Academic and Student Resources
The School of Theology (STH) offers a wide variety of resource centers and programs for students to use.
School of Theology students are able to purchase their course textbooks from the Boston University-affiliated Barnes & Noble in Kenmore Square.
Boston Theological Institute
The Boston University School of Theology is part of a ten-member seminary consortium in Greater Boston known as the Boston Theological Institute (BTI). The BTI seeks to enrich each member school’s mission, advance intentional collaboration, and share resources in order to advance interreligious and ecumenical learning; to strengthen teaching, learning, and research; to maximize the stewardship of resources; and to engage the member schools in building interreligious community. The consortium represents Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Christian traditions as well as a Rabbinical School, and includes Andover Newton Theological School, Boston College Department of Theology, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Episcopal Divinity School, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, Hebrew College Rabbinical School, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and St. John’s Seminary.
The Boston Theological Institute brings together a rich combination of faculty, resources, and library facilities. School of Theology students are granted cross-registration and library privileges at each member school at the time of registration. Information on special lectures, ecumenical travel opportunities, and consortium-wide study and work groups is disseminated via a biweekly newsletter.
Students are reminded that each institution retains its identity, autonomy, and individual semester course schedule. Eligibility for cross-registration is determined by the host school’s academic calendar.
School of Theology Student Association
Each year, students in the School of Theology form the School of Theology Student Association (STHSA). The organization is recognized by the Boston University student government and is funded in part by the Community Service Fee. STHSA organizes the student body in various ways, including the approval of a yearly program budget, offering advice to the deans and, through them to the faculty and staff, developing a series of academic and social events in the life of the school. Student groups formed under the umbrella of STHSA include the Black Seminarians, the Korean Students’ Association, Sacred Worth, Christian Activists United for Social and Environmental Justice (CAUSE), THecology, and various other groups.
The Center for Practical Theology
Co-Directors: Dr. Courtney Goto, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, Dr. Bryan Stone, and Dr. Claire Wolfteich
The Center for Practical Theology seeks to provide a bridge between the scholarly resources, questions, and insights of a university-based theological seminary and the wisdom, questions, and traditions of faith communities. In doing so, the center provides an infrastructure for sustaining, deepening, and expanding important relationships and connections between Boston University School of Theology and local congregations, denominational offices, and religious centers with the intent that they may be more integrally incorporated into student learning and faculty teaching and research. The center was created in January 2005 with generous funding from Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Center for Practical Theology activities include:
- Conducting research in the areas of congregational development, spiritual practices and spiritual formation, pastoral excellence, religious education, homiletics, urban ministry, and practical theology.
- Providing support for a doctoral program in practical theology.
- Providing support for pastor-teachers and pastor-scholars at BU School of Theology.
- Providing funding for faculty research, curriculum enrichment, and library materials in practical theology.
- Creating opportunities for congregational and pastoral partners to network.
- Hosting practical theology forums and lectures.
Visit the Center for Practical Theology website for additional information, including information on activities and resources.
Clinical Pastoral Education
The School of Theology is a member of the Boston Cluster for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). This and other Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) centers across the United States conduct 12-week intensive training sessions throughout the year. These may be taken by full-time students during the summer. CPE centers also offer extended units, which require a time commitment of two days per week for one academic year. CPE credits may transfer as free electives if they are from an ACPE-accredited institution. They may not fulfill field/contextual education requirements except in particular circumstances by petition to the associate dean and a co-director of contextual education. One unit of CPE transfers in as 8 credits of free elective credits. Students desiring to participate in CPE should apply by notifying the STH Registrar and the Co-Director for Contextual Education and Community Partnerships prior to beginning any CPE work.
Along with evolving technology, increasing numbers of colleges and universities have developed Distance Education online courses. The School of Theology does not currently accept distance learning credits for transfer in their academic programs. Several of the Boston Theological Institute (BTI) consortium schools do offer online courses. For this reason, the school will review master’s-level students’ requests, by petition, to take one of these courses during their academic program.
