Difference between degrees?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Havensdad, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. Havensdad

    Havensdad
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    Just wondering,

    What EXACTLY is the difference between a M Div. and a M Min.?? I have noticed that most schools offer one or the other, and the description of both seems to be "To prepare pastors and church leaders blah blah blah".

    IS there a difference, or is it simply a different name for what is basically the same degree?
     
  2. PilgrimPastor

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    The M.Min., from what I have researched in available online degrees, basically comes in two types:

    (1) There are schools like Temple Baptist Seminary that offers this degree. In their case the degree can be used as a foundational 30 credit hour Seminary degree, all of which can transfer into the 60 credit hour Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, then the 90 credit hour M.Div. When used as a stand alone seminary degree I am of the impression that they see it as a seminary degree for a Pastor who has already been in the ministry a while, is well grounded in the Scriptures, but wants to earn a seminary degree from an accredited school to further his knowledge of systematic theology etc.

    (2) There are schools like Pillsbury College and Seminary (www.pillsburycs.org) which are reputable yet unaccredited and offer the M.Min. in Christian Counseling which is built as a degree to prepare one for their D.Min. program in the same field. Schools like this may also offer biblical / theological degrees in the same degree designation. This path may be well suited for the serious lay counselor in a local church setting, a Pastor who desires to gain the training and obtain membership in the American Association of Christian Counselors, etc. My wife holds degrees from this school, along with secular undergraduate degrees. They gave her a lot of knowledge in practical biblical counseling which she uses frequently in informal and formal counseling settings as a Pastor's wife, leader in local groups, and as a friend.

    As to the M.Div., this is the "standard" for ordination to the ministry in many denominations and even where it is not, it seems to be widely accepted as the mainstream theological / biblical / and practical degree for the pastorate, though many full time and serious scholars obtain it on their way to the S.T.M., Th.M. and Ph.D. level degrees. The Master of Sacred Theology is more practical, though in addition to the M.Div. than the Master of Theology which tends to be at least a full year longer in length and tend to have more rigor than the M.Div.

    Common picture:
    30 credit M.Min / 45 credit M.A.R. / 60 credit M.A.B.S. / 90 credit M.Div. / 120 credit S.T.M. (Ministerial) & 120 credit Th.M. (Scholarly)

    Hope this helps...
     
  3. Havensdad

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    Is the M Div. Just more rigorous?
     
    #3 Havensdad, Jul 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2008
  4. PilgrimPastor

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    I have never seen an M.Div. program with less than 72 credit hour requirements, which most would consider a pretty skimpy program... 90 is the standard.
     
  5. Havensdad

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    LOL> That is why I erased it. I noticed that what I was looking at had a graduate degree requirement for entrance. So it would be like 38 hours, ON TOP OF a lesser MA...oops.
     
  6. Havensdad

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    Let me ask another question, then (pardon my ignorance).

    Say I have a Masters degree at a particular school, like a MARS. Then I decide I want to get a MABS, which is 25 credits more. ALL I would have to take, is the additional 25 credits, unless that was not enough to satisfy the requisite classes, correct? or would I have to take 60 brand new credits?
     
  7. paidagogos

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    Accreditation claims?

    According to the web site at the posted link, Pillsbury College and Seminary, not to be confused with Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, which is ABHE accredited (ABHE is recognized as a legitimate accrediting agency by CHEA), is accredited by the Accrediting Commission International, which retains a questionable reputable at best. Check out the scoop on ACI at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accrediting_Commission_International. The prevailing general opinion is that to claim accreditation from a bogus source is worse than straightforwardly proclaiming lack of accreditation. Accreditation with ACI is considered by many to be a red flag indicating either a degree mill or a less than wonderful school. Even the NCCA endorsement do not mean much. They dabble in temperment analysis and other quasi-psychological tomfoolry. Furthermore, the administrative officers tend to hold questionable, unrecognized graduate degrees. Thus, I would seriously question the academic rigor and credibility of this Pillsbury College and Seminary.

