Master of Divinity

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 night classes.

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:
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with an academic record indicating scholarly ability, including an undergraduate grade point average of 2.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work pursued to date are required; *
  • Complete Application Form
  • Three letters of recommendation, one of which must be a recommendation from the applicant's pastor;
  • Complete a statement of purpose that provides a sense of who you are and why you are interested in the program.

    Under exceptional circumstances, a student without a baccalaureate degree may be admitted to the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program as a non-traditional student.

    Realizing that each non-traditional student has different credentials, please contact the Admissions office for information, transcript review, and aid in selecting the needed college courses. Contacting the office early in the process will allow the student to make the best choices for success in his or her seminary career. During this time before your admission to NBTS in addition to completing these college courses, we strongly recommend you be in contact with the ordaining body within your church and/or denomination about the possibility of ordination without a college degree.

  • All of the requirements for the Master of Divinity application process and:
  • Be at least of 40 years of age;
  • Have demonstrated distinguished service to the church and show a sense of vocation and commitment to professional ministry;
  • Prepared for the M.Div. program by completing five college courses with a grade of "B" or better at an accredited college or university. These courses must cover five areas:
  • English composition
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, or anthropology),
  • Literature

    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.

    Students in this program cannot exceed 15% of the student population. Because of this requirement, there is often a waiting time for students desiring admission into the program. An admissions deposit will be required to place a student on the waiting list and the list is administered on a first-come basis.

    Admission to the non-traditional program does not guarantee you are eligible for ordination within your church. It is very important to be in contact with your church's ordaining body before you begin seminary work. Non-traditional students admitted will be on probationary status until the college courses are completed with a grade of "B" or better and/or 16 credits of NBTS coursework has been completed.

    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 Reformed Church.

    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.

    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 office.

    After submission of the written application materials, the student should seek a personal interview with the Professor of Metro-Urban Ministry.

    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

    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 senior years.

    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 fee.

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