CDSP’s MDiv program offers rigorous academic and spiritual formation for people who will, in a time of religious and cultural pluralism, lead the church in participating in God’s mission, forming Christian disciples, and proclaiming the Gospel.
Successful graduates of our MDiv program can:
- Articulate a coherent theological understanding of God’s mission, grounded in Scripture and in Christian heritage, particularly in its Anglican distinctiveness as well as its ecumenical comprehensiveness.
- Demonstrate skill in contextual analysis that informs and deepens the church’s commitment to the common good in particular ministry settings.
- gather and form Christian community, and engage Christian disciples in joining God’s mission of reconciliation, justice, and mercy.
- Articulate and embody the good news of God in Jesus Christ in coherent and compelling ways, orally, in writing, and through action, communicating the transforming power of the Gospel both within the church and in our pluralistic world.
At CDSP, students prepare for ordained ministry with a core program of study that addresses the needs and concerns of the world and the church from Episcopal Church perspectives. They supplement these perspectives with electives from across the ecumenical and interreligious range of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU). Students take most or all of the courses covering the six canonically required areas of study for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church at CDSP. They also take courses both at CDSP and across the GTU focusing on the core ministry leadership skills of contextual awareness, critical reflection, and public conversation.
Our community is the undergirding context for our students’ academic experiences and for our entire curriculum. Our residential community gathers daily to worship God, to share meals, to have meetings and classes, and on other formal and informal occasions. During intensive sessions in January and June, our low-residence students share in this aspect of our common life. During the year, both low-residence and residential program students gather with faculty advisors in formation groups to experience spiritual development in community. Beyond campus, our diverse communities at the GTU and across the San Francisco Bay Area enrich and challenge students and faculty with even broader ranges of heritage, belief and practice.
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. 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, 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.