December 16, 2014
DALLAS – Perkins School of Theology-Southern Methodist University announces the restructuring of its Master of Divinity degree, effective spring 2015. The redesigned program will enable full-time students to complete the program in three years and will reduce the overall cost of the degree.
Primarily for students who plan to pursue ordination as clergy, the M.Div. degree will now require 73 term hours of academic credit: 64 term hours of coursework and 9 term hours earned through the satisfactory completion of a supervised internship.
The streamlined degree was approved unanimously by Perkins faculty on Dec. 1, 2014, upon the recommendation of the school’s Committee on Academic Programs.
In addition to the time and cost savings for students, the revamped curriculum provides greater flexibility in areas of ministerial focus, according to Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence. “This change in the M.Div. degree reflects the continued commitment of Perkins School of Theology to prepare women and men for faithful leadership in Christian ministry for the 21st century,” he said. “Students in the M.Div. program will now be able to complete their theological education in a timely and efficient way, while being extremely well-prepared to pursue their vocations.”
The supervised nine-month internship, a hallmark of the Perkins School of Theology M.Div. degree, will continue to provide a context for practical ministerial experience engaged with critical theological reflection for students serving within a congregation or agency.
Changes in the curriculum will include modifications to some courses, a redistribution of certain core requirements, opportunities to concentrate studies in elective areas, and permitting students who are on internships to complete their academic classes at the same time as they intern in places of ministry.
“The commitment of Perkins School of Theology to academic excellence and to world-class theological education is underscored in the way we have restructured this foundational professional degree for ministry,” Dean Lawrence said. “Our students will not only complete the M.Div. degree in a more timely way and reduce overall indebtedness, they will enter their full-time ministries with an even stronger foundation in the areas to which they have been called.”
Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Church Ministries, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.