Shortened Master of Divinity degree?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    To all who have an ear to hear!

    This particular question has not been discussed directly that I know?

    However, the idea that the Master of Divinity degree is too long and tedious has been discussed as a side bar issue in some threads.

    I was looking at Central Baptist Seminary's web page in Kansas City. They have a new Master of Divinity that is 75 semester hours long.

    My first question is this:

    Should the Master of Divinity be shortened from the usual 90 semester hours to the 75 semester hours?

    My second question is this:

    Why should it be shortened?

    sdg! :D

    rd
     
  2. Martin

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    ==My belief is that the Master of Divinity degree should be done away with. It should be replaced by Master of Arts degrees. The MA degree would have different focuses depending upon the persons calling (Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, Pastoral Studies, Christian Education, etc). The programs should be around 60 semester hours each. So if one wanted to be a pastor one could do a MA in Pastoral Studies or Biblical Studies. If one wanted a general graduate theological degree one could earn a MA in Biblical Studies or maybe Religion. For those who felt called to PhD work they should do the MA/Theological Studies.

    This is already done by some Seminaries even though they maintain the out of date MDiv degree.

    Why should this be done?

    1. To allow a more focused study. The church has become so focused that you have education people, music people, missions people, etc. I think the days of someone going into Christian ethics (etc) needing to know greek/hebrew/preaching are long gone. In other words doing away with the MDiv degree would allow seminaries to offer more focused degrees (ie..people would not spend so much time in classes that have nothing to do with their calling).

    2. All required courses could be completed in a 60hr program. Thus why have a 90hr program? It makes no sense.

    3. The changing face of education. Gone are the days, or at least quickly leaving are the days, where people would pack up their family and move to the seminary to attend for three/four years. Seminaries are adjusting their schedules to fit the modern life. Seminaries and Universities are offering degrees online, in modular format, at night, and via other means. A shorter degree program would fit better with the modern life and would not compromise the educational experience.

    Martin.
     
  3. Convicted by the Spirit

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    As I finish up my bach. degree I ask my self this question. Should I just go after a master of Arts degree focused on the direction God is leading me? After all I already have 24 hours in bible and theology and 24 in biblical counseling. do I really need to add on another 90+ hours?

    One good thing about the M.Div degree is the bible languages you walk away with. I would love to be able to read and study the bible in the original languages.

    But should it be shortened? Nah. not everyone had an undergrad filled with bible and theology. A lot of pastors find God's calling later in life and need the extra hours in the M.Div for training.

    no expert, but thats my 2 cents.
     
  4. TomVols

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    For most people, no, the degree shouldn't be shortened. The M.Div. is designed for those who have no Bible college or undergraduate training in theology/ministry. I think there should be better alternatives to the 90 hour degree for folks (like me) who already basically have a seminary degree from an undergraduate institution. What the SBC seminaries tried to do with the Advanced M.Divs has not been helpful IMHO.
     
  5. PastorSBC1303

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    Rhet, I have given this a lot of thought over the last couple of years and I am not really sure of the answer. I would say I would probably side with keeping the hours at around 90 instead of lowering them. It would be better to err on the side of too much than not enough.

    I think some places may be lowering the hours for the pure reason that they want to appeal to students who do not want to put the amount of work that they would in other schools. I have known guys who would choose a seminary based on the number of credits needed for a certain degree.
     
  6. PastorSBC1303

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    Sorry double post .
     
  7. Broadus

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    It would be interesting to see what Central has done away with. Does it require biblical languages? How much church history, systematic theology, etc.?

    I agree with maintaining at least a 90-hour minimum for those holding non-religion undergrad diplomas and perhaps 60 hours for those possessing a degree such as a BA in Bible.

    Bill
     
  8. RandR

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    I would guess it would depend on what they were "cutting" to get the total hours down.

    Just looking at my own M.Div:
    Could "Christian Ethics", "Pastoral Leadership", and "Pastoral Ministry" have been combined for someone not "majoring" in one of those fields? Probably. Particularly the last two.

    Could a couple of the Christian Ed. requirements been combined into one class for non-Christian Ed. majors? Again, probably.

    By the same token, I know I would have benefited from more advanced study in OT and NT and probably another semester of Hebrew would have been helfpul.

    Maybe the solution isn't to "reduce" the hour-load, but to restructure the degree. Just some thoughts.
     
  9. Bible-boy

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    When/if you have students who have graduated college with a BA in Biblical Studies I think you could shorten the requirements for the MDiv. You could easily cut the 6 hours of Church History (had that in college), 3 hours in Baptist History (had that in college), 6 hours in Systematic Theology (had that in college), 6 hours in OT Intro (had 3 hours OT Survey and 9-12 hours in OT books in college), 6 hours NT Intro (had 3 hours NT Survey and 9-12 hours NT books in college) and 3 hours Marriage and Family (had that in college). That is about 30 hours of direct repeat course work. For the OT and NT Intro courses you could allow students with Biblical Studies undergad degrees to substitute with an additional 12 hours of OT/NT book courses.
     
  10. Rhetorician

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    Hey All:

    Here is the link to Central Seminary's page for the truncated MDiv. Some of you wanted to examine the programs so you could see what has been added and what has been taken away in the different disciplines. I offer it as contrast/compare only, with absolutely no recommendation of the institution. Please keep this is mind when you look at the program.

