Students may combine the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees to form a joint MDiv/MA degree. This is especially attractive to students who are preparing for a teaching ministry or those who are training for parish ministry and wish to pursue an area of particular interest before seeking a call.

The joint MDiv/MA degree requires a minimum of 105 credits, normally completed in four years of full-time study or a maximum of six years part-time study. Course and Degree requirements must satisfy those of the GTU MA program and the PSR MDiv program, sharing at most 24 credits. For a student enrolled in the MDiv program at PSR, PSR is the Common MA school of affiliation.

Through this joint degree, students will gain:

  • 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;
  • The knowledge, experience, and willingness to lead Christian communities in worship and to prepare laity to participate;
  • Focused knowledge in a chosen area of concentration in the context of the broader disciplines of theological or religious studies;
  • An ability to conduct research in theological or religious studies at the graduate level;
  • Competence and credentials for the possible pursuit of further academic studies in one of the disciplines of theological or religious studies;
  • Critical perspective on a particular religious tradition as it engages theological or religious studies.

For the MA Section of the Degree

The MA degree requires a total of 48 credits: 14 three-unit academic courses plus six units of thesis work. Two years of residence are required for satisfactory completion of the degree, and students must maintain an overall “B” average. Letter grades of B- or above in all of the 14 courses are required. The course distribution in the common MA follows:

  • Area 1: Old and New Testament Studies (BS, OT, or NT), 3 credits
  • Area 2: Historical Studies (HS), 3 credits
  • Area 3: Systematic and Philosophical Theology (PH, PT, ST), 3 credits
  • Area 4: Ethics and Social Theory or Religion & Society (CE, RS), 3 credits
  • Area of Concentration courses: 12 credits (6 of which must be advanced level, 4000 or above)
  • Electives, 18 credits
  • Thesis (MA 5000), 6 credits

MA students with an area of concentration of Biblical Languages have different course distribution requirements and an oral examination requirement rather than a thesis.


For the MDiv Section of the Degree

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 academics MDIV alternatives 15-16 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, and areas may include but are not limited to those found on the PSR Faculty Expert Areas page.
  • 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.