San Francisco Theological Seminary seeks to cultivate creative theological thinkers for a changing church and world. Master of Divinity students may refine their academic program to reflect their individual educational and vocational goals by selecting a discipline-specific concentration. By working closely with an SFTS faculty advisor, students pursuing a concentration outline a course of study in one of the following areas:
History, Theology & Ethics
A concentration in history, theology or ethics allows students to engage with a particular academic discipline in depth. Each concentration requires students to take three courses (nine units) of masters or doctoral level coursework beyond general requirements. Students selecting a history concentration may focus on any period or subject of the history of religion in Europe, the Americas or African Diaspora. Courses may include Dr. Christopher Ocker's Muilenburg-Koenig History of Religion Seminar and Rev. Dr. James Noel's Human Embodiment, Cultural Experience, Modernity and Christ's Body. A theology concentration might include Rev. Dr. Gregory Anderson Love's God and Human Suffering. Those choosing to study ethics might engage critically through Dr. Carol Robb's Environmental Ethics. Students must also write a paper on an approved topic.
Chaplaincy & Pastoral Care
Chaplains and pastoral care providers offer critical spiritual and emotional support to those in need. This concentration includes academic coursework in pastoral care and spirituality, a unique chaplaincy/pastoral care lecture series and a minimum of two units of Clinical Pastoral Education to facilitate competencies in pastoral care. It also prepares students to engage in professional requirements for chaplaincy in institutional and congregational settings. An important piece incorporated into this concentration is the requirement for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Under the direction of Rev. Laurie Garrett-Cobbina, SFTS has the first fully-endowed CPE chair within a theological seminary.
This concentration reflects SFTS's commitment to fostering critical biblical scholarship. Students in the Biblical Studies Concentration must have elementary knowledge of both Greek and Hebrew and do intermediate work in at least one biblical language. To complete the concentration students must take three courses (nine units) of biblical studies beyond the core M.Div. requirements, which may be selected from either masters or doctoral level coursework. Students may choose from courses such as Creation Traditions in the Old Testament and its Environment with Dr. Annette Schellenberg, New Perspectives on Paul with Rev. Dr. Eugene Eung-Chun Park or Miracle Stories in the New Testament with Dr. Annette Weissenrieder. A final paper on an approved topic is also required.
The concentration in Christian Spirituality enables students to study and explore spiritual practices while further integrating their spiritual life with their seminary studies. Students in this concentration must complete a minimum of three Spiritual Life and Leadership courses (nine units) on practices such as Lectio Divina, silent prayer, contemplative listening, communal discernment, and spirituality and social structures. Access to the Seminary's renowned Program in Christian Spirituality, directed by Rev. Dr. Sam Hamilton-Poore, allows students to connect the concentration with the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction or the Diploma in Spiritual Formation. Students in this concentration must also complete a Leadership and Service project approved by their faculty advisor. For more information, click
Other possibilities for concentrations include the fields of World Christianity,
Christian education/youth ministry, pastoral counseling, women's
studies and African American religious studies.