    BTW, their degrees are a little expensive for what they offer. Other "less than wonderful" schools are about half their price.
     
    #7 paidagogos, Jul 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2008
  8. PilgrimPastor

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    I know the administration of the school personally and, to be honest with you, I don't think their accreditation with ACI is in any way an attempt toward fraudulence as much as it is simply an attempt to find affordable accreditation without a lot of strict oversight - not so they can "dabble in tomfoolery" but so that they are less restricted in terms of degree options etc.

    I am amazed to find such a staunch advocacy of federal accreditation from folks who would otherwise heavily advocate a radically independent form of church polity and practice... Please define "tomfoolery" in this context. This seems to be the norm on the part of mudslingers of every brand. If I use a word like nonsense, tomfoolery, or other such nondescript language in the right way then people will just accept what I am saying as true...

    Had I to do over again I may or may not have accredited degrees for the minsitry. There is a REAL problem in the Church generally in that we expect Pastors to spend upwards of $100,000.000 on an education so they are "adequately prepared," have a family with kids so that they are stable, and by the way, we will pay the average local church pastor near janitor wages and "trust the Lord" with his student loan payments...

    Let us not be so quick to dismiss alternatives to DTS, LBTS, SWBTS, Wheaton and the like simply because they do not have a stamp of approval from a government sponsored, sorry, endorsed, agency...

    Oh ya, they did raise their prices to an unreasonable level recently, not sure why they did that, other than they have grown and have had to hire additional staff.
     
    #8 PilgrimPastor, Jul 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2008
  9. Rhetorician

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    PP Reply

    PP,

    I hope you are well and enjoying our Lord's blessing on your life and ministry.

    I have not followed the entire thread. But, I do not think that I have ever seen a Master of Ministry from a Regionally Accredited (RA) or Association of Theological Schools (ATS) School. I have only seen the degree given by unaccredited small Bible colleges and such. Is it a degree with which one could go to a major university and get credit or do an accredited degree like the Doctor of Ministry or the PhD?

    I have been charged with being an "educational snob" by some on the BB. I am, however, just looking to be more informed on a degree that seems to have just sprung up in the last few years.

    Help me to understand if you will please?:thumbs:

    "That is all!"
     
    #9 Rhetorician, Jul 20, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2008
  10. PilgrimPastor

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    No problem, I have an appreciation, and personal affiliation, with some smaller non-federally accredited schools, so I guess my knee-jerk reaction is to defend them, though there are clearly some problematic schools out there.

    I don't know of any RA or ATS accredited schools who offer the M.Min. Besides Temple Baptist, I am not sure of any accredited schools of any type that offer it, though I believe there are other TRACS accredited schools who do. I am not of the impression that the M.Min. from Temple Baptist is the type of degree that would gain one entrance into much, it is probably a terminal kind of degree - in a sense - in that I think the school's intention is to either transfer those credits into the M.A.B.S. or just offer this 30 credit hour degree as a practical ministry degree for seasoned pastors with no seminary training; at least that is the impression I got when I spoke to the school a couple of years ago.

    This is what was offered to me as a path, (M.Min. / M.A.B.S. / M.Div. or Ph.D. in the program I was told they would be offering soon in Christian Leadership), when I considered the school. I stuck with Liberty through 3 degrees instead, I like Liberty's programs and figured it was wiser to be lopsided with degrees from one school, if that school has a high level of accreditation, rather than have a varied background with TRACS accreditation. Should it ever become an issue for me, though I don't expect it will. Had I had it to do over again, I would do it the same.

    I'm not saying that accreditation is not a valid consideration. I am just saying that it feels an awful lot like "box-checking" to me. Why on earth is ATS considered such a high standard when it has so many schools in it that are radically liberal theologically? I get the need for federal endorsement for student loans, pell grants, GI Bill, Voc Rehab, etc. but TRACS meets that...

