Master of Divinity

Back to Ordained Ministry Programs

The Master of Divinity degree is designed as a three-year program of preparation for ministry.  It is the normative degree to prepare persons for ordained ministry and it can also be used by those working towards general pastoral and religious leadership responsibilities in congregations and other settings.  Postulancy—or for non-Episcopalians, the analogous formal ecclesiastical endorsement—is not a prerequisite for admission to the Master of Divinity program.

Seminary of the Southwest collaborates with diocesan authorities and follows canonical requirements in the processes of discernment and formation for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.  These processes work best when there is good communication among applicants, their dioceses and the seminary. Episcopal applicants for the Master of Divinity degree should therefore be familiar with the policies of their own dioceses regarding seminary admission. Applicants who are not in a diocesan process leading toward ordination are urged to consider whether consultation with their parish or diocese is appropriate for them. Similar advice is extended to applicants from other denominations.

Graduates of the Master of Divinity Program at Seminary of the Southwest will be Christian people who embody faithfulness, holiness, and courageous Christian discipleship.

  • Living a life of virtue, they will possess a deep understanding of Scripture, history of the Christian church, particularly in the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church, theological and liturgical tradition, moral theology, and practices of ministry and pastoral care.
  • Formed by their study, they will bring knowledge of the tradition to bear on the challenges of the contemporary world, including competing cultural values in a globalized world of poverty, violence, and degradation of the environment and the human person.
  • In this complex and conflicted world, they will exercise leadership in church communities and in the public square and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to carry out Jesus' ministry of healing and reconciliation.

The curriculum implements our conviction that Christian leaders are best prepared through a disciplined engagement in worship and prayer, accompanied by a knowledge of the Christian tradition that is both critically examined and effectively related to the social and historical environment in which it is to be lived and proclaimed.  The faculty at Southwest seeks to immerse their students in that tradition and at the same time provide them with the critical tools for evaluating its various expressions through the ages.  Because Episcopalians have received their faith and way of life as members of  the Anglican Communion of churches, Southwest seeks also to immerse students in this particular tradition and in so doing makes them aware both of the ecumenical significance of Anglicanism and of the rich diversity afforded them by membership in a world-wide communion of churches.  

The curriculum at Southwest is designed to foster a faith and practice in which growth in the knowledge and love of God is rooted in Christ's ministry of reconciliation.  Grounded in Christ's reconciling work, faithful disciples negotiate the boundaries that determine forms of identity, as well as divide and separate human beings.  Consequently, the education we offer seeks to reach across the ethnic, racial, sexual, economic, and political boundaries that stand in the way of reconciliation.  We wish our students to engage in reconciliation not just theoretically, but practically, addressing contemporary social divisions and conflicts with an intelligence and will shaped by "the mind of Christ." 

Study at Southwest is a crucial stage in formation for ministry, a process that begins with the development of Christian character before students enter seminary and continues with apprenticeship in ministry after they leave.The seminary attempts to model the kind of Christian community that the Gospel demands: a hospitable community whose common life of prayer, worship, study, and work witnesses to God's glory and serves God's loving will.  

From their participation here in study and practice, we trust students will dedicate themselves with joy and confidence to the challenging and holy calling to ministry. 

A total of 103 credit hours are required for the Master of Divinity degree.  The degree is normally completed in three years of full-time study; however, there is a four-year plan of study available.  Prior to being awarded the degree, each candidate must fully discharge all financial obligations to the seminary.  The sequence of courses is shown in the tables below.


Structure of Master of Divinity Curriculum 2013-2014 Academic Year



B1110   Biblical Languages for Preaching and Teaching   (1)

B1310   Biblical Studies: History & Hermeneutics I   (3)

F1130   Spiritual Formation for the Person   (1.5)

H1320  Formative Traditions in American Christianity (3)

L1110   Liturgical Music I   (1)

L1310   Liturgy I: Worship and Theology (3)

P1320   Text and Context: Explorations in Formation and Experiential Learning   (3)

Total Credits    15.5



M1010   January Encuentro/Mission in Latino Contexts   (0)

Total Credits    0



B1320   Biblical Studies: History & Hermeneutics II   (3)

H1310   The Making and Remaking of Christianity I   (3)

L1110   Liturgical Music II   (1)

M1310   Introduction to Missiology   (3)

T1310   Theology I:  God and Creation   (3)

Elective   (3)

Total Credits    16



P2610   Clinical Pastoral Education   (6)

Total Credits    6



B2310   Biblical Interpretation for Preaching   (3)

L1110   Liturgical Music III   (1)

L2310   Preaching I   (3)

P2110   Parish Field Education   (1)

T2320   Theology II: The Body of Christ   (3)

TE2310   Theological Ethics I  (3)

Elective   (3)

Total Credits    17



P2140   Living Into Mission: Ministry Across Cultures   (1)

Total Credits    1



L2330   Preaching II    (3)

L2340  Liturgy II: The Prayer Book, its History and Use (3)

P2120 Parish Field Education (1)

P2320   Introduction to Pastoral Care   (3)

TE2320   Theological Ethics II   (3)

Elective   (3)

Total Credits    16





H3310  Anglican Studies (3)

H3320   The Making and Remaking of Christianity II   (3)

P3310   Parish Field Education   (3)

P3330   Pastoral Theology: Church Leadership   (3)

Elective   (3)

Elective   (3)

Total Credits    18





CE3310   Introduction to Christian Education   (3)

F3110   Spiritual Formation for the Parish   (1.5)

P3320   Parish Field Education   (3)

Elective   (3)

Elective   (3)

Total Credits    13.5


GOEs to be taken in January of the third year. 

A student may choose to pursue the MDiv on a 4 year track.

Students pursuing the Hispanic Church Studies concentration must take four electives in the HCS concentration available each fall and spring semester.


1.   Full discharge of all financial obligations to the seminary.

2.   Full-time enrollment (12 credits or more) during the two consecutive semesters immediately preceding graduation.

3.   Completion of all requirements within seven calendar years from the date of entry into the program.

Back to Ordained Ministry Programs