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Students may enroll in any one of four graduate Programs: a two-year 36-hour Masters-level Certificate of Arts in Faith and Practice Program, a two-year 48-hour Master-level Certificate of Arts in Theological Studies, a two-year 48-hour Certificate of Arts in Religion and a three-year 90-hour Certificate of Divinity.  At NYDS, each academic "hour" is typically 13 hours of class-time plus 30 hours of additional academic work outside of class.  For more information on the four Programs, please read the  "Program Outlines" information.

In addition to classes, all students will be required to participate in a Spiritual Formation group:

  1. All students are involved in accountability groups for personal spiritual formation, prayer and growth in Christian character and conduct—ethics themes, also.
  2. The accountability groups may include students from more than one Program, but who nevertheless have taken similar courses.

Common Core Courses

All three Programs have a set of fifteen core courses, including a required common-core of courses that are the same for all three Programs—including these fifteen (15) courses, with a total of 30 academic hours. These courses are central to the mission of the new seminary as well as its distinctives and purposes. The also embody its motto: Bible-based, Christ-centered, and Spirit-led. The last three have a strong internship component:

Bible-Based – five courses = 10 academic hours

  • Biblical Hermeneutics (2 hours)—An examination of the processes and resources available for truth-based interpretation of Scripture and of cultural contexts for applying Scripture.
  • Surveys of the Old and New Testaments (4 courses, 8 hours total)—An English Bible study of the background and key themes of the nature, content, and history of the Old and New Testaments, with special attention to issues of culture and behavior.

Christ-Centered – five courses = 10 academic hours

  • Christian Theology I and II (2 courses, 4 hours total)—a philosophical/theological study of foundational Christian beliefs (including methodology of analysis, revelation and reason, God, Trinity, creation, human nature, family, government, evil, and sin) and these belief’s behavioral implications and outcomes.
  • Biblical Ethics (either personal or marketplace ethics--one course, 2 hours)--an examination of Biblical teachings for human behavior
  • Contemporary and Comparative Theologies (2 courses, 4 hours)—a multifaceted exploration of Biblical, classical, cultural and strategic dimensions of contemporary Christian thought, and in contrast to non-Biblical ideas.

Spirit-led – five courses = 10 academic hours

  • Personal Growth and Discipleship/Mentoring (2 hours)—Intensive training in Christian disciplines to nurture personal excellence and spiritual growth, found in the history of Christian spirituality and disciplines of the inward journey.
  • Church Education and Administrative Leadership (2 courses, 4 hours)—engaging in the practical work of effectual equipping and leading a transformative Christian community.
  • Leadership Coaching (2 hours)—Implementation of skills for designing and leading contextual workplace and Church ministry that understands engages, challenges, transforms, transcends and utilizes cultural patterns and structures. Confidence grows through the application in coaching new leaders, as well as the recognition and ongoing resourcing of the student’s ministry calling.
  • Preparation of Biblical Messages (2 hours)--learning and practicing the skills of discerning the meaning and relevance of a Bible text, shaping a message, and delivering it well. 

While each of these seven courses addresses all of the mission, distinctives, and purposes of the new seminary in some way, the following chart helps to point out some of the main highlights of the competence and capacity of the common-core to help fulfill these essential standards.

The students participating in these common-core courses will include those in the MDiv Program preparing for professional ministry, as well as students already in other professions (such as law, business, medicine, education, social work or fine arts) who are pursuing a research Program (the MA in Faith and Practice) studying especially some aspect of their profession or some related social/civic/economic issue.

This active cross-professional engagement will add a level of awareness and excitement that “cloistered” environments (Pastors-only) in secluded seminary campuses can miss. The cross-professional aspect is also enhanced by the additional students involved in significant theological training in the Master of Arts (MA) in Religion, the multi-cultural background of our New York City students and the learning opportunities from skilled professors and articulate peers.

