3 years ~ Full-time enrollment of required credits per semester ~90 Credit Hours
The Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree is designed as a three-year program of preparation for ministry. It is the normative degree to prepare persons for ordained ministry, and can also be used for general pastoral and religious leadership responsibilities in congregations and other settings.
Graduates of the Master of Divinity program at Seminary of the Southwest will display integral formation in these three areas:
- Being: They will embody faithful Christian living as persons of well-formed character and generous intellect, exhibiting spiritual maturity, self-understanding, healthy relationships, and social concern.
- Knowing: They will demonstrate proficient knowledge of Scripture, History, Theology, Liturgy, Ethics, Pastoral Theology, and Contemporary Context, with particular attention to Anglican and Episcopal perspectives.
- Doing: They will be prepared to exercise leadership in the church and in the public square, bringing the tradition to bear on the challenges of the contemporary world as they proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and carry out Jesus’ ministry of healing and reconciliation.
Beth Jordan, Enrollment Manager
Master of Divinity (MDiv)
The curriculum at Southwest is designed to foster a faith and practice in which growth in the knowledge and love of God is rooted in Christ’s ministry of reconciliation. Grounded in Christ’s reconciling work, faithful disciples negotiate the boundaries that determine forms of identity, as well as divide and separate human beings.
Consequently, the education we offer seeks to reach across the ethnic, racial, sexual, economic, and political boundaries that stand in the way of reconciliation. We wish our students to engage in reconciliation not just theoretically, but practically, addressing contemporary social divisions and conflicts with an intelligence and will shaped by “the mind of Christ.”
Study at Southwest is a crucial stage in formation for ministry, a process that begins with the development of Christian character before students enter seminary and continues with apprenticeship in ministry after they leave. The seminary attempts to model the kind of Christian community that the Gospel demands: a hospitable community whose common life of prayer, worship, study, and work witnesses to God’s glory and serves God’s loving will. From their participation here in study and practice, we trust students will dedicate themselves with joy and confidence to the challenging and holy calling to ministry.
The degree is normally completed in three years of full-time study, however there is a four-year plan of study available. Students must complete all requirements within seven calendar years from the date of entry into the program. Prior to being awarded the MDiv degree all students must pass the General Orientation Exams (GOE), which is to be taken in January of the third year. Additionally, full-time enrollment (12 credits or more) is required during the two consecutive semesters immediately preceding graduation.
The curriculum implements our conviction that Christian leaders are best prepared through a disciplined engagement in worship and prayer, accompanied by a knowledge of the Christian tradition that is both critically examined and effectively related to the social and historical environment in which it is to be lived and proclaimed. The faculty at Southwest seeks to immerse their students in that tradition and at the same time provide them with the critical tools for evaluating its various expressions through the ages. Because Episcopalians have received their faith and way of life as members of the Anglican Communion of churches, Southwest seeks also to immerse students in this particular tradition and in so doing makes them aware both of the ecumenical significance of Anglicanism and of the rich diversity afforded them by membership in a world-wide communion of churches.
Concentrations in the Master of Divinity curriculum are available in Latino/Hispanic Studies and Chaplaincy (Military, Health Care, or School). Students interested in a concentration inform their advisor in year two of the MDiv degree and must take two of the six electives in the specified track.
Seminary of the Southwest collaborates with diocesan authorities and follows canonical requirements in the processes of discernment and formation for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. These processes work best when there is good communication among applicants, their dioceses and the seminary. Episcopal applicants for the Master of Divinity degree should therefore be familiar with the policies of their own dioceses regarding seminary admission. Applicants who are not in a diocesan process leading toward ordination are urged to consider consultation with their parish or diocese. Similar advice is extended to applicants from other denominations.
Postulancy- or for non-Episcopalians, the analogous formal ecclesiastical endorsement- is not a prerequisite for admission to the MDiv program.
For students who wish to enter the Master of Divinity program who are non-postulants, please note the following policy established by the Board of Trustees. Episcopal students seeking ordination, who have not received approval from a Commission on Ministry and therefore, are not postulants, may be admitted to the Master of Divinity program under the following conditions:
- Before acceptance, the Dean will contact the applicant’s bishop to inform him/her that Southwest is considering the admission.
- The Dean will request a letter from the bishop acknowledging the above conversation together with any comments on the proposed admission.
- The student’s transcript will include under “other information,” the words “This student is not pursuing/did not pursue the MDiv program for the purposes of ordination in the Episcopal church under the provisions of Title III.”
- Seminary of the Southwest will not support students in finding a sponsoring diocese and any discernment process into which the student enters must be undertaken entirely at the student’s own initiative and responsibility.
- Seminary of the Southwest will not sponsor non-postulants for taking the General Ordination Exam. All candidates need Diocesan sponsorship for this examination.