The Master of Divinity (MDiv) at Pacific School of Religion is a graduate professional degree that prepares students for lay and ordained ministry, related vocations, and further academic study. The program meets the educational requirements for ordained ministry in most major Protestant denominations. Within the framework of a curriculum of required course work in biblical studies, history, theology, ethics, field education, formation for leadership, cultural resources for ministry, and ministerial practices for leadership, MDiv students can shape their course of study to reflect their particular interests or specialized ministries.

We encourage students to pursue an understanding of their own faith tradition in light of global, ecumenical, and inter-disciplinary concerns, institutions, and movements represented at PSR and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). The goal of the MDiv program is to provide students with:

• The ability to draw critically on the biblical Christian heritage and resources of contemporary society to provide for their own spiritual and ministerial formation and to prepare effective leaders to the Christian movement in witness and mission.
• Insight and skill for communicating Christian faith and ethics through preaching, teaching, speaking, writing, personal involvement, contemporary visual electronic media, arts, and other appropriate means.
• The capability, experience, and willingness to take leadership in social change on behalf of the prophetic witness of the Christian tradition and its commitment to justice and love.
• Knowledge, experience, and willingness to lead Christian communities in worship and to prepare laity to participate.

Entrance Interview     |     Vocational Academic Plan (VAP)     |     Middler Review     |     Senior Seminar Essay     |     Exit Interview

First year

Before the end of your first semester of study, usually in October, you will complete an MDiv Entrance Interview in consultation with your advisor. By the end of your first academic year of study, you will submit a Vocational Academic Plan as a statement of covenant between you and PSR for the completion of your degree. This plan proposes a rationale for course selection in light of your vocational plans and denominational and academic requirements. For your convenience, you may download forms and guidelines relevant to these first year milestones, and they are additionally located in your MDiv program manual:

Middler year

The Middler Review, a meeting held at midpoint in the MDiv program, is a comprehensive review of your theological understanding of ministry, academic record, field education experience, and development of proficiencies in ministry in the light of your denomination’s requirements for ordination and personal vocational objectives.

This Middler Review meeting — attended by you, your advisor, another faculty member, a denominational representative and a peer — is a time of support, assessment, review, and planning. It includes a middler interview with your advisor and the development of a substantive middler theological statement of 15-20 pages which forms the basis for discussion at the review meeting.

Upon completion of this review, you must submit a Middler Review report to your advisor in order to enter the program’s final year. It is strongly recommended and may in some cases be required for students to either have completed or be currently taking their Field Education requirement and Theology requirement before the Middler may be allowed. For your convenience, you may download forms and guidelines relevant to these first year milestones, and they are additionally located in your MDiv program manual:

  • Middler Review Guidelines
    Panel Assessment Guide
    Middler Review Theological/Vocational Statement guidelines
    Submit online BEFORE your Middler Review
    Submit online your AFTER your Middler Review
  • Middler Theological/Vocational Statement Examples
    Example 1
    Example 2
  • Middler Information Session video tutorial
    These video clips were recorded in February 2010 and do not replace the Middler Review Guidelines, but you are welcome to view these clips as supplementary information to the Guidelines. The panel consisted of Vice President of Academic Affairs & Dean Mary Ann Tolbert, Assistant Dean for Academic Programs & Registrar Delphine Hwang, Assistant Dean for Students and Director of Community Life Donnel Miller-Mutia, and senior MDiv student at the time Lindsay Million.

01 Introduction (3:34)
02 Middler connection to other milestones (1:31)
03 The Panel (4:59)
Panel Q&A (3:38)
04 The Packet (8:51)
05 The Procedure for Preparation (7:46)
06 The Review (10:33)
Review Q&A (4:58)
07 The Middler Review Report (3:00)
08 The Middler Theological/Vocational Statement (6:12)

Senior year

Finally, you will complete a Senior Integrative Essay at the end of the MDiv program. This essay is developed in the Senior Integrative Seminar (MDV 4500/8400), and should demonstrate the competencies of a person completing the required courses of study in the MDiv, and ready for professional ministry. In addition to this essay, you will also submit an MDiv Exit Interview. For your convenience, you may download forms and guidelines relevant to these first year milestones, and they are additionally located in your MDiv program manual:

Submit online by the last day of your last year.

The MDiv requires a minimum of 81 total credits, usually completed in three years of full-time study. You may, however, take up to seven years of part-time study. You are invited to take advantage of a wide variety of courses offered at other GTU schools, provided that you earn a minimum of 27 credits at PSR. The course requirements are distributed as follows:

Required courses (54 credits)

Required courses must be at least 3.0 credits each and must be taken for a letter grade, unless otherwise specified. These required areas listed usually cannot be fulfilled by taking just any course in that area, but only by taking either the specific PSR course listed in your worksheet or a course/course-combination that is listed on the Alternatives to Basics published each year. All the below are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.

Biblical Studies (9 credits)

  • Old Testament (OT) OT 1115 or OT 8114 1st year Fall
  • New Testament (NT) NT 1016 1st year Fall
  • Upper Level Biblical Studies Any 3-credit course 2000-level or above with “BS, OT, or NT” in course number; anytime after intro OT and NT basic courses are completed

History, Theology, and Ethics (9-12 credits)

  • History (HS) HS 8100 or 1120  1st year Spring
  • Theology (ST) ST 2160 2nd year Fall
  • Ethics (CE) CE 1051 2nd year Spring
  • Upper-level Theology (for students entering Fall 2010 or later:) Any 3 credit 2000-level or above course with “ST” in the course number; anytime after Theology requirement is completed

Field Education (6 credits)

  • Field Education  1005 (FE) | 2nd year Fall
  • Field Education 1006 (FE) | 2nd year Spring

Formation for Religious Leadership (6 credits)

Cultural Resources for Ministry (9 credits)

  • Art and Religion (RA) RA 1156 1st year Spring
  • Faith Tradition other than Christianity (HR) Any 3-credit HR course that centers around a religion whose main text is not the “Christian Bible.” Examples of eligible religions the course should be in: Buddhism, Sufism, Judaism, Islam. Examples of religions not eligible for this requirement: Mormonism, Evangelical religions | Any year, any term
  • Contextual/Cross-Cultural Immersion see list of approved immersions |Intersession any year

Ministerial Practices for Leadership (12 credits)

  • Christian Worship (LS) LS 1201 1st year Spring
  • Homiletics (HM) HM 2244 2nd year Fall
  • Christian Education (ED) ED 8135 or 1530 2nd year Spring
  • Pastoral Care (PS) PS 1060 3rd year Spring

Electives (27 credits)

Elective courses do not need to be taken for letter grade, but letter grades are recommended for those planning to do post-masters level work such as enrolling in a doctoral program in the future.

  • Guided Electives/Area of Concentration (12 credits)
    These are upper-level courses in an academic area or interdisciplinary field that continue work done in required courses. Students determine their areas in consultation with their advisors
  • General Electives and Denominational Requirements (15 credits)

Denominational Requirements

Each denomination has a unique set of requirements to be fulfilled by persons seeking ordination. The MDiv degree is just one of those requirements. It is your responsibility to learn what particular course work in church polity, languages, field education, and internships might also be required for ordination and what you can fulfill during your course of study at PSR.

We provide the church polity courses and field education required by the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Students seeking ordination in other denominations may fulfill church polity, language, and internship requirements at other GTU schools or through specially designed reading courses.

Note that while the denominational courses we offer may be required for your ordination, they are not required for the MDiv and, if taken, will usually be counted as part of your electives.