The excitement and relevance of the classes will be enhanced by the fact that the students come from a wide range of professions as well as different denominations and ethnic backgrounds. Rarely do pastoral students have such an opportunity to study side by side with people experienced in other professions who are also serious about Biblical and theological training.

Students take courses in their Program according to their own pace as long as they continue to make progress. Since most potential students have full employment in addition to their level of service in ministry, they will rarely be able to take more than four courses or eight (8) hours in a term. The MDiv Program may take four years or five years according to the student’s required pace. Students will be urged by their faculty advisors to keep pace in their Program, as much as is reasonable according to the students’ responsible use of their time and attention.

On the one hand, every student will be in a Program and will be advised to continue to progress in thier Program, for which they have been admitted and matriculated. On the other hand, “true commencement occurs at the end of every class” as students immediately apply what they are learning in their lives, ministries, and professions—and measurably benefit from their seminary training now.

Additional Courses Required for Each Program

In addition to the common-core of seven courses, each Program has additional core courses that embody the primary purposes of each Program.

For the Master's-level Certificate in Faith and Practice, there are two (2) additional required courses with total of eight (8) hours:

  • Research Methods (2 hours)
  • Research and Thesis (6 hours)

For the Master's-level Certificate in Theological Studies and the Master's-level Certificate in Religion, there are five (5) additional required courses, for a total of 20 required courses, or 40 hours--plus four elective courses.  The grand total is 48 academic hours for these Master's-level Certificates.

  • Bible-based: Content, Understanding, and Application
    • An Old Testament Book Study
    • A New Testament Book Study
  • Christ-centered: Consciousness, Conduct, Culture and Cogency
    • History of Christian Thought and Conduct I or II
  • Spirit-led: Personal Development and Ministry-Skill
    • Evangelism
    • Worship Leadership

For the Master's-level Certificate in Divinity, there are twelve (12) additional required courses, for a total of twenty-seven (27) required courses, or 54 academic hours--plus 18 elective courses for the Certificate in Divinity, for a total of 90 academic hours. 

  • Bible-based: Content, Understanding, and Application
    • An Old Testament Book Study
    • A New Testament Book Study
    • Elementary Hebrew
    • Elementary Greek
    • Greek or Hebrew – Syntax and Exegesis
  • Christ-centered: Consciousness, Conduct, Culture and Cogency
    • History of Christian Thought and Conduct I
    • History of Christian Thought and Conduct II
    • Apologetics I
    • Apologetics II 
  • Spirit-led: Personal Development and Ministry-Skill
    • Preparation of Biblical Messages
    • Pulpit Ministry
    • Evangelism

Elective/Specialization Courses

Generally one Elective/Specialization cycle of four 2-hour courses will begin each term and continue for four sequential semesters. By the fourth term there will be at least three Elective/Specialization courses available each term. Master's-level Certificate of Divinity students must take twelve elective specialization courses, completing at least two specializations of four courses. MA in Religion students may take any four of these elective/specialization courses whether or not from the same specialization area.

Biblical Counseling—three-course sequence
1. Personal Counseling
2. Psychology and Theology of Family Relationships
3. Marriage and Family Counseling

Prison-release Ministry—three-course sequence
1. Introduction to Prison Ministry
2. Advanced Prison Ministry
3. Prison-Release Ministry

Strategic Evangelism and Missions—three-course sequence
1. Urban Evangelism
2. Church Planting
3. Evangelism Practicum

Ministry with Moslem-background people—three course sequence
1. Effectively Reaching out to Moslems in America
2. Ministry among Moslem Groups
3. Building Ministry among Moslems

Marketplace Decisions and Biblical Values—three-course sequence
1. Biblical/Christian Values in the Professions
2. Biblical/Christian Values in Social, Civic, and Economic Decisions
3. Biblical/Christian Values in Personal Ethics

Victim Chaplaincy for ministry with the traumatized—three-course sequence
1. Introduction to Victim Chaplaincy
2. Critical issues in Victim Chaplaincy
3. Restoration Ministries in Victim Chaplaincy

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)—one and a half (1.5) units = 9 hours

Spiritual Formation Groups

All students are expected to participate in a spiritual formation group during the period in which they are taking classes. Groups will meet on a regular basis and will be given readings and assignments associated with issues of spiritual formation. The focus of these groups will be integrate theory and practice and share experiences that nurture spiritual growth, that discover and clarify one’s ministry call and that cultivate the kind of character, integrity, relational skills, and spiritual resources required for that ministry.

