Aware of the global and local challenges faith-based professionals face daily, the School of Theology (STH) strives to keep religious leaders well equipped for serving a broken but hopeful world. Our newest initiative is an Online Lifelong Learning Program, which is being piloted with the generous support of Boston University’s Digital Education Incubator. These online mini-courses and spiritual reflection groups will help you, the working faith professional, create concrete, effective tools and/or ground your spiritual capacity to anchor you through the winds of change.
STH offers many opportunities (not just online!) for continuing your theological education in conversation with diverse students and world-class professors. Many are free, open to the public, and require no previous registration or experience.
Online Lifelong Learning Mini-Courses
Need to go from zero to sixty on an administrative task on short notice? Need to figure out how to lead your people through an exploration of a spiritual book or practice? We may have the answer!
The School of Theology is now offering 4-week online mini-courses for working professionals. These mini-courses are meant to address specific issues and empower participants to walk away with an implementable plan or process. They include peer-learning opportunities, contact with STH Faculty, and community support networks.
The School of Theology is also beginning to create community around some spiritual explorations, from contemporary fiction, to today’s wisdom figures, to traditional practices worthy of reviving. What are you seeking? Bring your experience and reflection.
Building Staff and Volunteer Accountability: March 17 – April 14 ($50 BU STH alumni; $75, non-alumni)
You will learn about and create religiously grounded structures for helping staff and volunteers participate effectively, without burnout or radical self-sacrifice. Three live online events Tuesdays from 4-5 Eastern Time February 4, February 18, and March 3.)
Mental Health Concerns in an Aging Community: April 8 – May 6 ($50 BU STH alumni; $75, non-alumni)
You will learn about recognizing mental health issues (including suicide risk) among the people in your context and create a protocol for conversing with the families in your congregation or other care environment.
Spiritual Care for the Non-Religious: April 22 – May 20 ($150 BU STH alumni; $199, non-alumni)
You will learn how to encounter people who are not religious in spiritually rich ways that create supportive and nurturing environments. This is intended primarily for chaplains; you can earn CEUs for this course.
Active Listening in Hard Conversations: May 4 – June 1 ($50 BU STH alumni; $75, non-alumni)
You will learn how to engage in active listening in conflictual, chaotic, and challenging contexts and create a practice that enables you to set aside your own emotional reactions where appropriate.
Spiritual Reflection Groups
The Overstory, by Richard Powers, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for and Believe, by Richard Rohr.
More information on Fall 2020 will be coming soon.
Cuba Travel Seminar
You will explore the religion and culture of Cuba with Dr. Cristian De La Rosa in Spring 2020. Contrary to many of the stereotypes Americans have of Cuba 60 years after the revolution, there is a rich religious life in Cuba and it is not relegated to secret meetings in back rooms. Join a group of global pastors ready to reflect on how Cuba is integrating religious life into a Communist political structure.
Continuing Scholar Program
Recharge, refresh and renew yourself for ministry and life in the Continuing Scholar Program (formerly known as “Pastor-Scholar”). Study with Boston University School of Theology’s world-class faculty and dedicated students in an intellectually challenging and spiritually rewarding atmosphere. Continuing scholars can take regular Boston University School of Theology courses for continuing education credit. Continuing scholars can take regular Boston University School of Theology courses for continuing education credit. Tuition for the semester is $100/credit (a 3-credit course receives a discount and will cost $250).
Continuing Scholar Program Details
Fall semester: May 20 – August 1
Spring semester: November 15 – December 15
Select School of Theology courses are open to Continuing Scholars with the permission of the professor. Courses not available to Continuing-scholar or BU Evergreen students are: first-year Intro courses for MDiv and MTS students (Intro to Christian Traditions, Christianity Engaging Modernity, Intro to New Testament, Hebrew Bible, Spiritual Companioning Groups, and First-Year Formation), contextual education courses, doctoral seminars, directed studies, and travel seminars. Please see a list of Spring 2020 course offerings here.
Continuing scholars attend their chosen course regularly, do all course reading, complete any additional requirements stipulated by the professor, and participate in classroom activities and discussions. The extent to which Continuing Scholars take exams or hand in assignments is left to the discretion of the professor. At the end of the semester, Continuing Scholars submit a 1,500-word essay to the Office of Student and Community Life on one aspect of the course that is particularly relevant to their own life and work. Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) will only be granted when the essay is received.
Courses may not be joined after the second full week that the class has met. Language courses may be taken by Continuing Scholars, but only with the expectation that all course requirements will be fulfilled. Language courses require a whole academic year commitment.
