Master of Divinity (School of Theology)

The Master of Divinity degree is a comprehensive graduate theological program covering a wide range of general and specialized subjects, designed to prepare students for full-time service in the church of Jesus Christ.

The curriculum is controlled by a vision of Christ's Church as the people of God-a living, worshiping, witnessing community, within which faith is nurtured and through which Christ is served in the world. The curriculum is designed to instruct students in the study of theology in its widest sense, so that they may grow in the knowledge of God, discover and develop their God-given gifts and become more effective members of the body of Christ. This involves a deepening understanding of God and God's world through rigorous academic discipline; but it also involves, in part as the fruit of such discipline, personal spiritual growth and maturity, and the acquiring of the relevant skills that will enable students to use their theological insights effectively in practical Christian ministry.


Purpose 

The Master of Divinity program prepares men and women for ministry within the Church of Jesus Christ.

The curriculum is controlled by a vision of Christ's Church as the people of God - a living, worshipping, witnessing community, within which faith is nurtured and through which Christ is served in the world. Guided by this vision, the curriculum is designed to instruct students in the study of theology in its widest sense, so that they may grow in the knowledge of God, discover and develop their God-given gifts and become more effective members of the body of Christ. This involves a deepening understanding of God and Godís world through rigorous academic discipline; but it also involves, in part as the fruit of such discipline, personal spiritual growth and maturity, and the acquiring of the relevant skills that will enable students to use their theological insights effectively in practical Christian ministry.

Accordingly, the characteristics of the Master of Divinity program are determined by the marks of true Christian ministry.

  1. The Christian minister should be a person who knows and delights in the Word of God, one who is able responsibly and in detail to exegete and interpret the divinely inspired Scriptures, yet one also able to see in its wholeness the story of the saving acts of God revealed through Israel and consummated in Christ. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster ministry that is rooted in the authority of the Bible.
  2. The Christian minister should understand the doctrines and traditions of the Church as they have come to expression over time, and be able to reflect on them with insight and to interpret them compellingly for our own time. The minister should also be one who empowers the people of God so that they too are enabled confidently to discern and clearly to articulate Godís Word for our world. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster Christian ministry that is theologically responsible.
  3. The Christian minister should possess special abilities, theologically informed, for leading and equipping Godís people. The tasks that demand these skills are many: preaching, public worship, teaching, evangelism, counseling, spiritual formation, and administration. The minister should be one who not only develops such skills but enables others to share them. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster ministry that is professionally competent.
  4. The Christian minister should recognize that evangelism in its widest sense is the responsibility of every Christian and is central to the apostolic nature and mission of the Church. The minister should be prepared both spiritually and intellectually to "do the work of an evangelist" and to enable others to share in that task. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster ministry that is committed to evangelism.
  5. The Christian minister should be an advocate of truth, a person able convincingly to argue for the credibility of the faith in our contemporary pluralistic setting, and to witness to the revelation of God in Christ in the confidence of the Spirit of Truth. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster ministry that is intellectually articulate.
  6. The Christian minister should be a person of deep and honest faith, a faith that is rooted in an authentic experience of Godís grace and that is expressed in a growth toward maturity and wholeness in Christ. He or she should be a person of integrity who is ready always to seek the will of God in the complex moral problems of personal life, and sensitive to the even more complex ethical issues of the public arena. The Master of Divinity program seeks to foster ministry that is spiritually mature and morally sensitive.
  7. The Christian minister should be a servant of the compassionate Lord, a person deeply concerned for social justice with a burden for the oppressed and the weak, a peacemaker in a world torn by war, an advocate for the hungry and homeless, a defender of all victims of oppression, and a prophet calling for justice from the rich and mercy for the wretched of the earth. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster ministry that is socially concerned.
  8. The Christian minister should be personally committed to a specific church within the Church universal, one who is loyal to the community and tradition of which he or she is a part yet who honors a wider loyalty to the Church universal. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster ministry that is ecumenically open yet denominationally responsible.
  9. The Christian minister should be aware of living in a humanly diverse world and a diverse church, and be aware of the way in which this diversity is simultaneously a resource and a source of tensions in world and church. The Master of Divinity program is designed to foster ministry that affirms diversity in gender, culture, and race; that heeds those who have been voiceless; and that works for reconciliation and unity within the one family of humanity and the one body of the church. 

