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’s 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.

Certificate in Theological Studies (C.T.S.)
The Certificate in Theological Studies (C.T.S.) fosters development of theological understanding as part of educational, professional, and spiritual growth. This four-course certificate program provides a balanced exposure to the disciplines of church history, biblical studies, and systematic theology. It is ideal for those looking to enrich personal or professional development through theological education.

Programs in Christian Spirituality 

Our programs are designed for ministers and pastors seeking professional development and continuing education. Built upon our values of spirituality and social justice, SFTS continues to offer an innovative curriculum where you’ll receive a top-rated education to encounter God more meaningfully and engage the world more deeply. Certificate programs include the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction (DASD) and the Certificate in Art of Spiritual Direction (CASD).

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.F.)
The Certificate in Art of Spiritual Direction also focuses on training in spiritual direction and emphasizes the importance of supervised practice. It, too, is based in the art of contemplative listening and open to people with a wide range of interests. The C.A.S.D.F may also attract people interested in a focus on spiritual formation rather than direction. 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.

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 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.