Pacific School of Religion (PSR) is proud to welcome our incoming class for Fall 2023! This class is not only our largest in over six years but the most racially diverse in the school’s 157-year history. These students come from 11 states and American Samoa, two foreign countries and represent 15 different denominations.
Combined with our continuing students, the new class brings PSR’s enrollment to its highest in recent history, breaking a previous enrollment record set just last Spring. The student body is 18% larger than it was at the start of Fall 2022 semester and 55% larger than in Fall 2018. PSR has continued its upward enrollment and retention trajectory despite a 15+ year downward trend in seminary enrollment in the United States.
PSR has also seen yearly enrollment increases in our Master of Divinity (MDiv) program while MDiv enrollment across schools in the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), PSR’s accrediting body, has experienced year-over-year declines.
Many of PSR’s incoming MDiv students cite our stackable curriculum, which allows them to earn a certificate and a Master of Social Transformation (MAST) as they progress through their degree, as a motivating factor in coming to PSR. Distance learning options make the choice attractive for second-career professionals looking to stay in their jobs and communities while pursuing their vocational goals.
PSR’s deep belief in radical inclusion, including a curriculum that incorporates anti-racism and queer theory into every course, also sets us apart for students. This commitment to making theological education accessible and relevant to leaders from diverse backgrounds is reflected in an incoming student body that’s 68% people of color and almost half LGBTQ+ identifying.
Incoming student Veronica Schindler, who’s coming to PSR to pursue a calling to become a prison chaplain said, “PSR supports the two passions that I have been pursuing for the last eight years, becoming an anti-racist and knowing God. I have come to know that I can no longer stay silent about the institutionalized and systemic racism that is harming our country.”
Some students come to PSR after searching the globe to find the education they need to live the life they dream of. One student, who asked not to be named, comes from a family of pastors and has dreamed of being one himself, but his home country has no mainstream denominational churches that can ordain or recognize an openly queer pastor like himself.
“I dream of being an unapologetic, mature, spiritual, healthy queer pastor capable of pastoring an inclusive church in the U.S. A fearless pastor is what I aspire to be. It is my intention to follow the PSR community’s ‘unafraid’ theological spirit after commencement, and I look forward to doing so.”
“Against a backdrop of rising Christian nationalism PSR stands as a beacon of hope for compassionate Christians,” said VP of Enrollment and Marketing, Murry Evans. “The trajectory of our enrollment growth against the backdrop of national trends underscores the quality and relevance of a PSR education. I am thrilled to witness this historic moment that showcases PSR’s innovative curriculum and unwavering dedication to radical inclusion. We take pride in preparing fearless pastors, unafraid scholars, and compassionate change-makers, all committed to creating a world where all can thrive.”