Master of Divinity, Ministerial Leadership (Hybrid/Online)

Students in the Hybrid Online program can complete the Master of Divinity degree through a combination of online classes, intensive short-­term courses on campus, and classes that combine intensive classroom sessions and online work. Program requirements and faculty are the same as in the on­-campus Master of Divinity program. The intensive and online formats offer opportunities for students to form relationships, develop community, and engage in deep conversation with peers and professors.

To be successful in the hybrid program, students will need a computer (not a tablet), high­ speed internet access, comfort with learning and using technology, and good time management skills.

All required courses, including intensives, hybrids, and online courses, are offered every year. A recommended course schedule for completing the degree in three years (usual for M.Div.) is provided.

Hybrid and Intensive Courses

Hybrid courses include a week of on­ campus sessions plus online work throughout a semester. Hybrid courses often have required pre­class reading and writing assignments. Intensive courses meet for one week on campus and often have required reading before class, plus assignments due after the last class session.

On ­campus sessions of hybrid courses are generally scheduled the last full week of August and the second full week of January. Intensive courses are scheduled the first full week of January.

Online Courses

Online courses do not require time on campus. Most class sessions are asynchronous – each week students can participate at times of their own choosing. Some online classes include synchronous (everyone at the same time) sessions.

6 required courses are hybrid or intensives, as indicated below. All other required courses are offered fully online. Electives may be taken online or as intensives. Online and intensive elective courses are offered in the fall and spring semesters as well as in the summer term.

Program Curriculum

TIR3001Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership
TRE3040Vocational Praxis
TSF3008Formation: Spiritual Practices
TCS3000Formation: Cultural Competencies
TCE3080Formation: Field Education I
TCE3081Formation: Field Education II
TRE3001Introduction to Religious Education
TWP3015Introduction to Christian Worship and the Arts
TWP3013Preaching in the Worship Context
TCE3075Religious Leadership
THB3007The Hebrew Bible in Context
THC3007History of World Christianities
TTH3036Systematic Theology
TNT3003The New Testament in Context
TEC3001Introduction to Christian Ethics
TSC3004Theories and Practices of Spiritual Care

Total Required Courses – 16 Courses, 48 Units

Electives are offered online or as intensives.

United Methodist students seeking ordination have five required denominational studies courses: History, Polity, Doctrine, Mission, and Evangelism, 12 units total. Some of these courses may be offered online only or as intensives in the summer.

Students in other denominations may also have required courses – check with your denomination.

Time to Complete

The Master of Divinity is usually considered a 3­ year degree program. Students can complete the hybrid program in three academic years by taking 3 courses (9 units) most semesters, plus the two January intensives and some summer courses. Some students also choose to spread the course work over a longer period of time.

Sample Schedule

Year I

TSF3008 Formation: Spiritual PracticesTIR3001 Interreligious Dialogue and LeadershipTCS3000 Formation: Cultural CompetenciesElective/UM studies
TRE3001 Introduction to Religious EducationTWP3015 Introduction to Worship and the ArtsElective/UM studies
THB3007 The Hebrew Bible in ContextTNT3003 The New Testament in Context

Year II

TCE3080 Formation: Field Education ITCE3081 Formation: Field Education IIElective/UM studies
TWP3013 Preaching in the Worship ContextTCE3075 Religious LeadershipElective/UM studies
TTH3036 Systematic TheologyTSC3004 Theories and Practices of Spiritual Care

Year III

TEC3001 Introduction to Christian EthicsTRE3040 Vocational PraxisTHC3007 History of World Christianities
Elective/UM studiesElective

Blue = Required Hybrid and Intensive Courses
Green = 24 units free electives and denominational requirements
Black = Required On-Campus Courses


Note: United Methodist students preparing for ordination will have 25 classes rather than 24, to complete the 72-unit degree program. There are 5 required UM classes, totaling 12 units: History, Doctrine, and Polity (2 units each), Evangelism, and Mission (3 units each).

Calendar for Hybrid and Intensive Courses

To complete the degree in three academic years, students should plan to be on campus these times:

  • First year – 1 week in August, 2 weeks in January
  • Second year – 1 week in August, 1 week in January
  • Third year: 1 week in January

Summers – possible one­ or two­ week intensive classes on campus

If possible bring a laptop computer for these weeks.

Vocational Praxis

  • TRE3040

    This is a required course for all Master’s of Divinity students in their final year at Claremont School of Theology, and it is an opportunity for individual and community-based integration and assessment of learning and vocational goals.

    The class will form a community and assessment will be organized around Institutional Learning Objectives of Claremont School of Theology, focused in particular on the Master of Divinity Program Learning Objectives (PLOs): Demonstrate religious intelligence gained through the study of theological disciplines; Embody ethical integrity in one’s vocation; Engage in dialogue across cultures and religions; Provide effective ministerial, community and/or public leadership.

  • Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership

  • TIR3001

    This courses gives students an opportunity to gain and practice skills in interreligious leadership for faith communities, in neighborhoods, and across religious groups throughout the world. It is the assumption of this course that dialogical skills are integral for religious (and humanistic) leadership in increasingly pluralistic societies.

