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Basic Graduate Theological Studies

Persons ordained as deacons are engaged in ministries of word, service, compassion, and justice which connect church and world. The process of ordination includes both educational preparation and annual conference review. Garrett-Evangelical cooperates with annual conferences and districts to support students in completing the educational requirements and assists with on-site mentoring and support. Persons complete educational requirements by one of two routes:

  • through the completion of an Master of Arts or Master of Divinity degree (that includes the Basic Graduate Theological Studies) or
  • through completion of the Basic Graduate Theological Studies at Garrett-Evangelical in conjunction with a master’s degree in an area of service (e.g., counseling, social work, peace studies) or in conjunction with United Methodist certification studies

Please click on the individual slides below to learn more about Registration, Technology Requirements, and Coursework.


Admission Requirements

  • Transcripts from all other schools attended
  • 3 References
  • Personal Statement
  • Application fee - $75
  • Tuition deposit - $200 (applied to first term tuition)
  • Tech activation fee - $55

Application Procedure

To apply to the Deacon Studies program:

  1. Click on the Apply button to access the online application.
  2. Fill out the requested information.
  3. Request transcripts from  any colleges, universities, or other seminaries attended.

Completed applications for the Deacon Studies program, including fees and deposits, should be received at least 6 weeks before classes begin.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition is charged for each course based on the number of hours enrolled. Deacon Studies students are considered master’s level students and are therefore charged at the current master’s rate. Current fees can be found on the Costs and Financial Aid page on the Garrett-Evangelical website.

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

For questions about financial aid, please contact our financial aid office at 847.866.3987.

Please mail all checks to:    

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
2121 Sheridan Rd.
Evanston, IL 60201 

Housing and Food Service

If students will require housing and/or a meal plan on Garrett-Evangelical's campus, they can contact the office of housing at 847.866.3950.

Students can also find additional information about housing on the Garrett-Evangelical website.  Students will need to complete a housing application regardless of which term they will be attending.

For those traveling to Garrett-Evangelical, you can find directions and travel information on our Directions and Maps page.

Technology Requirements

Minimum Technology Requirements

  1. Reliable access to a broad-band (high-speed) internet connection (e.g. DSL or cable). Modem dial-up will not work for all classroom activities).
  2. Access to an up-to-date computer and operating system, sufficient to run an up-to-date web browser (e.g. Windows 7 or 8 for Windows users, Mavericks or Yosemite for Mac users). The user should have run/installed all system-related updates.  
  3. Computer with sound and web camera (built-in or as a plug-in device) capabilities.
  4. The most up-to-date version of a Web browser (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, Safari). Internet Explorer is not recommended.
  5. Ability to work with files normal to the Microsoft Office environment, mainly *.doc/*.docx, *.ppt/*.pptx. Many students with Apple computers can manage such files with the iWork suite of applications. Students without MS Office or Apple iWork might try the freely available OpenOffice application: Finally, documents and presentations made on Google Drive can also be exported/downloaded in MS Office formats.
  6. Adobe Reader to view PDF files.
  7. For synchronous audio-visual sessions (e.g. Google Hangouts), students should plan to wear earphones or ear buds to minimize echoes and feedback.
  8. A given course *may* ask students to download and use safe, freely-available cross-platform software like Apple QuickTime or iTunes.




The Basic Graduate Theological Studies are required by the Book of Discipline for all candidates for ordination in The United Methodist Church. Candidates for ordination must complete a minimum of 27 hours of coursework covering “Old Testament; New Testament; theology; church history; mission of the church in the world; evangelism; worship/liturgy; and United Methodist doctrine, polity, and history. These courses may be included within or in addition to a seminary degree” (¶324.4a).

The Deacon Studies program at Garrett-Evangelical is a route for those who have either 1) already completed a master’s degree in their area of ministry or 2) are at least 35 years of age and intend to complete professional certification concurrently. Additional information about education routes and steps towards ordination as a deacon can be found on the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry website.

Students are eligible to transfer no more 4 courses (12 hours) from another approved seminary towards the completion of the Deacon Studies requirements.

Students may complete a maximum of 18 hours of work towards the Deacon Studies requirements through online courses.

Students completing the full 27 hours through Garrett-Evangelical will receive a certificate of completion from the seminary and are invited to participate in Garrett-Evangelical’s annual Commencement celebrations.

Program Requirements


Our faculty is made up of professors from Garrett-Evangelical and other theological seminaries, as well as program staff from boards and agencies and seasoned pastors who are excellent instructors.

Upcoming Courses

Information about upcoming courses can be found on our Course Schedules page. Included here are our projections for offering the BGTS courses during upcoming intensive sessions as well as our regular term course offerings. 

Courses that meet BGTS requirements are indicated on the schedules with BGTS under the course information.

Online Courses

In addition to our various on campus offerings, Garrett-Evangelical currently offers all of the BGTS courses in an online format over a two-year rotation. When combined with the on campus offerings, this greatly reduces the amount of time to completion.

Please note that even though all the courses are offered online to create greater opportunity for students, candidates for ordination can complete no more than 18 hours of their BGTS courses online.