Butler University Center for Faith and Vocation
Theological School / Graduate School Information
The following information has been assembled for the benefit of
Butler students considering graduate theological school or graduate
study in religion.
First of all, make maximum use of our local sources of
The Center for Faith and Vocation
Located in the Blue House (4615 Sunset)
The Office of Pre-Graduate & Pre-Professional
153 Jordan Hall
A source of information about all aspects of researching and
applying to graduate programs, including the GRE exam.
Internship and Career Services
315 Atherton Union
Mr. Gary Beaulieu, director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Source of information about all aspects of career development.
Dr. Paul Valliere (email@example.com)
202 Jordan Hall
Second, visit the websites of national organizations dedicated
to promoting discussion of theological vocations and monitoring
graduate programs in theology and religion:
Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation. The national
network of which Butler's Center for Faith and Vocation is a
Both are maintained by the Fund for Theological Education. Note
that the FTE offers fellowship programs and other opportunities for
undergraduates considering a theological vocation and for
first-year theological students.
Site sponsored by the Pastoral Leadership Search Effort, a
national talent search for young people interested in religious
Site maintained by the American Academy of Religion. The AAR
maintains a survey of all fully accredited universities,
theological schools, and seminaries in the United States and Canada
that offer an academic doctoral program in religious studies or
theology. Even if you are not considering a doctoral program, the
survey can still provide insights into the nature of graduate
theological education. You can find the results of this survey at:
Site of the Association of Theological Schools in the United
States and Canada.
Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
This is the standard program to prepare candidates for ordination
and leadership in congregations, chaplaincies, social service
agencies and higher education who are fully engaged in constructive
service to their faith traditions and the world at large. It is the
most comprehensive and practical degree in theology. The coursework
is typically completed in three years.
Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)
The M.T.S. degree provides a foundation in theological disciplines
and a concentration in a particular area of study, often for those
who intend to pursue further academic studies or those who wish to
explore the Bible and theology without taking on pastoral roles. It
is in general a two-year program and often includes language
Master of Arts (M.A.) and Ph.D. in
These two degrees are designed for advanced academic training on a
specific subject in any number of areas within the religious
studies domain in preparation for teaching and research. A Ph.D.
program builds on the more general foundation offered in a Master's
degree and leads to more advanced positions. Master's degrees are
often designed as two-year programs, while a Ph.D. demands at least
another four years. Both require language study.
Some institutions offer advanced theological degrees for
students who have already earned one of the master's degrees
described above. These include the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.),
Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) and Master of Sacred Theology
Some institutions also offer a variety of other degrees, such as
the Master in Church (or Specialized) Ministries (for ordination as
a deacon). These take on a slightly different character than the
degrees mentioned above, maintain different requirements and are
often geared toward specific ends (as with the M.C.M.).
It is also not uncommon for theological schools to offer a range
of counseling and therapy degrees, such as a Master of Science in
Marital and Family Therapy, Master of Arts in Family Studies, and
Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Counseling. You can learn more about
these offerings by researching the schools that appeal to your
particular interests, goals and academic needs, or by searching for
View the following examples:
Christian Theological Seminary (Disciples of
Offers MA in Psychotherapy and Faith, MA in marriage and Family
Therapy, as well as doctoral degree in Pastoral Care and
Louisville Theological Presbyterian
Offers MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and Religion, and
Divinity (dual degrees)
Loyola University (Jesuit, Catholic)
Offers MA in Pastoral Care and Counseling, MA in Spirituality and
There are in general four types of institutions: university
divinity school, interdenominational seminary, denominational
seminary and university graduate school. However, some
institutions, such as the University of Chicago, offer more than
one option for graduate theological degrees, i.e. a divinity school
as well as a graduate program in religious studies. Additionally,
some denominational schools offer non-denominational programs.
These are noted below, but be sure to do research on your own, too.
Note: "seminary" and "theological school" generally mean the same
University Divinity Schools
University divinity schools are institutions of religious study
that are connected to a larger university and its other
professional schools. Students in these programs often find their
studies and conversations making contact with subjects outside the
immediate jurisdiction of the divinity school.
Boston University School of Theology
B.U. offers degrees through its divinity school, as well as
graduate degrees in religious studies.
Drew University Theological School
Drew offers graduate degrees in religious studies, as well as
divinity degrees from the theology school.
Duke University Divinity School
While supported by the United Methodist Church, Duke Divinity
School is ecumenical in practice. In addition to a range of
divinity-related degrees, the Duke University Graduate School
offers degrees in religious studies.
Emory University Candler School of Theology
With a base in the United Methodist Church, Candler also offers
programs in Baptist, Episcopal and Catholic studies. In addition to
the divinity programs, the Emory University Graduate School offers
a Ph.D. in religious studies.
Harvard Divinity School (ecumenical): www.hds.harvard.edu
Harvard Divinity School offers the M.Div., M.T.S., Th.M. (Master
of Theology) and Th.D. (Doctor of Theology). Harvard University
offers a Ph.D. in religious studies.
