Master of Divinity (MDiv)
Luis Fernando Ortiz, Director
The Master of Divinity is a 92/107 credit program recommended as the basic training for Adventist ministry by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the North American Division. It is a three-year professional program beginning in the summer or autumn semester of each year.
The theological presuppositions which govern the Master of Divinity program are as follows:
Knowing, Being and Doing represent the three domains of learning that characterize any academic pursuit. Consequently, they are not confined to any one course; rather, they are integral parts of all courses taught in the MDiv program.
Knowing refers to the cognitive aspect of the program that provides the theoretical basis of the discipline. Because Christian ministry is an outworking of God’s revelation, knowing also refers to the endeavor to build theoretical training on a solid scriptural foundation.
- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
- “In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source.” Education, p. 14
Being refers to the experiential aspect of the program that helps students develop the character of a gospel minister. But because the formation of Christ-like character is possible only through the grace of Christ, being also refers to the transformation taking place outside the classroom through a personal relationship with the risen Lord. Included in this transformation is the development of qualities such as values, attitudes and spiritual maturity befitting a Seventh-day Adventist minister.
- “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5
- “Godliness, godlikeness is the goal to be reached.” Education, p. 18.
Doing refers to the practical aspect of the program that equips students with skills that facilitate application of their theoretical knowledge to real-life situations. But doing is more than simply application of knowledge. It is also an important source of feedback that enables students to correct and adjust their knowledge so that they can most effectively serve the church and the wider world under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- “As my Father has sent me, even so send I you.” John 20:21
- “[True education] prepares for the joy of service in this world and the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.” Education, p. 13.
Integration of knowledge and experience is key to intellectual and spiritual growth. Therefore, only when carefully integrated, with God as the center, can Knowing, Being and Doing lead to the proper development of a student into a Christian minister. Such integration requires a vigilant and intentional effort on the part of teachers and students alike.
In harmony with the mission and core values of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, the Master of Divinity degree equips spiritually committed men and women with biblical, theological, and ministerial knowledge and practical skills to prepare them for Christlike servant leadership.
The MDiv program:
- Assists students in their development of a Bible-grounded, Christ-centered, Spirit-led approach to scholarly inquiry and ministerial practice in a contemporary context.
- Utilizes faculty and ministry professionals whose servant leadership demonstrates excellence, integrity of character, and a commitment to the centrality of Scripture, the mission and teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and service to God’s world.
- Promotes Seventh-day Adventist identity and unity as pedagogical and scholarly goals.
- Embraces the notion of a multicultural community as the legitimate and normative context for learning, worship, and service.
- Produces graduates whose lives reflect balance and demonstrate growth in the competencies required for transformational ministry.
- Demonstrate spiritual growth through the use of spiritual disciplines.
- Explain Scripture in an exegetically and theologically sound manner from an Adventist perspective.
- Engage in biblical and theological reflection as the basis for ministry.
- Design and lead biblically, theologically sound and contextually relevant public worships that incorporate calls to a decision for Christ and membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church Community.
- Apply the principles of pastoral care to all aspects of ministry.
- Equip congregations for effective, ethnic, and cross-cultural mission and ministry.
- Demonstrate advanced understanding of Christian history; Seventh-day Adventist history; theology and practice; and the influence of Ellen G. White on Adventist history, theology, and lifestyle.
Profile of the Master of Divinity Graduate
Committed to glorifying God, the student graduating with a Master of Divinity from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary demonstrates competencies as a
- Maturing Christian
- Perceptive student of the Bible
- Developing theologian
- Inspiring biblical preacher and worship leader
- Discipling pastor
- Persuasive evangelist and apologist
- Transforming leader
- Prophetic change agent
Application to the Program
All MDiv applicants must meet the Graduate Programs Admission Requirements applicable to all graduate students and the general seminary requirements.
Applicants to the MDiv program must also complete all the application forms and meet the requirements listed below:
- hold a baccalaureate degree, usually in theology or religion.
- normally hold membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church inasmuch as the MDiv program is specifically designed for Adventist ministers and is sponsored and financed by the Adventist church.
- represent high moral integrity with a character, lifestyle, and spiritual commitment reflective of the beliefs and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and show promise of usefulness for Adventist ministry through personal maturity and adequate experience in the Church. (Persons of other faiths who are willing to live in harmony with these standards are welcome to apply.)
- submit an autobiographical history and statement of purpose reflecting the applicant’s family and spiritual development, sense of calling to ministry, experience in church work, and future goals in relationship to the MDiv program. (If married, the spouse of the applicant is also asked to complete a statement in regard to her or his feelings and relationship to the partner’s aspirations for future ministry.)
