Master of Divinity
The Master of Divinity is a three-year program designed to prepare women and men to serve as transformative religious leaders in the church and society, often in an ordained capacity. This program combines critical reflection with real life application--emphasizing the idea of doing ministry and studying theology in the context of community--with consideration given to the wide and varied spectrums of history, culture, and theological perspective. The emphasis placed upon self awareness and the development of transferable leadership skills, also makes this degree appropriate for those preparing to serve in non-church and non-traditional ministry settings such as: health care facilities, human service organizations, governmental agencies, not-for-profit agencies, business and academic environments, community organizations, advocacy organizations, and in the public square.
Program Goals and Outcomes
Program Goals:At the conclusion of the CTS MDiv program, a student will be able:
- to engage in critical thinking based in mastery of foundational theological disciplines and methods of interpretation while demonstrating an ability to apply such knowledge critically to new challenges in ways that foster the increase of justice and mercy.
- to make compassionate connection with others, especially those who inhabit different cultural contexts and those who are suffering in a world stratified by social and economic class.
- to embody ethical-spiritual integrity in self while promoting it in others, as one develops an authentic embodiment of faith in life through spiritual practices, liturgies, beliefs and wisdom.
- to undertake concrete strategic action that is spiritually grounded and value-rich to promote the increase of justice and mercy.
Learning Outcomes1.Develop Critical Thinking
- Demonstrate knowledge of the Bible; knowledge of its history, tradition, and methods of interpretation; and the capacity to bring scriptural wisdom into critical engagement with current crises and opportunities.
- Demonstrate knowledge of historical, systematic, and constructive theology, and the capacity to bring theological insight into critical engagement with current crises and opportunities.
- Demonstrate knowledge of multiple cultural contexts and capacity for critical theological reflection that takes contextual issues seriously.
- Demonstrate knowledge of and ability to critically engage with at least one tradition other than Christianity.
- Engage and collaborate across lines of difference, privilege and power.
- Demonstrate ability to offer quality pastoral care and wise ethical guidance to individuals and communities.
- Engage in sustained, critical, and effective theological and ethical reflection on the practice of ministry in the parish and other contexts.
- Seek greater and greater coherence between one’s publicly stated beliefs and values and one’s personal and communal practices.
4. Support concrete strategic action.
- Communicate effectively, orally and in written form, both interpersonally and publicly.
- Demonstrate ability to identify and analyze social structures of oppression and to propose and implement strategies of change.
Theological Field Education
Hands-on experience. Where the rubber meets the road.
The Word made flesh…
Theological Field Education is a name for teaching and learning that brings to the fore the practical dimensions of doing and living theology – in real places, with real people, in a diversity of contexts.
At Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS), we understand our entire curriculum as contextual education because we acknowledge that all theology is contextual. The entire Master of Divinity curriculum, classroom instruction and site placements, nurture the student’s exploration of the Christian tradition, integration of thought and feeling, and embodiment of ministry as a way of life within contemporary communities of faith and action. As students participate in Theological Field Education, they are challenged to explore their particular calling to practices of ministry and service; to grow personally and professionally; to clarify their commitment to Christian vocation; to refine skills and illuminate gifts; and to articulate a theological position on ministry.
Most importantly, Theological Field Education is an opportunity to experience the intersections of theology in theory and theology in context, and to practice the many skills of effective entry, accompaniment, and return that characterize transformative leadership. To this process, each student brings his or her particular personal history and resources, understanding of ministry, awareness of cultural and theological traditions, and encounter with the faith community.
Theological Field Education places you in a learning/serving relationship with your supervisor and congregation/community, using an action-reflection model of learning together. Your placement year will be filled with action – practical, hands-on experience as you take on the tasks of ministry, wherever you may be serving. And your supervisor, peers, and perhaps other members of the congregation/community will join with you in reflection – offering guidance and companionship as you reflect on your experiences and grow in knowledge, faith and vocation.
If you represent a congregation or organization interested in becoming a field site please continue reading here.
Theological Field Education Requirements
For M.Div. students, Theological Field Education at CTS includes fulfilling two site placement requirements – Clinical Pastoral Education ( FE 470: Clinical Pastoral Education or FE 475: ACTS Urban CPE in the CTS Course Listings) and a Parish or Community Field Placement (FE 471:Concurrent Field Placement in the CTS Course Listings). Fulfilling these requirements gives students hands-on ministry experiences that further enhance their abilities to connect theological theory to theological practice, specifically in the contexts of healthcare organizations, churches, and communities.
