With world-renowned teachers and alumni, CTS is the global leader in transformational religious studies. We offer several Masters and Doctoral degrees, including Masters in Divinity, Sacred Theology and Religious Leadership.

CSBFL Degree & Non-Degree Concentrations

The CSBFL participates in ministerial and professional formation by offering Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy degree concentrations in the Study of Black Faith and Life. All degree candidates are required to take TEC 390- Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life. The number of electives required to fulfill the concentration requirements are determined by degree program.

As a CSBFL candidate, you are free to negotiate topic foci for work to be submitted when taking core courses, but such negotiations will not constitute fulfillment of the number of elective courses required for a degree concentration in the Study of Black Faith and Life. In addition to the courses offered at CTS, a candidate may work toward the fulfillment of elective requirements by taking ACTS courses pre-approved by the CSBFL director.

Concentration Requirements

To earn a concentration in the Study of Black Faith and Life, degree candidates have the following requirements:

  • M.Div.: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and seven (7) CSBFL electives.
  • STM: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and three (3) CSBFL electives.
  • Ph.D.: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and an approved Program of Study.
  • Certificate in Theological Studies: Introduction to the Study of Black Faith and Life (required) and four (4) CSBFL electives.

Affiliated Faculty

Affiliated Faculty of the CSBFL are scholars with expertise in the full range of religious studies and theological disciplines and have a fundamental commitment to research and reflection upon all aspects of African and African American life. They support the Mission, Vision, and Commitment Statements of the CSBFL, which is dedicated to nurturing and mentoring a new generation of activists who will engage in ministries of liberation and justice. They are available to consult with and offer thesis direction to Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Theology, and Doctor of Philosophy students who are committed to earning a degree with a concentration in Black Faith and Life. On occasion, a CSBFL Affiliated Faculty may be invited by Chicago Theological Seminary to guest lecture, teach a course as an Adjunct Faculty, write and evaluate a comprehensive exam, and/or examine a Ph.D. dissertation.


Church History
CH 480 - Martin, Malcolm, and Civil Religion
Julia Speller
This course will explore the structures and parameters of civil religion in America by studying responses to its presence and influence found in the speeches, articles and addresses of significant Americans.

CH 481 - African American Religious History
Julia Speller
This course will survey the history and development of the variety of religious experiences of African Americans from 17th to 21st centuries.

Theology, Ethics, and Culture
TEC 306 - African American Religion, Theology, and Spirituality
Lee Butler
Course will explore the religious beliefs of African Americans, with attention on the spirit of accommodation that has inspired works of freedom and justice. Topics: retention of African religions and symbols, the Black Church, nationalism, and Africentrism.

TEC 413 - The Theology of the Body
Theodore Jennings or JoAnne Terrell
How has Christianity come to be associated with the denigration of the body? What are resources in tradition for a theological re- appropriation and celebration of the body?

TEC 415 - Feminist Theologies in Multicultural Context
Laurel Schneider
Intro to norms, historical developments, challenges of tradition, social location, white privilege, experience, ideas of divinity, post- Christian and post-colonial critiques in contemporary feminist theology. Emphasizes critical evaluation/theological construction.

TEC 416 - Feminist/Womanist Theory and Hermeneutics (HS 516)
Laurel Schneider
We will examine some feminist and womanist strategies for understanding and thinking critically about intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class with an eye toward their impact on ministry, social action, and public theology.

TEC 437 - Psychology of the Oppressed and Liberation Theologies (HS 537) Lee Butler Course will consider the experiences of race, class, and gender oppression. Phenomenological positions will be critiqued psychologically to understand liberative theological motivations. Works from Latin American, womanist, feminist, and black theology.

TEC 486 - The Black Church & the Nation of Islam
JoAnne Terrell
Analyzes love and rage as rhetorical theological imperatives as responses of the church and the Nation of Islam to systemic racism and political disfranchisement of African Americans. Examines the role of women in each institution.

TEC 495 - Dialogue Among Religions 
Bo Myung Seo 
The course will investigate the possibility of interreligious dialogues and their practical consequences.

TEC 504 - Augustine, Niebuhr, & Malcolm X
JoAnne Terrell
We will review the ideas of these three highly influential thinkers about the nature of sin in human existence and those qualities of human beings requiring redemption, giving special attention to the theme of sin as pride and sensuality.

TEC 510 - Womanist and Feminist Christologies
JoAnne Terrell
A seminar examining servanthood vs. surrogacy, the Black Christ and the historical Jesus Christ and Christa and atonement and abuse.

TEC 540 - Theology and Cultural Analysis (HS 540)
Bo Myung Seo
The course will first examine different theologies of culture in terms of how they see the relation between theology and culture and then examine different ways of reading the contemporary Western culture theologically.

TEC 570 - Ritual, Sacred Space and Healing (HS 570)
Robert Moore
An examination of the role of ritual leadership in healing. Both religion and psychotherapy will be examined. Victor Turner's work will be considered.

TEC 580 - The (De)construction of Homophobia
Theodore Jennings
A critical history of the construction of homophobia within Christendom and an analysis of concomitant deformations in doctrine and church life lays the foundation for counter- homophobic practice.

TEC 591 - Approaching Islam Laurel Schneider This seminar will provide an introduction to another Islam through selective study of sacred texts and theologies in order to build understanding as a basis for interreligious dialogue.

Christian Ministry
CM 307 - Africentric Christian Education
Julia Speller
This course will explore the historical, theological, biblical and pedagogical foundations of Africentric Christian education and the implications they have on ministry in African American congregations.

CM 335 - African-American Pastoral Psychology
Lee Butler
We will consider the African American approach to human nature, personality, theory and key concepts. Biblical texts will be woven with the psychological theories to encourage a pastoral approach to psychotherapy.

CM 400 - Preaching and Pastoral Care
Lee Butler
This course will focus upon the sermonic communication of God's love and hope in times of crisis. Students will be challenged to develop homiletical skills, ministerial sensitivity, and a vision of congregational life.