What to Expect
Theology students train for a lifetime of ministry. These students already
have the faith, and this education gives them the background in religious
history and thought.
"Crazy" is the word that Helen Wood uses to describe a typical day of school
at United Theological College. "Many students are not prepared for the academic
workload and committee work," she says.
"With five committees and a very small student body of approximately 60
students for all three colleges, the volunteer committee workload tends to
One hurdle is the second language requirement. Students must learn languages
like Greek or Hebrew for a master's in divinity. Students not taking a
second language can get a BA, but they cannot continue into the master's program.
If public speaking is not one of your strong points, consider speech
or theatrical classes to build your confidence. Wood discovered her weakness
the first time she stepped in for an ailing minister and heard, "That was
a lovely sermon, dear, but we had a very hard time hearing you."
Kevin Peters Unrau graduated from a Mennonite Bible college. He says these
programs are demanding, so students might want to take a lighter course
load per semester. Although this can add a year to your program, this plan
has its advantages.
"It gives you the time to capture the spirit behind what the professor
did to create the syllabus. Being overloaded means missed insights such as
this. Reducing your workload also gives you an opportunity to explore reading
outside required texts." Unrau adds that getting beyond "just learning" is
important in this program.
On average, homework usually takes double the time spent in class -- an
average 15-hour week of classes means 30 hours of homework.
"This is workable if you learn how to schedule yourself, but you must start
scheduling right at the beginning," says Unrau. "Make the program work for
you. If you are not learning what you expected to learn, take action and talk
to a prof immediately."
How to Prepare
Unrau suggests joining a choir to get some exposure to different
languages. When it comes time to learn the second language, the words will
seem more familiar.
Courses like political science, anthropology, education, international
development and psychology all help you develop your thinking skills.
These are needed to handle the analytical aspects of theology.