Individuals seeking to take a course to meet United Methodist ordination requirements (specifically, the 9 courses that comprise the UMC Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS) courses – Old Testament, New Testament, theology, church history, mission, worship/liturgy, evangelism, UM Polity, and UM history and doctrine – may not do so through the Continuing Scholar program, but must instead take the course as a “special student” so that the work completed may appear on an academic transcript with a grade. The same is true for students in other denominations or traditions who are taking a course to meet ordination requirements. All of the required work for the course must be completed as with a regular seminary course. The application for admission as a special student is streamlined. Please contact the Admissions Office at email@example.com. For persons pursuing ordination and taking courses required for UMC, UCC, Episcopal, or UU ordination, STH is able to provide 70% tuition scholarships, thereby greatly reducing the total cost of each four-credit course. UMC Students should also check into the possibility of receiving a United Methodist GBHEM grant for part-time study leading to ordination here. That grant, if received, would be applied to the total original tuition charge.
This program is available by application only to those who show sufficient preparation and interest to carry out the work of the class. Continuing Scholars must have a previously earned masters degree in theology or its equivalent.
Continuing scholars can earn up to three CEU’s per course for their regular participation. Academic credit may not be gained, earned, or accrued. Courses taken as a Continuing Scholar cannot be applied to a degree program and do not appear on a BU transcript. At the satisfactory completion of all program requirements for that course, Continuing Scholars receive a certificate of completion attesting to the CEUs they have earned. The Continuing Scholar program is an invitation to a community of learning, not a degree program.
Interested pastors, educators, counselors, chaplains, denominational staff, and other religious leaders are invited to apply. Students who were not in good academic or financial standing with Boston University School of Theology, who are currently on leave of absence from the school, who have withdrawn themselves, or who have been withdrawn by the School of Theology in prior semesters are not eligible without approval from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
If you would like to apply to the Continuing Scholar program, please fill out the application and email it to the program administrator Valentina Pride.
BU and STH Centers and Programs
Boston University School of Theology Centers and Programs help students to connect their academic studies with the practice of ministry lived out in faith communities and the world. These centers and programs offer so much to the vitality of our community, and you will likely find some enrichment in these areas.
Anna Howard Shaw Center
The Anna Howard Shaw Center at Boston University School of Theology promotes structures and practices that empower women and honor diversity. The Center is named after the Reverend Doctor Anna Howard Shaw, a Methodist minister, medical doctor, and suffragist.
Center For Practical Theology
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 communities of faith. 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 so that they may be more integrally incorporated into student learning and faculty teaching and research.
Center for Global Christianity and Mission
The Center for Global Christianity and Mission at the Boston University School of Theology explores the most important development in Christianity during the early twenty-first century: the shift of Christianity’s demographic center to the southern hemisphere. Whereas in the year 1900, over 70% of the world’s Christians were of European background, by the year 2000 the ethnically European component of the world church had shrunk to less than one-third of the total number of Christians. To explore the meaning and implications of this massive cultural shift is one of the most challenging tasks of theological education and scholarship today.
Eli Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies
Eli Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies coordinates and supports all Judaic studies programs at Boston University and offers educational events open to the general public.
Faith and Ecological Justice Program
For almost 20 years, the School of Theology has been building strength in ecological justice, beginning with courses and projects, sustainable practices, curriculum tracks, and LEEDS-certified renovations. In 2017, the School joined the second cohort of theological schools in the Green Seminary Initiative’s certification process. As part of that certification process, Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore gathered a team of faculty, staff, and students. The School undertook a self-audit of ongoing ecological justice efforts in education, buildings and maintenance, community life, liturgy and worship, and public leadership. The School began discussing the possibility of launching a program centered on ecological justice, which in 2018 was aptly named the “Faith and Ecological Justice Program”.
The Certificate in Faith and Ecological Justice signifies a student’s concentrated development of research and/or practical competencies in ecotheology, environmental ethics, and ecologically-informed spirituality and practices. The goal of the certificate is to prepare students for meaningful and effective work in faith-based environmental initiatives and to explore the rich depth of religious resources for such work. Courses in theology and ethics introduce students to the ways that religious traditions have portrayed human relations to the natural world as well as how they have responded to environmental challenges. Travel seminars and colloquia offer students training in ecologically-informed spiritual practices and activism. Successful completion of the program consists of passing three approved courses in the subject area and completing three one-credit colloquia. The certificate can be earned in conjunction with degree program requirements or as a stand-alone certificate. If a student wants to substitute other courses including those from one of the other schools in the Boston Theological Institute, they will need to consult with Dr. Rebecca Copeland, Assistant Professor of Theology, and receive approval by petition to the academic dean. Students wanting more information about the Faith and Ecological certificate or the value of such certification may contact Dr. Copeland.
The Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs (CURA) at Boston University
CURA is a center for research, publication, and education on one of the most strategic questions in the contemporary world: How does culture (in the sense of beliefs, values, and lifestyles) affect economic and political developments worldwide? Since, in most of the world, religion is at the core of culture, CURA has paid special attention to the role of religion in world affairs. While CURA’s agenda is of obvious academic interest, it touches increasingly on practical policy concerns. Thus CURA has sought to communicate its findings to the government, the business community, and the media.
Theology & the Arts
Each year the Theology & the Arts Program sponsors art and religion-related competition. Previous competitions include poetry, hymn-writing, and photography.
The Albert and Jessie Danielsen Institute at Boston University
The Albert and 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.