The Master of Divinity at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary is a graduate professional degree in theology and ministry. The goal of the graduate Theology program is to offer professional, academic training in the Russian Orthodox Christian tradition for Orthodox Christians who desire to serve the Orthodox Church as ordained clergy and lay leaders in the Church. That goal is consistent with the position of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary as “an institution of higher learning under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia,” and with its mission “to serve the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia by preparing students for service to the Church” (Mission Statement, HTOS Catalog 2017-18). The establishment of a graduate Master of Divinity degree at HTOS expands the mission of HTOS by raising professional and academic standards for its students, while preparing professional, effective, and successful pastors and leaders who will serve the Church in parish ministry, other ministry settings, and academia.
The M.Div. degree requires the completion of 94 credit hours including an honors thesis, extended essay, or special project in the final semester of study. Those requirements are expected to be completed ordinarily in three years for a full-time student. The proposed curriculum consists of a balanced distribution of classroom hours in the study of Holy Scripture, courses in Orthodox theology, history, philosophy, morality / ethics, liturgical tradition, and practical disciplines such as liturgics, Church music, homiletics, pastoral counseling, etc. In addition to academic work in the classroom, students will complete four one-credit practica in practical pastoral education through “field” training in parishes, prisons and jails, hospitals, humanitarian service organizations, college campuses, etc.
- To award its graduates the degree of Master of Divinity, a graduate professional degree in theology and religious studies.
To prepare the M.Div. students to be professional, effective, and successful clergy and leaders, who will serve the Church in ministry and in academia.
To augment the mission of this institution by raising professional and academic standards for its students, thus aiming to prepare professional, efficient, and successful clergy and leaders, who will serve the church in ministry and in academia.
To equip the M.Div. students with a thorough practical and theoretical knowledge of liturgical services of the Orthodox Church so that they may celebrate them “decently and in order” (1 Cor 14:40).
To fulfill the mission of Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary as “an institution of higher learning under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia . . .” to serve the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia by preparing students for service to the Church” (Mission Statement, HTOS Catalog 2016-18)
For admission to the proposed graduate program at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, an applicant must have completed an accredited bachelor’s degree in theology, arts and sciences, or business (or its equivalent) with a grade-point average of 3.0
Each applicant must also have a recommendation from his Orthodox Christian parish priest/spiritual father and a blessing from his bishop. For a complete list of requirements for admission, see the “admissions” page.
Transfer of Credit
A prospective transfer student with previous graduate-level coursework at an accredited institution of learning (but no graduate degree in theology, religious studies, or divinity) may request that HTOS evaluate his courses and his performance in those courses in the hope that HTOS will grant advanced standing and full transfer credit for each course that is comparable to a core course or elective in the HTOS M.Div. degree program. HTOS will accept a maximum of 30 transfer credits toward the 94-credit M.Div. degree at HTOS.
- Old Testament I
- Dogmatic Theology I
- Church History I
- History of Philosophy I
- Applied Music/Liturgics I
- Biblical Greek I
- New Testament I
- Dogmatic Theology II
- Church History II
- History of Philosophy II
- Applied Music/Liturgics II
- Biblical Greek II
- Old Testament II
- Comparative Theology I
- Applied Music/Liturgics III
- Pastoral Theology I
- Language Elective I
- New Testament II
- Comparative Theology II
- Applied Music/Liturgics IV
- Pastoral Theology II
- Language Elective II
- Liturgical Theology
- Moral Theology/Ethics I
- Canon Law
- ROCOR Church History
- Applied Music/Liturgics V
- Pastoral Theology III
- Graduate Thesis/Project
- Moral Theology/Ethics II
- Applied Music/Liturgics VI
- Pastoral Theology IV
- Senior Elective
- Graduate Thesis/Project
Senior Thesis/Extended Essay/Project
The capstone of the M.Div. degree program is the Senior Thesis / Extended Essay / Project (THESIS 798) completed during the third year of study and worth three credits toward the degree. Three options are available to each student, depending on his grade point average (GPA). Each option must demonstrate the student’s ability to understand a significant dimension of Orthodox Tradition (theology, biblical exegesis, history, liturgical practice, liturgical music, iconography, spiritual practice, pastoral care, etc.) and either present a compelling argument for a particular position or provide a useful critical English translation of a heretofore untranslated theological text or present a new musical composition or a literary / artistic work, etc.
Thesis Option. Invited M.Div. students may write an honors thesis of 40–50 pages in length (a maximum of 20,000 words not including endnotes, appendices, excurses, table of contents, and bibliography) that demonstrates an ability to understand a significant dimension of Orthodox Tradition (see above list) and presentsa compelling argument for a particular position (“thesis”) subject to discussion or debate. Prerequisites for writing an honors thesis include:
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4 before registration for the Fall Term in the third-year.
- Submission of an acceptable thesis proposal under the guidance of a prospective thesis advisor chosen from the residential faculty before the third week of classes of during the Fall Term in the third-year.
- Invitation, normally toward the end of the third week of classes during the Fall Term in the third-year, by a member of the residential faculty, with the approval of the Dean of the Seminary.
Note: Although an honors thesis is not required to fulfill M.Div. degree program requirements, it is required for graduation honors above Cum Laude. An honors thesis that earns a grade lower than B from the thesis advisor will be treated as an “extended essay” (see next section). The student will not be eligible for academic honors above Cum Laude, and the thesis will not be bound and deposited permanently in the Seminary library.
Extended Essay Option. M.Div. students may choose to write an extended essay of 25–35 pages in length (a maximum of 14,000 words not including endnotes, appendices, excurses, table of contents, and bibliography) under the guidance of a member of the residential faculty. This option allows only for Cum Laude graduation honors.
Project Option. In lieu of an honors thesis or extended essay, and under the supervision of a member of the residential faculty and with the approval of the Seminary Dean, M.Div. students with special skills or talents may engage in a practical project that results in a useful English translation of a heretofore untranslated theological text, a new liturgical music composition, a creative literary or other artistic work, etc. If the project entails a musical or artistic product, the student will be expected to perform or display his creation on campus before or during the Commencement ceremony.
Tuition and Fees