The Master of Divinity Program

The four curricular areas integrate the three emphases found in our mission statement: to educate men and women, lay and ordained, for ministries that are “pastoral, learned and prophetic.” Pastoral theology (PT) emphasizes the “pastoral” arts. Christian Scriptures and Christian Faith emphasize a learned approach to the study of the Bible and our theological, ethical and historical heritage. The emphasis on ministry in a multicultural and multi-religious world highlights the prophetic task of ministry in a new millennium.

Yet, at a deeper level, each one of the four curricular emphases is “pastoral, prophetic and learned,” for each curricular area is taught in an integrative way that blends these three distinct emphases. To give an example, the study of Scripture is more than learned. A learned approach to the Christian Scriptures leads to a prophetic reading of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Scriptures. In turn, we teach Scripture in ways that emphasize its use in the pastoral work of the church.

Electives in the Curriculum

The Master of Divinity is divided between required courses and electives. Of the 26 courses in the curriculum, 17 are required and 9 are electives. Electives may be used to take denominational requirements, to pursue a concentration in a particular area of the curriculum or to pursue specific interests.

Double Designation for Electives

Many electives carry a double designation to indicate the interdisciplinary nature of the course.

Institutes, Conferences and Lectureships

In addition to the course requirements listed above, M.Div. students are required to attend four conferences, institutes or lectureships during his/her program. This includes:

One Stuber Lectureship
One Helen Barrett Montgomery Conference
One of the following conferences:

  • J.C. Wynn Conference on Family Ministries
  • Gene Bartlett Preaching Conference

One of the following Black Church Studies events:

  • Mordecai Wyatt Johnson Institute of Religion
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Lectureship
  • Howard Thurman Lecture

The purpose of integrating conferences, institutes and lectureships into the curriculum is to introduce students to the rich resources available to them outside of the classroom and thereby to encourage lifelong learning.

Concentrations

At the end of the first year of study, a student may declare a desire to develop a concentration in Biblical Studies, History, Theology, Practical Theology, Black Church Studies or Women and Gender Studies. To graduate with a concentration a student must:

  1. declare his or her desire to develop such a program;
  2. take at least three electives beyond the curriculum requirement in the area of concentration; and
  3. develop an integrative paper or project that culminates his/her work in the area of study, with the supervision of a core faculty member.

Total Number of Courses

The total number of courses required for the Master of Divinity degree is 26 three-unit courses for a total of 78 units. They can be divided as follows: 16 required core courses and 10 electives.

Denominational Requirements

The curriculum is taught by faculty members who are also multi-denominational. Continual exchanges among students and faculty of different ecclesial memberships on issues of history, theology, and liturgy challenge seminarians to articulate their own particular visions of the church. Thus, personal faith commitments are strengthened and clarified and a new sense of denominational identity is confirmed, as appreciation of other traditions is also deepened.

Core and visiting faculty offer courses required for ordination by many different denominations. Polity courses for American Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian students are offered during the normal tenure of a Master of Divinity student.

In addition to courses in polity and history, students strengthen their ecclesial relationships through participation in regular denominational meetings on campus.