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M. Div. Curriculum
All M.Div. students at RTS are required to have 400 hours of Field Education during their time in seminary. Many students have had very valuable previous ministry experience before beginning their studies, nevertheless, the seminary expects students to have ministry internships under the oversight of both faculty and trained supervisors as a part of the seminary curriculum. This experiential education in the ministry context is an essential component of the seminarians personal growth and preparation for ministry. The 400 hour requirement may be met through a 9-12 month part-time internship (10-15 hours per week), a summer intensive (40 hours per week) or other possible arrangements negotiated between the student, church and Field Education Director.
Field education at RTS includes both parish-based and specialized ministry internships for students in the M.Div. program. Local church internships are under the direct oversight of both local church pastors/mentors and the Field Education Director. Students are responsible for initiating contact with potential field education sites and mentors according to their own denominational background and future goals for ministry. The Field Education Office must approve all internship sites and mentors. RTS guidelines for Field Education must be adhered to closely in order to meet the M.Div. degree requirement.
Seminary Partnership with the Local Church
Local Church and specialized ministry internships enable students to integrate classroom theory with practical hands-on experience through the pairing of experienced Christian pastors/mentors with seminary students in ministry-based education. During field education students learn about themselves and ministry praxis under the supervision of trained pastors/mentors. Supervision by parish mentors provide the platform for students to receive candid feedback on personal development, spiritual growth and ministry skills. Through this partnership with the local church, a triadic relationship of learning emerges in which student, mentor and faculty together do theological reflection on the practice of ministry.
Many denominations require internships and RTS desires to work within those parameters where possible to assist the student. Students are encouraged to communicate with denominational officials early in their seminary career in order to avoid unnecessary duplication or delays in meeting denominational standards.
Goals of the RTS Field Education Requirement
Encouraging and helping the student:
- To integrate academic study and practice of ministry
- To clarify the call to ministry
- To develop a pastoral identity
- To learn appropriate pastoral authority and boundaries
- To articulate a theology of ministry
- To grow in interpersonal skills
- To enhance professional ministry skills
- To deepen the practice of the spiritual disciplines
- To expand the vision for Kingdom work in the world