Graduate School of Theology Programs of Study

San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS)

Master's Degrees

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
A Master of Divinity degree prepares students for Church ordination or to pursue other professional ministries where advanced leadership skills are essential. Those ministries include congregational pastor, healthcare and military chaplaincy, campus ministry, spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, not-for-profit work, and other community-based ministries. Unlike some master of religious education programs, the M.Div. combines a framework of academic disciplines— Bible studies, theology, history, homiletics, liturgics, counseling, and Christian spirituality—with practical ministry experience.

Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.A.T.S.)
The Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.A.T.S.) fosters development of theological understanding as part of educational, professional, and spiritual growth. The M.A.T.S. is a general academic degree, providing balanced exposure to the theological disciplines while allowing for focus on an area of interest.

Programs in Christian Spirituality 

Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction (D.A.S.D.)
The Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction is a unique combination of academic rigor and spiritual formation. Each session combines study, spiritual practice, quiet, and community. The D.A.S.D. has a strong emphasis on supervised practicums and contributes to high-quality skill sets. Graduates of the program have provided national and international leadership as spiritual directors and supervisors of spiritual direction. Applicants typically have a BA and some background in spiritual or theological studies.

Certificate in Art of Spiritual Direction (C.A.S.D.)
The Certificate in Art of Spiritual Direction is based in the art of contemplative listening and open to people with a wide range of interests. The C.A.S.D. is for those interested or working in Christian ministries as well as activists and members of other spiritual traditions. With a focus on spiritual formation, practice, and attention to compassion and justice, training in spiritual direction occurs in the context of contemplative retreats. Study, reading, and practice in community provide a rhythm, which encourages rootedness in spiritual discipline, even as one trains in the arts of listening, discernment, and basic knowledge of spiritual direction.

Advanced Pastoral Studies (APS)

Doctoral Degree 

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
The Doctor of Ministry is a graduate theological degree, usually undertaken after the completion of a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), or equivalent, and at least three years in professional ministry. It gives religious professionals the opportunity to sharpen their pastoral skills and to do specialized work in an area that will strengthen their ministry. In contrast to a Ph.D., the D.Min. is a practical rather than an academic research degree. The curriculum focuses on contextual, interdisciplinary study, research and innovation in the practice of ministry. The heart of each student’s research is their project—designed and implemented in their own context of ministry.

Diploma in Advanced Pastoral Studies (D.A.P.S.)
The Diploma in Advanced Pastoral Studies is for those who seek to deepen their knowledge and broaden ministry skills through a structured course of study similar to that of the D.Min. program, but does not require a dissertation or project. The diploma is granted upon satisfactory completion of six D.Min. courses.

The Shaw Chaplaincy Institute (SCI)
The Shaw Chaplaincy Institute is a driver in developing innovative academic programs that advance spiritual care knowledge and skill while engaged in caring activity with persons, families, community, organizations and society. SCI has set out to improve the quality of spiritual care provided through all aspects of trans-professional service, where transformative education supports the development of chaplains, compassionate leaders, and caring activists. SCI supports developing competencies in interdisciplinary, interfaith, cross-cultural spiritual care activity through education and collaboration to enable organizations to achieve missions that encompass physical, emotional, ecological, intellectual, and social wellbeing for persons and communities.

Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.)
This program is offered for pastors, religious professionals, theology students, and qualified laypersons who seek further development of their pastoral skills. In this exciting type of graduate-level education, students learn how to integrate knowledge from theological, psychological, and social science disciplines into the practice of pastoral ministry.

Certificate in Trauma and Spiritual Care (C.T.S.C.)
The Certificate in Trauma & Spiritual Care provides working professionals in both clinical and pastoral settings with the skills needed to adequately care for and help people during life’s most difficult situations. Focusing on the spiritual understandings of trauma and healing, this intensive program combines crisis intervention training and trauma counseling education to give caregivers a comprehensive set of skills to help trauma survivors recover from their experiences.

Diploma in Chaplaincy Spiritual Care Research Literacy (D.C.S.C.R.L.)
The Diploma in Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Research Literacy is designed to equip chaplains, spiritual care providers and pastoral care educators who work in research-driven environments with the tools they need to work alongside interdisciplinary colleagues to develop practices informed by scientific inquiry, and design and implement their own evidence-based research. D.C.S.C.R.L. students will study alongside colleagues in the Doctor of Ministry program, in the Chaplaincy/Spiritual care concentration, in a professional learning community that is multi-faith, culturally competent, spiritually grounded, and pedagogically innovative.

Applied Wisdom Institute (AWI)
The Applied Wisdom Institute is a practice-based training ground for gaining spiritual awareness and preparing for social action. Students are challenged to grow through hands-on learning and cross-pollination of ideas with others in diverse cohorts. Wisdom is gained through active discussion within the community, between students and thought leaders. With every module, seminar, or certificate, students will reach new depths of understanding and new heights in their ability to create change. This is an educational space for people who feel a deep resonance in their soul to leave the world a better place than they found it. Learn. Apply. Collaborate.

Certificate in Spirituality and Entrepreneurship (C.S.E.)
Through an accelerated seven-month program, participants working towards the Certificate in Spirituality and Entrepreneurship learn to guide large-scale, mission-driven organizations and gain the skills to ignite positive social transformation. The unique learning model includes expert instruction, a mentored community project of participants choosing, as well as cohort feedback and collaboration. Participants will emerge as leaders for social change, are empowered to apply their learning throughout the modules, and develop a working project plan.

Certificate in Mental Health and Spirituality (C.M.H.S.)
Designed for working professionals and with Pastors, mental health providers, and graduate students in mind, the Certificate in Mental Health and Spirituality builds greater spiritual awareness that helps participants connect with people of all faiths. In partnership with the School of Continuing Studies, the Certificate in Mental Health and Spirituality prepares participants for important conversations with people in tough situations, at critical moments in their lives. The offered seminars connect spirit and health and dive into chronic illness, bereavement, bipolar faith, healing and clinical practice. Participants will learn to identify the spiritual and mental health needs of members of their community and learn to work together to provide sensitive and effective care.

Center for Innovation in Ministry (CIM)
The Center for Innovation in Ministry supports the work of faith communities in thinking creatively about how to engage the world with the good news of the Gospel. CIM's primary goal is to build capacity for innovation and establish personal renewal that feeds the soul and sparks the imagination. The Center’s programs are designed to impart critical skills for generating participatory, creative approaches to issues, problems and challenges. CIM offers community formation through knowledge, sharing, network building, communal worship and prayer. CIM works to achieve creative approaches to ministry through opportunity analysis, asset identification, skill development through coaching/mentoring and support systems that encourage and challenge. CIM employs research and development that tests theories about innovation, experiments with forms and models, breaks new ground and disseminates learning. Think, do and be.