  • Religious Leadership

  • TCE3075

    An introduction to contemporary approaches to leadership practices and basic essential administrative tasks and processes in churches and non-profit organizations. Course outcomes include knowledge and skill in these areas as well as understanding of cultural, contextual, and ethical issues and implications.

  • Preaching in the Worship Context

  • TWP3013

    Introduces students to the fundamentals of the art and craft of preaching within the context of worship. Prerequisite: TWP3015 or permission of the instructor.

  • Introduction to Worship and the Arts

  • TWP3015

    In a time of rapid cultural change, worship too will change, often in ways we can predict only with difficulty.

    The best way to prepare for a dynamic future is to ground ourselves solidly in our liturgical heritage, including the worship forms which we have received from others, both in the past and in the diverse contemporary churches; to learn to think analytically and theologically about worship; and to develop resources needed to create and lead original worship services appropriate to our evolving communities of faith.

  • Introduction to Religious Education

  • TRE3001

    This course provides students with a basic introduction to religious education within faith communities. It is designed to give students skills to facilitate religious education in a range of contexts, as well as locate and develop resources and ideas to enhance educational ministries.

    This course will also examine religious education from the perspective of historical and contemporary models. Multicultural education will be addressed.

  • Formation: Field Education II

  • TCE3081

    In consultation with the Director of Field Education, students are placed in ministry settings for 8-10 hours per week from September through mid-May. The concurrent weekly seminar emphasizes reflection on the practice of ministry as experienced in the field education setting.

  • Formation: Field Education I

  • TCE3080

    In consultation with the Director of Field Education, students are placed in ministry settings for 8-10 hours per week from September through mid-May. The concurrent weekly seminar emphasizes reflection on the practice of ministry as experienced in the field education setting.

  • Formation: Cultural Competencies

  • TCS3000

    The focus of this course is to enable students to do theological reflection on vocation from the perspective of critical multiculturalism; that is, vocation both as the call to personal transformation and to action as God’s agents of change and transformation within human societies.

  • Formation: Spiritual Practices

  • TSF3008

    This course provides an exploration of spiritual practices that foster wise, empowered, non-reactive, spiritually-grounded, compassionate engagement with all of life. Topics for attention may include vocation, spirituality, and the experience of theological studies.

    The primary ‘text’ is the student’s life — including, e.g., the ‘interior landscape,’ relationships, and issues related to transforming/repairing/healing the world. Course work focuses on appropriately engaging spiritually formative practices of one’s own tradition(s) and other traditions through individual and/or group processes.

  • Theories and Practices of Spiritual Care

  • TSC3004

    Introduction to the theories and practices of spiritual care.

  • Introduction to Christian Ethics

  • TEC3001

    This course serves as an introduction to the field of Christian ethics. Students will become familiar with sources for Christian ethical reflection; contemporary issues and global contexts; and relevant scholarship.

  • The New Testament in Context

  • TNT3003

    This course is designed to introduce students to the study of the New Testament and includes an overview of its Greco­-Roman and Jewish contexts, intense exposure to New Testament literature, and an introduction to critical methods for interpretation, especially historical and literary criticisms.

    By the end of the course the student will have read the core literature of the New Testament and will be able to locate important texts in the books that they represent.

  • Systematic Theology

  • TTH3036

    Theology means “God-Talk.” But can we “talk” what must infinitely surpass our understanding? What would we say in face of multiple possibilities in which people experience this infinite reality we name “God?” How would we think of the multiplicity of the answers which were given to these experiences both within a certain tradition and between religions and cultures? Why should we try to express, and why has theology experimentally sought and found, modes of thought to address such questions instead of just being assured of certain experiences, beliefs, and convictions, or by remaining silent? In fact, Christian theology is a “creature” from a multicultural and interreligious milieu, in which it has asked, and still asks, the major questions that Christians, in their multiple contexts, have faced through time and addresses them by adventurously testing the most influential responses that Christians have given to them.

    This course will seek understanding (fides quarens intellectum) of these questions by exploring the variety of Christian understandings of God, God’s relation to the world, Christ, the Spirit, Trinity, creation, the intercultural and interreligious contexts of the Church, and the quest for God’s kingdom-to-come. The class encourages students to address these topics in relation to contemporary intellectual, cultural, ethical, social, and political issues, and well as its application to practical and ministerial situations.

  • History of World Christianities

  • THC3007

    The history of world Christianities is an introduction to the historical developments of theology, practice and institutions within the Christian tradition. The course objective is to provide students with a working vocabulary and a historical narrative for understanding the beliefs that have been central to the Christian tradition, both western and non­western.

    How did Christians formulate their beliefs? How did they interpret the Bible and live out their faith convictions? What are the options of theological belief within the tradition? The historical perspective reveals how Christian doctrines were formed and reformulated, what forces impacted them, and consequently what impact they had.

    Surveys the history of world Christianity, covering as much of its global spread, theological expression, and conceptual and practical development as possible in a semester. We will use primary texts to anchor our study and to provide us with places for concentrated moments of discussion and exploration.

    Through these texts, we will meet some of the formative figures and learn about pivotal moments that shaped the history of the church. The purpose of this course is to provide you with a broad sweep of the history of Christianity in order to understand the development of Christian identities in various contexts.

  • The Hebrew Bible in Context

  • THB3007

    An introduction to the study of the Hebrew Bible studies for M.Div./M.A. students.