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 a 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 the talking about our alums 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.
A United graduate of the Master of Divinity program will be able to:
- Interpret the sacred texts of his or her tradition with proficiency
- Summarize the theological, cultural and historical expressions of his or her tradition
- Relate his or her ministerial context to local, global, and multicultural contexts of ministry
- Integrate training in leadership, ministry and professional ethics into his or her community
- Develop personal spirituality and moral integrity into expressions of and commitments to his or her faith
The M.Div. requires 72 credit hours of study. The degree can be completed on a full- or part-time basis. All work must be completed within seven years. The specific requirements are as follows:
1. Pass a writing sample within the first year of studies.
2. Completion of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) in the first semester of enrollment after matriculation.
3. Satisfactory completion of 72 semester hours of credit (cr) as follows (A-Q):
A. Spiritual Journey Program EL100 (3-7 cr; 1 credit each year student is in program)
B. Introduction to Theology TR110 (3 cr)
C. Orientation to the Older Testament CH161 (3 cr)
E. Introduction to the New Testament CH261 (2 cr)
F. Synoptic Gospels CH262 (3 cr)
H. Introduction to Historical Theology CH461 or Two TR (Theological & Religious Interpretation) electives (choose one, 3-6 cr – if ‘Two TR electives’ is chosen, one course replaces CH461 and one course replaces one elective)
I. Religion in America CH462 (3 cr)
J. Constructive Theology TR105 (3 cr)
K. Introduction to Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology CL670 or Religious Education CL440 or Worship of the Church CL330 or Preaching CL336 or Leadership and Strategies for Social Transformation EL200 (choose two, 3 cr each)
M. Leadership in Religious Contexts CL203 (3 cr)
N. Congregational Internship CL205 or Ministry Practicum CS253 or CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) Ministry Practicum CS254 (choose one, 3 cr – if CL205 is chosen, students must also take Church Administration CL204 as an elective)
O. Global Christianities TR750 or One global justice course (choose one, 3 cr)
P. Capstone Seminar CL301 (3 cr)
Q. Free electives (18-25 cr)
4. Satisfactory completion of three personal and professional development consultations. These consultations are provided by North Central Ministry Development Center, adjacent to the seminary campus. Unit I is to be completed during the student’s first fall term; Unit II assessment and consultation will be determined on progress through a student’s program and a student’s denominational requirements.
5. Recommendation by the faculty, which takes into account academic, personal and professional readiness for ministry.
6. Completion of all degree requirements within seven years of matriculation.
The great diversity of roles in which M.Div. graduates serve shows that the degree prepares students well for a wide variety of forms of religious leadership. The seminary also offers concentrations in the M.Div., allowing interested students to develop special expertise in particular dimensions of ministry.
- Bible – Older Testament or New Testament
- Black Church Leadership
- Intercultural and Immigrant Ministries
- Interfaith Chaplaincy
- Methodist Studies
- Narrative Theology
- Pastoral Care and Counseling
- Presbyterian Studies
- Public and Missional Theology
- Social Justice and Reconciliation
- Social Transformation
- Theology and the Arts
- Women’s Studies
- 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
- Applicants whose first language is not English must submit scores on the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). A score of 80 on the iBT (internet-based TOEFL) with a minimum score of 20 on Reading and Writing is required for admission.
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 Application. You will need:
- A list of all post-secondary schools, universities and seminaries you have attended
- A list of any committees, positions of leadership or offices held in your congregation or denomination
- An up-to-date resume with your employment background, including part-time work, as well as community, volunteer and/or family experience, indicating positions of leadership, offices held, and awards or recognition received
- A one- or two-page vocational statement describing the vocational direction or goals that led you to study at United
- Three references (see #3)
- Submit Immunization Record
- Supply three reference letters:
- one pastor or spiritual mentor reference, attesting to your call and/or spiritual discernment
- one employer or professional reference, attesting to your work ethic
- one personal reference (non-relative)
- REFERENCE FORM
- Provide official academic transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended Download a Transcript Request Form (one per institution)
- Contact the admissions office, 651.633.4311, to complete a writing sample
Application deadline: The recommended application due date is September 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.