Master of Divinity

Master of Divinity

Purpose

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) program is designed for women and men preparing to be Christian pastors, missionaries, chaplains, or some other form of Christian service. The MDiv curriculum is designed to enable students to prepare for ordination, licensing, or recording.1

Curriculum

The MDiv curriculum is designed around biblical, theological, and historical foundations courses, leadership-in-ministry courses, pastoral studies courses, spiritual formation courses, and (optional) specialization courses. The student has the ability to customize his or her training to fit any particular interest or calling.

Program Objectives

The MDiv Program will:

  • Foster students’ knowledge of their Christian heritage, through the study of the Bible and theology
  • Offer tools for exegeting the cultural contexts in which students will serve, through historical, theological, and cultural reflection
  • Encourage students’ growth in spiritual depth and moral integrity, particularly through the spiritual formation curriculum
  • Equip students for ministerial and public leadership, through coursework in pastoral studies and ministry leadership

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Interact with Christian Scripture, history, and theology; interpret understandings critically and express them faithfully
  • Cultivate tools and habits to pursue an ever-deepening sense of the reality of Jesus Christ through spiritual formation
  • Experience themselves and relate to others as created in God's image and called into community
  • Support the just transformation of societies through personal and social holiness motivated by love
  • Lead the church under the lordship of Jesus Christ in its mission and ministries
  • Preach, teach, exercise pastoral care, equip, and lead in local churches and Christian communities

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the MDiv program must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university,2 with a minimum GPA of 3.0. In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Submit Portland Seminary application and application fee
  • Submit one official transcript from each college/university attended
  • Resumé
  • Personal mission statement and statement of faith
  • Three letters of reference (as specified in admissions materials)
  • An interview

Transfer Credit

Transfer of up to 39 hours of credit is allowed toward the MDiv program from ATS-accredited graduate schools. Students must have earned a grade of B or better for a course to be considered for transfer. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the registrar's office for information on eligibility of transfer credit.

Credits in Residence and Program Delivery Formats

Residence, as described in this section of the catalog, does not refer to the time a student spends on campus. It refers to the portion of a degree program that students are required to earn with Portland Seminary, as compared to transfer credits and credit applied as advanced standing. With regard to the MDiv program, students are required to complete half of the degree (39 semester hours) directly with Portland Seminary. A leave of absence is valid for up to one year, after which the student must reapply to the program. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.

Course Requirements

The MDiv program is generally three to four years in length, with 78 semester hours of coursework required as a minimum for graduation. Of those hours, 20 are in biblical studies courses, 16 in Christian history and theology, 6 in spiritual formation and discipleship, 12 in pastoral studies, and 12 in leadership. The remaining 12 hours are in a chosen area of specialization or electives. The specializations offered are Biblical Studies Specialization, Chaplaincy Specialization, Christian History and Theology Specialization, Creation Care Specialization, Intercultural Studies Specialization, Leadership Specialization, Spiritual Direction Specialization, and Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Specialization.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the MDiv degree, students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 78 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Successfully complete each milestone
  • Be admitted to candidacy for the degree
  • Be recommended by the seminary faculty for graduation from Portland Seminary of George Fox University

Chaplaincy

Clinical Pastoral Education
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) brings seminary students into supervised ministry with people in crisis. The heart of CPE is ministry with people and learning from that ministry through reflection, discussion, and evaluation with other students and a certified CPE supervisor. CPE training centers are usually located in hospitals and medical centers. Portland Seminary is a member of the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. Any seminary student in the MDiv degree program may choose to do his or her internship in a CPE setting; students in the chaplaincy specialization are required to complete a CPE internship. Students pay regular seminary tuition for seminary credits awarded for CPE units. However, because students also pay tuition to their CPE site, Portland Seminary students may be eligible to be reimbursed for that hospital tuition. Reimbursement is limited to 75 percent of the seminary tuition paid for the credits awarded for CPE experience. Students can apply for reimbursement by submitting receipts upon successful completion of the CPE program. Students who feel called to hospital chaplaincy would take the following recommended path at Portland Seminary and beyond:

Hospital Chaplaincy Path
Students pursuing hospital chaplaincy are advised to fulfill the following requirements:

1. Acceptance into the MDiv degree program with chaplaincy specialization (while some hospitals accept people with seminary MA degrees as chaplains, the MDiv offers more long-term options [and a minimum of 72 semester hours is required for board certification]).

2. Completion of a unit of CPE training at an approved training site. The chaplaincy specialization includes CPE training (worth 6 credit hours at the seminary). CPE internships are typically offered in two formats:

  • Summer 11-week intensive (full-time) = 1 unit of CPE (100 hours of structured group supervision and training and 300 hours of clinical practice—stipend offered by some hospitals)
  • Extended unit (part-time) = 1 unit of CPE spread over 5 months (100 hours of structured group supervision and training and some clinical practice—no stipend)

3. Ordination or a certificate of ministry from the person's denomination. “Endorsement by a judicatory” is required for board certification.

