A theological curriculum reflects an understanding of the nature of theology in its historical and cultural contexts. The M.Div. program at CDSP, offered in both residential and low-residence formats, is designed to address the special needs of professional ministry, both ordained and lay, in The Episcopal Church.
The design and content of the CDSP M.Div. curriculum provides:
- a thorough and integrated grounding in the Christian tradition;
- opportunities for learning the distinctive role of Anglicanism-socially, historically, and theologically;
- a clear focus on spiritual growth and discipline in the context of theological study;
- an awareness of different religious, theological, and cultural perspectives;
- integrative experience and study in all courses; and
- opportunities to honor differing needs, abilities, and cultural backgrounds of students;
- experience and practice in the skills of ministry, both on campus and at field education sites.
The curriculum reflects an understanding of theology that includes the following elements:
- The discipline of theology is seen as an integrated whole.
- For practical and pedagogical reasons, the curriculum is organized by fields of study.
- Courses seek to explain historical and cultural forces that shape Christian institutions and thought.
- Courses are directed to personal formation in the Christian faith as well as to its conceptual underpinning.
Summary of Requirements
The length of the residential program is three years full time, but not more than ten years part-time, including internship and leaves of absence. The low-residence program is designed to be completed by a part-time student in a minimum of four academic years, including four June intensives and four January intensives. The curriculum includes requirements for specific minimum area coverage, which can often be met by successful completion of one of several courses.
Residential MDiv Course Requirements
Courses marked with an asterisk must be taken with CDSP faculty.
|Anglicanism * (1 Course)|
|Biblical Studies (4 courses)||
|History (2 courses)||
|Theology (2 courses)||
|Ethics (1 course)|
|Liturgics (2 courses)||
|Pastoral Studies (3 courses)||
|Issues in Ministry (1 course)|
|Field Education * (2 courses)|
|Electives (6 courses)|
The six integrative courses marked * are courses that must be taken at CDSP in a prescribed sequence:
Additional courses recommended for those preparing for ordained ministry:
Church Music and Liturgical Singing
Addictions, 12-Steps and the Church
A course in parish leadership
Worship leadership and preaching in chapel
Those preparing to take Field Education must participate in Child Abuse Prevention Training. The January Intersession course Sexual Violations and the Church fulfills this requirement.
Areas of Focus in the Master of Divinity Program
Building upon the strength of offerings at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and the Graduate Theological Union, students enrolled in the Master of Divinity program may pursue a specialized area of focus. Interested students would take three elective courses in addition to any relevant required courses that might fall within an area of focus. These elective courses may be taken at CDSP or any GTU member school. These areas of focus would enable a student to design a course of study in preparation for ministry in particular fields or to deepen understanding of a particular area. Students would discern studying for an area of focus in consultation with their academic adviser.
Areas of Focus Offered at CDSP:
- Theological Studies
- Biblical Studies
- Liturgy, Music & Homiletics
- Pastoral Studies and Christian Education
- Ministry Development
- Historical Studies
- Anglican Studies
- Interfaith Relations
See admissions requirements.
At CDSP, ministry is learned not only in the classroom but also in pulpits, hospitals, and vestry meetings. Field Education, in which students serve local parishes, agencies, or chaplaincies, is a vital, integral part of the M.Div. program.
The School for Deacons of the Diocese of California, with offices on the CDSP campus, manages CDSP's field education program. The School for Deacons manages all aspects of the Field Education Program, including placement, learning contracts, weekly seminars, and evaluations.
The School for Deacons office is located in Parsons Hall 209.
First-year M.Div. students are encouraged to experience the wide variety of ministries in the Bay Area. Within 50 miles of CDSP, dozens of Episcopal congregations serve urban, suburban, and rural communities, which include a wide variety of people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Many ministries reach out to all sorts and conditions of people—to the elderly, mental patients, substance abusers, prisoners, homeless people, and the dying. There are also several chaplaincies in hospitals and universities.