These are some of the marks of true Christian ministry which determine the characteristics of the Master of Divinity program. By this vision of ministry, the curriculum is tested and controlled, goals are defined and teaching is motivated.

Admission Requirements 

General standards for admission to Fuller Theological Seminary may be found in the Admission Standards section of this catalog. To be admitted to the MDiv program, applicants must have been awarded a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited institution before the starting date of the desired quarter of entry. Regular admission requires at least a 2.7 cumulative grade point average (GPA) in all undergraduate work; students with a lower GPA may be considered for admission on probation. Applicants without an accredited bachelor's degree must meet special requirements and will be considered for admission on probation on an individual basis. Students admitted on probation are subject to certain limitations during their first 48 units of course work at Fuller.


Residence Requirements and Transfer Credit 

A minimum of 48 units must be earned at Fuller Seminary. At least 48 units, not including field education or independent studies, must be taken on the Pasadena campus or one of Fuller's regional campuses approved for this degree: Seattle, Menlo Park, Irvine, Phoenix, or Houston. Requests for transfer of credit for approved graduate studies done at an institution accredited by The Association of Theological Schools or a recognized regional or international accrediting agency will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Academic Advising Office. This may include a maximum of 96 quarter hours of graduate theological and biblical studies. Nontheological studies are normally not considered for transfer credit. Course work taken in a nonreligious setting which might be considered as parallel to course work in the Fuller curriculum may be considered on an individual basis if it is appropriate to the field of concentration, approved by the academic affairs committee, and integrated through a 4-unit directed study.


Distance Learning 

A Master of Divinity program may include up to 18 courses (72 units) of distance learning coursework, including both Individualized Distance Learning and online courses. This may include no more than four courses (16 units) of Individualized Distance Learning (IDL) courses.


Time Limits for Completion of Degrees 

In order to ensure that a degree, when granted, represents education that is current and reasonably focused (not acquired a little at a time over an unreasonably long period), all credit applied to the degree must be earned within a certain period of time. For the Master of Divinity degree at Fuller, this period has been set at ten years. This includes all credit earned elsewhere and applied to the degree, as well as all credit earned at Fuller.


Curriculum 

The faculty at Fuller has developed a unified curriculum for the Master of Divinity degree built upon a system of core areas. These areas are distributed among the biblical studies, theology and ministry divisions.

A variety of courses is provided within each core area to maintain maximum flexibility in designing the studentís curriculum. Normally courses will stress at least one of the following features:

  1. A strong language approach;
  2. An emphasis on biblical content;
  3. A focus on the theological perspective;
  4. A focus on ministry.

The student is required to complete successfully 144 units for the M.Div. degree, divided as follows, with details as described below:

  • Biblical Languages (20 units) 
    • Greek (12 units)
    • Hebrew (8 units)
     
  • Biblical Studies (32 units) 
    • Old Testament (12 units)
    • Hermeneutics and Exegetical Method (4 units)
    • New Testament (8 units)
    • New Testament Theology (4 units)
    • New Testament Exegesis (4 units)
     
  • Church History and Theology (32 units) 
    • Church History (12 units)
    • Philosophical Theology (4 units)
    • Systematic Theology (12 units)
    • Christian Ethics (4 units)
     
  • Ministry (36 units) 
    • General Ministry and Spirituality (4 units)
    • Preaching and Communication (8 units)
    • Evangelism (4 units)
    • Christian Formation and Discipleship (4 units)
    • Pastoral Counseling (4 units)
    • Pastoral Ministry and Theology (4 units)
    • Field Education (4 units)
    • Missions (4 units)
     
  • Electives (24 units) 

Core Areas (120 units) 

The attribute codes in the column on the left in the outline below are used to designate their corresponding M.Div. core area groups. Such abbreviations are employed in the catalog Courses of Study section, on quarterly schedules, and in Expanded Course Descriptions (available from the quarterly schedule).