    I have read some of what you have written on this board about accreditation and I think I understand where you are coming from. I don't want to get into a whole thing over it :tonofbricks:

    That is all! :laugh:
     
  11. Havensdad

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    Um, that is not true. All of the colleges/seminaries which I looked at for the MMIN, were accredited. For instance, Bethel college is RA by the Southern Association, yet offers an MMIN.

    Could someone please answer my second question?
     
  12. Rhetorician

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    PP Reply

    PP,

    I do trust your insights and integrity. I do believe that you are a man of God and one who does the best you can to be prepared to do what you believe, in your conscience, God would have you to do.

    Education is, after all is said and done, just a means to an end to be equipped to do whatever our Lord would have us to and to be our best at it!

    Amen?:thumbs:

    "That is all!"
     
  13. StefanM

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    http://www.harding.edu/bible/MMinistry.html

    This is an RA school with an MMin. I thought it would be of special note to you, Rhet, given your educational history. This degree is offered at the main campus, not the grad school of religion.
     
  14. Rhetorician

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    Stefan Reply

    Stefan,

    Thanks much! I have my MAR from Harding Grad School of Religion in Memphis. So I find this very interesting indeed. I appreciate the "head's up!":thumbs:

    "That is all!"
     
  15. Havensdad

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    There are a bunch of accredited schools which offer a MMIN. Could someone answer my second question? You bunch of hijackers! :laugh:
     
  16. terrell

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    Pillsbury?

    This is directly related to Pilgrim Pastor and Rhet's interaction about Pillsbury College and Seminary. I don't have a dog in this fight, so please take it as it's given. Pillsbury is financially supported by the Missouri Baptist Convention. They are one of a handful of colleges/seminaries that get money annually. Does this add, or detract, from their credibility, even though they are accredited by ACI? I am from St Louis, MO and was shocked to find out that they were funded by the state convention.

    Terrell
     
  17. StefanM

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    It depends on the school. Some will not let you transfer any credits into the new degree, some will transfer all of them, some will take half of them, and some might have another calculus.
     
  18. PilgrimPastor

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    That is the real trouble with a school like Pillsbury. If you earn a degree(s) from a non-federally accredited school you need to know if it is going to meet your educational needs; you will not be able to transfer into most accredited schools, though several will take you on a probationary status at first.

    As an aside; This is a similar problem though, to young people who earn a B.A. in Psychology without plans to go on for a Masters. There is a limited job field for many who earn undergraduate degrees designed for entrance to graduate school. I know of several who are unemployed or underemployed who fall into categories like this.

    The bottom line, research it and make sure it meets your educational needs and is commensurate with your goals. Most who find themselves needing to retread already covered ground; i.e. earn an accredited masters degree when you already have one from an unaccredited school, do not have the time, money, or energy when the time comes. 2 cents...
     
  19. EdSutton

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    StefanM is correct here. One (legitimate) institution is under no particular obligation to grant what amounts to 'degree accumulation' based on the attainments at another institution.

    Some institutions award a 'higher' degree only upon 'surrendering' an intermediate degree, unless more work is involved.

    One reason for this is that this is, in itself, sometimes confusing or at least misleading, even when unintentional.

    Let me give some hypothetical examples.

    Disclaimer: Some institutions are named, solely based on some knowledge of the Hrs. required for some degrees. This in no way represents any particular advocacy or like or dislike of any institution, here.

    The 'legitimate' Th.M. and/or S.T.M. degrees usually represent some 120-130 hrs. of seminary work.

    The 'Doe' brothers, four of them, all went first to college where they all received B.A. degrees on 128 hr. tracks, and then to seminary, at legitimate schools, were all good students, and "went 'into the ministry'", and are all 'successful' pastor/teacher/educator types. (They also have two cousins, Paul and Peter, who did much the same thing, except for one small difference, and Paul actually has a bit more schooling.)

