Core Curriculum

The first 39 credits of the Master of Divinity degree and the first 27 credits of the Master of Arts in Theology degree are drawn from a core curriculum that serves as the basis of all graduate programs at Seattle Pacific Seminary. 

This curriculum consists of the following courses which all students will take:

  • Three intensive introductory courses on the intersection of Christian formation and discipleship; Christian formation and mission; and a Capstone Integration course which reflects on Seattle Pacific Seminary's three foci of academy, abbey, and apostolate (6 credits)
  • Three courses in Christian Scripture (9 credits)
  • A year-long practicum (Graduate Core Practicum) that encourages reflection on the core curriculum in light of the student’s own spiritual life and ministry context (6 credits)

Master of Divinity students will complete the remainder of the core sequence, which includes three courses in church history (9 credits) and three courses in and theology/ethics (9 credits). Master of Arts students will take a selection of these courses dependent on their intended concentration. For more information about MA concentrations, see our Master of Arts Program Page.

Intensive Courses

THEO 6001: "Christian Formation in Discipleship: Acts of Piety"

“Christian Formation in Discipleship: Acts of Piety” is the first course you will take for the Master of Arts (MA) and the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree programs. It is a one-week intensive study that introduces you to the spiritual practices associated with what John Wesley calls “works of piety” or the “means of grace.”

The acts of piety include prayer, worship, celebration of the Lord’s Supper, the reading and hearing of Scripture, and mutual accountability and support in small groups. During this week, you live in community with other students, as well as faculty, and engage in both the academic study and the practice of these acts of piety.

The course is structured vertically to deepen your daily personal piety, and horizontally to deepen your life in community. The practices introduced in this course are then woven into the series of courses that compose the MA and MDiv degrees. Thus, this initial course provides you with insights and opportunities that are vital to the “Abbey” emphasis of the graduate program, and recognizes the essential role that acts of piety play in the ongoing life and ministry of the church.

This is a 2-credit course, held at SPU's Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound.

These vital areas of formation are further supported and continued by assigning you to a Class Meeting and Mentor  —  i.e., a Wesleyan an accountable discipleship group, and an optional mentor, who is an experienced pastor or Christian leader who can provide wisdom, and support in your process of vocational discernment, and discipleship.

THEO 6002: "Christian Formation in Mission: Acts of Mercy and Justice"

“Christian Formation in Mission: Acts of Mercy and Justice” is the second course you will take for the MA and the MDiv degree programs. It is an intensive study held over a series of weekends that introduces you to the practices associated with what John Wesley calls “works of mercy”: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, caring for the sick, visiting prisoners, sheltering the homeless, and peacemaking.

You will live in the urban context of Seattle and engage in both the academic study and the practice of these acts of mercy. Personal works of mercy are connected to the necessity of the ongoing communal work of social justice. Focusing on such practices helps define the “Apostolate” emphasis in the MA and MDiv degrees, and deepens your understanding of and engagement in practices vital to the graduate program and to the ongoing life and ministry of the church.

This course is structured vertically to deepen your daily personal piety, and horizontally to deepen your life in community. It is a 2-credit course.

THEO 6003: "Integrating Academy, Abbey, and Apostolate"

The final course of our intensive sequence, "Integrating Academy, Abbey, and Apostolate", functions as a capstone course to be taken in the student's final year of seminary. This course includes a holistic reflection back on previous work in seminary and plans for the future in light of the three foci of academy, abbey, and apostolate. Continues the work of communal spiritual formation begun in THEO 6001 by worshiping together, and the outworking of one's faith in ministry as begun in THEO 6002 by participating in a year-long mentoring program. This is a 2-credit course.

Practicum

THEO 6930: “Graduate Core Practicum”

The Graduate Core Practicum plays an essential role in helping first-year seminary students integrate the “Academy” aspect of their theological study with the “Abbey” and “Apostolate” distinctive of our Seminary program. In the Practicum, you will connect the academy study in your Core courses (i.e., “Christian Scripture,” “Global Christian Heritage,” and “Theology/Ethics”) with your spiritual formation as a disciple of Jesus Christ and minister of the Gospel.

You will develop an individualized learning contract in close collaboration with your faculty practicum advisor and then meet with that advisor to address areas vital to your theological, spiritual, and vocational formation. 

acts-of-piety

Christian Formation in Discipleship: Acts of Piety

This is the first course first-year seminarians take -- a one-week intensive study at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island, WA. It introduces students to the spiritual practices associated with what John Wesley calls “works of piety,” such as organized corporate prayer, shared testimonies, and communion, to name a few.

acts-of-mercy-justice

Christian Formation in Mission: Acts of Mercy and Justice

As the second intensive course for first-year seminarians, this course gets students outside the four walls of the classroom setting and into a context for real-world settings in the community.

graduate-core-practicum

Graduate Core Practicum

“The Graduate Core Practicum is designed to help students connect the rigorous academic work that they’re doing in their Bible classes and their Global Christian Heritage classes and their Theology and Ethics classes with their own personal spiritual formation and also … with the skill-building needed for effective ministry.” – Dr. Steele

SPU Graduate Catalog

Check out course descriptions and the Time Schedule for the graduate programs that interest you.