Considering an online MDiv?

Now’s the time

When I began my MDiv in 2005, one of the biggest decisions I had to make was how I could manage furthering my education, considering my place in life. 

Would I have to move? 

Would I be able to balance a full-time job with graduate-level work?

Joshua E. Stewart, PhD
Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
MDiv Program Coordinator
Luther Rice College
and Seminary

At the time, online education was in its infancy. Many institutions had smaller extension centers that offered courses in some capacity, usually by adjunct or ministry-based professors. I was able to enroll in an MDiv — and complete a majority of the program — without having to make the hard decision of picking up my life and moving. 

The time in which we find ourselves today is exciting, with many possibilities for pursuing an MDiv. One of the greatest opportunities is the ability to complete an MDiv in an asynchronous online environment, with qualified faculty, at a regionally accredited institution. This is true for the MDiv program offered at Luther Rice College and Seminary. 

In recent years, a person wishing to gain further theological studies had no other option than to move to or near a seminary campus. This is not always the case today. Now, instead of moving hundreds of miles, the accessibility of a seminary education is no further away than your computer. 

In essence, there is no better time than now to purse an MDiv. Even pastors of rural churches can further their education or obtain the esteemed MDiv degree without packing up their families. 

Two highly accessible MDiv options 

The MDiv program at Luther Rice is non-residential and can be completed 100-percent online. Students can complete their degree from anywhere in the world and progress through the degree at a speed that best suits their current time requirements. 

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We have crafted our program with two different options: the open electives track and the biblical languages track. The open electives track allows students to customize their course of study with electives offered in our graduate programs. The biblical languages track currently requires four Hebrew and four Greek courses instead of open electives. 

The core of the MDiv program is built around the traditional areas of Biblical Studies, Historical Studies, Theological Studies, and Ministerial Studies. These areas of study should be a necessary part of an MDiv. Here at Luther Rice, we are always evaluating our programs to make sure they are designed in such a way to best educate those in a variety of ministry contexts. 

One of our goals in an online environment is to avoid sacrificing the peer-to-peer and professor-to-student interaction that is the norm in a residential setting. We believe that this is vital to a well-rounded education, particularly at the graduate level. 

Part of our MDiv andragogy is to create as many direct opportunities as possible for interaction. For example, our program has a very low student-to-teacher ratio (9:1). The low ratio helps ensure engagement between our faculty and students. 

Eighty-nine percent of our online courses are taught by credentialed full-time faculty, the balance of which are taught by qualified adjunct faculty. 

Part of our goal is for each course to have weekly, high-quality video lectures which bring the classroom environment into every student’s chosen place of study. Luther Rice has a state-of-the-art video studio and an accomplished video producer. 

We also pride ourselves in requiring each professor to create live interaction with students several times each semester. This type of interaction is primarily accomplished through BlackBoard Collaborate sessions. As a professor, I relish this opportunity each semester as a means of getting to put a face with a name and spending quality time with my students. 

So, why pursue an online MDiv at this time? 

Now is the right time for those who have not previously been afforded the opportunity to pursue this coveted degree. Over the years, Luther Rice has been able to hone the way in which we accomplish a rigorous MDiv program. We have worked hard to create an online environment that mimics a residential program in the best way possible. 

Our institution is both regionally and nationally accredited, and our methods continue to improve in ways that best prepare men and women for a lifetime of ministry. 

Now is the time — please consider joining us in your journey.


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