What You Need to Know
Ordination is governed and bestowed by specific religious bodies and not by the Seminary. Getting your MDiv does not guarantee ordination. Approval as a candidate for ordination is a separate and parallel track to the admissions process at MTS. Be sure to consult your denominational authorities about your specific ordination requirements, and we will work closely with you to help you stay on top of those requirements.
You can take many of our courses via distance learning. Some of these might be intensive classes or "hybrid" classes in which at least 50% of the course is held with all students on campus. The Seminary does not currently offer a completely online degree program. To obtain the MDiv degree, students must complete at least one year of full-time academic study or its equivalent on campus in Bethlehem, PA.
Supervised Ministry orientation takes place over 2 semesters. Supervised Ministry 1 and Supervised Ministry 2 provide an overview of the elements and requirements of the two-year Supervised Ministry placement, including learning covenants, supervision, and evaluation. Taken during the first semester, Supervised Ministry 1 enables you to experience worship and parish life in a number of different congregations. In Supervised Ministry 2, you shadow two pastors, learning more fully about their congregations with an eye toward identifying a potential Supervised Ministry placement site.
Typically, you carry out your Supervised Ministry placement at one setting for four semesters. You participate in all areas of their ministry setting, including worship leadership, pastoral care and counseling, program development, and administrative leadership. Supervisors provide evaluations every semester. You also complete assignments from several courses at their Supervised Ministry placement, integrating learning through practical application.
You complete Portfolio 1 during the first semester of Supervised Ministry placement and Portfolio 2 during the last of the four semesters of Supervised Ministry. Portfolio courses guide your learning covenant development at the beginning of the semester and examine Supervisor evaluations at the end of the semester. You’ll also cover topics such as pastoral identity and authority, the history and life of the congregation, and ministry procedures. Projects, final assessments, and capstone sermons demonstrate your developing pastoral identity and ability to do theological reflection.
Intercultural Immersion Experiences
Within the area of Intercultural Engagement & Action, Area Electives will be designed to include intercultural immersion experiences. Depending on the design of the particular Area Elective, experiences could be local or could involve travel in the US or internationally. The courses will also include preparation for the experience, a means of processing the experience as one engages in it, and a means of debriefing after the experience and discerning ways to incorporate the learnings in one’s vocation.
Continuing Education Requirement
Each MDiv student is required to participate in at least 6 continuing education programs. You get to choose which ones you attend—and there are lots to choose from.
Adding a Concentration or Graduate Certificate
You can focus your electives on contemplative practices and spiritual formation and obtain a Concentration in Formative Spirituality, the Spiritual Direction Graduate Certificate, or the Formative Spirituality Graduate Certificate. These unique programs ground students in the contemplative tradition and offer another set of tools to use in congregations and the community.