Kansas Wesleyan, Saint Paul partner to expedite M.Div. program


Kansas Wesleyan University President and CEO Matt Thompson, Ph.D., and the Rev. H. Sharon Howell, president of Saint Paul School of Theology, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a 3+3 theological studies undergraduate-graduate program. The agreement is thought to be the first of its kind to be established between a United Methodist-based university and a United Methodist seminary.

Kansas Wesleyan University President Matt Thompson and the Rev.
H. Sharon Howell, president of Saint Paul School of Theology, sign
an agreement that allows students to complete a bachelor's degree
and master's of divinity degree in six years.

Under this arrangement, Kansas Wesleyan students would condense the four-year degree for the Christian ministry major into three years, followed by the completion of the three-year master’s of divinity degree at Saint Paul School of Theology. This allows students to prepare for ordination and entry into the ministry in six years instead of the usual seven, while earning them both bachelor’s of arts and M.Div. degrees.

“This collaboration will allow us to continue to serve the United Methodist Church, preparing people for ministry and service with a phenomenal partner,” said Thompson, who explained that the two barriers to a ministry degree are time and money. “By condensing the time required to complete both degrees, the joint program provides a cost savings, which should open the door for many people to answer the call.” 

Howell said Kansas Wesleyan was thrilled to be part of what he called a “bold, new academic collaboration.”

“We are eager to offer students an opportunity to enjoy their initial three years of undergraduate work at KWU and then easily move into the M.Div. program at Saint Paul,” Howell said. “It has been a joy to work with President Thompson to address our mutual concerns of time and money for students who are being called to leadership across God’s church and world.  This is an amazing moment for KWU and Saint Paul.”

The distinctive Christian ministry major at Kansas Wesleyan prepares students for full-time ministry in an environment that encourages the interaction of faith and learning. It combines a practical in-the-field internship experience under the guidance of mentors in full-time ministry with coursework in four core areas: Bible; religion and philosophy; ministry; and educational and social sciences. In addition, the university has a robust campus ministry program, including Tuesday Night Alive weekly worship and a young adult discipleship pilot program of Upper Room Ministries. Learn more about Kansas Wesleyan University.

The M.Div. program at Saint Paul prepares graduates for ministry in the church, chaplaincy, not-for-profit work and other forms of religious leadership. The M.Div. is required for ordination by many denominations and is among the requirements in the primary track toward becoming ordained as elder in the United Methodist Church.

This graduate degree develops students as theologians who are able to understand the biblical, historical and doctrinal traditions and the ecclesial practices of the Christian heritage. They learn to lead and minister sensitively in diverse contexts, to integrate practical skills and academic competencies, and to grow in maturity and reflective faith through continuing study and a life of justice and intentional spiritual formation for leadership in ministry. Learn more about Saint Paul School of Theology.

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