Master of Divinity (MDiv)
Luis Fernando Ortiz, Director
The Master of Divinity program is 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. Students can complete the 92/107-credit program in seven semesters with summers free. However, the Seminary schedule is so arranged that MDiv students who have no deficiencies and who have adequate financial support may accelerate their studies by taking seven semesters in sequence, including summers, and complete the program in less than three years.
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 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.
- Organize, equip and mobilize 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 religious 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:
For Summer Enrollment: (Tracks 1 & 2)
- February 1 (International applicants)
- March 1 (Domestic applicants) (Track 2 students must start in the summer)
For Fall enrollment: (Track 1 only)
- May 1 (International applicants)
- June 1 (Domestic applicants)
Additional application information
- Track 2 students will only be accepted 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 2–3 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.
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). 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. *In some cases DG’s are allowed to be carried for an extended length of time that is determined by the instructor of the course.
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 (see below and p. 356).
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.
90-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.
Pastoral Ministries and Church Policy Proficiency Examination
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. 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.
Hebrew and Greek are required at the Intermediate proficiency level as demonstrated by examination rather than a specific number of undergraduate credits.
Students who pass the exam at the intermediate level are allowed to enroll in exegesis courses without further language study. Students who do not pass are placed in appropriate levels of Hebrew or Greek courses according to their test scores (either Beginning or Intermediate levels). Instruction sheets designed to help students prepare for the placement examinations are available from the Old Testament and New Testament departments. 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+.
The Hebrew placement examination may be taken two times, plus as the final exam for OTST 552 - Biblical Hebrew II. If a student has taken the placement examination these three times and has not passed at the intermediate level or has not obtained a grade of C+ or higher in OTST 552, OTST 552 must be repeated.
The Greek placement examination may be taken two times, plus as the final exam when taking NTST 552 - Intermediate Greek. If a student has taken the examination these three times and has not passed at the intermediate level or has not obtained a grade of C+ or higher in NTST 552, then NTST 552 must be repeated.
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. Passing the course with a grade of at least C+ fulfills the test requirement. If students do not pass the course with a grade of at least C+ they must suspend participation in the MDiv program until they pass the test at its next scheduled administration. 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.
MDiv students who can demonstrate adequate preparation gained through study and/or reading prior to entering the MDiv program may petition to challenge the following course: CHIS504-Adventist Heritage.
Students requesting to write a challenge exam should meet the department’s schedule and requirements for taking the exam.
The challenge examination for each course is preparted, administered, and graded by the faculty member(s) teaching the course(s) in the Seminary. Students who have received permission to sit for )a) challenge examination(s) shall take the individual course examination(s) at prescribed times. The passing grade for a challenge examination is B-. Challenge exampinations do not earn credit. Challenge exams may not be repeated.
Successfully passing a challenge exam may reduce the number of credits required for the program.
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 should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary during the summer session (May).
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 (see the Assessment of Students section on p. 352 for further details).
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.