Master of Divinity

Virginia Christian University / Academics / Master of Divinity

Program Objectives

Graduate Studies of Virginia Christian University (VACU School of Theology) offers the Master of Divinity program, whose purpose is to train students in the Word of God and to train them to become faithful ministers in the Church of Christ. More specifically, the program equips students with the Reformed worldview, trains them to correctly interpret God’s Word, nurtures them to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, help them to be skillful at applying the Word of God in every area of ministry, and to become ‘all to all’ in the context of the life and the culture of the congregation. The program requires three years of full-time study, and is designed to provide a basic professional foundation for the entry-level pastoral position within the Christian ministry. The graduate will acquire the professional competence necessary for serving as a pastor, missionary, chaplain, campus ministry director, associate pastor, ministry-related counselor, evangelist, religious-subject instructor, or similar professions

Program Outcomes

Educational Goals

  1. Demonstrate the basic knowledge of both Greek and Hebrew.
  2. Demonstrate a firm grasp of the historical and cultural backgrounds, content, geography and theological themes of the Old Testament and the New Testament.
  3. Show sufficient hermeneutical skills to interpret any passage in the Scripture with the Reformed biblical hermeneutical principles.
  4. Preach and teach biblical passages Christocentrically and in their redemptive-historical context.
  5. Demonstrate through comprehension of Christian Doctrine with Reformed Perspectives and be able to construct theology by thinking biblically and contextually.
  6. Demonstrate their knowledge of how theological issues have developed throughout history and be able to critique and assess them from the Reformed perspective. suggest ways to respond biblically, theologically, and practically.
  7. Understand the nature of the church and ministry in order to serve as leaders of a local church or Christian organization.

Spritual Goals

To enable the student to experience increasing likeness to Lord Christ as manifested in love for God, love for other, and experience evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the Bible reading every day.

Ministry Goals

  1. To enable the student to demonstrate an increasing involvement in the local church or other ministry with which he or she is associated.
  2. To enable the student to minister within a local church or other group by means of leadership skills, evangelism, and service.

Program Requirements

To receive Master of Divinity at VACU, a student must successfully complete 96 units as outlined in the curriculum with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00. It requires 120 hours of supervised field education. The curriculum offers students the most vocational flexibility and is the focus of our placement efforts. The curriculum may be completed in three years, although many students take four years due to family, church and job responsibility.

The maximum time limit for completion of M.Div. is five years. Courses of M.Div. taken more than five years prior to the completion of this degree may be credited toward the degree only by specific faculty approval. Such approval may include instructions for re-examination or additional study.

Besides required courses, any course the student takes will be considered an elective course for M.Div. Students can choose classes from Major Courses in order to fulfill their elective requirement. The flexibility of electives within this major will enable students to design a program in line with their ministry objectives as well as their personal interests.

Graduation Requirements

  1. To receive a Master of Divinity degree at VACU, a student must complete a total of 96 units including 3 units of field education with a C (2.0) or above average on all courses taken.
  2. The student must complete all the required courses within the time frame allowed (three years from the time of first enrollment). The student must meet the residence requirement of earning no fewer than 32 semester units at VACU.
  3. The student must complete the field education requirements with a satisfactory grade.
  4. The conduct and attitude of the student must be satisfactory according to the norms of the Scripture and the Westminster Standards.
  5. The student must pass the Bible Knowledge Test.
  6. The student must pass the test on the Westminster Confession of Faith.
  7. The Student must complete the required papers for graduation with a B or above.
  8. The student must fulfill all financial obligations, including the graduation fee of $300, to the university. The student must submit a formal request for graduation before the designated deadline, normally in the beginning of the last academic year. Ordinarily, degrees will be awarded at the conclusion of the spring semester, but may be granted in December.