- an interview with a representative of the MDiv program may be required, either by personal contact, telephone, or video.
- complete and return the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire as directed.
All documents required for acceptance must be in the Office of Graduate Enrollment by the following dates:
Deadline to COMPLETE your application process
Who may APPLY?
International - May 15
Domestic - July 15
No applications will be processed for fall session after this date.
Track 1 ONLY
NO Spring semester entrance
Summer Session 1 (May) - March 15
Summer Session 2 (June) - April 15
Summer Session 3 (July) - May 15
Summer Session 1 (May) - January 15
Summer Session 2 (June) - February 15
Summer Session 3 (July) - March 15
Tracks 1 & 2
Additional application information
- Track 2 students are highly encouraged to start during the summer semester.
- Regardless of the track, students may not start in the spring semester.
- Given that applying and obtaining pertinent documents for admission can be a long endeavor, the student must start the application process at least 4-6 months before the dates provided above.
On-campus residency is broken when a student fails to enroll in at least two semesters within one academic year. When this happens, the student must follow the bulletin in force at the time residency is reestablished.
Reapplying to the MDiv Program
Following an absence of two years or more, a student’s previous admission status will have lapsed and the student will need to reapply to the program.
Transferred and Earned Credit Term Limits
All Course credits applied towards degree requirments should be earned within 10 years of the awarding of the degree.
Transferring Credits to the MDiv Program
Provided the content of the courses are assessed as comparable to the curriculum of the Andrews University Master of Divinity program, students intending to transfer credits into the Master of Divinity Program should be aware of the following policies:
- A transfer of credits must be made by petition.
- Transfer credits are granted only for courses in which the grade is B or higher.
- A student may transfer a maximum of 46 credits (500 level or above) from an uncompleted graduate-level program.
- Up to 24 credits (500 level or above) may be transferred to the Master of Divinity program from a completed master’s-level degree.
- At least 46 credits must be taken in-residence.
Summer Course Load
The 12-week summer session is divided into three 4-week sessions and the normal course load for any of these sessions may not exceed 5 credits. The total amount of course work during the summer session may not exceed 12 credits.
Workshop Credit Limit and Grading Pattern
Master of Divinity students may apply up to 4 workshop credits appropriate to degree requirements. If workshops are taken during the semester breaks, the credits are counted as part of the class load for either the previous or the following semester.
Workshops are graded S/U. Any deviation from this pattern must be approved by the dean prior to the conclusion of the workshop. Students must register at the Academic Records Office for all workshops for which academic credit is desired.
Independent Study Restrictions
Students in the MDiv program are allowed to register for Independent Study only for a compelling reason such as a schedule conflict or the need to take a subject that is not offered (for a maximum of 8 credits during their MDiv program). Normally, Independent Study cannot be used to meet a core requirement. Students must first seek approval from the MDiv office before arranging with a teacher to do Independent Study.
Reduced Course Load
MDiv students whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.75 will be placed on academic probation and will have their course load reduced to no more than 12 semester credits. MDiv students whose cumulative GPA remains below 2.75 for a second consecutive semester are required to withdraw from the Seminary.
When an incomplete or Deferred Grade (DG) has not been cleared by the end of the following semester, the student’s course load must be reduced as follows:
- One I/DG—no reduction
- Two I/DG’s—may register for up to 12 credits
- Three I/DG’s—may register for up to 10 credits
With more than three I/DG’s, the student must withdraw from the program until the I/DG’s are cleared.
Assessment of Students
Since the MDiv program prepares individuals for professional and pastoral leadership, periodic assessments are made of the students by the faculty in areas other than academic standing. Areas reviewed are students’ spiritual growth, lifestyle reflective of the beliefs and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, social/family relations, and developing potential for ministry. As a result of these assessments, students are affirmed in the MDiv program, advised of needed adjustments, or discontinued from the program.
The Seminary follows the University graduation procedures and requirements for the conferral of degrees section of this bulletin. A dedication ceremony for graduating seminary students is held on the Sabbath afternoon of graduation weekend, or as announced.
Students are expected to present a broad range of undergraduate general education represented in such studies as accounting, behavioral sciences (including psychology and sociology), communication, education, English, fine arts, health, history, philosophy and computer literacy.
In the area of religion and cognate studies, undergraduate work must include the following minimum requirements. Some of these subjects can be cleared through optional challenge exams.
English Proficiency Requirements. All students whose first language is not English must demonstrate adequate proficiency in English to succeed in the academic setting.
Language proficiency must be met before enrolling full-time in regular course work.
