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Field Education

Get to know our amazing Field Education Faculty:

Viki Matson, Director

Trudy Hawkins Stringer, Associate Director


Doing Being Thinking image

Field Education is grounded in an action-reflection model of learning in which the lived experience (praxis) becomes the "text" from which we learn. At VDS, Field Education is the centerpiece of the Master of Divinity curriculum and is consistently the highest-rated component of the degree.

We emphasize three dimensions of the action-reflection learning process:

Doing: We assume that there are particular skills, tasks or competencies in which a student wishes to become proficient, and Field Education offers an arena in which these things can be practiced and honed.

Being: Our assumption is that ministry is as much about who we are as it is about what we do.

Thinking: At Vanderbilt Divinity School we envision the task of theological education to be preparing women and men to be "Minister as Theologian."

Where will I be placed?

Vanderbilt Divinity School's approach to Field Education is unique. Each MDiv student meets during their first year of study with one of the Field Education faculty to discern, together, the student's learning goals and possible placement contexts. These sites are individually tailored to the student's interests and experiences, making our Field Education experience among the most successful in the country. Typically, a student completes one unit of Field Education in a congregational setting and another in an agency context.

Who is eligible to participate?

Anyone! While MDiv students are required to complete at least 9 credit hours of Field Education, a great number of our MTS students also take advantage of this unique opportunity to build experience and strengthen their action-reflection learning. Students who complete core requirements in Field Education are also eligible to take additional, advanced seminars as space and schedules permit.

Want to learn more about our approach to Field Education at Vanderbilt? Check out our information about:

2016-2017 Student Placement Sites

  • Greater Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Belmont United Methodist Church
  • McKendree Village
  • Nashville Conflict Resolution Center
  • Glendale Baptist Church
  • Upper Room Ministries
  • United Methodist Communications
  • Discipleship Ministries
  • New Covenant Christian Church
  • Ukirk Nashville
  • Healthy and Free Tennessee 
  • Olive Branch Missionary Church
  • Cumberland Heights
  • Vanderbilt University Office of Religious Life
  • Alive Hospice
  • Monroe Carrell Children's Hospital
  • United Methodist Church, General Council on Finance and Administration
  • St. Augustine's Episcopal Church
  • Ray of Hope
  • Internship: Theology and Space
  • Brookemeade Congregational Church
  • First Unitarian Universalist Church
  • Scarritt Bennett (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
  • Riverside Chapel 7th Day Adventist Church and 7th Day Adventist Conference Office
  • Magdalene/Thistle Farms
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • West End United Methodist Church
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • Harriet Tubman House
  • Downtown Presbyterian Church
  • Belmont University
  • Crisis Initervention Center
  • Tennessee Higher Education Alliance
  • Western Kentucky University
  • First Christian Church, Bowling Green
  • Monroe Harding
  • Miriam's Promise
  • Thistle Farms
  • City Road Chapel United Methodist Church
  • Eastwood Christian Church
  • First Presbyterian Church
  • Harriet Tubman House
  • Brookemeade Congregational Church
  • Edgefield Baptist Church
  • Metropolitan Interdenominational Church
  • First Baptist, South Inglewood
  • Center for Biomedical Ethics in Society