Concentrations at VDS
Upon satisfactory completion of the First Semester Orientation Course, the Master Divinity program and Master of Theological Studies require students to select a concentration option based on vocational interests. Students may elect to choose an additional concentration should their schedule permit.
Concentrations aim to prepare students to be service oriented for religious leadership that is contextually focused; socially engaged, spiritually formed; and culturally literate. In other words, as a crucial component to the curriculum, concentrations contribute to students’ development of a disposition toward religious leadership that is transformative.
Description of Concentration
Concentrations are comprised of 12 credit hours including a praxis-oriented course or experience. This latter requirement may be met by field education or an engagement with another praxis as determined by the concentration faculty advisors.
Concentrations embody five Divinity School curricular values:
- Vocationally Relevant. Students are provided an opportunity to engage their vocational interests and sense of call, develop religious leadership capacities and deepen the knowledge needed to critically, thoughtfully, and creatively engage in ministry in all its forms.
- Integrative of theory and praxis with the aim of preparing students for transformative leadership in faith communities and the broader society.
- Interdisciplinary. Concentrations are comprised of courses selected from across the curriculum. The interdisciplinary foci of the concentration strengthen students’ capacity to make the connection between disciplines in the curriculum and the practice of ministry.
- Intersectional in content and analysis. The intersectional nature of the concentrations help students become cognizant of the social factors that shape experience in society. Students learn critical social analysis and religious reflection that informs transformative responses in the embodiment of vocation.
- Infused with the VDS commitments which provide a linchpin between the curriculum and our communal life.
The Concentration Steering Committee is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of at least three faculty members who serve as the advisers for the concentration. The Concentration Convener coordinates the steering committee, course projections, and bi-annual student/faculty conversations.
Current concentrations include:
- Black Religion and Culture Studies
- Chaplaincy (MDiv only)
- Pastoral and Prophetic Congregational Leadership (MDiv only)
- Global Christianities and Interreligious Encounter
- Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies
- Prison and Carceral Studies
- Religion and Economic Justice
- Religion and the Arts
- Religion, Gender, and Sexuality
- Spirituality and Social Activism