LTSP's New Curriculum - Fall 2013


A condensed version of Dr. David Grafton's reflection on the new curriculum was published in the
Spring 2013 edition of
PS, The Philadelphia Seminary magazine. Read the full reflection here.

LTSP Students

We receive many inquiries about the seminary’s new curriculum, which will be instituted with the fall semester of 2013. The curriculum features outcome objectives for each student as well as study requirements. The curriculum content is based on careful review of the church’s context and requirements mandated by our accrediting bodies, the Association of Theological Schools and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Below is a summary of the curriculum’s makeup as it stands now. Note the connection of the curriculum’s features to the seminary’s mission statement, “Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world.

LEARNING OUTCOME OBJECTIVES OF THE NEW MDIV CURRICULUM

The Master of Divinity curriculum expects the following learning outcomes from its graduates. Each LTSP course is required to link its course objectives with at least two of the major content areas of the LTSP Mission statement (and the corresponding ATS content areas):

1 Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

1.1   Demonstrate biblical literacy

1.2   Demonstrate knowledge of historical and contemporary Christian discourses, practices and institutional structures 

1.3   Demonstrate ability to articulate Christianity in ways accountable to multiple publics

2 Educating and Forming

2.1   Demonstrate ability to articulate individual faith and reflect on it critically with integrity

2.2   Demonstrate an engagement with historic spiritual disciplines and contemporary religious practices

2.3   Demonstrate mature vocational identity (pastoral, ministerial, administrative) for public leadership

3 Developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith

3.1   Demonstrate competence in teaching Christianity through biblical texts, historical discourses, and communal ritual practices

3.2   Demonstrate abilities to nurture individual faith gifts and graces and healthy communities (congregations, agencies) in public life

3.3   Demonstrate competency at professional (pastoral, ministerial, administrative) skills appropriate for specific contexts (congregations, agencies) in public life

4  Engaging the world

4.1   Demonstrate engagement with public issues and concerns in light of the common good, in and across various cultural and communal contexts

4.2   Demonstrate ability to interpret and evaluate particular social contexts theologically

4.3   Demonstrate an ability to integrate global, cross-cultural, ecumenical and interfaith realities in constructive, effective leadership in faith communities 

REQUIREMENTS OF THE NEW MDIV CURRICULUM

The MDiv degree requires the satisfactory completion of at least 26 course units (one unit is equivalent to three semester hours). Twenty units are to be comprised of the following (note that an “option” may be satisfied by more than one course, as designated in the course schedule):

BIBLE (five units)

Scriptures of the Church: Genesis-Esther

Scriptures of the Church: Job-Malachi

Scriptures of the Church: Gospels & Acts

Scriptures of the Church: Epistles & Revelation

Biblical Language Course option

CHURCH HISTORY (Three units)

Heritage of the Faith option

Investigating the Christian Tradition option

Christianity and Interreligious Contexts option

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (Three units)

Confessing the Faith in Ministry option

Thinking the Faith for Renewing the Church option

Engaging the Faith in the World option

INTEGRATIVE THEOLOGY (Seven units)

Preaching option

Liturgy/Worship option

Church and Society option

Congregational Formation and Education for a Changing Church

Pastoral Theology

Church Administration and Leadership option

Spiritual and Leadership Formation

PUBLIC THEOLOGY (Two units)

Introduction to Public Theology

Senior Seminar in Public Theology option

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS

A minimum of four semesters of field work at approved sites (non-credit)

Focus in at least one of the above courses or through free electives to each of the following themes:

  • Global/multicultural
  • Ecumenical
  • Interfaith
  • Mission/Evangelism
  • Anti-Racism training
  • Professional Ethics and Boundaries

Completion of Student Learning Assessment Portfolios

DENOMINATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Students should consult with their own ecclesiastical authorities concerning any additional courses they may be required to take. Students of the following denominations should expect to complete the following courses among their core requirements or free electives:

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA): Lutheran Confessions. Those ELCA students seeking ordination are additionally required to participate in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and internship, both of which are non-credit experiences.
  • Anglican/Episcopal: Essentials of Anglicanism and a designated course in Anglican theology
  • United Methodist: United Methodist History and Doctrine AND United Methodist History and Polity
  • African Methodist Episcopal: African Methodist Episcopal Polity

MDIV CONCENTRATION REQUIREMENTS

An MDiv student may elect to undertake a specialized field of study (concentration). Each concentration entails a minimum of four course units. Some concentration courses will also fulfill core degree requirements; others will be taken among the student’s free electives. Possible concentrations are noted below, along with their requirements.

