Master of Divinity (MDiv)
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 strengthen your spiritual and ministerial formation and effective leadership abilities;
- Insight and skill for communicating Christian faith and ethics through preaching, teaching, speaking, writing, the arts, personal embodiment, and other appropriate means;
- The capacity, experience, and willingness to assume leadership in social change on behalf of the prophetic witness of the Christian tradition and its commitment to justice and love;
- Knowledge, experience, skill and willingness to lead faith communities in worship as well as preparation and practice in caring ministries;
- An academic foundation for life-long learning as well as further degree work.
Contents of MDiv page
Milestone Due Date Entrance Interview* Oct. 30 for Fall new students; Mar. 30 for Spring new students Vocational Academic plan* last day of first academic year Middler Summary Sheet (shows your committee and date of Middler) varies--usually by the Early Registration period within your second year Middler Review and Middler Review Report* last day of you Middler year (before you complete 54 credits) Exit Interview* last day of your last year
*requires your advisor to receive and consult as needed
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 letter grade unless otherwise specified. Note that 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.
- Biblical Studies (9 credits)
- Old Testament
- New Testament
- Upper level Biblical Studies
- History, Theology, and Ethics (9-12 credits)
- Upper level Theology (students entering Fall 2010 or later)
- Field Education (6 credits)
- Formation for Religious Leadership (6 credits)
- Spiritual Formation
- Senior Integrative Seminar
- Cultural Resources for Ministry (9 credits)
- Art and Religion
- Faith Tradition other than Christianity
- Contextual/Cross-Cultural Immersion
- Ministerial Practices for Leadership (12-15 credits)
- Frameworks for Critical Engagement
(for students entering before 2008-2009 only)
- Christian Worship
- Pastoral Care
- Christian Education
- Frameworks for Critical Engagement
- PSR encourages its MDiv students to take their required courses at PSR, but every year a list of alternative courses to the PSR required basic course offerings is published from the Office of the Dean and Registrar.
27 credits are electives:
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 enolling 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, and areas may include but are not limited to those found on the GTU Fields of Study page as well as the PSR Faculty Expert Areas page.
- General Electives and Denominational Requirements (15 credits)
A total of 6 credits of either Concurrent Field Education or Internship must be transcripted for the MDiv requirement. For more information on Field Education, see Field Education.
Starting in the 2012-2013 academic Contextual Learning has only one requirements for the MDiv:
The Contextual Learning Immersion Course--This is one 3.0 credit course in the regular
catalog and may involve some travel.
This requirement has a limited approved list of courses and encounters that fulfill these requirements. For more on the requirements, see Contextual Learning.
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.
Milestones for the MDiv
For the fillable forms below, be sure to save a version on your hard or flash drive before emailing it as an attachment. Otherwise, it is possible that your entries may be erased.
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
You may either fill in this form first online, or your may choose to print this form first and fill out as a paper form.
- MDiv Vocational Academic Plan
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 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
Includes Panel Assessment Guide, Middler Review Theological/Vocational Statement guidelines, Middler Review Summary Sheet, and Midder Review Report form
Submit your Middler Review Summary Sheet before your Middler online.
Submit your Middler Review Report form after your Middler online.
- Middler Theological/Vocational Statement Examples
- 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)
Finally, you will complete a Senior Integrative Essay at the end of the M.Div. program. This essay is developed in the Senior Integrative Seminar, 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 Program manual 2012. Both parts required:
- MDiv Program manual 2011. Both parts required:
- MDiv Program manual 2010. Both parts required:
- MDiv Program Manual for 2008-2010
- MDiv Program Manual for 2007-2008
Other MDiv forms and guidelines
- MDiv Worksheet
MDiv worksheet for students entering 2010 and after
MDiv worksheet 2009-2010
MDiv worksheet for students entering 2004-2005 until 2008-2009
- Alternatives to MDiv Required Basics
Alternatives to Basics 2013-2014
Alternatives to Basics 2012-2013
Suggested Sequencing of Courses for a Three-Year Program
for students entering Fall 2010 and after
for students entering Fall 2009
for students entering Fall 2008
for students entering before Fall 2008