85-Minimum 20 in each section (reading, listening, speaking, writing).
Students who enter the Master of Divinity program must fulfill the following prerequisites, all of which can be taken at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
Old Testament Introduction and Survey—Two courses; 6 credits
New Testament Introduction and Survey—Two courses; 6 credits
Bible Doctrines/Theology—Two courses; 6 credits
General Church History—Two courses; 6 credits
History of the SDA Church—One course; 2–3 credits
Life and Ministry of Ellen G. White—One course; 2–3 credits
General or Introduction to Psychology—One course; 2–3 credits
Pastoral Ministries and Church Policy—One course; 2–3 credits
Homiletics/Biblical Preaching—One course; 2–3 credits
Personal Evangelism—One course; 2–3 credits
Biblical Greek (Intermediate level proficiency)**
Biblical Hebrew (Intermediate level proficiency)**
In addition to the above, courses in the following areas are strongly recommended: sociology, Christian ethics, missions, philosophy, and apologetics.
Placement, Entrance and Challenge Examinations
MDiv students may challenge the prerequisite courses below by taking examinations developed for that purpose. These examinations shall be taken as scheduled within the time parameters stated in the description for each exam. All exams must be completed within their first two years in the MDiv program. Zero credit shall be granted for each examination passed and the student academic transcript will show the equivalent course name, number, and a grade of P – the designation for Challenge by Examination. No entry shall be made on the transcript if the examination is failed and the student shall be required to take the prerequisite course for credit. Each examination may be taken only once.
Track 1 Courses that may be challenged (prerequisites):
- GSEM525 The Bible and Biblical History
- CHMN552 Foundations of Pastoral Ministry
- NTST551 Beginning Greek
- NTST552 Intermediate Greek
- OTST551 Biblical Hebrew I
- OTST552 Biblical Hebrew II
Track 2 students who can demonstrate adequate preparation gained through study and/or reading prior to entering the MDiv program may challenge the following courses.
- GSEM525 The Bible and Biblical History
- CHIS504 Adventist Heritage
- NTST551 Beginning Greek
- NTST552 Intermediate Greek
- OTST551 Biblical Hebrew I
- OTST552 Biblical Hebrew II
Track 2 students who successfully pass a challenge exam may reduce the number of credits required for their program.
Hebrew and Greek are required at the Intermediate proficiency level. For each language, students may meet this requirement by: (1) passing the Placement Exam in May or August of the year they enroll in Seminary or (2) by taking the Beginning and Intermediate courses in that language (OTST551/NTST551) and OTST552/NTST552).
The Placement Exam: Based on the score achieved on the exam, the student will be: (1) allowed to enroll in exegesis and theology courses without further language study, (2) required to take only the Intermediate language course, or (3) required to take both the Beginning and Intermediate language courses.
Students are allowed to take the Hebrew and Greek Placement Exams only once, either in May or August of their first year. Students who do not take the placement exam in one or both of these languages at the designated time in May or August will be placed in the Beginning level language course(s) for the language(s) in which they were not examined (OTST551/NTST551).
Instruction sheets designed to help students prepare for the placement examinations are available from the Old Testament and New Testament departments.
The Language Courses: Students may also demonstrate proficiency in Intermediate Hebrew and Intermediate Greek by taking the respective courses at Andrews University and earning a grade of at least C+ for the Hebrew portion of the requirement and C or higher for the Greek portion of the requirement.
Students who take the Intermediate level course (OTST552/NTST552) and do not obtain a grade of C+ for the Hebrew portion of the requirement and C or higher for the Greek portion of the requirement must retake the course without delay until the required grade is obtained. Hebrew and Greek are required at the Intermediate proficiency level as demonstrated by examination rather than a specific number of undergraduate credits.
Biblical Literacy Entrance Exam
All entering students must take the Biblical Literacy Entrance Exam and pass with a score of 80%. This test will be administered to all students before the beginning of fall semester. As an alternative, the student can take the course GSEM 525 - The Bible and Biblical History. If students fail the test or do not take it, they must enroll in the course within their first fall semester. Information on the test including a list of items that must be mastered in order to pass it is available at the MDiv website: www.andrews.edu/sem/mdiv/resources.
Pastoral Ministries and Church Policy Proficiency Exam
Track 1 students may choose to take the Church Policy Proficiency examination. The passing score for this proficiency exam is 80%. If students fail the exam, they must take the class CHMN 552 - Foundations of Pastoral Ministry within the first year of their program. Test can only be taken once.