BLACK CHURCH CONCENTRATION — Five courses in consultation with the concentration director that will normally include the following:

  • One Bible course designated for the concentration
  • African American Church History
  • African American Theology
  • Worship in the African American Church
  • Preaching in the African American Tradition

LATINO CONCENTRATION — Four courses in consultation with the concentration director from among the following:

  • U.S. Latino/a Theology and Ministry
  • Latin American Theology
  • Spanish Ministry
  • Teología de las confesiones luteranas (Lutheran students)
  • Independent study on a topic related to Latino/a theology, mission, and ministries
  • One course designated for another concentration
  • Two semesters of field education or internship in a Latino congregation or context
  • Participation in a global trip to a Spanish-speaking country

INTERFAITH CONCENTRATION

  • Four courses in consultation with the concentration director
  • Two semesters of supervised field education in a context in which there is significant opportunity for interfaith engagement

OR

  • Two to four semesters of supervised field work with an affiliated interfaith organization, beyond the normally required MDiv field education

METROPOLITAN/URBAN MINISTRY CONCENTRATION — Four courses in consultation with the concentration director from among the following:

  • The Church in the City
  • Understanding the City
  • Models of Urban Ministry
  • Issues in Urban Ministry
  • One course designated for another concentration
  • Two semesters of field education or internship in a metro/urban placement
  • Clinical Practical Education (or its community equivalent) in an urban context

MULTICULTURAL MINISTRY/MISSION CONCENTRATION — Four courses in consultation with the concentration director from among the following:

  • A course in World/Global Christianity or in Mission and Cultures
  • A course in African American, Asian, or Latino Theology
  • Two semesters of field education or internship in a multicultural context
  • Participation in a global trip

PUBLIC LEADERSHIP CONCENTRATION — Four courses in consultation with the concentration director from among the following:

  • At least two courses from among the following: God Talk and Public Leadership; Scriptures of the World; Religious History and Public Leadership; Ethics of Public Leadership
  • One or two courses from a Public Leadership partner institution (Temple’s Fox Business School or Temple School of Social Work)
  • One semester of public leadership case-based field work

[Important Note: Students in the MDiv Public Leadership Concentration pay tuition at the higher Master of Arts in Public Leadership rate for their final eight courses.]

LEARNING OUTCOME OBJECTIVES OF THE NEW MAR CURRICULUM

The Master of Arts in Religion curriculum expects the following learning outcomes from its graduates.  Each LTSP course is required to link its course objectives with at least two of the major content areas of the LTSP Mission statement (and the corresponding ATS content areas):

1 Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ

1.1  Demonstrating Christian literacy, across classic theological disciplines:  biblical, theological, historical, integrative

1.2  Demonstrating an understanding of Christianity through particular social constructs

1.3  Articulating faith that is accountable to appropriate public

2 Educating and Forming

2.1   Demonstrating familiarity with appropriate spiritual and ecclesiastical resources

2.2   Forming increasingly articulated ministerial and professional identity

2.3   Articulating the cross-section of faith and public life (through a written thesis/project)

3 Developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith

3.1   Demonstrating abilities to utilize appropriate religious and spiritual resources for specific communal goals

3.2   Demonstrating capacity for leadership in appropriate communal contexts

3.3   Demonstrating specific professional skills, appropriate to vocational goals

4 Engaging the world

4.1   Demonstrating abilities to imagine and engage diverse publics in ministry and/or professional vocations within/across various cultural contexts

4.2   Demonstrating abilities to interpret and evaluate particular social contexts theologically

4.3   Demonstrating ability to integrate global, ecumenical and interfaith realities in analysis and practice, appropriate for vocational goals

REQUIREMENTS OF THE NEW MAR CURRICULUM

The MAR degree requires the satisfactory completion of at least 20 course units (one unit is equivalent to three semester hours).  Students may choose either a Professional Ministry track or a Theological Studies track.

All MAR Students will complete the following core requirements (10 courses):

PUBLIC THEOLOGY

  1. Introduction to Public Theology
  2. Senior Seminar in Public Theology
  3. REQUIRED COURSES
    1. Two courses from Bible Area
    2. Two courses from History Area
    3. Two courses from Theology Area
    4. Two courses from Integrative Area

         At least one of the above courses must be designated as having a Global or Ecumenical or Interfaith focus

ADDITIONAL NON-CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

  1. Anti-Racism Training
  2. Professional Ethics and Boundaries Training
  3. Completion of Student Learning Assessment Portfolios

PROFESSIONAL MINISTRY TRACK

Beyond the MAR core requirements above, the Professional Ministry-track student should complete the coursework below.  At least five courses in the student’s program, plus a senior project, are to comprise a specialization, appropriate to the student’s professional ministry goals.  Course selections are to be made in consultation with the student’s advisor to ensure adequate breadth of competence to meet the student’s vocational needs.

  1. Denominational Polity appropriate to the student’s own tradition
  2. Denominational History or History of Tradition (can be one of student’s two required history courses)
  3. Spiritual Formation
  4. At least two additional courses in Bible
  5. At least two additional Integrative Ministry courses as appropriate to student’s ministry goals
  6. Contextual Education (minimum of two semesters) (non-credit)
  7. A senior project, evaluated by the student’s advisor and one other faculty, in area of specialization.

THEOLOGICAL STUDIES TRACK

The student is required to select an area of specialization, comprised of a minimum of seven (7) courses (five beyond the core courses), including a senior thesis or senior comprehensive examination in the area of specialization. 

AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION

Specializations that an MAR student might choose include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Black Church
  • Interfaith
  • Latino Ministry
  • Metropolitan/Urban Ministry
  • Multicultural Ministry/Mission
  • Public Leadership
  • Bible
  • Systematic Theology
  • Integrative Theology
  • Christian Education
  • Pastoral Care
  • Liturgy and Music
  • ELCA Diaconal Ministry
  • Episcopal Diaconate