Second-year M.Div. students, and many in the third year, spend eight hours each week in concurrent field education, working with experienced, trained supervisors. The student meets regularly with the supervisor for theological reflection on the experience of ministry. Additional feedback is given by committees of lay persons in the parish, agency, or chaplaincy.
Field Education students also meet weekly on campus for additional reflection in small groups. The first semester colloquium provides an introduction to experiential education and theological reflection. Theological reflection remains at the heart of the colloquia in subsequent semesters that also focus on congregational systems, spirituality, and theology for ministry.
By adding a fourth year to the period spent in seminary, students may deepen their experience of ministry and increase the number of electives available to them in their M.Div. program. During an intern year the student spends at least eight months in a parish or church institution working under the guidance of a supervisor, thereby receiving a depth of experience that is not possible in concurrent field education. An intern year is usually taken between the second and third year of study. The intern year, along with participation in a colloquium during the following year of seminary, fulfills the field education requirement.
Several international exchange programs are maintained by CDSP to provide an opportunity for further theological study.
Application to these exchange programs should be made in writing to the faculty through the student's advisor. Students selected must have achieved a good academic record, and, in the opinion of the faculty, must have demonstrated such personal and intellectual qualities that they will be creditable representatives of CDSP.
Far East Exchange Program: This program is conducted with several seminaries in the Far East, e.g., Singapore, Manila, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. No academic credit toward CDSP degrees is normally allowed for this program. Interested students should consult with their advisors. Selection is made by the faculty.
Cuddesdon Exchange Program: CDSP also maintains an exchange program with Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, England.
CDSP students who have successfully completed one year of studies may, with appropriate supervision and a full course load, receive a year's credit toward an M.Div. degree through study at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and complete the final year at CDSP. Students who have completed two years of study at CDSP, and recent graduates may also apply for this program, but in these cases no CDSP academic credit will be given. Preference will be given to those applying to use the Cuddesdon year as a fourth year. The student's academic record at this school will be taken into account in the selection process.
CDSP students participating in the Cuddesdon Exchange program for credit register for each semester and pay full tuition to CDSP, and are eligible for financial aid. Health insurance, room and board are provided by the host institution for the student. A student with spouse or partner will be expected to pay for health insurance, room and board in addition to all other costs for the spouse or partner. It is expected that the student will provide funds for all other living or traveling expenses beyond health insurance, room and board for him or herself.
All M.Div. students receive three general evaluations during their program of study.
In the spring of each year the faculty reviews the progress of all First Year students. A letter signifying that the student is making adequate progress in the M.Div. program is produced as a result of this evaluation. When there are special areas of concern these are included in the letter. The second evaluation occurs in the middle of the second year, taking three semesters' work into account. The final evaluation occurs in the middle of the third year.
The purpose of evaluations is to assist the individual student in personal and theological growth in Christian formation. One's own maturing relationship with God through Jesus Christ is of utmost importance to the individual and to the larger Christian community which M.Div. students are preparing to serve. Because growth is continual and often difficult to describe, particular areas of a student's seminary life are brought under careful review.
Academic skills are a major concern. That competence is partially measured by separate course evaluations provided by instructors. A knowledge of basic content and method in theological disciplines is highly important. Also important is the student's ability to integrate different facets and areas of learning in constructive analyses of contemporary religious, social and political problems and to transmit these insights to other people.
Relational skills are another concern. Leadership, counseling, preaching, and teaching are measured by appropriate course evaluations, and also through reports from Field Education assignments. It is important to assess how a person's theological understanding and commitment is manifested in all areas of the student's life. Two such areas may be worship and family. Questions of a student's relationship with peers and with those in authority come into focus, as does response to criticism.
In addition to the student and the advisor, the evaluative process involves Field Education supervisors, Faculty, Staff and the Dean. The student's advisor presents a draft of an evaluation to the Dean and Faculty for their collegial review. This draft is drawn up after consultation with the student. The student may be asked to prepare a self-evaluation as a basis for the consultation with the advisor. Advisors have different methods of preparing evaluations. Therefore, students should discuss the process with their advisors so that there is a mutual understanding.