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Accredited Seminary Schools

by Suzy Kerr

Anyone who is interested in pursuing a profession in ministry, particularly in a leadership role within their religious community, can attend seminary school to broaden their knowledge base and gain practical experience by working with others in a spiritual context. While there are many seminary schools across the country to choose from, selecting an accredited institution will ensure that the school you choose will meet the highest standards in academics, faculty and other resources. You can also narrow your choices by region, as all major regions in the U.S. boast top-rated accredited seminary schools.

Northeast

The Northeast is home to a number of seminary schools, but three of the most notable are at Boston University, Harvard and Hartford Seminary. The School of Theology at Boston University offers multi-faith education to explore global religions through its master's and doctoral degree programs. In addition to regular courses, there are also conferences, seminars and travel opportunities for students to pursue. The Harvard Divinity School also has master's and doctoral programs, with a campus environment that encourages and explores spiritual diversity. Though the school's background is rooted in Christianity, it offers numerous resources for global religious studies. Located in Connecticut, Hartford Seminary offers the opportunity to study all major religions of the world, but offers a concentration on Muslim-Christian relations and methods of promoting tolerance and understanding between the two faiths.

Southeast

Frequently referred to as the Bible Belt, it’s no surprise that the southeastern United States has its share of accredited seminary schools. The Divinity School at Vanderbilt University offers both professional and master’s degrees in areas like divinity and theological studies. In addition to classroom work, the school also has a unique field experience component, where students minister in either a church or non-parish setting. You’ll find the Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, where religious pluralism is emphasized in the curriculum, with a special focus on Judaism. The Jewish Studies program at the school works to educate students on the faith and create open dialogues between Jews and Christians. Duke University’s Divinity School has several master’s and doctoral degree programs in ministry, theology and Christian studies. It also provides study abroad opportunities for students to widen their religious perspectives and teach others in different cultures.

Midwest

You’ll also find several accredited seminary schools in the Midwest. The University of Chicago Divinity School values research and questioning when it comes to examining the world’s religions, and its diverse faculty and course offering reflect its multi-faith studies. Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota is well-known for its Islamic Studies Program, which seeks to educate students on positive Muslim-Christian interaction. There is also a large collection of other multi-faith courses, as well as mission studies for students interested in global ministry. The department of theology at Notre Dame has undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with a focus on six areas: moral theology, history of Christianity, liturgy, biblical studies, systematic theology and world religion and world church.

Southwest

Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena is just one many accredited seminary schools in the southwestern U.S. At Fuller, students will work to break down barriers between different religions using a variety of inter-faith discussion techniques. Phoenix Seminary is another option for theology students seeking a master’s or doctorate degree. All students here are eligible for the mentoring program, which pairs Christian mentors with students to guide their growth and development in spiritual maturity. At Westminster Seminary California, students learn to interpret scripture and hone their ministry skills with one of four master’s programs that are rooted in Reformed and Presbyterian studies.

Northwest

Northwest Nazarene University School of Theology and Christian Ministries in Idaho offers a full range of undergraduate courses for religious majors, as well as graduate programs in areas like spiritual formation and pastoral ministry. Though the campus attracts students studying a full range of liberal arts programs, the environment is faith-based with a focus on spiritual life. Western Seminary in Portland has a theological approach founded in Christianity, with a variety of master’s and doctoral degree offerings. In addition to traditional courses, Western also offers online courses for students. Seattle University School of Theology has a diverse graduate program for exploring ministry, with faculty and students from all over the world. In addition to graduate studies, students also have the option of seeking a profession certificate in a one to two year program.

About the Author

Suzy Kerr graduated from Grady School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia. She completed her Master's degree in Nutrition Sciences, also at the University of Georgia. Suzy has been a successful health, fitness and nutrition writer for more than 10 years, and has been published in various print and online publications.

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