Albert & Jessie Danielsen Institute
185 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
The Albert & Jessie Danielsen Institute at Boston University was established through a generous endowment by Albert V. and Jessie Boyd Danielsen to promote the benefits of a close collaboration between psychology and religion to alleviate human suffering and enhance human growth. To this end, the Danielsen Institute:
- operates the Danielsen Institute Clinic, a mental health clinic with special concerns for the religious dimensions of personality;
- conducts clinical training programs that emphasize the interface between psychotherapies and religion;
- supports doctoral and master’s programs in psychology and religion in the Boston University School of Theology and Division of Religious & Theological Studies; and
- sponsors research through the Center for the Study of Religion and Psychology at the Danielsen Institute.
Founded in 1952 as a pastoral counseling service in the School of Theology, the Albert & Jessie Danielsen Institute is a mental health center, fully licensed by the State of Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Danielsen Institute services are available to students, faculty, and staff of Boston University, as well as to the general public.
The institute’s mission, as stated in the deed of the gift from the Danielsen family, is to alleviate human suffering and enhance human growth through service, training, and research. An accredited pastoral counseling center with staff specifically trained in this area, the Danielsen Institute has grown to include multidisciplinary staff from all mental health-related fields in the University. It provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples, partners, families, and special groups. Fees are often covered by health insurance plans, and self-pay fees may be negotiated on an adjusted fee scale.
The Danielsen Institute also provides psychological and aptitude testing for individuals, denominations, and other groups. All first-time matriculants in the Master of Divinity program at the School of Theology may participate in a selection of these tests as part of New Student Orientation.
The Denominational Liaison Program
Many different denominations send their students to the School of Theology for a theological education, and the school provides denominational counseling through the Liaison Program. Ordained School of Theology faculty and staff help students identify resources and courses in the greater Boston area that assist in formation for ministry. Contact the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs for more information.
International Student Life
For international students, the coordinator designs programs that help students maximize their learning from and contributions to the School of Theology and wider community during their period of study. This office provides counseling and communicates regularly with international students including individual and small group meetings, telephone calls, and internet communication to provide support and guidance for them as they relate with academic departments and churches, as they acclimate to life in Boston, and as they face academic challenges.
Lowell Institute Lectures
The Lowell Institute, a famous part of Boston’s cultural life for many decades, placed a lecture under the auspices of the School of Theology in 1966. The purpose of the Lowell Institute Lecture is to promote the intellectual and religious life of the school, University, and community.
New Student Orientation
The Admissions Office, the University Registrar, the Student Affairs Office, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and the Associate Dean for Community Life and Lifelong Learning coordinate New Student Orientation at the beginning of each semester. The program includes an introduction to community life, faculty, and staff; a review of academic standards, rules, and regulations; and registration for new students.
New Student Orientation is required of all students entering the School of Theology.
Information Services & Technology
(IS&T Help Center, 533 Commonwealth Avenue or Mugar Memorial Library)
All Boston University students are entitled to a free email account with free access to the Internet. Information Services & Technology coordinates student academic computing services, and the School of Theology urges its students to take advantage of this technology.
The Anna Howard Shaw Center
The Anna Howard Shaw Center was established in 1978 as a place at Boston University School of Theology that promotes structures and practices that empower women and honor diversity. Ten years later, it was designated the women’s center for the Northeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.
The center’s primary goals are in the areas of research, education, support, and advocacy. Its activities and resources include a library, bibliographic materials, oral histories, special educational training and events, women’s heritage programs, and continuing education for women in ministry, both clergy and laity. The center is named for the Reverend Dr. Shaw, a graduate of the Boston Theological School in 1878. Anna Howard Shaw was an ordained Methodist minister, a medical doctor, and president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. You can contact the Shaw Center by telephone at 617-353-3075 or by email at email@example.com.
School of Theology Library
The Library of the School of Theology is an independent unit serving as a cooperating part of the Boston University library system, to which all members of the University community have access. Collections include all aspects of Christianity and historic Judaism, with special emphasis on the Methodist heritage of the school. The library’s collection supports the curriculum of the School of Theology and the research interests of STH faculty, students, and visiting researchers. These are complemented by collections in comparative religion, non-Christian religions, and the other academic disciplines that are located in other Boston University libraries.
