Undergraduates considering a Master of Divinity have several possibilities in the arena of religion. But what about those who are undecided about whether this is the right choice for a graduate program?
Individuals who have decided that ministry or related vocation is their calling have many choices. Examples are a Bachelor of Divinity, a Bachelor of Science in Theological Studies, A Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries, or a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. These examples are a shortlist of possible study areas for students to gain knowledge in ministry, Christian morals, world religions, and the bible. Many programs are available online, such as DeSales University’s Bachelor of Arts in Theology.
What are some of the degrees that will offer an insight into religious studies and also apply to other careers – should you change your mind about divinity as a degree?
All of the above reference religion, but by choosing a Catholic university as DeSales, you will have exposure to humanism, morality, or Christian values regardless of your degree choice. Therefore, learning about religion while enrolled in an unrelated degree. The exposure to bible studies and related topics provide a glimpse of what to expect if you decide on a Master of Divinity.
In Kansas City, Missouri, Calvary University is a Bible-centered university that has prepared Christians to serve the church since 1932. With departments in Bible & Theology, Business Administration, Education, Music, English, and STEM, the Christian theme pervades every degree. In its Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management, students must take 21 hours of Biblical Education courses. Choosing a program like Calvary’s allows students to learn about the Old and New Testament, Evangelism, Christian Missions, and Theology. This indoctrination will be beneficial in a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program with the choice of a degree other than religion.
Undergraduates leaning toward a M.Div. may want to take a language course in Hebrew or Greek or both. Some schools include these two languages in their curriculum. For example, the Bachelor of Divinity at Wycliffe Theological Seminary in Endicott, New York, has eight hours each of Greek and Hebrew. Reading and comprehending Hebrew enables graduate students to read the Old Testament, particularly the first five books or Pentateuch, in one of the Semitic languages. Knowledge of Greek allows students to read the New Testament in its original language.
The Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School does not graduate applicants to have a working knowledge of Greek or Hebrew; however, individuals who do may advance quicker through the language classes. The school does recommend undergraduate students to include Greek in their coursework. Individuals who have completed their bachelor’s degree can take six weeks of Greek courses during the summer or the first two fall/spring semesters. These addition classes do not count toward your degree hours.
Another learning institution that stresses languages is Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Their Graduate School of Theology and Ministry teaches students to interpret the Bible in Greek or Hebrew. The Master of Divinity curriculum affords students the choice of choosing Greek or Hebrew Synthesis I and II spread over the first and second years.
Many of the M.Div. Programs’ coursework involves an in-depth analysis of the Old and New Testaments. Besides the religious perspective as an undergraduate choice, students who have learned critical thinking and analysis will benefit from courses or a degree in philosophy. The notion of becoming a philosopher is limited to teaching. However, the application of what philosophy teaches is essential to many professions. For example, the practice of law requires logical thinking and communication skills, both of which are integral to philosophy.
Often, counseling is one service performed by ministers and clergy members. An undergraduate degree in philosophy teaches communication, listening skills, and empathy for another’s problems. Bachelors’ programs in this discipline cover a range of topics. The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University offers a B.A. in Philosophy. Some of the classes include Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Religion, Analytical Philosophy, Critical Thinking, Moral Problems, and Ethical Theory.
The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy at UMass Lowell attests that this degree will develop written and oral communication, hone your critical thinking and create the ability to think reflectively. Closer to the context of this article is their concentration in Philosophy and Religious Studies. This specialization studies Western and non-Western religions and the meaning of faith in modern society—another practical precursor to pursuing a Master in Divinity.
Similar to the objectives of a degree in philosophy, a degree in Liberal Arts is worth considering. It, too, imparts critical thinking, problem-solving, and written and communication skills. Again, applicable to spreading the word of God in foreign ministry work or as a pastor in a local church. Graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts will have the flexibility to pursue various careers. Information published by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (2013) by the University of Northern Colorado states that 74% of employers recommend this degree. Ideal for those unsure of divinity for a graduate program.