Track 2 students are not allowed to take the church Policy Proficiency examination and must register for CHMN 552 - Foundations of Pastoral Ministry during their first year of classes.
A final grade of C+ or higher is required to fulfill the course requirements.
Adventist Heritage Challenge Exam
Track 2 MDiv students who can demonstrate adequate preparation gained through study and/or reading prior to entering the MDiv program may challenge CHIS504-Adventist Heritage by taking the Adventist Heritage Challenge Exam.
Students holding a baccalaureate degree but having insufficient undergraduate preparation in the area of religion/theology and cognate studies will be evaluated to determine their course requirements.
Students with many deficiencies are highly recommended to begin their studies at the Seminary during the summer session (May) as Track 2 students.
The Master of Divinity curriculum has been designed to meet the various needs of students preparing for pastoral ministry. The MDiv program has two tracks: Track 1, which is designed for students with baccalaureate degrees in theology/religion and Track 2 which is for those who do not.
Students holding a baccalaureate degree in religion or theology (with no undergraduate deficiencies) follow the Track 1 curriculum of 92 credits. Those with deficiencies will take more than 92 credits.
Students holding a baccalaureate degree but having no undergraduate preparation in the area of religion and cognate studies follow the Track 2 curriculum of 107 credits. The Track 2 curriculum of 107 credits requires a minimum of eight semesters to complete.
MDiv students must meet the following requirements in addition to those required of all graduate students:
- Complete the MDiv curriculum of at least 92 credits. Students lacking adequate undergraduate preparation may have to complete up to 107 credits. The actual number of credits required is based on individual academic evaluation.
- Maintain a GPA of 2.75 or above.
- No U grade or any grade below C- will count towards the MDiv degree.
- Meet the qualitative standards of the MDiv program.
The registration fee is due August 15 for fall semester, December 15 for spring semester, and May 10 for summer term. Any credits (over 16 for fall and spring semesters or over 12 for the summer) are charged at the regular per-credit master’s tuition rate.
MDiv students taking a graduate course in the College of Arts & Sciences in fulfillment of their elective course requirement may request a 50% tuition reduction (up to 9 credits), provided the class is not full and there are a sufficient number of students paying full tuition to warrant the teaching of the course. Directed study, laboratory courses, and study tours are not eligible for reduced tuition. Neither is this discount available for dual enrollment students who have been accepted in a graduate degree program in the College of Arts & Sciences. (Application form is available in the MDiv office.)
A per-credit Recording Fee is charged by the university for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), CHMN 557, or Military Chaplaincy Training, CHMN641, credits earned in approved centers not connected with a graduate-level school.
Students anticipating academic doctoral studies after the completion of their MDiv program are advised to undertake the thesis option as some academic institutions require a master’s- level thesis for entry into doctoral programs. Students undertaking the thesis option should plan to take more than seven semesters to complete the program.
The thesis counts as 8 of the general elective credits allowed for the MDiv degree. Students should register for 2 or more thesis credits per term for at least two semesters. Therefore, initial registration for a thesis must be no later than two semesters prior to graduation. Students electing to write an MDiv thesis must apply to the director of the program and must (1) demonstrate superior scholarship over a minimum of two consecutive semesters, normally with a GPA of 3.50 or above; (2) take Research Methods before the thesis is started; and (3) submit a paper of superior quality before permission is granted by the director to begin writing the thesis. The student is guided in thesis preparation by a three-member committee appointed by the director in consultation with the student and department chair in which the subject of the thesis is chosen. The chair of this committee serves as the thesis adviser.
The format of the thesis must conform strictly to the Andrews University Standards for Written Work. Students are strongly urged to consult the dissertation secretary before formatting and printing a thesis.
At least six weeks before graduation, the committee-approved draft of the thesis should be submitted to the dissertation secretary. After appropriate changes have been made, the corrected copy should be submitted at least four weeks before graduation to the dissertation secretary for approval. Copying on non-acid paper should be completed at least two weeks before graduation. Three copies of the thesis, including a 150-word abstract and an approval sheet, must be submitted to the dissertation secretary. The abstract should contain a short statement of the problem examined, a brief exposition of methods and procedures, and a condensed summary of the findings.
Students obtain a Thesis Completion Form from the dissertation secretary. They must take the form to the Academic Records Office no later than noon on Friday, a week preceding graduation. A fee is charged by the university for binding the three copies of the thesis, two of which are deposited in the library and one in the department in which the student earns the degree.
Students who do not adhere strictly to the deadlines noted above will have their graduation postponed. Thesis candidates must pass an oral examination no later than two weeks before graduation. The candidate is expected to demonstrate mastery of the thesis topic.