Master of Divinity
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Master of Divinity Program Description
The Master of Divinity degree program is intended to prepare students with the knowledge, insight, passion, and skills needed for ministry in a variety of settings that include churches, hospitals, service organizations, art studios, music recording houses, and the various secular positions that our graduates may pursue as part of their ministries.
At The Seattle School we believe that Christians are beginning to think of ministry in broader terms. The Seattle School asks its students to consider these questions: What does it mean for the church to be present in the world, to be involved in the arts? How can the church engage society with the truth and beauty of the gospel? What does it mean for the church to bring a creative imagination and a compelling message to our cultures in this new century, this new millennium? The Seattle School believes that an effective Master of Divinity degree should prepare the student to interweave an understanding of the Biblical text, the human soul, and culture.
The Seattle School Master of Divinity program asserts an integrated approach allowing students to form Christian worldviews from the interplay of spiritual, cultural, and psychological studies. This program emphasizes theological reflection as well as relational and spiritual growth.
The heart of the program is the applied training that accompanies the classroom experience. Students participate in a minimum of three practicums in which they explore personal and professional issues under the guidance of faculty and trained mentors serving as facilitators.
Understanding the pedagogical roots of The Seattle School Master of Divinity Program
Trinitarian and Missional Foundations
Beginning with an understanding that the presence of our Triune God is made manifest in our daily lives through relationship, our programs are structured in a way that reflects God’s communal way of being. The Seattle School classroom takes a dialogical approach, where conversation and discourse steer the learning process. We embody a relational teaching model in our classrooms, reading groups, and practicums, and embrace relationship as an opportunity to see the face of Christ reflected in each other.
Beyond simply teaching theology for the sake of knowledge, students study theology – the work of asking “who is God?” – in order to partner alongside God’s redemptive action in the world.
The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology seeks to form ministry leaders who see the heart of the church as missional – whether it’s through preaching on Sunday or brewing coffee on Monday. Our call is to seek relationship with our neighbors in order to experience the Kingdom of God as reality. As students embark on their theological journey at The Seattle School and beyond, they begin to understand the significance and impetus for relationship and community.
Cohort Structure: Journey with Peers
Community is a significant aspect of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology experience, providing students a cohort to journey with as they intentionally learn what it means to be with others.
Traditionally, students begin the fall term taking a series of courses together with other new students from all three programs. During this first term, a spirit of community and group collaboration is built through a dialogical classroom atmosphere and neighborhood reading groups that provide the space to dig deeper into course content and materials.
Diversity in Christian Faith Backgrounds
The Seattle School is a school of inter-denominational orientation. From Episcopalian to Baptist to Vineyard to Methodist, students at The Seattle School come from many different faith backgrounds. This variety provides students with the opportunity to learn from each other’s faith traditions, as well as see the blessings that the various Christian orientations o¤er the Church.
Our faculty come from a variety of church traditions but share a common vision for training students to listen and care for one another in order to serve the Body of Christ.
Integration of Theology and Psychology
The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is an institution that believes that God is a God of relationship. From creation to covenant to the incarnation, the grace and presence of God is revealed through God’s interaction within humanity.
The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology macs and mdiv programs, grounded in a Relational Psychology and Trinitarian Theology, challenge the student to enter into the sacredness of the human relationship, knowing that through this endeavor, the Holy is present and active.
The psychological integration extends beyond a therapeutic setting and serves to shape the pedagogy and community life as a whole. The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is unprecedented in crafting degree programs that embody this relational mission in every aspect of its coursework and practical experience.
Believing that learning is fostered by felt experience over information gathering, The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology curriculum has been intentionally constructed to provide students with hands-on, practical experience.
Throughout the program, mdiv and macs students participate in practicum courses that facilitate their growth as practitioners through small group interaction, supervised practice counseling opportunities, faculty and facilitator feedback. An emphasis on praxis – found in practicums, classroom training, and internship ﬁeld experience – provides students with a holistic learning environment that fosters the pastoral and cultural skills necessary for spiritual conversations and personal transformation to happen.
Because of our emphasis on learning through doing, alumni are able to step into the work of pastoring with both a deep sense of their personal impact as well as the tools and experience gained through their education.
Personal Transformation Through Story
Who we are is at the root of what we do. At The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, we honor the story that has brought each of us to where we are.
Whether in a church setting or in a classroom, The Seattle School holds to the belief that every person has a story that is unique, significant and deserving to be heard and known. Embedded within the curriculum and the culture at The Seattle School is a spirit of exploration and a desire to know one’s own story – for the sake of redemption in these stories and transformation in the stories of others. The Seattle School invites students, both in group practicum contexts and in reflective coursework, to embrace the philosophy that you can only take another as far as you have gone yourself.
The educational content of the degree program is designed to meet the ordination/licensure requirements for many denominations. When specific courses other than those already listed in the course offerings are required for ordination/licensure in particular traditions, The Seattle School will approve those courses for individualized research or as electives. It is the responsibility of each student to be aware of the educational requirements leading to ordination/licensure in her/his intended church/denominational setting.
Upon completion of the Master of Divinity degree, the graduate should be able to:
- Demonstrate the assimilation of the core theological principles of her/his tradition and of the evangelical position.
- Demonstrate a proficiency in exegeting and interpreting the texts of both the Hebrew and Greek Bibles.
- Demonstrate an ability to present the biblical text with accuracy and passion.
- Articulate an awareness of multicultural issues within a specific context.
- Introduce others to the mystery of speaking the truth and the implications of speaking it in a postmodern context.
- Compare and contrast the core theological and hermeneutical issues within diverse traditions and differing theological perspectives.
- Evidence the skills necessary to effectively care for the spiritual needs of future congregants, counselors, students, etc. (This will be assessed after completion of the Mentored Ministry internship).
- Evidence interpersonal skills needed for effective ministry or community service.
- Identify and articulate aims and objectives for life-long personal and professional development in ministry.
The Seattle School offers the Master of Divinity (MDIV.) degree for students seeking graduate education in ministry. In addition to the school’s general educational goals, the Master of Divinity program endeavors to achieve the following goals:
- Prepare students to pursue intercultural service, pastoral counseling, Christian education, chaplaincy, and related areas of service.
- Prepare students who intend to further their postgraduate education by pursuing terminal degrees in the fields of theology or biblical studies.
- Promote students’ personal growth through understanding their own relational dynamics.
- Inter-relate biblical, theological, and cultural studies with the fields of ministerial training, pastoral counseling, and practical courses designed to help students relate to cultural paradigm shifts.
- Prepare students for ordination/licensure as ministers of the Word and Sacrament in various denominations and church settings.
The Master of Divinity degree is conferred upon the attainment of academic and personal requirements. In addition to the graduate school requirements, degree candidates must give evidence of a level of personal maturity and stability that is consistent with ministry vocations; and complete all courses in the prescribed Master of Divinity curriculum with a minimum GPA of 2.7.