Western Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Degree

Do those who know you best say, "You should be in the ministry!" Do you feel a deep yearning to serve God in a special way?  If so, Western Theological Seminary welcomes the opportunity to equip and empower you for service to Christ and for leadership among God's people.

Our Master of Divinity program prepares men and women for ordained ministry. The M.Div. also gives foundational training for ministries in mission, social service, evangelism, education, pastoral care, chaplaincy, and theological research.

What makes Western Distinctive?


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Western seeks to build a community of faith and learning for all students. Both In-Residence and Distance Learning programs create space for deeply personal growth—soul work—within a highly relational framework. Classroom instruction, peer interaction in small groups, daily worship, weekly Communion, a spiritual formation retreat, and a trip immersing you into a different culture will contribute to your formation for ministry and personal transformation. Students from many different Christian denominations are welcomed. Together we will grapple with the relationship of the gospel to our culture as we learn and practice skills for effective ministry.

Personal Attention


WTS_Website-38 bottle removed WEB.jpgWestern Theological Seminary's faculty and staff are committed to the growth and learning of our students. At Western, students practice ministry skills under the careful supervision of seasoned mentors in a real ministry setting. Weekly peer group meetings provide space to reflect on these internship experiences. To help students in their discernment, all students complete a first-year evaluation of their capacities and competencies to help set learning goals. They also participate in a mid-program assessment with faculty and Formation for Ministry staff to review their progress and guide them toward completing their MDiv degree.

Commitment to Academic Excellence

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Learn with our world-class faculty who combine a passion for scholarship with personal interest in each student. Following admission, each student is assigned a faculty advisor. In class, the student/professor ratio of 11:1 provides a rich environment for close work and individual mentoring. Our faculty members are nationally and internationally known and strive to equip students for Christ-centered, biblically based, theologically integrated, culturally sensitive, mission-oriented Christian leadership.

Multiple Approaches: In-Residence and Distance Learning

How do you learn best?  What environment do you prefer? Before signing up for any online course or stepping into a classroom, it is important to discern your own learning style.

In-Residence Learner

  • Prefers the physical environment of the classroom
  • Enjoys regular face-to-face interaction with professors and peers
  • Needs a consistent class schedule and structured learning formats

Distance Learning Learner

  • Self-motivated, independent learner
  • Wants flexibility of organizing his or her own learning schedule
  • Disciplined, can set aside 15-20 hours per week to study and participate in an online setting
  • Prefers to continue in current ministry or home situation
  • Can travel twice a year for 5-day classroom-based intensives on campus in Holland, MI
  • Learn more about our Distance Learning M.Div.
Ordination Procedures

Each denomination has its own procedures for enrolling, supervising, and examining candidates for ordination. M.Div. candidates should check with their pastors or denominational officers regarding specific instructions for ordination in their particular denomination.

An M.Div. candidate seeking ordination in the Reformed Church in America must apply to his or her classis through the home church consistory for a Certificate of Fitness for Ministry. This certificate and the M.Div. degree are required for ordination in the Reformed Church in America. Western's faculty reviews M.Div. candidates annually and recommends to the board of trustees that it grants the certificate to those candidates who are deemed "fit for minisitry."

Western Theological Seminary works in close partnership with other denominational boards and candidate committees responsible for the formation of men and women for ordained ministry.

Courses and Degree Requirements

  • 96 credit hours, minimum of three years. 
  • Formation for Ministry courses, including spiritual formation retreat and 400 hrs full-time internship
  • Yearly orientations in August
  • Intercultural Immersion trip - January term of middler year for in-residence students

Sequence of Courses

Field Legend: BL - Biblical Field; MN - Christian Ministry Field; FR - Formation for Ministry; TH - Theological Field

Junior Year

Fall Semester

  • BL100 New Testament Greek I (3)
  • BL103 Old Testament Foundations (3)
  • TH100 Church History I (3)
  • MN100 Worship Foundations (1.5)
  • MN102 Practice of Discipleship (3)
  • FR121 Entering Christian Ministry (1.5)

J Term

  • FR101 Retreat for Christian Formation (1.5)

Spring Semester

  • BL101A New Testament Greek II (1.5)
  • BL101B New Testament Interpretation (1.5)
  • BL102 New Testament Foundations (3)
  • MN101 Preaching Foundations (3)
  • MN105 Pastor as Person (1.5)
  • TH101 Church History II (3)
  • FR122 Exploring Christian Ministry (1.5)
  • Elective (1.5)
Middler Year

Fall Semester

  • BL110 Biblical Hebrew (3)
  • TH112 Gospel, Culture, Church (3)
  • TH113 Systematic Theology I (3)
  • FR123 Engaging Christian Ministry (1.5)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (1.5)

J Term

  • FR111 Intercultural Immersion Experience (3)

Spring Semester

  • BL111 Hebrew Translation and Interpretation (3)
  • TH114 Systematic Theology II (3)
  • MN115 Practice of Counsel & Care (3)
  • FR124 Leading Christian Ministry (1.5)
  • Elective (1.5)
  • Elective (1.5)

Middlers will do FR125 Advanced Practice of Christian Ministry during summer

Senior Year

Fall Semester

  • TH121 Christian Ethics (3)
  • Elective (MN121 For RCA candidates) (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)

J Term

  • Elective (1.5)

Spring Semester

  • MN124 Practice of Worship & Preaching (3)
  • MN120 Leadership (3)
  • TH124 Credo (1.5)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)


Western Theological Seminary

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