Clinical Pastoral Education
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a nationwide program that places students in highly supervised group settings, where they can fruitfully explore and engage their own practices and ministries with persons in situations of extreme need. CPE usually takes place in health care settings (hospitals/medical centers, nursing homes, hospice) but students may also experience CPE in street ministries and other ministries to the homeless, ministries with at-risk youth, community organizing agencies, and more. All students completing the M.Div. degree must complete at least one unit of CPE.
Parish and/or Community Field Placements
The other required unit of supervised, experiential learning, is satisfied through participation in a Parish and/or Community Field Placement – a part-time, supervised site placement at a parish or a faith-related service/advocacy organization, concurrent with other coursework and related requirements. While some students who come to CTS discern a call to specialized ministry in non-parish settings, we encourage students who will be seeking ordination, or who are discerning whether or not to seek ordination, to locate placements in parish ministry that will fulfill denominational requirements and expose them to a range of pastoral and organizational experiences. Students who serve in a parish will work closely with supervisor who is an ordained pastor in the congregation’s faith tradition, to gain experience with various aspects of congregational ministry. As an alternative, you may choose to serve in a service or advocacy agency that has connection to and works together with faith communities; some of these placements may involve parish experience alongside community service/advocacy. Students who must complete a full-time, year-long internship for ordination with your denomination may work with the Director of Theological Field Education and the Registrar to make arrangements for fulfilling that requirement.
Field Placement Site Supervisors are important members of our CTS learning community; they are experienced clergy and religious leaders who have a great commitment to the ministries they serve and to transforming society to greater justice and mercy. They are guides for your journey, practical theologians, and teachers – our partners in theological education. You will meet with your supervisor on a weekly basis, for theological reflection on your service in ministry, your learning process and your vocational and spiritual formation. Your Theological Field Education supervision experiences will hopefully provide a dynamic and interactive relationship between two persons who seek to grow together in faithfulness, thought, and action.
So…what do I have to do?
M.Div. students typically undertake their field education during their second or third year at CTS; timing will vary according to your particular scheduling needs, as full-time or part-time students. The Director of Theological Education and the Registrar will work closely with you as you complete your requirements for field education and the M.Div. degree.
The following chart explains the various components, prerequisites, and written requirements of both CPE and Parish/Community Field Placements at CTS. You will find more detailed information in the Handbook, which is available for downloading below.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Parish/Community Field Placements
Required Written Materials and Evaluations
All are completed at the CPE site.
For more information, see the ACPE website
All are completed as part of CM 400: The Practice of Christian Ministry
Theological Field Education Forms and Resources
- Handbook: Theological Field Education at CTS [pdf]
- Field Placement Site Description Form [doc]
- Learning Covenant form [doc]
- Theological Field Education Checklist [doc]
- Some suggestions for creating professional development goals [pdf]
- Denomonational Resources
- Student Information Form [doc]
- Site Placements & Supervisors
- Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
- Urban CPE
- United Church of Christ
- Illinois Conference, UCC
For More Information
Rev. Derylak and the CTS faculty look forward to working with you, supporting you, challenging you and learning with you during this time of vocational formation and leadership development – as you prepare for transformational ministries wherever you are called to serve!
Apply to the M.Div. Program
The final application deadline for Fall 2013 will be July 16th. All those planning to apply for Fall 2013 who have not already submitted an application should contact the Admissions Office at (773) 896-2411 as soon as possible.
The Master of Divinity is a three-year program designed to prepare women and men to serve as transformative religious leaders in the church and society, often in an ordained capacity. This program combines critical reflection with real life application--emphasizing the idea of doing ministry and studying theology in the context of community--with consideration given to the wide and varied spectrums of history, culture, and theological perspective. The Master of Divinity program culminates in a final writing project termed the Constructive Theology Paper. The emphasis placed upon self awareness and the development of transferable leadership skills, also makes this degree appropriate for those preparing to serve in non-church and non-traditional ministry settings such as: health care facilities, human service organizations, governmental agencies, not-for-profit agencies, business and academic environments, community organizations, advocacy organizations, and in the public square.
Qualifications: M.Div. applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree. Certain persons who do not have a Bachelor’s degree may apply as a Student at Large (S.A.L.). See separate application.
- APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application for financial aid will be submitted in hard copy. Applications must be complete before they will be forwarded to the CTS Admissions Committee for consideration. Please plan accordingly to meet the appropriate deadlines.
- ONLINE APPLICATION FORM: The bulk of your application information will be collected by way of the online form. Read all directions prior to beginning the form to understand the requirements for the degree program to which you are applying. Prepare your written materials and assemble them in one document to be submitted as an attachment. Identify the persons who will serve as referents. Gather information regarding institutions attended and degrees received. Determine your form of payment for the application fee.
