clergy of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra. Entrants to the postgraduate course must undergo a medical examination at the MThA medical unit.
The theological examination consists of two parts: the first part consists of an oral exam on material found in the standard programmeand the second part is the presentation that takes place at the department of the applicants academic theological works and his abstract of the proposed academic theological research topic for his postgraduate study.
The postgraduate course was opened in April 2012. The head of the postgraduate programme is Hegumen Adrian (Pashin).