A major challenge for theological education in the 21st century is the need for various educational options that meet students’ learning goals, maintain academic excellence, and offer solid ministerial formation. To address this challenge, EDS has developed learning options designed for degree and certificate students who feel called to pursue a seminary education, but who have been unable to relocate to a seminary setting for a traditional, Fall and Spring term based program.
In addition to a Traditional Learning option—built around fall and spring terms on-campus—the Distributive Learning option is specially designed for students interested in a masters degree but unable to engage in a traditional Fall and Spring term program. This option of intensive courses and technology-assisted learning allows students to earn the MDiv degree over five years of study or the MATS degree over four years. Students begin course work for the MDiv and MATS degrees in June.
Courses for this option are offered during the intensive January and June terms, weekend on-campus courses, and online during the Fall and Spring terms. These courses have the same requirements as the traditional Fall and Spring courses in terms of reading and written assignments. During the required January and June terms, students are immersed in the life of the seminary, participate in small group formation, and become part of the EDS worship community. As with all EDS degree programs, small group formation and education are integral to the distributive learning experience. Students regularly interact with faculty and cohort groups to share their experiences in ministry and to engage in theological reflection. Formation for ministry, whether lay or ordained, is an intentional focus throughout the distributive learning option.