- WRITTEN MATERIALS: Written materials should be carefully assembled into one document to be included as an attachment on the online application form. The application form will refer to this collective document as an “essay”.
- Autobiographical Statement Please write an autobiographical statement (2000 words or less) incorporating a response to the following:
- Briefly discuss your call or describe what compels you to pursue theological studies.
- Describe your religious history and/or a personal experience that has led you to pursue theological studies.
- What are your educational and vocational goals in seeking theological education?
- What is your view of the church and its ministry and the role you expect to play in them?
- What do you believe to be the two most important issues facing the church over the next five years, and why?
- What do you regard as your most important life experience?
- What aspects of CTS and its program of studies have led you to make this application for admission?
- Current Resume: Provide a current resume or a brief description of any of the following: your recent work experience, participation in volunteer and community service, religious or church involvement, and any honors/awards you have received.
- REFERENCES: MDiv applicants must submit four (4) written references. At least two (2) of the references must be academic. One may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a professional colleague or personal friend.
List the name, position title (or relationship to you if a personal reference) and contact information for each reference on the online form as directed. Be certain to match the referent to the type of reference requested (academic, pastoral, or professional/personal).
Provide a copy of the downloadable REQUEST FOR REFERENCE to each of the four referents named on your application form. Prior to delivery to the referent, complete the top section, identify the type of reference, and sign the form.
It is an expected courtesy for you to provide each person with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope. Each writer should return the completed reference directly to CTS (or to you) in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back flap.
Reference waiver: Unless otherwise indicated, you waive your right to review letters of reference. Waiving your right will assure freedom of full expression in the evaluation you are asking each person to provide. If you do not wish to waive this right, you must indicate as much on the reference form.
- ACADEMIC RECORDS: Provide the names of all colleges and universities attended or presently attending and indicate the degrees earned or expected on the online form. List them in chronological order. The online form can accommodate up to five institutions.
Request the Registrar of each institution to send an official transcript of all academic work in a sealed and signed/stamped envelope directly to CTS. Please include transcripts for all post-secondary schools attended, including those at which you did not earn a degree.
- APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by debit card or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card or American Express.) Persons serving as volunteers, team members, Corp members, staff and alums of the AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps, and VISTA are eligible for an application fee refund. Refund will be done by mail following receipt of proof of affiliation.
- MASTER OF DIVINITY APPLICATION CHECKLIST: A downloadable checklist is provided for your convenience to assist you in organizing your materials and completing the requirements.
- SUBMISSION: Transcripts, sealed references, and the CTS Application for Financial Aid form should be mailed to:
Chicago Theological Seminary
1407 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1507
- FACULTY INTERVIEW: Once your application file is complete and ready for review by the Admissions Committee, the Office of Admissions will contact you to arrange a brief personal interview with a member of the CTS faculty. The interview may be done in person or by telephone.
- FINANCIAL AID: Applicants wishing to be considered for merit scholarships or need-based grants must complete the application process and submit the CTS Application for Financial Aid by the priority deadline of February 15. Merit scholarships and need-based grants are available for students matriculating in the fall only.
- STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: All applicants must complete the admissions process within two years of submission of the online form. No applications will be held after two years. Applicants who are not accepted to CTS may only re-apply after two years, and must re-submit an application. Submission of an application and the supporting documents assumes that the information is accurate and true to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. All documents submitted as a part of an application become the property of the Chicago Theological Seminary and are not transferrable to a third party.
- TRANSFER APPLICANTS: Transfer students must complete a minimum of eight (8) courses at CTS to be eligible to receive a CTS degree. Master’s level transfer students who wish to transfer credits into a CTS program must have an admissions interview with the CTS Registrar. In addition to materials required of the degree program into which you hope to transfer, please submit a letter of honorary dismissal as well as transcripts from the Registrar or Academic Dean of your previous school. Please note that a Master’s level transfer student who has one year or less before completing his/her degree may not be eligible for institutional financial aid.
Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study. International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:
TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.
APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by debit card or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card or American Express.)
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): TOEFL scores are required of applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test. The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120. The TOEFL may only be waived if the applicant has completed another degree, in English, in the United States.
I-20 FORMS: I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. If admitted, your admissions letter packet will include a CTS International Student I-20 Application form and an estimate of the cost of attendance for your degree program. The form will explain the financial documentation requirements for the issuance of the I-20 by the seminary. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.