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). Students who complete the PSR MDiv achieve the following program learning outcomes. They will be able to:

  • Articulate an understanding of texts and traditions, apply them to particular situations, and critically engage with those texts and traditions
    • Theologically ground ministerial and vocational arts, including preaching, worship leadership, pastoral care, and community organizing.
    • Communicate the theological and/or philosophical and/or aesthetic traditions of one’s own religious community or communities.
    • Engage in creating new theological discourses.
    • Articulate the relationship of a theological and/or religious text to its context of origin and use and understand a spectrum of approaches for interpreting sacred texts today.
  • Recognize all knowledge as contextual
    • Articulate the importance and significance of the various factors that shape one’s own context
    • Demonstrate an awareness of another’s context, especially across differences with respect to race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, class, culture, nationality and religious affiliation, etc.
    • Imagine how to translate across and among various contexts.
    • Avoid inappropriate boundary crossing and misappropriation.
  • Articulate the connection between spiritual practice(s) and the development of a leadership style
    • Demonstrate personal integrity and character based on spiritual values.
    • Practice a spirituality that engages the wider society.
    • Develop a spiritual-rootedness to sustain world-changing work.
    • Effectively link spirituality and leadership in a community of accountability.
    • Engage life and work with cultural humility and respect for cross cultural differences.
  • Form effective partnerships with various organizations and individuals
    • Work effectively with people of different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.
    • Incorporate insights from non-academic contexts.
  • Integrate the various intellectual disciplines, fields, topics, and themes of theological education in the practices of ministry and public leadership in a variety of contexts
    • Articulate a theologically grounded position on social justice issues.
    • Organize community efforts toward achieving social change.
    • Develop a definition of social transformation in critical, constructive, theological, and historical modes.

 

Entrance Interview     |     Spiritual Formation Plan      |     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:

  • MDIV ENTRANCE INTERVIEW
    Submit online by October 31st for Summer/Fall new MDiv students
    or March 30th for Intersession/Spring new MDiv students
  • SPIRITUAL FORMATION PLAN
    Complete Structured Conversation with Campus Pastor at the end of SPFT 1082/8182 (or in Spring semester) and submit your brief plan online by the last day of your first year
  • MDIV VOCATIONAL ACADEMIC PLAN
    Submit online by the last day of your first year

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:

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:

MDIV EXIT INTERVIEW
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 (58.5 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 or found in “My Progress” in WebAdvisor. 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 Spring
  • 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 (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 (7.5 credits)

  • Spiritual Formation (SP) SPFT 1082 or 8182 (3.0 credits) 1st year Fall
  • Leadership (FT) FT 2923 or FTRS 2973 3rd year Fall
  • Senior Integrative Seminar (MDV) MDV 4500 or 8400 3rd year; 1st half of Spring

Cultural Resources for Ministry (12 credits)

  • Race as Context RS 1394 1st year Fall
  • Art and Religion (RA) RA 1156 3rd 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 or PS 1008 3rd year Spring

Electives (22.5 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 (10.5 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.