The library contains approximately 157,000 volumes and 410 periodical subscriptions. The library’s special collections include works in hymnology, missiology, and Methodist history and polity. Highlights among the library’s unique collections are the holdings of the New England United Methodist Historical Society, the Massachusetts Bible Society Collection, and the John and Charles Wesley collection.
Specific information about items in the library’s collection is available through the search engine on the library’s website. The search engine also provides access to a number of online resources (including electronic journals and e-books.) The University’s open-access computing policy ensures that these resources are accessible from any home computer with access to the Internet. Library instruction is available to help patrons of the library use these resources.
Students and faculty of the School of Theology have borrowing privileges at all libraries of member institutions of the Boston Theological Institute, a consortium of ten theological schools in the Boston area. Total collections of the BTI number more than 1.5 million volumes in theology and cognate disciplines. In addition, the facilities of the Boston Public Library and the Boston Library Consortium are available to School of Theology students and faculty.
The Mentor Program
The Mentor Program helps incoming students adjust to the rigors of seminary life by matching incoming students with returning School of Theology students. The mentors, volunteers who are identified during the first few weeks of each semester with red buttons, provide support to incoming students by being available to answer questions or offer advice. Mentors meet with their mentees at least twice a semester to offer informal support. Students may inquire about the Mentor Program through the Admissions Office or through the Community Life Office.
Contextual Education Office
- Contextual Education: The Contextual Education Office coordinates the placement of Master of Divinity students in community and church settings for the required field education component of the curriculum. First-year students are required to consult the co-directors during the Spring Semester to determine the best field education site. Usually, the contextual education placement is during the Fall and Spring Semesters of the second year in the Master of Divinity degree program. The Office also facilitates the design of contextual education projects for MTS degree candidates that meet the requirement of their degree.
- Continuing Education: The School of Theology presents many continuing education opportunities through its different centers, lecture programs, and colloquies. It is also possible to take courses as a Special Student. Those interested in any of these programs or in arranging for a person from the school to do a lecture, workshop, or conference for their church, agency, or jurisdiction can contact the Community Life and Lifelong Learning Office.
Institute for Philosophy & Religion
The Institute for Philosophy & Religion delivers a series of lectures by distinguished philosophers and theologians. The lectures are open to the public, and interested School of Theology students may register for a 4-credit institute seminar each fall. The theme of lectures changes each academic year.
Community Life Office
The Community Life Office acts as a liaison between students, faculty, and administrators in review of student concerns and is led by the Associate Dean for Community Life and Lifelong Learning. To achieve the school’s goal of a sound quality of life for all its students, student life policies address concerns such as sexual harassment and student responsibility. The Community Life Office is also staffed by a student Community Life Coordinator who coordinates weekly community lunches, informal gatherings, and community-related events. The Community Life Coordinator is available to meet with individuals and student groups to foster the life and growth of the School of Theology community.
Women in the World
Each March, the Anna Howard Shaw Center of the School of Theology holds its Women in the World conference, which is centered on a theme concerning women’s contributions to preaching, theological inquiry, and church life. Sessions for the conference are scheduled for a two-day period, and students, pastors, laity, and interested guests are encouraged to participate in all programs. The Women in the World conference is highlighted by lectures and sermons by distinguished women preachers and professors.
Worship and Spiritual Life
The School of Theology enjoys two beautiful chapels as centers for worship and spiritual life. Marsh Chapel, a large neo-Gothic structure, is located in the center of the Charles River Campus, adjacent to the School of Theology building. Marsh Chapel organizes a diverse series of spiritual and religious life programs for the entire BU campus, highlighted by Sunday worship at 11 a.m. The School of Theology gathers for worship each Wednesday morning at Marsh Chapel and engages directly with many Marsh Chapel ministries throughout the year.
