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Master of Divinity
Our Master of Divinity degree is a three-year program designed to prepare you for transformative religious leadership in the church and society, often in an ordained capacity. This program combines critical reflection with real life application – emphasizing doing ministry and studying theology in the context of community – with consideration given to the wide and varied spectrums of history, culture, and theological perspective. The emphasis placed upon self awareness and the development of transferable leadership skills, also makes this degree appropriate if you are preparing to serve in non-church and non-traditional ministry settings such as: health care facilities, human service organizations, governmental agencies, not-for-profit agencies, business and academic environments, community organizations, advocacy organizations, and in the public square. You can also choose to complete one of four concentrations in the MDiv Program: Chaplaincy Studies, LGBTQ Studies, Interreligious Engagement, and the Study of Black Faith & Life.
CTS now offers a fully-accredited MDiv online. This first-of-its-kind degree program allows you to study here regardless of location. Learn more about our online degrees here.
1. CHAPLAINCY STUDIES: Today, ministry is being engaged in public spaces far beyond the walls of churches. Chaplains are rooted and accountable to their religious tradition, but they serve people and communities who may have different religious backgrounds or have no religious affiliation. Various contexts, including hospital, military, prison, campus, and hospice, need highly trained chaplains who can faithfully serve the spiritual needs of all of God’s children. Chicago Theological Seminary’s unique course offerings, faculty expertise, and interreligious engagement support students’ vocational discernment and equip them for professional success. All students must complete the required course, Introduction to Chaplaincy Studies and 3 additional electives in the area of Chaplaincy Studies.
2. LGBTQ STUDIES: The program concentration in LGBTQ studies is designed to offer a specialized course of study for persons, including professionals in fields other than ministry, who wish to explore LGBTQ issues within a theological framework. To qualify for the LGBTQ Concentration, a minimum of 4 elective courses in the area of LGBTQ Studies must be taken.
3. INTERRELIGIOUS ENGAGEMENT: This concentration is designed to offer a specialized course of study for persons who wish to explore issues in Interreligious Engagement and the study of diverse religious traditions. Students who choose to concentrate in Interreligious Engagement may take courses toward the concentration either at CTS or via pre-approved courses at other Association of Theological Schools (ACTS) seminaries. All students must complete the required course, Introduction to Interreligious Engagement and 3 additional electives in the area of Interreligious Engagement.
4. STUDY OF BLACK FAITH & LIFE: This concentration is designed to offer a specialized course of study for persons, including professionals in fields other than ministry, who wish to explore issues in the study of Black Faith and Life within a theological framework. Students who choose to concentrate in the Study of Black Faith & Life may take courses toward the concentration either at CTS or via pre-approved courses at other Association of Theological Schools (ACTS) seminaries. All students must complete the required Introduction to the Study of Black Faith & Life and 3 electives in the area of Study of Black Faith & Life.
5. ISLAMIC CHAPLAINCY: This concentration, offered in agreement with Bayan, provides students with knowledge of the Islamic intellectual tradition, of theoretical and applied aspects of chaplaincy in institutional and community contexts, and competency in counseling, spiritual care, and related duties of chaplaincy. The concentration prepares students to serve as Islamic chaplains in a variety of contexts.
6. MUSLIM STUDIES: This concentration is designed to offer a specialized course of study for persons who wish to deeply explore the field of Muslim Studies. Students who choose to concentrate in Muslim Studies may take courses toward the concentration either at CTS, through Bayan, via pre-approved courses at other Association of Theological Schools (ACTS) seminaries, or via pre-approved courses at other graduate institutions. All students must complete the required Introduction to Muslim Studies and 3 electives in the area of Muslim Studies.
Theological Field Education:
For MDiv students, Theological Field Education at CTS includes fulfilling two site placement requirements – Clinical Pastoral Education and a Parish or Community Field Placement. Fulfilling these requirements gives students hands-on ministry experiences that further enhance their abilities to connect theological theory to theological practice, in a wide variety of contexts.
MDiv students typically undertake their field education during their second or third year at CTS; timing will vary according to your particular scheduling needs, as full-time or part-time students. The Director of Theological Field Education and the Registrar will work closely with you as you complete your requirements for field education and the MDiv degree.
Program Goals and Learning Outcomes:
At the conclusion of the CTS MDiv program, a student will be able:
- to engage in critical thinking based in mastery of foundational theological disciplines and methods of interpretation while demonstrating an ability to apply such knowledge critically to new challenges in ways that foster the increase of justice and mercy.
- to make compassionate connection with others, especially those who inhabit different cultural contexts and those who are suffering in a world stratified by social and economic class.
- to embody ethical-spiritual integrity in self while promoting it in others, as one develops an authentic embodiment of faith in life through spiritual practices, liturgies, beliefs and wisdom.
- to undertake concrete strategic action that is spiritually grounded and value-rich to promote the increase of justice and mercy.
1. Develop Critical Thinking
- Demonstrate knowledge of the Bible; knowledge of its history, tradition, and methods of interpretation; and the capacity to bring scriptural wisdom into critical engagement with current crises and opportunities.
- Demonstrate knowledge of historical, systematic, and constructive theology, and the capacity to bring theological insight into critical engagement with current crises and opportunities.
- Demonstrate knowledge of multiple cultural contexts and capacity for critical theological reflection that takes contextual issues seriously.
- Demonstrate knowledge of and ability to critically engage with at least one tradition other than Christianity.
2. Cultivate compassionate connection
- Engage and collaborate across lines of difference, privilege and power.
- Demonstrate ability to offer quality pastoral care and wise ethical guidance to individuals and communities.
3. Promote ethical-spiritual integrity
- Engage in sustained, critical, and effective theological and ethical reflection on the practice of ministry in the parish and other contexts.
- Seek greater and greater coherence between one’s publicly stated beliefs and values and one’s personal and communal practices.
4. Support concrete strategic action
- Communicate effectively, orally and in written form, both interpersonally and publicly.
- Demonstrate ability to identify and analyze social structures of oppression and to propose and implement strategies of change.