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Master of Divinity

Master of Divinity

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is the standard degree required by many church denominations prior to ordination to pastoral ministry.  Palmer Seminary prepares pastors for ministry in several different denominations.  Students take the same core courses, then move on to upper-level courses that address denominational requirements.  However, not all who earn the Master of Divinity go on to pastoral ministry.  The MDiv prepares men and women for a variety of ministry-oriented vocations.

Whereas many other schools typically assign a certain number of credits (usually 3) to standard courses, Palmer's "currency" is the unit.  Most regular, semester-long courses at Palmer are two-unit courses.  Earning the Master of Divinity degree requires the successful completion of a total of 66 units.  Full-time students typically complete this degree in three years.

Interviews with Palmer Seminary Graduates

 
Curriculum

Palmer's MDiv curriculum is organized around three levels: I, II and III.  Following is a listing of MDiv courses along with their associated unit values.

Writing and Language Requirements
A Guide to Seminary Writing
Critical Analysis in Theological Studies
New Testament Greek or Biblical
     Hebrew
Greek Exegesis or Hebrew Exegesis

Units
1
1
2

2
Total 6 units

Level I Required Courses
Biblical Interpretation for Ministry
Old Testament Pentateuch
Old Testament Historical Books
Gospels and Acts
Spiritual Formation
Foundations of Pastoral Care and
     Counseling
Theology and Ethics of Congregational Life
The Church in Mission Through History

Units
2
2
2
2
2
2

2
2
Total 16 units

Level II Required Courses
Old Testament Prophets or
     Pauline Epistles
Systematic Theology and Ethics:
     Vision of Community
Systematic Theology and Ethics:
     Reign of God
Introduction to Homiletics
Preaching Practicum
Boundaries and Systems for Ministry
Pastoral Leadership
Church Renewal & Evangelism

Units
2

2

2

2
2
2
2
2
Total 16 units

Level III Required Courses
Advanced Topics in Systematic Theology
     and Ethics or Biblical Theology
Christian World Mission
Theology and Practice of Worship
Integrative Seminar

Units
2

2
2
2
Total 8 units

Sample courses in Advanced Topics in Systematic Theology and Ethics include Theology and a Movie, Christology Seminar, Global South Theologies and Politics, Theology and Ethics of Martin Luther King, Jr., Church as Community of Compassion, Introduction to Latino/Latina Theologies, and Theologies of Non-Violence and Social Change.

Required Electives (Level II or III) in the following areas:
Bible, Theology, or Ethics
Christian Heritage
Practice of Ministry

Units

2
2
2
Total 6 units

Free Electives (typically 4 Level II or III courses):

8 units

Internship Requirements (Levels II and III)

Over the course of the MDiv program, students serve as interns in ministry settings for academic credit (minimum of 6 units). Specific details of Clinical Pastoral Education, Clinical Pastoral Care, and Theological Field Education experiences vary based on such factors as student interest, denominational requirements, and the scheduling needs of the host ministry.

6 units

Total Units: 66