Master of Divinity in Presbyterian Studies

If you are a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the MDiv in Presbyterian Studies program will prepare you, in collaboration with your Committee on Preparation for Ministry, for pastoral leadership and ordination as a Teaching Elder.

This program may be a good fit for you if you plan to pursue ordained ministry as a Teaching Elder in the PC(USA), including, but not limited to, such roles as:

  • Pastor of a local congregation
  • Chaplain in a hospital or other professional setting (with the addition of chaplaincy certification)
  • Validated minister in an educational institution
  • PC(USA) denominational work at a local, regional, national or international level


Concentration Learning Outcomes

In addition to achieving the core MDiv degree learning outcomes, a graduate of the MDiv in Presbyterian Studies program will be able to:

  • interpret a selected biblical passage from multiple historical and contemporary perspectives and using one or more critical methods, demonstrating understanding of the influence of their own situatedness on that interpretation;
  • conduct a personal theological interpretation of a selected biblical text that demonstrates understanding of the influence of their own situatedness on that interpretation and that engages the situatedness of contemporary readers from a context different from their own;
  • critically interpret, analyze and reflect on a selected 1st–17th Century Christian theological text or perspective in its historical context as well as through the lens of modern questions and challenges;
  • articulate strategies for effective, professional, ethical, and compassionate pastoral and spiritual care to a diversity of persons;
  • construct and deliver a faith formation curriculum that arises from, and addresses the needs of specific populations/issues within ministry contexts and is based on solid theological and religious understanding;
  • creatively and effectively construct liturgy and lead worship in one’s religious and denominational context;
  • analyze, construct, and lead the basic elements of Christian worship according to their denominational traditions and theological commitments;
  • craft and deliver a sermon or public address that demonstrates effective speaking form/style and content based on a selected context;
  • apply basic knowledge of biblical Hebrew to the exegesis of a given biblical text.;
  • apply knowledge of the meaning in the original language of selected New Testament texts to the critical interpretation of, analysis of, and reflection on those texts;
  • articulate their vocation as a presbyterian minister;
  • effectively use the Directory of Worship and the Book of Common Worship in the development of Reformed worship services;
  • incorporate each of the four parts of the Book of Order into the practice of Presbyterian ministry;
  • effectively moderate a meeting;
  • successfully complete the standard ordination exams in Church Polity and in Worship and Sacraments;
  • explain the historical development of the Reformed tradition, including the central theological ideas of John Calvin;
  • reflect theologically on what it means to be Reformed in the contemporary world;
  • explain the basic theological foci of the creeds and confessions found in the Book of Confessions; and
  • achieve their self-defined practice of ministry goals that are appropriately based on the requirements of their denomination.


United’s MDiv at a Glance

  • 72 credits
  • Twenty-four 3-credit courses, including one field experience
  • A final thesis or project is not required, but you can choose to complete a thesis as an elective course
  • Can be completed in three years if you take a full-time course load (24 credits per year)
  • Most MDiv concentrations, including Presbyterian Studies, can be completed entirely via distance learning; many courses can be taken completely asynchronously


Program Guide Sheet

Religious Texts 4
Introduction to Religious Texts
Hebrew Bible
New Testament
Biblical Exegesis
Theological Tradition 4
Invitation to Theology: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
History of Christian Theologies
Classics of Protestant Reformed Theology
Constructive Theology
Ethics/Justice 2
Christian Ethics
Choose one:
Queer and Trans Theologies
Black and Womanist Theologies
Formation 2
Introduction to Spiritual and Personal Formation
Organizational Leadership and Administration
Cultural Contextualization 1
Choose one:
Global Christianities
World Religions
Arts and Theology 1
Choose one:
History of Arts and Theology
Art, Religion, and Contemporary Culture
Social Transformation 1 Leadership and Strategies for Social Change
Integration 1 MDiv Capstone Seminar
Vocational Contextualization & Skills 8
Introduction to Pastoral and Spiritual Care
Preaching and Your Public Voice
Faith Formation
Worship of the Church
Biblical Hebrew
New Testament Greek
Presbyterian History, Worship and Polity
Congregational Internship*
* Additional course recommended by the PC(USA): CPE Internship. Some Presbyteries may require CPE for ordination.


Learn More

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