The Master of Divinity degree program is designed to prepare students
for a wide range of Christian ministry. This program, required by
many denominations for ordination, is offered at the New Brunswick
campus through day and night classes and at the St. John's site through
Education for ministry is not a matter of simply accumulating certain
knowledge and skills. It is the beginning of a process of personal
transformation whereby the student appropriates the knowledge and
skills pertinent to ministry in a way that shapes the student's
self-understanding and life within the church and the world. Thus,
both the integration of the diverse fields of knowledge and skill,
and the integration of these fields with the actual experience and
practice of ministry, are essential to a theological education.
The course of study for the M.Div. falls into three major categories.
The first consists of the core academic courses, grouped into three
fields: Biblical Studies; Historical, Theological and Ethical Studies;
Ministry Studies. The second consists of the experience and practice
of varieties of ministry. This is found principally in a student's
Field Education placements, but also in the various aspects
of life in the seminary community. Those courses which seek to integrate
the various academic fields, and academic learning with practical
experience, form the final category. The Ministeriums and required
integrative courses constitute this category.
The application deadline for a term is two months before the first day of classes. Applications received after the deadline will be considered for admission in the following semester.
The applicant must:
1) hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with an academic record indicating scholarly ability and academic achievement, including a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work pursued to date are required. Applicants completing undergraduate study are accepted on the basis of a partial transcript, but a transcript showing a baccalaureate degree must be provided prior to matriculation;
2) complete the application form supplied by the Seminary's Office of Student Services which includes two letters of recommendation, and an indication of the applicant's area of concentration within the M.A. program;
3) pay a $50.00 non-refundable application fee;
4) once admitted, pay a $250.00 admissions deposit 30 days prior to the beginning of the first day of the new term to indicate acceptance of admission. This deposit is applied to the student's first-term tuition. New students are required to complete their registration two weeks before the first day of classes for the term. Registration after that date will be assessed a $100.00 late fee.
In addition to the admissions procedures mentioned above, applicants who seek to enter the US to pursue a degree program at NBTS must:
• Submit transcripts of undergraduate degree programs*, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose written in English
• Demonstrate their proficiency in English (see English Proficiency Requirements)
• Apply to the US Government for an F-1 nonimmigrant student entry visa.
*The Admissions Committee recommends that all transcripts that originate from an institution outside the United States or Canada be sent to a professional transcript service for a course-by-course evaluation.
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In order to insure success in our degree programs, the Seminary requires that students for whom English is a second language must have their English skills evaluated prior to full matriculation in its Masters or Doctor of Ministry programs. This evaluation will determine whether additional language studies are needed to achieve the proficiency levels described below. Note, this policy does not apply to students who have graduated from a four year college or university where the instruction was in English.
There are several paths to full matriculation into the Seminary’s degree programs:
1) A completed application and a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) paper score of at least 550 with an essay score of at least 4 OR an Internet TOEFL score of at least 79-80. New Brunswick Theological Seminary's TOEFL school code is 8937. Following admission, if it appears that the student’s English skills need improvement, the faculty may require the student to complete a language evaluation through the Rutgers PALS (Program in American Language Studies) program which may result in further language study.
2) A completed application and an IELTS score of at least 6.0. Students with this score can be admitted to NBTS. Following admission, if it appears that the student’s English skills need improvement, the faculty may require the student to complete a language evaluation through the Rutgers PALS (ESL) program which may result in further language study.
3) A completed application without a TOEFL or IELTS exam. Students may be provisionally admitted to the Seminary based on their prior academic record. Before matriculating at the Seminary, students will enroll in the Rutgers PALS (ESL). In this case, the Rutgers PALS program will issue the I20 visa. Students will continue in the PALS program until they have achieved proficiency at the highest level of PALS in all categories. Students enrolled in PALS can audit one course at the Seminary each semester, at no charge, to enhance their English listening and conversational skills.
Students who have completed, or are enrolled in, an accredited ESL program other than PALS, may submit detailed information concerning the program with their NBTS application. The Admissions Committee will evaluate the program, and where warranted, grant it the same standing as the Rutgers PALS program. Where not warranted, students will be required to be evaluated through PALS for English proficiency.
For further information contact Betty Rucker at 732-247-5241 ext. 311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
F-1 NONIMMIGRANT STUDENT VISAS
Once the Admissions Committee approves an application from an international student, the Office of Student Services sends information on how to obtain Form I-20, the Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Nonimmigrant Student Status in the United States. Prospective students use the form and supporting documentation to apply for an F-1 visa. The United States Government makes all visa decisions according to its regulations:
• F-1 applicants must document in advance that they (and/or their financial sponsors) have sufficient funds available to cover tuition, fees, textbooks, and living expenses for the entire course of study at the Seminary.
• F-1 visa applications must demonstrate to the consular officer at a US embassy or consulate abroad that they seek to enter the US temporarily and solely for the purpose of full-time study at the Seminary.
Once students enter the US in F-1 status, regulations require that they maintain full-time study at NBTS. The Seminary defines full-time as 12+ academic credits per semester.