4. One year of post-MDiv residency. After completion of the MDiv, the student must apply for a year of residency at an approved CPE training hospital. These are full-time paid positions for which the individual completes an additional three to four units of CPE. The seminary CPE director keeps a file of residency positions available; these are posted on the bulletin board opposite the seminary office. Application should be made one year before desired placement.

5. Board certification. After fulfilling the requirements of the Association of Professional Chaplains, the graduate would apply for board certification. Students are encouraged to become student members of APC.

MDiv Curriculum for Hospital Chaplaincy Students
1. All the normal curriculum requirements for the MDiv degree, following the chaplaincy specialization.

2. Internship requirement would be PSTD 562 CPE one unit (6 hours, two of which are registered under PSTD 563, continued practicum). The student would not take PSTD 568/9 Ministerial Apprenticeship.

3. A student coming to the seminary with previous CPE units may register up to a maximum of 8 credit hours of PSTD 562/3/4.

Registering for PSTD 562 Clinical Pastoral Education
Students should apply for acceptance into an approved CPE center one year ahead of their desired internship date. In Oregon there are several centers: Legacy Health System, Oregon State Hospital, Providence/Portland Medical Center, Good Samaritan in Corvallis, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The ACPE directory with information concerning the centers, the contact persons, and application processes is available online at http://www.acpe.edu/. The student will contact the CPE coordinator at the preferred site, fill out an application, and pay the application fee. Once the student is accepted, he or she will register for PSTD 562. One unit of CPE is equal to 6 semester credits (two of which will be registered under PSTD 563, continued practicum). CPE courses are graded Pass/No Pass. Upon completion of the training, the student will submit the final supervision report to the seminary faculty director in order to record the course grade.

Military Chaplaincy Path
Those who feel called to military chaplaincy should contact the branch of service in which they desire to serve. The chaplain recruiter for the area will acquaint the student with the scholarships, requirements, and steps toward accomplishing this objective. Those who attend Military Chaplaincy School will receive 8 hours in lieu of the chaplaincy specialization.

Curriculum Plan

Biblical Studies Courses (20 hours)
BIST 501 Old Testament Introduction 3
BIST 502 New Testament Introduction 3
BIST 503 Engaging the Old Testament 3
BIST 504 Interpreting the New Testament: Use and Abuse of the Bible 3
 
Biblical Language Courses- Select one of the following sequences:
BIST 511 Introducing Biblical Hebrew 2
BIST 512 Interpreting the Hebrew Testament 2
Or
BIST 521 Introducing New Testament Greek 2
BIST 522 Interpreting the Greek Testament 2
 
Focused Courses- Select two of the following courses:
BIST 523 Old Testament Book Study 2
BIST 524 New Testament Book Study 2
BIST 533 Scripture in Context: Old Testament, Ancient Near East, Today 2
BIST 534 Scripture in Context: New Testament, Early Judaism, Today 2
Suggested sequence: BIST 523 or 524, then either BIST 533 or 534
Christian History and Theology Courses (16 hours)
CHTH 507 Historical Theology: Early Church through Reformation
3
CHTH 508 Essentials in Christian Theology
3
CHTH 509 History of Christianity in America 3
CHTH 510 World Religions and Christian Thought 3
 
Focused Courses- Select two of the following courses:
CHTH 530 Gender and Christian Thought 2
CHTH 533 Christian Ethics 2
CHTH 534 Poverty and Restorative Ecojustice 2
CHTH 537 The Postcolonial Church 2
Suggested sequence: CHTH 530 or 537, then CHTH 533 or 534
Leadership Courses (12 hours)
MLDR 516 Mission, Church, and Society 2
MLDR 517 Transformation in Cultures and Systems 2
MLDR 518 Theories and Praxis of Missional Leadership 2
MLDR 519 Personal Transformation 2
MLDR 531 Reconciliation and Community Engagement I 2
MLDR 532 Reconciliation and Community Engagement II 2
Pastoral Studies Courses (12 hours)
PSTD 511 Theology/Practice of Worship 2
PSTD 512 Essentials of Preaching 2
PSTD 513 Pastoral Ministry 2
PSTD 514 Pastoral Ministry II
2
PSTD 521 Pastoral Counseling and Ethics I 2
PSTD 522 Pastoral Counseling and Ethics II 2
 
Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Courses (6 hours)
SFAD 510 Knowing Self, Knowing God 1
SFAD 520 Mystical Experiences and Images of God 1
SFAD 530 Christian Prayer in a Global Context 1
SFAD 540 Spiritual Life 1
SFAD 550 Shame, Grace, and Resilience 1
SFAD 560 Spiritual Leadership 1
 

Specializations (12 hours - students must select one specialization or complete the elective option below)

