Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Expands Hybrid Offerings
March 8, 2022
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is launching hybrid tracks and a refined curriculum for four of our leading master’s degree programs, beginning Fall 2022. Guided by the Seminary’s strategic visioning process, the faculty have worked diligently to create a curriculum and modality plan that reflects enhanced hybrid options for better accessibility, affordability, and flexibility for all students. These curricular developments remove barriers for individuals facing economic and material precarity, and the realities of health, life, and family, while at the same time, creating avenues for students to remain deeply located in their particular place or ministry context as they complete their studies. Through this process and the changes implemented, the primary commitment of the curriculum has remained: to equip leaders for prophetic inquiry and ministry within diverse communities and contexts for today’s ever-shifting global realities.
Beginning Fall 2022, the following Garrett-Evangelical programs will be offered in hybrid and/or residential models:
- Master of Divinity (Hybrid and Residential)
- Master of Arts in Christian Education, reconceived and relaunched as the Master of Arts in Faith, Culture, and Educational Leadership (Hybrid and Residential)
- Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling: Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Track (Hybrid Only)
- Master of Arts in Public Ministry (Hybrid and Residential)
“We are thrilled to be able to make Garrett-Evangelical’s world-class education more broadly accessible and affordable,” said President Javier A. Viera. “Our commitment is to provide programs for the thriving of the church and the healing of the world, and these hybrid offerings will expand our ability to do that and to walk alongside those who are called to this work regardless of where they live out that calling. Garrett-Evangelical’s spiritually dynamic and intellectually vibrant ethos will now be available to all who can benefit from it, and that is the core of our mission.”
At the center of the hybrid model for these programs will be a combination of in-person, online, and hybrid courses offered consistently throughout the four terms of the academic year—Fall, Spring, January and Summer intensives. Residential and distance learners will have the same opportunity to learn directly with Garrett-Evangelical’s renowned faculty. Toward that goal, every faculty member is committed to retooling their pedagogical approaches for teaching and learning in different modalities and with students in multiple settings near and far, domestic and international. The curricular requirements are refined to reflect important lessons gained from the last two years of pandemic teaching. The faculty are amplifying their commitment to cultivating leadership for multiple settings and vocations, holistic formation and care for students, and the importance of a global perspective that accentuates multiple centers of knowledge and networks of learning and partnerships.
“We know that the cumulative impact of the global pandemic on theological education is unprecedented,” said Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran, vice president of academic affairs and academic dean. “It has not only exposed the ever-widening gaps of resources and support structures that would enable student access and success to seminary education, but it has also revealed the inadequacies of our prevailing assumptions about the what, where, when, how, and why of theological teaching and learning. Our reach toward purposeful, affordable, sustainable hybrid experiences for learners is rooted not only in the realization that we are in a digital and virtual age; it is grounded in the understanding that theological inquiry and practice is necessarily based in the ‘material’ struggles of specific settings and contexts, be they virtual or physical, local or transnational. This is the understanding that guides our curricular imagination for a 21st-century theological education.”
Whether hybrid or residential, all admitted students qualify for scholarships at Garrett-Evangelical. With a long-standing commitment to addressing the financial needs of students seeking a theological education, the Seminary awards over $2.5 million in financial aid annually.
“Garrett-Evangelical is committed to decreasing the financial burden on our students in two ways: first, by continuing to offer generous scholarships for all degree programs, and second, by finding new opportunities to lower cost of attendance more broadly,” said Rev. Scott Ostlund, vice president for enrollment management. “These hybrid degree options accomplish both of those goals, and I am confident that they will open up previously closed doors for many students to pursue their call to ministry and theological study.”
Garrett-Evangelical’s residential and hybrid degree programs are accredited by two agencies, each with rigorous standards that challenge the Seminary to assess its work in light of its mission and of common standards for excellence in graduate education: The Association of Theological Schools and The Higher Learning Commission. In addition, Garrett-Evangelical is approved by and regularly evaluated by the Commission on Theological Education of the University Senate of The United Methodist Church.
The Master of Divinity
The revised master of divinity curriculum will contain fewer credit hours, from 80 to 76, and allow for greater flexibility and customization. The degree is designed to prepare students to confidently pursue their calls, whether through ordination to the church’s ministries or in lay ministry in the public square or non-profit work. Both the hybrid and residential program can be completed within three years on a full-time basis. Ordination requirements and the maximum courses one can take online vary by denomination. Garrett-Evangelical is prepared to support students in the master of divinity program to ensure that specific guidelines are met. The flexibility of this degree program also allows for busy, working adults to pursue rigorous study in a way and at a time that works best for them.
The Master of Arts in Faith, Culture, and Educational Leadership
(Formerly known as the Master of Arts in Christian Education)
Anchored by the principles of project-based learning and participatory research and practice, the master of arts in faith, culture, and educational leadership is a 45 credit hour degree—originally 54 credit hours—that can be completed via hybrid or residential coursework in as little as two years. This degree emphasizes methods, model, and approaches that ground contemporary educational and leadership practices in traditions of critical pedagogies, emancipatory education, social justice advocacy, U.S. civil rights, and global liberation movements. A two-semester practicum component (or supervised learning, formerly understood as field education) will help students to engage in conversation and reflection with peers, faculty, local practitioners, and vocational mentors on educational praxis in specific settings and contexts. This framework of participatory, reflective, consciousness-raising learning will be based on the Freirean “culture circle” model.
The Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling: Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Track
Announced in October 2021, the chaplaincy and spiritual care track in the master of arts in pastoral care and counseling is the newest degree initiative of the seminary. Best for those discerning ministry outside of professional counseling settings, the chaplaincy and spiritual care track will equip students for hospital, military, movement, prison, hospice, first responder, campus, and urban ministry. This track, a 48 credit hour program, will only be available in a hybrid modality (primarily online with some required residential coursework) and can be completed in as little as two years.
The Master of Arts in Public Ministry
Originally a 56 credit hour degree program, the master of arts in public ministry degree program now consists of 50 credit hours, enabling students greater flexibility with additional real-world application and formational accompaniment. Two cohort retreats have been incorporated into the requirements for all students, whether hybrid or residential. Held every August and January, these in-person retreats will focus on continuous communal orientation and formation. In addition, the field education requirement has been expanded to six credit hours from three, anchored by clear community-based pedagogies, encouraging students to further discern, test, and refine the practices of public ministry.
To learn more about the Seminary’s hybrid programs and any of our seven degree programs, go to Garrett.edu/Degrees.