Courses & Certificates for Practical Ministry

These Courses and Certificates for Practical Ministry are designed to equip all students- laity and clergy, alike- with relevant, applicable, practical knowledge and tools to empower them in their life-long spiritual journey and ministry. 

These courses are great for any students looking to expand and enhance their education related to ministry both within and without the walls of the church. 

Stay up-to-date with certification news!

Church Staff seeking training opportunities to expand their theology and ministry toolbox for the ministry context within which they serve. 

Laity looking for theological educational opportunities that feed their desire for lifelong learning and expand their theological understanding in practical, applicable ways. 

Current Perkins Students desiring concentrated study in a ministry area outside of their current curricular opportunity at Perkins School of Theology.

Perkins Alumni interested in continuing education opportunities in applicable ministry areas.

Undergraduate Students  serving in ministry roles or feel a current call to ministry and would like to experience graduate theological education.





The Certificate in Practical Ministry consists of five two-hour, graduate level, non-credit courses.

  • Engaging Theology
  • Engaging the Bible
  • Adaptive Leadership or United Methodist Studies
  • Two Specializations of your choosing


Current Offerings

  • Christian Spirituality (in partnership with the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program)
  • Disability Theology & Ministry
  • Evangelism
  • Interim Ministry (in partnership with Transitional Intentional Interim Ministry Specialist Association of The UMC)
  • Ministry with Children
  • Ministry with Youth
  • Ministry with Young Adults

Offered beginning 2024 or later*

  • Camp & Retreat Ministry
  • Church Leadership
  • Ministry on the Margins
  • Ministry with Adults
  • Sexuality and the Church
  • Urban Ministry
  • Women & Gender Studies

See the specializations page to read more about the courses required for each specialization. 

Specializations can be combined to create unique certification areas. For example, you can combine Children's and Youth Ministry or Youth and Young Adult Ministry specializations to create a specialization in "Student Faith Formation" or "Student Discipleship." These combinations will be considered on a case by case basis by the certification staff. 

*cohorts must have at least eight students to begin a specialization track. 

Certification Course Term Dates


January 5-13 Dallas, TX May 18-21 Little Rock, Arkansas


January 11-19 May 16-18 (Location TBD) 

Courses will either be three-day or five-day intensives within the eight-day term. A three-day and a five-day course can be taken concurrently. Some courses will require virtual meetings after the intensive. Specific course dates will be shared each term.

Core courses are offered each year, in alternating terms. Specialization courses are offered in consecutive terms.


Time to Complete the Program

You can complete the program at your own pace, based on the availability of your courses. The program is designed for students to complete the program at a pace that fits their work and life schedule, whether they take one class a term, January only, or May only, they can complete the whole program in two - five years. The certificate must be complete within eight years of a student's first course. 


Where will the certificate courses take place?

January certificate courses will take place on the SMU campus at Perkins School of Theology. May intensives will be at satellite campuses.

Hybrid courses are indicated on the course page. 

Online courses will be offered occasionally throughout the rotation, and will be indicated on the course page.