Biblical Studies Specialization (12 hours)
Select any two of the following BIST studios (8 hours):
BIST 523 Old Testament Book Study 2
BIST 533 Scripture in Context: Old Testament, Ancient Near East, Today 2
or
BIST 524 New Testament Book Study 2
BIST 534 Scripture in Context: New Testament, Early Judaism, Today 2
or
BIST 551 Advanced Seminar in Northwest Semitics I 2
BIST 552 Advanced Seminar in Northwest Semitics II 2
or
BIST 555 Seminar in Biblical Studies I 2
BIST 565 Seminar in Biblical Studies II 2
or
BIST 556 Bible and Contemporary Culture I: Methods 2
BIST 557 Bible and Contemporary Culture II: Exploring Film 2
or
BIST 562 Advanced Seminar in Greek I 2
BIST 563 Advanced Seminar in Greek II 2
Apprenticeship (4 hours)
PSTD 568 Ministerial Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD 569 Ministerial Apprenticeship II 2
Chaplaincy Specialization (12 hours) 
PSTD 562 Clinical Pastoral Education: Practicum 4
PSTD 563 Chaplaincy Integrative Seminar I: Continued Practicum 2
PSTD 564 Chaplaincy Integrative Seminar II: Grief and Loss 2
Elective Studio Courses 4
Christian History and Theology Specialization (12 hours)
Select any two of the following CHTH studios (8 hours): 
CHTH 546 Ecotheology I: Theology & Stewardship of Creation 2
CHTH 547 Ecotheology II: Hope and New Creation 2
or
CHTH 548 Ecopraxis I: Keeping the Garden 2
CHTH 549 Ecopraxis II: Greening the Church 2 2
or
CHTH 528 Intercultural Studies I: Cultural Anthropology for a Postmodern World 2
CHTH 529 Intercultural Studies II: Indigenous Peoples, North American Church 2
or
CHTH 550 Indigenous Studies I: Indigenous Spiritualities 2
CHTH 551 Indigenous Studies II: Theology and Place 2
or
CHTH 558 Quaker Studies I: History and Polity of the Quaker Movement 2
CHTH 559 Quaker Studies II: Christian Practices of the Quaker Movement 2
or
CHTH 560 Wesleyan Studies I: Theology and Context of John Wesley 2
CHTH 561 Wesleyan Studies II: The Wesleyan-Holiness Movement 2
or
CHTH 562 Pentecostal Studies I: Theologies and Practices in Historical Context 2
CHTH 563 Pentecostal Studies II: Thinkers, Trends, and Innovations 2
or
CHTH 555 Seminar in Christian History and Theology I 2
CHTH 565 Seminar in Christian History and Theology II 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
PSTD 568 Ministerial Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD 569 Ministerial Apprenticeship II 2
Creation Care Specialization (12 hours)
CHTH 546 Ecotheology I: Theology & Stewardship of Creation 2
CHTH 547 Ecotheology II: Hope and New Creation 2
CHTH 548 Ecopraxis I: Keeping the Garden 2
CHTH 549 Ecopraxis II: Greening the Church 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
PSTD 568 Ministerial Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD 569 Ministerial Apprenticeship II 2
Intercultural Studies Specialization (12 hours)

CHTH 528 Intercultural Studies I: Cultural Anthropology for a Postmodern World

2
CHTH 529 Intercultural Studies II: Indigenous Peoples and the N. American Church 2
CHTH 550 Indigenous Studies I: Indigenous Spiritualities 2
CHTH 551 Indigenous Studies II: Theology and Place 2
Apprenticeship Studio
PSTD 568 Ministerial Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD 569 Ministerial Apprenticeship II 2
Leadership Specialization (12 hours)
MLDR 558 Advanced Leadership Studies I 2
MLDR 559 Advanced Leadership Studies II 2
MLDR 555 Seminar in Ministry Leadership I 2
MLDR 565 Seminar in Ministry Leadership II 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
PSTD 568 Ministerial Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD 569 Ministerial Apprenticeship II 2
Spiritual Direction Specialization (12 hours)
PSTD 521 Pastoral Counseling and Ethics I 2
PSTD 522 Pastoral Counseling and Ethics II 2
SFAD 551 Awareness and Identity I 2
SFAD 552 Awareness and Identity II 2
And
SFAD 571 Becoming a Spiritual Director I 2
SFAD 572 Becoming a Spiritual Director II 2
Or
SFAD 573 Spiritual Direction Supervision I* 2
SFAD 574 Spiritual Direction Supervision II* 2
*For students with spiritual direction experience.  Requires faculty/advisor permission
Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Specialization (12 hours)
SFAD 551 Awareness and Identity I  2
SFAD 552 Awareness and Identity II 2
SFAD 555 Seminar in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship I 2
SFAD 565 Seminar in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship II 2
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
PSTD 568 Ministerial Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD 569 Ministerial Apprenticeship II 2
Elective Studies (12 hours)
Students not opting for one of the specializations listed above fulfill these 12 credits with 4 hours of apprenticeship and 8 hours of studio/elective courses.
Apprenticeship Studio (4 hours)
PSTD 568 Ministerial Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD 569 Ministerial Apprenticeship II 2
Studio/elective courses 8

1 While the seminary provides training, it is denominations-not the seminary-that oversee the process of ordination, licensure, or recording.

2 Applicants who do not hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university may apply to the seminary, but will be required to submit additional documentation to be considered for admission.

Seminary Course Descriptions