Samford University-Beeson Divinity School
(Southern Baptist): www.beesondivinity.com
Beeson offers a M.Div., M.T.S. and D. Min. (Doctor of
Southern Methodist University-Perkins School of
Theology (Methodist): www.smu.edu/theology
Perkins offers a wide range of ministry-related degrees mainly for
students preparing for service in the United Methodist Church;
SMU's graduate school offers a M.A. and Ph.D. in religious
Texas Christian University-Brite Divinity
School (Disciples of Christ/ecumenical): www.brite.tcu.edu
Brite offers a wide range of ministry-related degrees in an
Ft. Worth, TX
University of Chicago Divinity School
In addition to the M.Div. program, Chicago's Graduate School
offers a couple different Master's degrees and a Ph.D. in
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
The Vanderbilt Divinity School offers a M.Div. and M.T.S.; the
Vanderbilt Graduate School offers a M.A. and PhD. in religious
Yale University Divinity School (ecumenical):
Yale Divinity offers three divinity degrees: the M.Div., a Master
of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.-for preparation for lay service), and a
Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.); the Yale University Graduate
School offers a Ph.D. in religious studies.
New Haven, CT
Interdenominational Seminaries are private institutions
independent of any university affiliation and not affiliated with a
particular church denomination.
Princeton Theological Seminary: www.ptsem.edu
PTS offers three masters and two doctorate degrees related to
studies in ministry.
Note: PTS is not part of Princeton
Fuller Theological Seminary (evangelical): www.fuller.edu
Fuller offers a wide range of master, doctorate, intercultural and
therapy services degrees.
Graduate Theological Union (ecumenical): www.gtu.edu
GTU is a consortium of nine theological seminaries and eight
centers and affiliates and a graduate school offering academic
programs leading to the degrees of M.A., Ph.D., and Th.D. in a wide
range of fields in theology and religious studies.
Also independent of any university, denominational seminaries
offer programs designed to prepare students for service in a
particular denomination of the Christian church body. Students from
other denominations are usually welcome, and coursework is often
applicable to the ordination requirements of other denominations.
Check the websites for specific degree information.
- Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA: www.ltsp.edu
- Luther Seminary, Minneapolis, MN: www.luthersem.edu
- San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Francisco, CA: www.sfts.edu
- Concordia Seminary (Missouri Synod), St. Louis, MO: www.csl.edu
- Union Presbyterian Seminary, Richmond, VA: http://upsem.edu/
- Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY:
- Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Austin, TX: www.austinseminary.edu
- McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL: www.mccormick.edu
- Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA: www.ctsnet.edu
- Methodist Theological School in Ohio (Methesco), Delaware, OH:
- Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL: www.garrett.edu/
- Iliff School of Theology, Denver, CO: www.iliff.edu
- Southeastern Baptist Theological School, Wake Forest, NC: www.sebts.edu
- The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY: www.sbts.edu
- Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA: www.vts.edu
- The General Theological Seminary, New York, NY: www.gts.edu
- Disciples of Christ
- Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, IN www.cts.edu
- United Church of Christ
- Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL: www.ctschicago.edu
- Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO: www.eden.edu
- Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, MA: www.ants.edu
University Graduate Programs
In addition to the graduate programs mentioned alongside the
university divinity schools, there are many reputable graduate
programs in religious studies at universities that do not have a
divinity school. These are strictly Ph.D. and/or M.A. programs. See
the AAR website for a complete listing.
- Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ: www.asu.edu
- University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA: www.ucsb.edu
- University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI: manoa.hawaii.edu
- Indiana University, Bloomington, IN: www.indiana.edu
- University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN: www.nd.edu
- Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY: www.syr.edu
- University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA: www.virginia.edu
Many schools offer campus visits year-round. Because of the
often personal nature of the work done in theology schools, it is
important that you choose one that is a good fit for your interests
and personality. Campus visits provide perhaps the best impression
of how you will get along in any given campus community. Be sure to
plan ahead, as visitation days follow individual campus schedules
and are not offered on a daily basis.
Many institutions offer special visit days, sometimes called
"exploratory weekends," for prospective students. These dates
generally offer special programming that provides a more in-depth
look into the kind of life and education you can expect at that
particular school. Visit the websites of the schools that interest
you to find out more about these kinds of visitation options.
Application deadlines tend to cluster around the beginning of
November and December for admission the following Fall semester.
However, many institutions offer rolling admissions, which might
start as early as October and continue through April or May.
Regardless of the type of admissions policy you encounter, it is
very important for you to stay on top of the process. Only your
careful management can ensure that all deadlines are met.
Financial Aid, Admissions Policies, FAQ's, etc.
Each institution maintains its own set of policies regarding
admissions, the disbursement of financial aid, as well as helpful
lists of frequently asked questions. Check the websites of the
institutions to which you hope to apply and investigate these
issues. Again, actively managing the process of applying for
admissions and financial aid is essential to completing it
Note that application deadlines for scholarships and
other special financial aid are often earlier than general
application deadlines. Stay on top of the process!
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