The Master of Divinity is the most widely recognized degree for religious professionals, including ordained elders
a practical foundation for the work of ministry and the theological insights to interpret Christianity for the contemporary world.
Biblia sacra polyglotta, London 1657, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Drew University Library
Theological School responds to the shooting of Trayvon Martin on Feburary 26, 2012.
Student, Master of Divinity
“The best preparation for a pastor is broad experience in the multifaceted work of ministry. I got to do so much in my supervised ministry—direct education programs, provide pastoral care, preach and lead services from baptisms to funerals. And the classroom component at Drew was both intense and supportive; we were a small group of students coming together to share and learn from each other. Most importantly, the experience validated that I had been called by God to do this work.”
My Favorite Course
“PREP offered a unique opportunity to learn with ‘inside students,’ whom you would never encounter in a regular seminary class. What these women taught me was a different approach to hearing scripture and thinking about God. This class, and the work of ministry, is about finding and connecting with people wherever they are on their journey.”
Margaret Currier Student, Master of Divinity,
on her Partnership for Religion and Education in Prison (PREP) course
Learn more about PREP
Graduation Requirements for Master of Divinity
The M.Div. program may be completed in three years of full-time study and a degree is awarded at the satisfactory completion of 84 credits.
The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) provides graduate training for ministry as an ordained parish pastor, but can be used to prepare for professional ministries beyond traditional church appointments. The M.Div. emphasizes foundational principles necessary in the practice of ministry. Candidates are expected to gain understanding in the Christian faith and in the capacity to interpret that faith in the contemporary world; to grow as persons of faith while exercising the responsibilities of leadership; to become aware of social processes that have an impact on people's everyday lives as well as the interactions of the church and society; and to develop professional competencies important to an effective ministry.
The following learning outcomes are anticipated for Master of Divinity students:
- the ability to see the holy in all life –in the entirety of creation
- the ability to read and interpret scripture and other sacred texts with cultural sensitivity, ethical awareness, and a critical understanding of their histories, interpretations, and applications in church and society
- the ability to think theologically with imagination, openness, and analytical insight
- the ability to interpret histories of Christian thought and practice critically and creatively, engaging the otherness of the past while also rendering it relevant to current contexts and emerging possibilities
- the ability to hear God's call to recognize and address injustice and inequality in the social structuring of gender, ethnicity, race, class, disabilities, and sexual identity
- the capacity to exercise effective leadership in both ecclesial and public contexts through, for example, preaching, teaching, pastoral care, worship, and justice ministries
- the development of communal and personal practices that nourish spiritual and moral well-being.
- transformative engagement during the seminary years with religious pluralism and cultural difference in the classroom, on cross cultural trips, and in community life
The M.Div. program is designed to be completed in three years of full-time study. Students who carry heavy employment or other responsibilities may extend this an additional year by carrying a lighter but still full-time load. Financial assistance may be awarded for no more four years (including the January and summer terms during those years) and all requirements for the degree must be completed within seven years of the date of initial matriculation. Students may not take more than 15 credits in the fall or spring semester or 3 credits in the January term without approval of the Academic Standing Committee.
Students who cannot attend seminary full time may apply for the Extended Track Program of the Theological School. In this program, students take 15-18 credits per year including fall and spring semesters, January term, and summer terms. The program takes five to six years to complete on this track. Scholarships apply to all courses (even if the student is enrolled in only three credits) up to a total of six years (including January and summer terms during those years). There are a limited number of spaces available for Extended Track students. Students should indicate an interest in this program on their application form.
Students must complete a minimum of forty-two credits at Drew Theological School. Students with credits earned elsewhere at the graduate level may apply for transfer credit. Transfer credits do not replace any required courses. Students may petition to waive requirements based on previous course work on a case-by-case basis. For more information on transfers and waivers see the Academic Policies section of the catalogue.