Muelder Chapel, a more intimate space, is located in the heart of the School of Theology, on the third floor. The chapel welcomes individuals who seek a quiet space for meditation and prayer. Several services and spiritual formation events also find their home in Muelder Chapel. Morning prayer is held Mondays through Thursdays in the chapel. Muelder Chapel is also the center for monthly Saturday Reading Retreats for the School of Theology community.
Spiritual growth is a strong component of the degree program at the School of Theology. Courses and programs are offered each year in spiritual direction, journal writing, mysticism, and prayer. Spiritual formation is integrated into the first-year course Practices of Faith, which is required of all Master of Divinity students.
The Spiritual Life Coordinator is available to assist the community in strengthening existing and developing new spiritual life programs. The Spiritual Life Office provides students with retreat center information, funding for spiritual renewal retreats, and referral to spiritual directors. Overnight community retreats and shorter spiritual workshops on campus are also provided.
In addition to the Spiritual Life Office, students can petition the STH Student Association for funding for spiritual growth groups, and groups can meet in Marsh Chapel, Muelder Chapel, the Oxnam and Hartman Rooms, as well as at Nature’s Classroom at Sargent Center, an education and retreat facility in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The Student Association sponsors a chapter of the Order of Saint Luke, which meets monthly for prayer, communion, and a light meal. Another Student Association supported group, the Wesleyan Students Association, sponsors Wesleyan Bands, spiritual accountability small groups.
Effective preaching and teaching requires mastery of the use of English in writing and speaking. The Writing Works Program at the School of Theology is available to students each year. Students may be referred to the Writing Works Center by a dean or faculty member. The Writing Works consultants give plenary sessions on standard forms of citation, journal writing, and the use of English for nonnative speakers. The consultants are also available for individual advising. For more information, contact the Office of the Associate Dean for Community Life and Lifelong Learning.
Development & Alumni Relations Office
With more than 3,700 alumni/ae, including graduates of all degree programs offered by the School of Theology, the Graduate School Division of Religious and Theological Studies, and the School of Religious Education and Social Services (closed in 1942), the School of Theology has a rich program of engagement with alumni. Our men and women alumni/ae represent a wide range of professions, including Christian ministry, nonprofit management and leadership, business and industry, and academia. Our alumni/ae live in the United States and in 49 countries around the world.
The Development & Alumni Relations Office coordinates a variety of programs and activities, including regional alumni group events, class reunions, distinguished alumni awards, Focus magazine, the annual fund, phonathon, the annual Lowell Lecture series, and special events.
The Development & Alumni Relations Office provides:
- Collaboration with graduating students to designate a specific class gift, establishing a legacy for each graduating class.
- Class picture for each graduating student.
- Networking opportunities for employment and engagement for students and alumni.
- Access to the Alumni Card, which allows alumni to check out books from BU libraries, get discounts at various stores, park on campus at a discounted rate, and use BU Career Services resources.
- An annual Development & Alumni Relations open house for current students and staff.
- 50th Anniversary Class Reunions.
- Tea with the dean for graduating students at least once per year.
- Alumni pins, bags, polo shirts, and other promotional resources.
- Facilitation of connections between students and alumni.
- The annual Lowell Lecture, addressing topics of concern and interest such as leadership in non-violence and human rights by Reverend Dr. James Lawson.
- Annual Alumni Weekend events that celebrate STH alumni/ae such as the recent celebration of black Americans in the School of Theology.
- Focus, an alumni and faculty research magazine, published annually in the spring, highlighting hot topics of theological and church life along with other issues of the day.
- Connection with alumni through regional lunches throughout the United States. Recent lunches have included areas such as San Francisco, CA; Houston and Dallas, TX; Atlanta, GA; Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, PA; Chicago, IL; Washington, D.C.; New York City and Syracuse, NY; and Southern New England.
- A job resource center you can find on the Alumni tab on the STH website.
- Distinguished Alumni Awards celebration and 50th Anniversary Class Reunion during Matriculation Day activities at Marsh Chapel on the third Wednesday of September. This event includes a panel of all award winners and is open to the community.
- United Methodist Church Annual Conference and other denominational visits.