    It is also an RA & ATS accredited school I believe. This type of program may be the wave of the future.

    http://www.cbts.edu/pdf/Master%20of%20Divinity.pdf

    Let me know what you think when you do the c & c.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  11. Broadus

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    Agreed.
     
  12. Broadus

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    Rhet,

    I checked out Central's program and have a two-word summation: incredibly weak. Depending upon one's choice of electives, one can graduate with the majority of one's courses dealing with practical aspects of ministry. No biblical languages are required.

    I also noticed that they've adopted the politically-correct terminology of "Hebrew Bible" for "Old Testament" and dear ole Molly is still president.

    Bill
     
  13. Humblesmith

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    Here's the link to the Southern Evangelical Seminary catalog:
    http://www.ses.edu/academics_SESCATALOG2006-2007.pdf

    In it, you'll find basically what has been discussed here. I think it offers a very flexible set of options:
    --a lay teacher or para-church worker can get a 36 hour degree;
    --there are five different 60-hour MA degrees, with the language or without, depending on a person's needs;
    --there is the full MDiv with over 90 hours.
    --There is the full DMin with more hours still.

    Further, they are in the process of adding a PhD degree.

    In my view, this is the direction the seminaries will go. It allows the flexibility for those of us who need a specialized program but can't quit our jobs, move away, and uproot the family, and offers the traditional full MDiv and DMins for those who feel they need that.
     
  14. EdSutton

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    I've offered this before. "Master's" degrees run the gamut. One can receive a post-bachelor's degree in anywhere from 30 'hrs.' or so to 120 'hrs.' or more. "Doctorates" are similarly fairly wide ranging. And I am not talking about "Diploma Mills", either. One can receive a Ph.D. from BJU, for example, at about 100 hours beyond a bachelor's. Were one to do the M.Div. route at the same institution, that degree runs about 90 odd hours. At DTS, you are still a good 20 hrs. shy of a Th.M., with the same 100 hours, plus another 60, or so to the Ph.D.. SBTS has a Masters at 45 Hrs., as well as some that range much longer, all the way to an M.Div. at up to 100 hours. I was aware of one seminary, now defunct, that took students with a HS diploma, or equivalent, and No college degree was even required. The reasoning was that the ministry was its own 'special' field, and offered a B.R.E. at some 120 hrs., an M.R.E. at some 150, and a D.R.E. at some 210. That would not put this too far from some Ph.D. offerings at some college/university settings. I could have entered with my B.A. at 128 hrs. and received their M.R.E. with only a handful more hours than their standard 150. I sometimes wish I had, but that was not feasible at the time, given my own situation. I guess my point is there are all kinds of degrees, tracks, and fields of study already available. Surely one can be found that suits about any individual. If not, it is not for lack of offerings.
    In His grace,
    Ed
     
  15. Johnv

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    It shouldn't take a M Div any less than any other Masters. I see no reason to "shorten" it. Most masters programs take about 2 years or so to complete. Not very long when one considers that a cockroach can live 10 times as long.

    BTW, an alternative is a Master's in Christian Education instead of a M Div. My wife has one. She's a teacher, not a pastor, btw [​IMG]
     
  16. rbell

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    Southwestern Seminary, (Ft. Worth) offered an "advanced standing" M.Div for those who majored in religion. For some reason, they cut it out, I think.

    It let me graduate in 3 years, only requiring 72 hours. I had to "test out" of a few courses, and take advanced electives in lieu of some other lengthier courses.

    Very few people I know manage to do their M.Div in 3 years or less. Most seminaries still advertise the M.Div as a "3 year program." I don't think that's very realistic for most folks.
     
  17. Broadus

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    It's pretty difficult to complete a 94-hour MDiv in 3 years unless one loads up on short-term intensive courses offered between fall and spring semesters and during the summers. That is, unless someone else is providing for your tuition and living expenses. [​IMG] Twelve hours per semester was about my max at SBTS, and I did J-terms also.

    Bill
     
  18. StefanM

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    The problem is that it is absolutely impossible to graduate with an MDiv in 2 years. The degree is significantly longer than most masters programs, and when you factor in a similar (professional-style) degree (the JD), 3 or more years for something termed a "Masters" is a bit long.
     
  19. PastorSBC1303

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    Agreed. It took me 4 years. However, I was also living 65 miles off of campus and ministering full time in a local church.
     
  20. Convicted by the Spirit

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    Southwestern is still offering the advanced M.Div. one can complete the degree with as little as 74 hours. In order to do so you must have met all the greek and hebrew coming in to the degree program. Looks like about 15 hours worth of language.

    I can't imagine someone completing a M.Div in 2 or 3 years. I guess if you are single and really focused then probably. I hope to get a MA in Christian Ed. and it will probably be from Southwestern based on location. I am thinking it will probably take me about 4 years to get the degree.

    I pastor friend of mine went to Regent and got his master's degree in Leadership. It only took about 33 hours to complete the degree. He wants to go on and get his Doc. in Leadership as well from Alabama University. This seems like a shortcut if you ask me. Maybe I just have the idea stuck in my head that Pastor's must spend over 100 hours in seminary or college. Thoughts?
     

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