DEGREES

All Who Are Curious,
Come!

Some of us hear the call early in life. For others, the search is new: an urgent response to a world in tension. Finding your vocational path is not always clear, but our admissions team can help you discern. And remember, you don’t have to have all the answers now. Your time in seminary will provide space to clarify your vision and call.

Columbia offers seven degree programs that provide students with paths to achieve their academic and vocational goals. Whether you are interested in pastoral ministry, academic research, nonprofit leadership, community organizing, or emerging forms on ministry, Columbia has a degree program that can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

Degree Programs
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For many, the three-year MDiv curriculum provides the best opportunity to prepare for ministry in the church and the world. In this program, students engage in both rigorous academic study and intentional contextual learning accompanied by Columbia’s outstanding faculty.

The MDiv program offers students the opportunity to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and practice what they are learning in the classroom by working with local congregations, non-profit organizations, and within chaplaincy settings.

Students interested in the MDiv should also consider the MDiv/MAPT dual-degree program, which provides a unique opportunity to add an area of specialization in practical theology. More information can be found here.

Contextual Education & Supervised Ministry
  • Students in Columbia’s MDiv, MAPT, and MDiv/MAPT dual degree programs are required to enroll in Supervised Ministry internships for academic credit. From congregation-based internships to specialized settings, students work closely with pastoral mentors to hone their skills in ministry.

The Master of Arts (Theological Studies) is a flexible two-year program for those who are preparing for doctoral studies, church leadership positions, or specialized forms of lay ministry. While many graduates pursue careers in teaching and research, the MA(TS) degree may also be used to investigate the relationship between issues of faith and other fields like business, law, the arts, medicine, or science.

At the time of application, students select one of the following areas of focus:

  • Old Testament

    (Hebrew Bible) examines the cultural and historical contexts within which the Hebrew Bible was composed, critical methods of interpretation, and the text’s theological and pastoral implications for modern audiences. Includes study of the Hebrew language.

  • New Testament

    examines the cultural and historical contexts within which the New Testament was composed, critical methods of interpretation, and the text’s theological and pastoral implications for modern audiences. Includes study of the Greek language.

  • Theology

    explores the varied and diverse doctrinal claims of the Christian Church and their implications in and for the broader world.

  • Church History

    examines the diverse development of the Christian Church through history and traces how it both shaped and was shaped by various classical contexts.

  • Ethics

    explores Christian understandings of moral thought and action, with particular focus on their implications for pressing social, political, and economic matters in contemporary life.

The online Master of Arts (Theological Studies) has the same structure and outcomes of the residential MA(TS), but with the added flexibility of being completed entirely online.

The Master of Arts in Practical Theology (MAPT) is a two-year degree program which will equip students for a broad array of ministries with rigorous, creative, interdisciplinary coursework.

The MAPT curriculum is designed around the conviction that theory, theology, and practice are inextricably connected to one another. Students can expect to deepen and broaden their understanding of faithful, informed practices of ministry in and across diverse contexts.

Students in this degree program select a concentration in one of the following areas:

  • Educational Ministry

    focuses on teaching, learning, and spiritual formation of people and communities through liberative forms of education.

  • Pastoral Care & Pastoral Theology

    integrates therapeutic practices of care with attention to intercultural and global structures that affect and inform suffering and healing.

  • Worship, Preaching, and the Arts

    focuses on how the arts and aesthetics can inform and support transformational practices of worship and preaching.

Contextual Education and Supervised Ministry
  • Students in Columbia’s MDiv, MAPT and MDiv/MAPT dual degree programs are required to enroll in a Supervised Ministry internship for which they receive academic credit. From congregation-based internships to specialized settings, students will work closely with mentors to hone their skills for ministry.

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) / Master of Arts in Practical Theology (MAPT) dual degree program offers students the most robust opportunity to explore the depth and breadth of theological education.

Through the combined curriculum, students ask broad theological questions and prepare for ministry in the church and the world. Students also have an opportunity to delve more deeply into a particular area of focus. By pursuing the degrees concurrently, students can reduce by one year the overall amount of time required to graduate.

In the dual-degree program, students select one of the following concentrations:

  • Educational Ministry

    focuses on teaching, learning, and spiritual formation of people and communities through liberative forms of education.

  • Pastoral Care & Pastoral Theology

    integrates therapeutic practices of care with attention to intercultural and global structures that affect and inform suffering and healing.

  • Worship, Preaching, and the Arts

    focuses on how the arts and aesthetics can inform and support transformational practices of worship and preaching.

Contextual Education and Supervised Ministry
  • Students in Columbia’s MDiv, MAPT, and MDiv/MAPT dual degree programs are required to enroll in a Supervised Ministry internship for which they receive academic credit. From congregation-based internships to specialized settings, students will work closely with mentors to hone their skills for ministry.

The Master of Theology (ThM) program is a one-year, upper-level master’s program designed for students who have completed the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts (Theological Studies), or an equivalent degree. The ThM offers students an opportunity to deepen their proficiency in a particular theological discipline, often in preparation for further graduate study.

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program provides students who have already completed a Master of Divinity or its equivalent with an opportunity to engage in further graduate study.

The program is uniquely contextual and invites students to ask questions about their ministry, hone additional pastoral/administrative skills, and engage in rigorous academic inquiry.

Students admitted to the DMin program opt into one of the following two courses of study:

  • Leadership Studies

    equips students to articulate biblically informed theologies and theories of inclusive leadership to ground strategies and practices relevant to their specific ministry contexts.

  • Justice Studies

    equips students to articulate biblically informed theologies and theories of justice that describe multidimensional aims, outline strategies, and identify practices for responsible action in their specific ministry contexts. 

The DMin program is typically completed in four years.

Columbia Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Educational Ministry (DEdMin) was created to foster spiritual maturity in congregations and imaginative thinking about the way educational ministry is practiced in other contexts. Courses take place on the Columbia campus and include two-week residential intensives as well as hybrid courses with some components delivered online to complement classroom lectures.

This is a part-time program for those actively employed in a position of educational ministry. The 45-credit hour degree includes 33 hours of course work, a 6-hour practicum, and a 6-hour final research project. The practicum and final research project are ordinarily done at the student’s place of ministry.

For International
Students

Columbia’s DMin and DEdMin programs do not require full-time enrollment and therefore cannot be used as the basis for securing a student visa. If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may enroll in these programs only if you already have another visa which allows part-time study in the United States.

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