Denominational Studies

The School of Divinity is committed to educating persons who are pursuing ministry within a wide array of Christian denominations and traditions. “Denominational Studies” in the School of Divinity are designed to support students as they explore professional affiliations and as they prepare for ordination within particular denominational and congregational entities.

Because the School of Divinity is not an ordaining body, the most important role of the school’s denominational studies emphasis is to support students as they cultivate diverse denominational and congregational connections. As a first step in exploring denominational affiliations, students are encouraged to consult with appropriate denominational representatives to learn about opportunities for service and, where appropriate, requirements for ordination. Students are encouraged to consult with denominational advisors and representatives as they choose settings for second-year required internships as these intern- ships give students opportunities to explore denominational ministry in congregations or agencies.

Courses specific to some denominations are taught regularly at the School of Divinity by denominational leaders. These courses are designed to introduce students to denominational theologies and polities and to assist students with preparation for denominational ordination exams.

Some of the regularly offered courses include:

  • HIS 682: A History of the Baptists
  • MIN 641: Congregational Leadership, Presbyterian Polity and Reformed Theology
  • MIN 647: Episcopal Church Studies: Sacramental Theology and Liturgics
  • MIN 649: Episcopal Church Studies: Seven Canonical Areas for General Ordination Exams
  • MIN 695: United Church of Christ Polity & History
  • MIN 790: History and Polity of the Christian Church: Disciples of Christ
  • MIN 790: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Polity, History, and Theology
  • MIN 790: African American Baptist Life
  • A student may also request that the Academic Dean explore course offerings specific to his or her denominational affiliation.

Other Resources for Denominational Studies

Other opportunities for preparation for ministry within particular denominations include independent study, clinical pastoral education, and the third year integrative project (Art of Ministry III). Many denominational seminaries also offer courses required for ordination online, which students may take for transfer credit with the approval of the Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee.

Institution Denominational Classes Website
Disciples of Christ Occasionally offered online by the denomination
United Church of Christ Occasionally offered locally or online by the denomination
United Methodist Church Occasionally offered online by the denomination
Drew University United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity
Garrett-Evangelical  Theological Seminary United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity
Claremont School of Theology
Wesley Seminary Polity of the United Methodist Church
Episcopal Divinity School Episcopal History, Polity, Canon Law
Fuller Theological Seminary Anglican Theology, Spirituality, Liturgy, Pastoral Theology, Ministry, and Ethics
Candler School of Theology
Iliff School of Theology UMC Mission of Church in the World
Chicago Theological Seminary History and Polity of the UCC


Denominational Ordination Processes