Under exceptional circumstances, a student without a baccalaureate degree many be admitted with a probationary status to the M.Div. Program. Non-traditional students admitted will be on probationary status until the college courses are completed with a grade of “B” or better and 16 credits of NBTS course work has been completed. At that time, the student’s faculty advisor in consultation with the faculty will review the student’s progress in the M.Div. Program and make the appropriate recommendations for the student. The faculty will vote on the status of non-traditional students enrolled in the program at least once each year.
Such a student shall complete the process described above, and:
a) be at least forty years of age;
b) have demonstrated distinguished service to the church and shows a sense of vocation and commitment to professional ministry;
c) prepare for the M.Div. program by completing five college courses with a grade of “B” or better at an accredited college or university. At least three of these courses must be completed with a transcript submitted and with a plan for the completion of the other two courses before the admissions committee will process the application. These course must cover five areas: English composition, history, philosophy, behavioral science (psychology, sociology, or anthropology), and literature.
Please contact the Admissions office for information, transcript review, and aid in selecting the needed college courses, and the ordaining body within your church and/or denomination about the possibility of ordination without a college degree. Admission to the non-traditional program does not guarantee you are eligible for ordination within your church.
FITNESS FOR MINISTRY AND ORDINATION
As an institution affiliated with the Reformed Church in America,
New Brunswick Theological Seminary provides educational programs
which meet the denomination's requirements for ordination. It does
so through the core curriculum of required courses and by providing
courses and field education placements directly related to the
The Seminary acts on behalf of the General Synod of the Reformed
Church in America not only in providing education for ministry,
but also by evaluating students to determine their suitability for
ordination to the denomination's ministry of Word and Sacrament.
Testimony to a student's readiness for ministry is given through
a Certificate of Fitness for Ministry, recommended by the Faculty
and granted by the Board of Trustees. A classis is not permitted
to ordain a candidate for ministry who has not been granted this
Certificate. Application for the Certificate of Fitness must be
made 15 months before the intended date of graduation.
Although no Certificate of Fitness for Ministry is granted to students
from other churches, since the M.Div. is a professional degree,
the Faculty evaluates all candidates to determine suitability for
ministerial leadership in the church. The Faculty will not recommend
that an M.Div. degree be granted to a student who, although academically
qualified, does not exhibit the moral, spiritual and personal qualities
requisite for ministry. The ordination requirements of the student's
church may also be taken into consideration in decisions concerning
the awarding of the M.Div. degree.
An M.Div. student who has maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better through
his or her first 64 credits of academic work may petition the Faculty
through the Academic Affairs Committee to be allowed to write an
Honors Thesis under the supervision of a member of the Faculty.
Six (6) credit hours will be granted the student who successfully
completes this research and writing project.
THE URBAN MINISTRY CONCENTRATION IN THE M.DIV. PROGRAM
Students in the M.Div. program may choose a specialized focus for
their program that will prepare them for the opportunities and challenges
of urban ministry. Drawing on the rich diversity of cultures and
expressions of faith in the northeastern United States, the urban
ministry concentration comprises a total of 16 credit hours of work
in specified courses within the regular M.Div. curriculum. The concentration
is an honors program to which students must apply for admission.
Applications for admission to the concentration should be made
to the Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry during the semester in
which the student is completing 32 credit hours of work in the regular
M.Div. curriculum. Consideration will be given to candidates who
have: 1) maintained a 3.0 GPA up to the point of admission to the
concentration; 2) expressed a passion for, and knowledge of, the
dynamics of urban living, and; 3) can articulate, in written and
oral form, an understanding of a particular issue or problem on
the urban scene.
All correspondence concerning admission to the concentration should
be addressed to the Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry. Applicants
are required to furnish the following materials:
1. A letter making formal application for admission to the concentration,
and identifying the person giving the reference mentioned below;
2. A 500-1,000 word essay describing the applicant's leadership
style and interest in urban ministry, placing emphasis on a particular
urban issue or problem as the reason for entering the program;
3. A letter of reference from the applicant's local church or denominational
After submission of the written application materials, the student
should seek a personal interview with the Professor of Metro-Urban
The concentration comprises five courses totaling 16 credit hours.
These are as follows:
Foundations of Urban Ministry - 4 credits (taken after 32 credits
of course work)
2 NBTS electives - 4 credits (chosen from a list approved by the
Professor of Urban Ministry)
Integrative Seminar in Urban Ministry I & II - 8 credits
M.DIV. INTERNSHIP TRACK
Within the M.Div. program at both campuses, an internship track
exists for those students who wish to combine extended full-time
practical experience in ministry with the other advantages of the
M.Div. degree. The internship track, when pursued full-time, is
a four year program. It consists of all the normal requirements
for the M.Div. degree, plus a full-time internship of nine to twelve
months duration ordinarily taken between a student's middler and
This internship is pursued in a setting assigned or designated
by the Director of Field Education and approved by the Dean
of the Seminary. While engaged in the internship, the person is
a full-time student, subject to all the policies of the Seminary.
Students pay an internship fee equivalent to the charge for two
Field Education Units. Students wishing to receive a third and
fourth Field Education Unit for their internship pay an additional