Advanced Course of Study

Take the next step in your journey


The Advanced Course of Study (ACOS) is a curriculum that enables a local pastor to meet the educational requirements for probationary membership, full conference membership, and ordination as an elder in The United Methodist Church. Local Pastors who have completed the five-year basic Course of Study and are at least 40 years of age may be eligible for ordination as an elder in full connection with the completion of a minimum of 32 hours of graduate theological study.


Through coordination with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM), Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has developed a certificate program for the completion of the Advanced Course of Study curriculum. Students study in classes alongside Master of Divinity and Master of Arts students in completing their coursework. Through this program, Advanced Course of Study students complete 33 hours of graduate level work.

Advanced Course of Study Certificate Required Courses


Foundational Courses


  • Old Testament Course (3 Hours)
  • New Testament Course (3 Hours)
  • Church History Course (3 Hours)
  • Theology Course (3 Hours)


Mission of the Church in the World


  • Global Christianity in an Interfaith World (3 Hours)




  • Christian Public Worship OR United Methodist Worship: Theory and Practice (3 hours)




  • Theology of Evangelism (3 hours)


United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity


  • United Methodist Studies: 20th Century to Present (3 hours)
    United Methodist Studies: Wesley and the 19th Century (3 hours)


Courses in Practice of Ministry (6 semester hours total; choose 6 hours from the following)


  • Preaching Course (3 hours)
  • Pastoral Care Course (3 hours)
  • Christian Education Course (3 hours)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) (6 hours)


Per GBHEM guidelines, one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) can be completed for up to six semester hours of credit towards the Advanced Course of Study requirements.


Students are eligible to transfer no more than 4 courses from another approved seminary towards the completion of the Advanced Course of Study requirements.


Students may complete a maximum of 10 hours of work towards the Advanced Course of Study through online courses.

Earn credits toward a graduate degree

Students who complete the ACOS at Garrett can receive a maximum of 1/2 of the total credit hours towards either Master of Divinity degree or Master of Arts degree at Garrett.

students in graduation regalia

Take classes in English and Spanish

Course work for ACOS may be completed in English and Spanish and is eligible for transfer to other graduate-level programs. Garrett currently offers two courses in Spanish that meet the ACOS requirements every summer. English-language courses are available during the fall and spring semesters and during January and summer intensive sessions.

teacher speaking to a class

Have more questions?

Additional information about program requirements, resources, or offices to contact with specific questions can be found in the Advanced Course of Study Program Guide.

Admission Information

  • Transcripts from Course of Study and any other schools attended
  • 3 References
  • Personal Statement
  • Application fee – $75
  • Tuition deposit – $200 (applied to first term tuition)
  • Tech activation fee – $55


Completed applications for the Advanced Course of Study program, including fees and deposits, should be received at least 6 weeks before classes begin.

Tuition is charged for each course based on the number of hours enrolled. Advanced Course of Study students are considered master’s level students and are therefore charged at the current master’s rate.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has scholarships available for part-time students completing the Advanced Course of Study. Students can complete the United Methodist Studies Scholarship for Part-Time Students Application (Form 116). The form is submitted to Garrett for confirmation and processing. In addition, many Conferences provide educational funds for candidates attending seminary.