Course Scheduling

Evening classes will generally be offered from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM, each course once a week.
  • Saturday classes may meet from 9:30 AM to Noon or from 12:30 pm to 3:00.
  • Weekend classes may also meet from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM Friday evenings, and then the same class will continue from 9:30 AM until Noon on Saturday.

Academic Regulations

A student taking nine term hours is considered a full-time student. Students have outside employment or ministry obligations should consider the demands of the rigorous graduate ministry education program when planning their academic program.

Students are urged to attend all classes. Under no circumstances will a student be given a grade for a course in which he or she has been absent more than 25% of the total number of class meetings, unless a student has made up for those classes by listening to class recordings. Students who attend class and are passing, but have not finished the class responsibilities will be given an “I” for incomplete. The student must complete the incomplete portion of the course and receive a final grade before the last class day of the next term, or else the grade will become an “F” after that period. An “I” grade is not counted in the grade average until after the last day to complete the work or when the work is completed.

The following grades are given: A, B, C, D, F, WF (withdraw failing) and WP (withdraw passing). Grade pluses (+) and minuses (-) can be given where appropriate. Grade point averages are computed on the basis of hours attempted, not hours completed. Academic hours transferred from other school does not affect the NYDS grade point average.

Not more than half the hours required for a graduate Program at NYDS may be transferred from another seminary. No grade lower than a “B” or its equivalent will be transferred.

Any student whose grade point average falls below 2.0 on a 4.0 grading scale shall be placed on probation at NYDS for one semester. Depending on the student’s needs, time management or writing skills or other needs will be addressed. If the student’s work improves to higher than 2.0 that semester, the student will be taken off probation. If there is evidence of improvement, but the grade point average for the first probationary semester is still below 2.00, the student may be allowed one more probationary semester. If there is inadequate improvement, the student may be dismissed from the program, and counseled concerning alternatives.

Standards of Conduct

The Seminary has established standards of conduct for maintaining public order on the Seminary campus and other Seminary owned properties. These principles, regulations, and procedures are in compliance with provisions of Section 6450 of the Education Law of the State of New York.

No member or guest of the Seminary may engage in any of the following behaviors on the premises: Obstruction or disruption of any sanctioned and authorized Seminary activity; possession or use of firearms and explosives; possession or use of dangerous, destructive, or obnoxious chemicals or any dangerous or apparently dangerous weapons, other than as allowed by law and Seminary regulations; possession or use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or illegal drugs; detention, physical abuse, or conduct that threatens bodily harm or endangers the safety or health of any person; intentional damage or theft of Seminary property or the property of any person when it is located on the premises of the Seminary or during an authorized function of the Seminary; entry into living quarters, private offices, or working areas of another person without expressed or implied permission of that person or of an authorized Seminary official; or the invasion of the privacy of records, data, or communications belonging to individuals, to the Seminary, or to others.

Violators of these policies are subject to disciplinary action, which may result in academic suspension or employment termination. It is the student’s responsibility to become informed and to observe all regulations and procedures for Program completion required by the New York Divinity School. This includes strict attention to all internal deadlines, such as applications, Program completion, registration, and graduation, as well as satisfying all requirements leading to completion.


The Seminary expects that all faculty, staff and students’ appearance and dress will be in good taste and appropriate to the functions they perform in the Seminary. The Seminary believes that a person’s appearance is reflective of that person’s view of self. More specific guidelines or rules may be established by administrative heads, at their sole discretion. In addition, certain articles of clothing and accessories may be prohibited because of the nature of the work, or to satisfy certain health, safety, and other regulations.




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