Graduate Certificate in Disability Ministry
Dig deeper into questions of disability and theology.
For the ministry practitioner who is seeking to refresh their ministry without a long-term commitment. No bachelor’s degree is required.
Students can expect to gain skills in the art and practice of ministering to and alongside those with disabilities.
Years to Finish
In person or Online
Center for Disability & Ministry
Who should consider a Graduate Certificate in Disability and Ministry?
Those who work in non-profit or church ministry, particularly with children or those with disabilities.
Those who work in education either within a church or Christian school.
Those who are still undecided about their specific career pathway. This degree is a perfect place to start.
Courses can be taken one at a time to fit within students’ schedules. No bachelors degree is required.
These three required courses can be taken in any order:
- Introduction to Disability and the Church
- Disability, Bible & the Pastoral Imagination -or- New Testament Foundtions
- Disability and Theology in the Christian Tradition -or- Systemic Theology 2
No Bachelor's Degree?
Introduction to Theological Research will be required of all students who do not have a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or are admitted on academic probation.
Twelve credits of electives provide students the flexibility to focus on their learning interests. Options include:
- Disability, Bible, & the Pastoral Imagination
- Healing Ministry of the Church
- Ministry & the Margins
- Ministry, Aging & Dementia
- We All Worship: Disability & Worship
- Disability and Community Supports
- Summer Institute on Theology & Disability (travel seminar)
- Deaf Theology & Ministry
- Strategies for an Inclusive Church
- Intellectual Disability and the Church
- Disability/Theology in the Christian Tradition
WTS welcomes transfer students and transferred coursework. Contact Admissions to learn more.
Are you an In-Person Learner?
Courses taken primarily in-person at our Holland, MI campus. Students who take courses primarly in person tend to:
Prefer the physical environment of the classroom
Enjoy regular face-to-face interaction with professors and peers
Need a consistent class schedule and structured learning formats
Be committed to completing the degree in 2 years
Already live in West Michigan or are interested in moving to West Michigan
Plan to work part-time or less
Are you an Online Learner?
Online Learning is available to students in West Michigan and around the world. As an Online Learning student, you would typically:
Be a self-motivated, independent learner.
Wants the flexibility of organizing your own learning schedule.
Need maximum flexibility to fit school around your other commitments
Desire to stretch your degree out over many years
Live more than 150 miles from Holland, MI.
Plan to work full time while in school.
Our application process is all online. Create an account, select your degree program, fill out the required form and wait for an email. Have questions? Email us at email@example.com.
Create an Account
Fill out an application
Upload written Materials
Submit Your Application
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Tuition rates vary for different programs and degrees. At WTS, we understand that finances can be a major concern for prospective students. That’s why we offer a variety of scholarships and loan options.
2023–2024 Academic Calendar
Fall Semester (starts late August)
Application fee waived for Fall semester MDiv and MA applications!
Deadline for international students
To ensure housing and best financial aid opportunities
Final application deadline for fall start
spring Semester (starts Early January)
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should consider the GCDM program?
Pastors, elders, ministers, church leaders, workers and volunteers who are interested in and/or engaged in disability ministry will gain tools and strength to help them in their calling.
What if I already have an MDiv?
Graduates who already possess an MA or MDiv (from any ATS-accredited institution) who apply for the GCDM receive “advanced standing” and will only be required to complete Introduction to Disability and the Church and 4 of the disability-related electives.
This will allow students to complete the certificate in 15 credits.
Can I take courses at night? On weekends?
WTS tries to schedule its courses to make it possible for pastors and congregational leaders working in the field to attend. This entire program is available as a distance learning course.
What are the professors like? Are they actively involved in disability ministry?
The professors of the GCDM program are a knowledgeable and experienced group. Courses that address disability concerns will be taught by or at least include the voices of persons with disabilities.
Will I have access to professors, the library and other services?
Seminary offices and the library are open during the times when GCDM courses are held, so students have access to the services they need to succeed in their studies.
What if my own theology is different than that which WTS embraces?
WTS is an institution that values its identity as ecumenical and evangelical, welcoming students from a number of Christian theological traditions. While WTS is Reformed in its theological identity, many current students in the GCDM and other study programs hold membership in non-Reformed denominations.
What do the courses cost?
Each GCDM course is 3 credit hours. View current tuition rates here.
Is financial aid available?
Tuition discounts are available. Discounts are based on financial need using EFC (Expected Family Contribution) from the FAFSA, membership in the Reformed Church in America, racial status, and GPA. Students with disabilities may apply for funding from the The Gilkison Fellowship, which provides financial support for one course per semester while they are enrolled in the program.
Student loans are not available. You must be enrolled at least half-time in a degree program (not a certificate program) to qualify for student loans.
Are classes in the GCDM program graduate level courses?
Yes, each course in the GCDM program at WTS is taught at the graduate level and earns students 3 Master’s level credits, which are transferable into Master of Divinity programs at accredited seminaries. Students who complete the entire program will earn 21 Master’s credits, much of the credit requirement for the first year of the Master of Divinity degree program at WTS.