Master of Divinity, Ministerial Leadership (On-Campus)

Program Overview

The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) is a 72­ unit degree that combines academic excellence with spiritual formation and social engagement, to prepare students for service and leadership in many possible settings.

The Claremont M.Div. program is informed by the history of thought and practice within Christianity, by exposure to the cultural and religious diversity within Christianity, by dialogue with other religious traditions, and by the quest to understand and respond constructively to the contemporary world.

It presupposes that men and women can exercise responsible leadership only when they combine an intimate knowledge of their own traditions, appreciation of other forms of spiritual practice and insight, a deep engagement with today’s social and political realities, and strong dialogical and critical thinking skills.

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Master of Divinity Curriculum

TIR3001Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership (Intensive)
THB3007The Hebrew Bible in Context
THC3007History of World Christianities
TRE3001Introduction to Religious Education
TH3036Systematic Theology
TNT3003The New Testament in Context
TEC3001Introduction to Christian Ethics
TWP3015Introduction to Christian Worship and the Arts
TSC3004Theories and Practices of Spiritual Care
TWP3013Preaching in the Worship Context
TCE3075Religious Leadership
TRE3040Vocational Praxis (Intensive)
TSF3008Formation: Spiritual Practices
TCS3000Formation: Cultural Competencies
TCE3080Formation: Field Education I
Formation: Field Education II
United Methodist students seeking ordination have five required denominational studies courses: United Methodist History, Polity, Doctrine, Mission, and Evangelism. Students in other denominations also may have required courses – check with your denomination.

Hybrid and Intensive Courses

Even though the majority of this mode is on-campus, certain courses may be offered in online and/or intensive formats.

Hybrid courses include a week of on­-campus sessions plus online work throughout a semester.  Hybrid courses often have required pre-­class reading and writing assignments.  On­-campus sessions of hybrid courses are generally scheduled the last full week of August and the second full week of January.

Intensive courses meet for one week on campus and often have required reading before class, plus assignments due after the last class session.  Intensive courses are scheduled the first full week of January.

Time to Complete

The Master of Divinity is usually considered a 3­-year degree program. Students can complete the on campus program in three academic years by taking 4 courses (12 units) most semesters, plus the two January intensives. 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
TNT3003 The New Testament in Context THB3007 The Hebrew Bible in ContextElective/UM studies
TRE3001 Introduction to Religious Education TWP3015 Introduction to Christian Worship and the Arts

Year II

TCE3080 Formation: Field Education ITIR3001 Interreligious Dialogue and LeadershipTCE3081 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).

Vocational Praxis (Intensive)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Theories and Practices of Spiritual Care

  • TSC3004

    Introduction to the theories and practices of spiritual care.

  • 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 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.

  • Systematic Theology

  • TH3036

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The Hebrew Bible in Context

  • THB3007

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

  • Interreligious Dialogue and Leadership (Intensive)

  • 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.

  • 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.