Facebook Twitter Flickr

MDiv / MSW


Palmer Seminary’s unique M.Div. Dual Degree Program combining a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree and a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree reflects the Seminary’s longstanding commitment to holistic ministry—to caring for the spiritual, material, emotional, and social needs of others. Candidates for this dual degree may envision a career as a pastor or in some other professional Christian ministry in which they want to integrate social work into their ministry activities. Or they may want to become professional social workers with a solid theological and spiritual foundation for their work.

It is possible for students who wish to combine theological education and ministry preparation with social work credentials to earn the M.Div. and M.S.W. degrees in a total of four years.  The two degrees taken separately would normally take three and two years, respectively.  The Seminary waives the equivalent of one year of full-time study (22 course units) in the M.Div. program.  Thus, 44 course units (out of a total of 66) must be earned in the M.Div. program.

The following policies and procedures apply to this degree program:

  1. The student applies for and is accepted into the M.Div. program.
  2. During the first year, M.Div. first-year core courses, including INTG 515 Social Work and Christianity, are completed satisfactorily for a total of 18-22 course units (28 max.)
  3. The student applies and is accepted into an M.S.W. degree program of an accredited college or university.
  4. The student enrolls in the required M.Div./M.S.W. Internship Seminar for 2 years.
  5. M.S.W. degree work is completed satisfactorily.
  6. The student returns to the Seminary for a second year of M.Div. study, with the following conditions:
  • that the program of study for this final year be determined in consultation with the academic advisor for the M.Div/M.S.W., in light of the student’s vocational goals;
  • that the student complete all remaining course units;
  • that the student produce an major research paper (40 to 50 pages for 2 units, or 80 to 100 pages for 4 units) under the guidance of a Palmer Theological Seminary faculty member and, when possible, in consultation with a professor from the graduate department in which the M.S.W. was taken. This research paper must deal with a particular issue in the life of society and/or the church, and must integrate perspectives from social work practice, the social sciences and from the theological disciplines. The paper will be produced in conjunction with the required M.Div./M.S.W. Integrative Workshop.

Progress in this dual degree program entails moving through three stages or levels, described below.


Complete Readiness Interview paperwork during Orientation.

Take all first-level M.Div. courses as specified in Palmer’s on-line catalog. (At least 16 units, but not more than 28 units, must be completed before students begin at another school to pursue an M.S.W.). The course Social Work and Christianity is a requirement.

Take Vocational Personal Inventories. (Note: The assessment dimension of this program is designed to enable students, peers, faculty, and staff, to assess students’ readiness for ministry, which includes evaluating their progress both academically and in terms of spiritual growth and the development of ministry skills. It is designed to be instructive, not punitive, in nature.)

Participate in a Readiness Interview for Level Two with faculty advisor and one other faculty member before applying to a social work school of their choice.

Participate in 10 to 20 sessions with an individual counselor to prepare personally and professionally for work in the social work field.


Participate in Integrating Social Work and Ministry (Palmer Seminary June term) before going to another school for social work in the Fall. Students participate in this course each subsequent year they are in social work school, completing the series in the June term prior to their return to the Seminary.

Mid-Program Assessment. This takes place during the June term immediately prior to students’ return to the Seminary. They must contact the Student Formation Office and Dr. Mayra Picos-Lee to make arrangements. Students need to provide the Student Formation Office with the following material for Mid-Program Assessment:

  • Transcripts from social work school
  • A personal/professional paper
  • Two process recordings
  • Fieldwork contracts and evaluations

In the spring prior to completion of M.S.W. degree, notify the Registrar’s Office at the Seminary of the time of return to the Seminary.


Return to Palmer to complete the M.Div. degree.

With advisor’s assistance, choose appropriate courses that relate to professional and vocational goals – selecting a minimum of 18 units from required second- or third-level M.Div. core courses. Note: Students wishing to pursue ordination are required to take Biblical Interpretation, Intro to Preaching, Theology and Practice of Worship, Evangelism and Renewal, Theological Field Education, and Systematic Theology and Ethics (or equivalent classes, as approved by the Registrar’s office).

Complete an M.Div./M.S.W. Integrative Paper/Project for either 2 or 4 units and take the M.Div./M.S.W. Integrative Workshop during the Fall and Spring semesters

Complete M.Div./M.S.W. Integrative Paper/Project before graduation

In May of the final year, students present their Integrative Paper/Project to faculty, students, friends, and colleagues.

Students are eligible to graduate after having successfully completed 44 units at the Seminary and an M.S.W.

Prospective students who have questions about the M.Div/M.S.W cooperative degree program may contact the Admissions Office: 800-222-3872, ext. 2948, semadmis@eastern.edu