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What to do with gap year between ordination and graduation


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Hey all, so I am currently finishing my M.Div at a small (ATS accredited) denominational school in the Northeast. Because I had an MAR already, I was able to transfer a significant amount of course work and will finish in 3 semesters. The only hiccup is that my ordaining church tends to look for about two years of internship + CPE. Now, I may be able to get some of this waived for prior experience (seven years service in the army, part of it as a chaplain assistant, returning as a chaplain) but if not I am looking at a gap year between graduation and ordination. Since I will be interning (likely unpaid) during that time, and have the GI Bill, getting a one year follow on degree would actually be a financial help rather than a burden and I would like your thoughts on schools and programs that would have value for ministry as I don't intend to do a Ph.D.

Options I've found:

Boston University (STM in religious leadership)

Brite (Th.M in Pastoral Theology and Care)

Yale Divinity School (STM, their site encourages people preparing for chaplaincy and I earned my MAR here)


I am also willing to consider non divinity school programs that would be pertinent and can be completed in a year. Or I could save my GI Bill (2.5 vs 1.5 years left) and try to work on top of interning. Thoughts?  

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One thing to be wary of is that every program that advertises itself as a one-year program is not in fact a one-year program. Many find that the ThM's at some schools required 2-3 years even though they are marketed as single year degrees. For instance Duke requires 8 courses and a thesis or comprehensive exams. With many to all of the courses at the doctoral level, I cannot fathom completing the degree in two semesters as advertised. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The ThM at Princeton Seminary is definitely meant to be completed in a year. You are generally taking the same Master's level classes that the MDiv and MATS students are taking, although it does have a thesis component, from what I understand. 

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