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.
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Course Requirements for the MDiv
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.
Current PSR Course that fulfills this requirement
Expected Year & Semester MDiv students should take this requirement
Biblical Studies (9 credits)
OT 1115 or OT 8114 (3 credits) 1st year Fall New
NT 1016 (3 credits) 1st year Fall Upper Level
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 1120 (3 credits) 1st year Spring Theology (ST) ST 2160 (3 credits) 2nd year Fall Ethics (CE) CE 1051 (3 credits) 2nd year Spring Upper level
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 (FE)
FE 1005 (3 credits) & FE 1006 (3 credits)--6 credits total 2nd year Fall and Spring
Formation for Religious Leadership (6 credits)
SPFT 1080 (1.5 credits) 1st year; 1st half of Fall Leadership (FT) FT 2923 (3 credits) 3rd year Fall Senior
MDV 4500 or 8400 (1.5 credits) 3rd year 1st half of Spring
Cultural Resources for Ministry (9 credits)
RA 1156 (3 credits) 1st year Spring Faith Tradition
Any 3 credit HR course that centers around a religion whose main text is not the "Christian Bible". Examples of eligble 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
see list of approved immersions for the year (3 credits) Intersession any year
Ministerial Practices for Leadership (12 credits)
LS 1201 (3 credits) 1st year Spring Homiletics (HM) HM 2244 (3 credits) 2nd year Fall Pastoral Care
PS 1060 (3 credits) 3rd year Spring Christian
ED 1530 (3 credits) 2nd year Spring
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. For this same information listed by year and term, consult the Suggested Sequencing of courses for a 3-year Program.
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 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, 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 that fulfill this 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:
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 (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:
Academic Program Manual, Forms, & Guidelines for the MDiv
Suggested Sequencing of Courses for a Three-Year Program
Suggested Sequencing of Courses for students entering Fall 2010 and after
Suggested Sequencing for students entering before Fall 2010
MDiv Program Assessment Rubric
For more information on how to apply for the MDiv, consult the Admissions Information and Requirements chart and contact Admissions.