Master of Divinity

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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.

  • They will embody faithful Christian living as persons of well-formed character and generous intellect, exhibiting spiritual maturity, self-understanding, healthy relationships and social concern. 
  • They will demonstrate knowledge of the content of and facility with the disciplines that study Scripture, History, Theology, Liturgy, Ethics, Pastoral Theology and Contemporary Context with particular attention to Anglican and Episcopal perspectives. 
  • They will be prepared to exercise leadership in the church and in the public square, bringing the tradition to bear on the challenges of the contemporary world as they proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and 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 90 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


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