    Doctor 'Matt' attended college, then Western Seminary where he received his M.Div. (90 hrs.)+ and them attended another Seminary, where he received an D.Min. degree of an additional 30 Hrs.
    His 'resume' legitimately reads Matt Doe, B.A., M.Div., D.Min..

    Brother 'Mark' attended Dallas Theological Seminary, for four years and graduated with their 'standard' Th.M. of some 120 'hrs'. Incidentally, Mark got his B.A. in 'Bible' at Moody, while at least some of the rest attended 'secular' colleges.
    His 'resume' legitimately reads Mark Doe, B.A., Th.M..

    Brother 'Luke' attended another series of schools. He took a more circuitous route, however, and received first an A.A., from a junior college after two years, then a B.A. from a second institution after two more. He stayed at that school for one more year, receiving a 'grad' M.A.R. of 30 Hrs. He then entered another seminary, where he was awarded a M.A.B.S. after another year on his trek. He liked this school, so continued toward an M.Div. with an additional year, which this institution awarded. After receiving his M.Div. he went one more year to another Seminary, and received a Th.M..
    His 'resume' legitimately reads Luke Doe, A.A., B.A., M.A.R., M.A.B.S., M.Div., Th.M..

    (Wanna' guess which one reads as the most 'impressive' thus far? Hint, It probably ain't Mark.)

    Brother 'John' followed a track somewhat similar to Brother 'Luke', above, however, at different schools. He too, earned his A.A., but had to 'surrender' it, in order to receive his B.A. from the same school without any additional work. He did just that. Next he went to seminary, initially intending to only stay one year. He got the M.Min. Then he decided to go for the M.A.B.S., which was awarded for another year, but had to 'surrender the M.Min. in the process, or face additional work. He chose to not do the additional work, and gave up the M.Min. and received the M.A.B.S.. He did it again, and went for the M.Div..Again, he had to surrender the M.A.B.S. or face additional work. He did just that, and graduated with an M.Div.. The he went to another Seminary, and received an S.T.M.
    His 'academic resume' legitimately reads John Doe, B.A., M.Div., S.T.M., or in other words, fairly close to Matt, above.

    Remember, each of the above did ~ 120 hrs. of grad level work.

    Finally, there is Cousin 'Paul' Doe: Paul did much the same track as did Luke, but at different schools. He also wanted to 'keep' all the degrees he had earned, and therefore did some additional work for each of the ensuing degrees.
    His 'resume' legitimately reads Paul Doe, A.A., B.A., M.Min., M.A.B.S., M.Div., Th.M..

    Paul's resume reads similar to that of Luke. The difference is that Paul has 148 hrs of undergraduate work, and 160 hrs. total of grad level work.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot Peter - Dr. Peter Doe. Peter went to a different school, than did the other individuals. It was a legitimate institution, as well. He got a B.A., an M.A. and a Ph.D., from one school.
    His resume legitimately reads Peter Doe, B.A., M.A., Ph.D..
    His represents 106 grad hours, total.

    Wanna' guess who gets the first cracks at becoming an Instructor or Professor at most institutions, all other things being equal? (It still is probably not going to be Mark, FTR.) And actually, the most Bible and theological instruction is likely possessed by first Paul, and then Mark. Dr. Peter may actually posses the least amount in this field.

    Can you now see why degrees, even completely legitimate ones, are not all necessarily exactly the same?

    And I am not even speaking about any 'lightweight' degrees, here.

    Ed
     
    #19 EdSutton, Jul 21, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2008
  20. Havensdad

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    Hmmm. So it seems for one's resume,(say if one were seeking a professorship) one would be better off choosing a school that did NOT require one to sacrifice a degree, or switch schools. Is this why people such as Wayne Grudem, have each succeeding degree from a different school?(Harvard, Westminster, Cambridge)...?
     

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