Pastoral Internship

Pastoral Internship is that area of theological education in which the theory of the classroom is tested and applied in the life and ministry of the local church. The purpose of pastoral internship is to provide opportunities for M.Div. students to exercise and improve their gifts and skills and to equip them with diversified backgrounds of firsthand experience in the service to which God has called them. Prior to or concurrent with the beginning of the field experience, students are required to take Orientation to Ministry. At the start of their field work, students should register with the Director of Field Education, at which time a file of field work for each student will be established. Internship work not properly registered with the Director of Field Education cannot be counted toward the pastoral internship requirement.

The M.Div. degree requires 500 hours of pastoral internship experience (relevant to a three credit unit). Upon completion of this requirement, an evaluation report is to be submitted to the Director of Field Education by a field supervisor (usually a pastor, elder, or evaluation committee).

The pastoral internship credit may be earned as a summer student assistant to a pastor, a student supply in a vacant pulpit, a pastoral internship of nine to fifteen months, a missionary internship, a campus ministry internship, work with a para-church organization, ministry in a national park, youth ministry, evangelistic ministry in a local church, nursing home, chaplaincy, hospital chaplaincy, jail ministry, teaching home Bible classes, or other similar ministries.

We advise applicants to the M.Div. program who are members of America Presbyterian Church in America or world to come under care of their presbyteries. This status reqalifield the student for some financial aid benefits and demonstrates to the Admissions Committee that the applicant is supported by a broad body in pursuit of God’s call.

Course Requirements

Overview of the Degree Requirements

Students enrolled in the University for any degree program are required to participate in Christian service ministries for each academic semester specified in the program of study. Students are encouraged to choose a variety of ministries to obtain a broad background of experience and to discern the areas of their special capabilities.

A full academic load is considered to be 12 to 16 credits during the regular semester and 6 credits during a summer and winter session. Students wishing to take more credits may do so according to the semester overload policy which states the student must have a 3.0 GPA to take more than 18 credits per semester and have the approval of the Academic Dean

Degree Plan

All courses are 3 semester units unless otherwise noted. All candidates for degrees must meet these requirements to graduate ( 96 credits):

Department of OT 15 Credits
Department of NT 18 Credits
Department of Church History 9 Credits
Department of Systematic Theology 24 Credits
Department of Practical Theology 18 Credits
Field Ministry 12 Credits

Curriculum Requirements

Old Testament: 15 Credits
or 12 Credits electives in OT Bible as part of the 15 Credits.

  • HE 501 Hebrew Grammar
  • OT 504 Introduction to Old Testament
  • OT 509 Pentateuch
  • OT 512 Major Prophetic Books
  • OT 516 Minor Prophetic Books

New Testament: 18 Credits
or 12 Credits electives in NT Bible as part of the 18 Credits

  • GR 501 NT Greek Grammar
  • NT 503 Introduction to New Testament
  • NT 504 Synoptic Gospels
  • NT 508 Gospel of John
  • NT 510 Pauline Epistles
  • NT 515 Pastoral Epistles

Church History: 9 Credits
or 6 Credits electives in Church History as part of the 9 Credits

  • HI 501 Ancient Church
  • HI 504 Medieval Church
  • HI 503 Reformation

Systematic Theology: 24 Credits
or 12 Units electives in Systematic Theology as part of the 24 Credits

  • TH 501 Bibliology
  • TH 502 Trinitarianism
  • TH 503 Doctrine of Triune God
  • TH 504 Christology
  • TH 506 Anthropology
  • TH 507 Soteriology
  • TH 508 Ecclesiology
  • TH 509 Eschatology

Practical Theology: 18 Credits
or 12 Credits electives in Practical Theology as part of the 18 Credits

  • ED 501 Introduction to Christian Education
  • BC 5012 Counseling and psychology
  • PA 500 Biblical Preaching
  • PA 505 Conflict Resolution
  • PA 502 Christian Worship
  • PA 509 Pastoral Care & Practice

Field Ministry: 3 Credits
or 3 Credits of electives

  • FM 501 Field Ministry