Biblical Languages (20 units) 
 
HEB  Hebrew 
  LG502 Beginning Hebrew (8 units)
GRK  Greek 
  LG512 Beginning Greek (12 units)
 
Biblical Studies (32 units) 
 
  Old Testament. OTA is required. Select either one OTB and one OTCE, or one OTBE and one OTC.
OTA  OT501 Pentateuch
OTB  OT502 Hebrew Prophets
  OT534 Old Testament Theology (Prerequisite: OT501) 
OTBE  OT506 Old Testament Exegesis: Prophets. Select any course designated OTBE in quarterly schedules. All such courses have the catalog number OT506. Prerequisite: LG502. 
OTC  OT500 Writings as Introduction to the Old Testament
  OT534 Old Testament Theology (Prerequisite: OT501) 
OTCE  OT507 Old Testament Exegesis: Writings. Select any course designated OTCE in quarterly schedules. All such courses have the catalog number OT507. Prerequisite: LG502. 
 
  Hermeneutics and Exegetical Method 
HERM  NE502 Exegetical Method and Practice (Prerequisite: LG512)
 
  New Testament(both required) 
NT1  NS500 New Testament 1: Gospels and Acts
NT2  NS501 New Testament 2: Romans-Revelation
 
NTT  New Testament Theology. Select any course designated NTT in the quarterly schedules. Prerequisites: NS500 and/or NS501, depending on the course.Some such courses may require prior completion of LG512, while others do not. Such courses treat either a theme or a sector of the New Testament.
 
NTE  NE506 New Testament Exegesis. Select any course designated NTE in the quarterly schedules. All such courses have the catalog number NE506. Prerequisites: LG512, NE502, and sometimes NS500 or NS501.
 
Church History and Theology (32 units) 
 
CHA/B/C  Church History. Select three courses designated as CHA, CHB, and CHC on the quarterly schedule (one from each designation)
 
PHIL  Philosophical Theology. Select any course designated PHIL on the quarterly schedules.
 
STA/B/C  Systematic Theology. Select three courses designated STA, STB, or STC on the quarterly schedule (one from each group)
ETH  Christian Ethics. Select any course designated ETH on the quarterly schedules.
 
Ministry (36 units) 
 
MIN1  General Ministry and Spirituality. Select any course designated MIN1 on the quarterly schedule.
 
MIN2  Preaching and Communication (8 units)
  Required:
  PR500 Homiletics (4 units)(Prerequisites: LG512 and NE502) 
 
  Select any two preaching practica designated MIN2 on the quarterly schedule(2 units each), or one preaching practicum and CO500.
  Students who qualify may take the following course to meet the entire practicum requirement:
  PR505 Advanced Preaching Seminar (4 units)
 
MIN3  Evangelism. Select any course designated MIN3 on the quarterly schedules.
 
MIN4  Christian Formation and Discipleship. Select any course designated MIN4 on the quarterly schedules.
 
MIN5  Pastoral Counseling. Select any course designated MIN5 on the quarterly schedules.
 
MIN6  Pastoral Ministry and Theology. Select any course designated MIN6 on the quarterly schedules.
 
MIN7  Field Education.Two courses in supervised field experience are required to earn the M.Div. degree. One course (FE1) is met by a ministry experience in a church for three quarters as a student intern. Two units of core credit are granted for this course. The second course requirement (FE2) is met by an intern experience in a church, hospital, special community program, or parachurch organization approved by the Field Education Office. Two units of credit will be granted for this requirement. Additional courses may be taken for elective credit.
 
MIN8  Missions. Select any course designated MIN8 on the quarterly schedules. Examples: 

Electives (24 units)  A student may use any course offered by the School of Theology, School of Intercultural Studies, or School of Psychology that is available to master's-level students in the School of Theology to satisfy the elective component of the M.Div. curriculum. An area of emphasis may be included here (see below).


Areas of Emphasis 

At Fuller, an emphasis consists of a minimum of five courses grouped around a particular area of interest. By choosing an emphasis, students will be guided to courses in the three schools taught by faculty doing research on topics relevant to the emphasis area.

Areas of emphasis available for the Master of Divinity include:

  • Ancient Context of the Old Testament
  • Anglican Communion Studies (beginning Winter 2013)
  • Children at Risk
  • Christian Ethics
  • Church in  Contemporary Culture
  • De Pree Emphasis in Leadership
  • International Development and Urban Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Leadership in Multicultural Latino Community
  • Recovery Ministry
  • Theology and the Arts
  • U.S. Military Chaplaincy
  • Worship and Music Ministry
  • Worship, Theology, and the Arts
  • Youth, Family, and Culture

Further information on the curricular requirements for each emphasis may be found in the Areas of Emphasis (School of Theology) section.