Credits for the M.Div. are earned in a combination of regular semester-long courses held on Drew's campus in Madison, New Jersey, online courses, intensive courses that meet in a compressed time period (one to three weeks), hybrid courses that combine on-campus meetings with online work, and off-site courses such as supervised ministry placements, travel seminars, and courses that meet at one of New Jersey's state prisons. Most courses meet once per week and are offered at daytime or nighttime hours. While there is substantial flexibility in the course offerings, it is not possible at this time to complete the M.Div. with entirely night/weekend courses, online courses, or with traveling to Drew only one day per week.
The M.Div. is awarded at the satisfactory completion of 84 credits: 51 required and 33 elective. Students are encouraged to use elective credits to shape the curriculum to their own professional goals, to fulfill specific denominational requirements for ordination, and to become more proficient in areas where future ministry needs or study interests may have been identified.
The M.Div. required courses are as follows:
- BBST 501 - Biblical Literature I: Torah, Prophets, Writings
An introduction to the first testament as a source for understanding and appropriating the religious experiences, insights, commitments, and expectations of the various communities of ancient Israel. The focus is on learning to interpret biblical texts with theological and ethical sensitivity, using the tools and skills of historical-critical, social-scientific, literary-critical, and contextual research.
Offered: fall semester annually.
- BBST 511 - Biblical Literature II: Gospels, Epistles, Apocalypse
An introduction to the history, literature, and religion of earliest Christianity. The focus is on learning to interpret biblical texts with theological and ethical sensitivity, using the tools and skills of historical-critical, social-scientific, literary-critical, and contextual research.
Offered: spring semester annually.
- CHST 502 - Church History 1
The history of Christianity, emphasizing its social and theological development, from the first century to the end of the 15th century.
Offered: fall semester annually.
- CHST 503 - Church History 2
A continuation of CHST 502, beginning with the backgrounds to the Protestant Reformation and continuing to the 21st century, emphasizing social and institutional developments and theological traditions.
Offered: spring semester annually.
- TPHL 501 - Systematic Theology(Same as: LGON 601.)
Systematic and constructive interpretations of central themes of Christian faith: God, Creation, Humanity, Sin, Jesus Christ, Salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Church, Eschatology.
- CSOC 501 - Christian Ethics(Same as: COMFE 400.)
An overview of central concepts and issues in Christian social ethics, with particular attention to how those concepts and issues arise in the lives of diverse Christian communities. Preferably to be taken by M.Div. students in the second year of study, and after CSOC 500 and TPHL 501.
Prerequisite: TPHL 501 and CSOC 500.
- CSOC 500 - Religion and the Social Process
An introduction to sociological thinking that combines conceptual and experiential content. Students become more sensitive to and informed about current social problems. Focuses on situations of oppression and uses "the view from below" as a key to the entire social process and, specifically, the role of the church in that process. To be taken by students in the M.Div. program in the first year of study. Offered fall and spring semesters and sometimes in the summer.
- PSTH 501 - Pastoral Formation 1
The Pastoral Formation course is designed for students to explore issues of vital importance to persons preparing for full time ministry. Through readings, small group discussion, written papers, and interaction with active clergy, students will delve into the theology and practice of ministry paying particular attention to the questions: What are some of the theological and biblical foundations for the ordained ministry? What does it mean to be a pastor? What are the specific tasks of the ordained ministry? Am I called to the ordained ministry?
- PSTH 502 - Pastoral Formation 2
The second semester of the Pastoral Formation course is designed for students to explore issues of vital importance to persons preparing for full time ministry. Through readings, small group discussion, written papers, and interaction with active clergy, students will delve into the theology and practice of ministry paying particular attention to the questions: What are some of the theological and biblical foundations for the ordained ministry? What does it mean to be a pastor? What are the specific tasks of the ordained ministry? Am I called to the ordained ministry?
- PSTH 503 - Introduction to Educational Ministry
This first-level course is intended to provide the learner with an introduction to theory and methodology of Christian Education from a liberation perspective. Christian education, for the purposes of this course, is the theory and practice (praxis or art) of nurturing faith. This course leans heavily upon the development of critical thinking skills. With the permission of the professor, one elective course may be taken before the Introduction to Educational Ministry. The elective course cannot be substituted for the introductory course.
Offered: in fall and spring semesters annually.
