Master of Divinity


The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is the normative degree for those entering ordained ministry or other ministerial leadership positions. The purpose of this degree program is to provide students with a broad, thorough theological, biblical, and historical background so that they will be prepared to be spiritually mature, missional leaders for ministry in the wide variety of ministries represented in the 21st century world, including pastoral, administrative, chaplaincy, and social service ministries.

The student body of HGST represents a broad range of ministerial leadership positions, including ordained ministry in mainline denominations, ordained ministry in denominations governed by congregational polity, an array of non-ordained ministries in the church, and a wide variety of parachurch and community-based ministries. This immense diversity of the student body is reflected in the learning objectives of the Master of Divinity degree. The first three objectives, which relate to religious heritage, are necessarily general enough to encompass the breadth of traditions of the HGST student body. Within the curricular process, students discover connections between their own religious heritages and historic Christian faith. The seventh objective, which relates to capacity for ministerial leadership, reflects the same necessary breadth. In light of these factors, the person who completes the Master of Divinity degree program will be able to achieve the following learning objectives:

  • Using appropriate hermeneutical methods of exegesis, exposition, and application, analyze the contents and assess the significance of the Bible in both general terms and in representative detail throughout
  • Using Scripture and the historical theology of the church, identify and explain the major doctrines of Christian faith from its beginnings to the present
  • Identifying key persons, events, and issues, review the history of the Christian faith from its beginnings to the present
  • Recognizing relevant social and cultural contexts, apply Christian faith to various facets of personal life and community
  • Relating to persons and groups with concern, empathy, and insight, offer spiritual guidance, understanding, prayer, blessing, and support
  • Engaging with the history and traditions of Christian faith and witness, practice spirituality in one’s life and context
  • Employing effective ministry skills, provide leadership in the worship, education, and service of the church
  • Demonstrating a capacity for spiritual leadership, communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world

The seminary does not perform the functions of church bodies charged with the examination and recording or ordination of ministerial candidates, but does recognize and accept its responsibility for judgment and recommendation in such matters.

HGST encourages students seeking careers in chaplaincy to speak to faculty advisors regarding a specialized MDiv degree plan that allows for 18 hours of CPE. Additional specialized plans may be available by request through the Academic Office, including the MDiv for Military Chaplains, the MDiv with Spiritual Direction Certificate, and the MDiv/MAC degree plan.

Graduation Requirements
The Master of Divinity degree is awarded upon the recommendation of the faculty to persons who have demonstrated general fitness for ministry and maturing gifts in ministry and who have completed a comprehensive and integrated program of study including the specific requirements listed in the degree plan below. Candidates for graduation must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher with no grade of less than a C- in any required course. Course remediation and/or additional credits hours may be necessary in cases where a student’s cumulative GPA falls below the requirement for graduation.

The MDiv degree must be completed within 7 calendar years from the date of first enrollment. Any exceptions must be approved by the Academic Dean. Ordinarily, no more than 30 semester hours of work will be allowed as transfer credit toward the Master of Divinity degree at HGST. All transfer credits are subject to evaluation by the Academic Dean as to applicability toward Master of Divinity degree credit and must be from accredited Master of Divinity or equivalent level Master’s degree programs. Ordinarily, the last full year of work toward the MDiv degree must be completed in residence at HGST.


MDiv Degree Plan

Courses marked * are required courses for all MDiv students. If a student desires specific courses (such as biblical languages), or is required to take such by denominational authorities or other places of employment, special arrangements may be made with the Academic Dean for a custom degree plan.

Research (3 hours)

RE 500* Research, Writing, and Theological Learning

Biblical and Theological Studies (52 hours)

OT 501* Intro to Old Testament (4 hours)
NT 501* Intro to New Testament (4 hours)
BI 510* Biblical Hermeneutics
OT Elective
NT Elective
Biblical Studies Elective (BH, BI, GR, NT, OT)
Biblical Studies Elective (BH, BI, GR, NT, OT)
TH 501* Intro to Christian Theology (4 hours)
Theology Elective (TH)
CH 510* History of Christianity 1
CH 511* History of Christianity 2
Philosophy/Ethics Elective (PH)
CS 501* Intro to Christian Spirituality (4 hours)
Theological Studies Elective (CH, CS, PH, TH, TS)
Theological Studies Elective (CH, CS, PH, TH, TS)
Biblical or Theological Studies Elective (BH, BI, GR, NT, OT, CS, PH, TH, TS)

Ministry Practice (30 hours)

PC 501* Intro to Pastoral Care (4 hours)
PR 501* Principles of Preaching (4 hours)
Preaching Elective
PL 510* Intro to Pastoral Leadership (1 hour)
Ministry Practice Elective (CE, EM, FE, PC, PL, PR, WR)
Ministry Practice Elective (CE, EM, FE, PC, PL, PR, WR)
Ministry Practice Elective (CE, EM, FE, PC, PL, PR, WR)
Ministry Practice Elective (CE, EM, FE, PC, PL, PR, WR)
FE 651* Ministry Practicum 1 Internship or FE 751 (CPE)
FE 652* Ministry Practicum 2 Internship or FE 751 (CPE)

Integrative Experience (2 hours)

IE 601* Integrative Experience 1
IE 602* Integrative Experience 2

*Pre-practicum packets requiring background checks, liability insurance, personal counseling sessions, supervisor information, and more are available at

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