What Can You Do With A Seminary Degree?
It’s a common misconception that seminary degrees are only for those who aspire to have a career preaching to a congregation every Sunday. While that’s certainly one way to honor God’s calling, it is not the only purpose for pursuing a course in religious studies. Like any traditional higher education program, studying at United Theological Seminary can lead to many different and exciting academic and career paths.
United Theological Seminary offers six different graduate degree programs that provide students with the education and skills necessary to embark on their ministries after graduation. Graduates leave theological schools grounded in scripture, filled with the Holy Spirit, and prepared to answer God’s call to lead both in and outside the walls of the church.
There are two main fields that seminary graduates can pursue:
United Theological Seminary offers both a Master of Arts (MA) and a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) primarily geared towards expanding a student’s theological knowledge from an academic perspective. They provide a strong foundation in religious education that lends itself to further education or doctoral programs through expansive growth in religious understanding. These academic-focused courses rely heavily on in-depth analysis of the Bible, historical faith, and theological traditions.
Graduates from these programs are often called to teach, sharing their knowledge and studies with students of all ages, ranging from elementary and high school all the way to those students newly entering graduate school through the seminary. However, in order to teach at the collegiate level, a PhD or ThD is typically required. Teaching is not necessarily limited to a traditional classroom but can also come in the form of the written word. Seminary graduates with academic degrees often become experts on theological studies, publishing essays, books, or discipleship curricula to be read and taught by students and disciples alike. Teaching is a ministry in and of itself, and for some, there is no higher calling than educating future generations of God’s disciples.
In addition to academically focused programs, United Theological Seminary also has several ministerial degree programs, which include Doctor of Ministry (DMin), Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Ministry (MMin), and Master of Arts in Christian Ministries (MACM), that are focused primarily on the practice of ministry and Christian leadership. Graduates of these higher education programs are career-focused, seeking preparation to become pastors in the local church or enter into a specialized ministry.
The idea of ministry extends so far beyond traditional church leadership for seminary graduates. While the MDiv program, for example, meets the requirements for ordination in most major Protestant denominations, and the MMin program prepares students to work as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church, many graduates choose vibrant careers of service as lay professionals in an endless array of fields.
One of the most popular avenues taken by seminary graduates is chaplaincy. Organizations like the military, hospitals, some sports teams, private institutions, and nonprofits hire chaplains to attend to the religious needs of their members. Often chaplains minister to those in a moment of particular pain, crisis, or strife, serving God and others outside of any traditional setting in the most meaningful ways.
Nonprofit leadership is another path traveled by seminary graduates. Nonprofits of all kinds offer opportunities for graduates to build careers while being of service, supporting causes that have deep personal meaning, making positive changes at the community level and beyond. Some of these organizations may have religious affiliations, while others may have more secular philanthropic goals. Regardless, a seminary education empowers graduates with the tools to connect with others in the community, minister to those in need, and do God’s work in ways both big and small.
Seminary graduates may choose to begin a career in social work, which may or may not be part of the nonprofit sector. Through social work, graduates have a means by which to work with individuals in the community one on one, often during their most critical moments. Social work is a profoundly challenging and deeply rewarding field that makes a direct, often immediate impact.
It’s not uncommon for seminary graduates to be as creative as they are committed to service. God speaks to many of us not just through religious texts and prayer but through art. Seminary graduates can serve God’s disciples outside of the church through music, theater, fine art, filmmaking, writing, and poetry. Through the arts, seminary graduates can minister to the community, address current events and social issues, and nurture people on a spiritual level. Furthermore, nonprofit arts organizations also present the intersection of the nonprofit sector, creative arts, and faith.
God calls upon seminary graduates to explore careers of all kinds across traditional, academic, and professional natures. Jobs for seminary graduates are vast and varied, spanning industries and fields so much broader than many of us tend to realize. God asks his disciples to be of service in ways that best suit each individual’s strengths and special gifts. If seminary degrees were once considered limiting, times have undeniably changed, and today, seminary graduates can choose unique and rewarding career paths to follow after graduation.
Resources For Prospective Students
United Theological Seminary is committed to educating ministry leaders, empowering them with the Holy Spirit and biblical tradition so that they may make a difference in the world by creating disciples of Jesus Christ.
United Theological Seminary provides easy-to-follow instructions for the three-step application for each seminary degree program.
When selecting your seminary education institution, United Theological Seminary’s commitment to helping you develop into a spirit-filled leader through diverse Christian perspectives and practical education makes it the undeniable choice to prepare you for ministry.
United Theological Seminary provides a variety of divinity and ministry programs that are flexible, making high-quality seminary education available in whatever way best suits your busy schedule.
United Theological Seminary is dedicated to offering affordable, high-quality education to students pursuing a seminary degree, providing options to reduce out-of-pocket tuition costs through scholarships and financial aid.