Brite Divinity School wants new way of thinking in Master’s program

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The Brite Divinity School has added three new master’s degrees for students who want to pursue a career in theology.

The Rev. Ed Waggoner, assistant professor of theology, said a theological approach should never be boring.

Waggoner is hoping the three new programs will put this way of thinking to the test.

The school is offering what it calls a “gold standard” degree through a Master of Divinity program.  The three-year degree requires 81 hours of graduate courses, 15 hours of which come from biblical studies.

Up to 18 hours would come from required coursework for ordination through Baptist and Christian denominational churches, with between four and 24 hours of electives.

The Master of Divinity degree offers six programs including theology, black church studies and sexual and gender justice.

The school also offers a two-year Master of Arts in theological ministry degree.

Stephen Sprinkle, a professor of practical theology and director of field education in supervised ministry, said after 21 credit hours of supervised ministry over two years, the graduate student can then apply for a supervised year under a minister or a judicatory supervisor.

“Ministry is the only job in the world where you are deeply a part of a families’ grief,” Sprinkle said.  “You are there to walk the last mile of the way with the grieving people and their loved one.”

The degree’s field work component is designed to prepare students with practical experience for lay and ordained ministry, and service in work settings.

The 48 credit hours of the degree are broken down through 27 hours of core requirements, nine hours of specialization through congregational ministry or social transformation, and 12 hours of electives that are available for all degrees.

The Masters of Theological Studies degree requires 49 credit hours and provides students the opportunity of “critical and constructive reflection by the study of a range of theological disciplines,” according to the degree description.

This degree is constructed for students to establish a foundation of theological studies while also enhancing their faith and understanding of Christianity.

The degree requires 24 hours of core requirements.  Six hours each are required of biblical studies, historical studies and theological and ethical studies, with an additional six hours required in cultural and global context studies.

Along with 21 required hours of electives, four additional hours are needed for the final seminar of the degree.