- CSOC 504 - Introduction to Pastoral Care
This course is an introduction to the ministry of pastoral care and counseling, with an emphasis on the helping relationship, theological understandings of pastoral care, pastoral uses of psychotherapeutic theories and strategies for change, various forms of pastoral care and counseling, and various cultural contexts.
- PSTH 505 - The Church at Worship: Worship
This course is a required, semester-long course for M.Div. and an elective for MA in Min candidates normally offered during the second year of study at Drew. This course is part of an interdisciplinary approach to worship, ritual, prayer, and music. Its primary goal is to provide historical, theological, and practical resources for leading public worship. It will include a brief history of hymnody as well as the role of music in emerging forms of worship. Students will gain new perspectives on their own worship tradition by gaining a broader understanding of historical traditions and contemporary expressions of Christian worship in an ecumenical context.
Instructor signature required.
- PSTH 506 - The Church at Worship: Preaching
This course is a required course for M. Div. students and an elective for MA in Ministry candidates. The course is designed to be an introductory examination of the place of preaching in the liturgical life of the church and a prerequisite for other Homiletics offerings. Students will explore both the person and the practice of preaching. Students will learn, listen, and practice the task of preaching in peer groups for engagement and feedback. Sermons will be presented in required preaching precept groups. Students will explore the relationship of preaching to both liturgy and music.
Offered: every semester.
Prerequisite: The prerequisites are BBST 501 and BBST 511. It is strongly recommended that students take PSTH 548 prior to taking this course.
- PSTH 521 - Supervised Ministry 1
Normally taken by full time M.Div. candidates in the second year. Related to a setting of ministry throughout the year. Weekly seminars on campus focusing on issues and problems of ministry, particularly the relationship between one's own theological understanding and style of ministry. An evaluation session in the ministry setting at the end of each semester provides students with feedback and general evaluation of their work in ministry.
- PSTH 522 - Supervised Ministry 2
The continuation of PSTH 521 which must be completed before enrolling in PSTH 522.
- A course in World Religions (often TPHL 508)
- An advance Theology elective
- A cross-cultural course (see http://www.drew.edu/theological/programs-of-study/cross-cultural-program/)
Entering students are advised to complete approximately 15-18 credits of required courses in the first two semesters:
- Biblical Literature 1 and 2 (6 credits)
- Pastoral Formation 1 and 2 (3 credits)
- Church History 1 and/or 2 (3 to 6 credits)
- Introduction to Educational Ministries, Religion and the Social Process, or Systematic Theology (3 credits)
Taking onlyrequired courses in the first year is possible, but not recommended. Choose the remaining credits from electives that provide opportunities for exploration and/or alternative modes of learning.
Some students will be required to take TPHL 584 Theological Research and Writing. This course is also open to any student wanting to improve their academic writing skills. ESOL students usually take a sequence of THPH 549 A-D: Theological Language and Learning.
- Second year students commonly take Supervised Ministry 1 and 2, Church @ Worship (both Worship and Preaching), and two or three required courses, again striving for a balance in workload, progress, and interest.
- Students are encouraged to take their cross-cultural course in their second or third year.
- Required courses are offered at night, in the January or summer terms, and in hybrid format on an unpredictable schedule. Commuter students are encouraged to consider these special offerings whenever possible.
Additional Suggestions for Enriching your Educational Experience:
- Take classes with a range of Drew professors. They each have different talents and expertise.
- Consider taking a course in PREP. This innovative program allows you to join your Drew professor and go into either Edna Mahan correctional facility (for women) or Northern State correctional facility (for men) to co-learn alongside Drew's "inside" students among the incarcerated population on New Jersey.
- Attend chapel. It is an important part of Drew's shared spiritual and communal life. Consider chapel practicum (PSTH 565) or singing in the seminary choir (PSTH 575) as a one-credit experience (both are P/F).
- Attend non-classroom events. Lectures, panels, special services, and other events are announced by e-mail in Theo Update, the bi-weekly Theological School e-newsletter.
- Students at Drew may cross-register to take courses at New York Theological School or Union Seminary in New York. For more information, see the Registrar's office.