The M.Div. is a graduate professional degree primarily for ordained and lay leaders planning to serve in a church, or in other forms of ministry such as chaplaincy or spiritual direction. The degree provides intellectual and analytical capacity, as well as practical skills to lead faith communities in a complex, pluralistic society. Faculty and staff work with each student and their denomination or tradition to provide the necessary courses to meet ordination or ministerial authorization requirements.
Students learn to draw on historic resources of the Christian faith and their own and others’ experience of God for the classic functions of ministerial leadership: leading worship, preaching, giving care, educating and forming people in the faith, and leading a congregation or religious organization. Graduating with an M.Div. opens the door to many traditional possibilities in church-related ministries, as well as other faith-based pursuits such as leadership in emerging communities, non-profits or social justice organizations. At United, we have begun talking about our alumni as “spiritual entrepreneurs.” As the church changes and the nature of the spiritual life takes on new forms, so has our curriculum and the ministries of our graduates.