Samford University has created an accelerated professional pathway for select undergraduate students called to ministry, giving them the opportunity to earn a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree and Beeson Divinity School Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree in six years rather than the typical seven. Applicants majoring in biblical studies, religion, religion with a concentration in ministry leadership or Christian ministry will be evaluated on their academic performance, spiritual maturity and vocational clarity.
“Originally an impetus of Beeson Divinity School reaching out to the undergraduate departments, the new accelerated degree track was designed in coordination with both the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies in Howard College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Christian Ministry in the School of the Arts,” said Scott Guffin, executive director of Samford’s Christian Ministry program. “Our hope is to see a limited number of highly-focused students from both departments take part each year in the new program.”
Early focus and careful planning with advisors are essential to the program, organizers said. Students must complete all coursework required for their undergraduate major (96-98 hours; no general electives) before beginning their M.Div. studies. Application for admission to Beeson must be made one year prior to beginning graduate studies. Students who are granted admission will participate in a co-curricular program of spiritual and vocational mentoring during their final year of undergraduate studies.
“We at Beeson look forward to welcoming such students into the life we share together in our community of disciples called to serve the Lord by building up his church around the world," said Beeson Divinity School Dean Douglas Sweeney. “It offers a great way for gifted college students to focus early on their ministerial training.”
Roy Ciampa, chair of the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies, noted that many of the department’s graduates have crossed Samford’s Quad to continue their theological education. “Beeson Divinity School, Samford’s top-tier interdenominational, evangelical divinity school, has always been a great place for our students to gain further preparation for a life of ministry,” he said. “Now it is an even better option!”