Field Education
Integrative Seminars
All M.Div. candidates are required to participate in integrative seminars in their first and final years. For newly-entering students the core course, Introduction to Ministry, focuses on developing ministers as reflective practitioners in ministry. It includes peer group reflection, spiritual growth, and vocation, as well as observation of various traditional and alternative ministries.

The seminars for seniors further the opportunity for reflection on the relationship of academic work to the internship experience, vocational direction and choices, and the application of theology in context. The principal assignment is the composition of a Philosophy of Ministry paper, presented to a peer group.

Integrative Studies in Culture
SFTS is committed to including exposure to the many cultures of our country and world in the education of candidates for the M.Div. students are required to take at least one course dealing with the racial/ethnic experience in the USA. A list of such courses, prepared in consultation with the Racial/Ethnic Advisor, is available from the Registrar. Internship in an appropriate setting may be substituted for the course requirement.

Students also are expected to participate in a structured multicultural experience during their preparation for ministry. Fulfillment of this requirement involves:

  • Experiential engagement with a contemporary culture or community other than the student's own;
  • Background reading on the chosen culture;
  • Participation in group reflection;
  • A paper synthesizing experience, reading, and reflection.

These criteria may be met by taking a course incorporating a study tour with theological reflection, supplementing a course or previous experience with appropriate projects, or serving an appropriate internship. Proposals for fulfilling the requirement are approved by the Director of Field Education and Integrative Studies.

SFTS requires all M.Div. candidates, regardless of their previous experience or their status in an ordination process, to participate in some form of supervised practice of ministry as part of their degree program. Through this internship students engage in service learning in various ministry settings, for terms of varying length, to fit their denominational requirements and vocational development objectives. The purpose of the internship is to foster growth in the understanding and practice of ministry.

To achieve this growth, students, in consultation with the DFEIS and their ordaining body, may tailor their internships to complete the M Div program in either four or three years.

Students who choose a four-year plan do a full-time internship, usually nine to fifteen months, between the middler and senior years or after the third year of course work. This plan involves doing an internship separate from the six semesters of course work. Candidates with less prior experience in church work may design a four-year plan to become better prepared in the broad range of ministerial functions.

Students who choose a three-year plan do their internship concurrent with their course work. This plans involves doing a full-time internship during the summer after the middler year, supplemented by part-time internship along with course work either in the spring of the middler year or during the fall of the senior year.

Internships may be completed at any approved site in the U.S. or overseas and may include work at more than one placement, for example, participation in a Clinical Pastoral Education program as well as service at a church. Non-parish sites may be approved to fit individuals’ vocational goals. Students are encouraged to include some form of multi-cultural immersion experience in their plans for the intern year.

Interns, whether or not they register for courses other than internship, are considered full-time students.

Before embarking on an internship students must meet the following conditions:

  1. Completion of at least 36 units including 24 units of core courses.
  2. Acceptance under care of presbytery (or as an inquirer) or the equivalent ordaining body in the student’s denomination.
  3. Completion of a preliminary placement interview with the Director of Field Education.
  4. Acceptance by an approved field placement site.

Students lacking any of the requirements under points 1 and 2 above must petition for permission to begin an internship.


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Educational Programs

Master of Divinity
Master of Arts in Theological Studies
Doctor of Ministry
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Program in Christian Spirituality

Contact Information

San Francisco Theological Seminary
105 Seminary Rd
San Anselmo CA, 94960
Phone: 415.451.2800