The M.Div. is a graduate professional degree primarily for ordained and lay leaders planning to serve in a church, or in other forms of ministry such as chaplaincy or spiritual direction. The degree provides intellectual and analytical capacity, as well as practical skills to lead faith communities in a complex, pluralistic society. Faculty and staff work with each student and their denomination or tradition to provide the necessary courses to meet ordination or ministerial authorization requirements.
Students learn to draw on historic resources of the Christian faith and their own and others’ experience of God for the classic functions of ministerial leadership: leading worship, preaching, giving care, educating and forming people in the faith, and leading a congregation or religious organization. Graduating with an M.Div. opens the door to many traditional possibilities in church-related ministries, as well as other faith-based pursuits such as leadership in emerging communities, nonprofits or social justice organizations. At United, we have begun talking about our alumni as “spiritual entrepreneurs.” As the church changes and the nature of the spiritual life takes on new forms, so has our curriculum and the ministries of our graduates.
Please check back for more information on concentrations which have no links; we will provide the details for the concentration soon.
- Interfaith Chaplaincy
- Methodist Studies
- Narrative Theology
- Pastoral Care and Counseling
- Presbyterian Studies
- Religion and Theology
- Social Justice and Reconciliation
- Social Transformation
- Theology and the Arts
- Women’s Studies: Religion, Theology, Ministry
The M.Div. requires 90 credit hours of study, normally taken as 30 3-credit courses. On a full-time basis, these courses are taken over three years at a rate of 10 courses per year. The degree can be completed on a part-time basis; all work must be completed within seven years. The specific requirements are:
1. Satisfactory completion of 90 semester hours of credit. Of these, 66 hours are required courses and 24 are free electives.
Required courses that must be taken within the first full-time equivalent year of study:
- Anti-racism Dialogue: Theory and Practice
- Foundations of Christian Education
- Integration of Ministry and Local Theologies
- Introduction to Historical Theology
- Introduction to Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology
- Introduction to the New Testament
- Orientation to the Older Testament
- Religion in America
- Theological Interpretation: God, Community and Transformation
- Writing for Theological Study
Required courses taken within the second and third full-time equivalent years of study:
- Christian Ethics
- Constructive Theology
- The Older Testament in the Life of the Church: Selected Prophets and Writings
- Religious Leadership, Organization, Administration and Finance in Context I & II
- Synoptic Gospels
- Worship of the Church
- One systems of theological thought course
- One non-Christian religions course
- One global justice course
- Ministry Practicum or CPE Ministry Practicum
- Final M.Div. Integrative Seminar
2. Satisfactory completion of all three personal and professional development consultations. Consultations are provided by North Central Ministry Development Center, adjacent to the seminary campus. Unit is I to be completed during the student’s first fall term; Unit II during Religious Leadership, Organization, Administration and Finance in Context I & II (CS25I-252); and Unit III during the Final M.Div. Integrative Seminar (IS351). Consultations are intended as occasions for reflection on vocational aptitudes and choices in ministry.
3 . Completion of an Integrative Notebook documenting the student’s individual work in integrating the different elements of the student’s course of study in a manner appropriate to his or her identity and context. This notebook or portfolio contains a variety of materials (e.g., course papers, sermon videotapes, reflections papers, art projects) and is the basis for conversations with the student’s advisor concerning his or her educational progress. The Masters Student Handbook outlines the review intervals and required contents of the Integrative Notebook for the M.A.
4. Participation in the Spiritual Chronicle process, which supports a student’s integration of the spiritual, academic and vocational dimensions of his or her seminary journey.
5. Recommendation by the faculty, which takes into account academic, personal and professional readiness for ministry. Denominational judicatories may have additional requirements for ordination; students should consult denominational representatives for candidacy procedures.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
- Strong analytical and reflective thinking and writing skills
- Vocational and academic goals compatible with vision and mission of United
Mature adults with significant life and vocational experience who have earned at least half of the credits toward a bachelor’s degree may be considered for the M.Div., particularly if strong exposure to the liberal arts and social sciences can be demonstrated.
How to Apply
- Submit Online Application
- Submit Immunization Form
- Supply three reference letters: Download Form to Forward to Your References
- one pastor or spiritual mentor, attesting to your call and/or spiritual discernment
- one employer, attesting to your work ethic
- one personal (non-relative)
- Provide official academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended Download Transcript Request Form
- Contact the admissions office, 651.633.4311, to complete a writing sample
Application deadline: The recommended application due date is July 1. However, United will accept applications up until the second Friday of the start of the term. Keep in mind that financial aid application due dates fall much earlier.