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. STH offers many opportunities 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.
The STH Online Lifelong Learning Program is in a piloting phase with the generous support of Boston University’s Digital Education Incubator.
STH began a new approach to lifelong learning for alums and similarly situated faith leaders last spring. STH is offering online mini-courses addressing specific issues and empowering participants to walk away with an implementable plan or process. They include peer-learning opportunities and community support networks.
The School of Theology is also gathering spirituality groups to create community around some spiritual explorations from contemporary fiction and film, to today’s wisdom figures, to traditional practices worthy of reviving.
Finally, STH is partnering with the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) at the BU School of Social Work (SSW) to offer some additional programming for clergy on issues related to mental health awareness in an aging population. More information will be in the offerings below as it becomes available.
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Practical Hope: Connecting Churches’ Hope in God with Their Present Reality
This course will connect the rich resource of hope psychology with theology, helping churches and leaders rediscover God’s good future not only in the ultimate future but here and now. Participants will leave not only with a sense of renewed hope but with a plan to help their congregations live into it as well.
Facilitated by: Rev. Jeff Slater; Lead Pastor, Trinity United Methodist Church, Lincoln, Nebraska; and Hope Researcher
Dates: February 11th, 18th, 25th 2:30-3:30pm EST.
Remote Ministry to Elders during Advent
Have you struggled reaching elders remotely during the pandemic? You’re not alone. Rooted in research on elder care, this course will provide tools for reaching that group of congregants who lack access to ‘smart’ devices. Running concurrently with Advent, this mini-course offers 3 intensive sessions to help you feel more comfortable ministering to this vulnerable population.
Facilitated by: Dr. Eileen Daily, JD, PhD; Director, Doctor of Ministry and Transformational Leadership
Dates: November 30th, December 7th, 21st; 2-3pm EST.
Registration has passed
Mental Health and Aging
During episodes of stress, grief, and depression, older adults often turn to faith leaders. We are partnering with BU’s Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research (CADER), to offer CADER’s 4-hour asynchronous (i.e., no live sessions) course on Mental Health and Aging to faith leaders, at no cost. Self-paced; you can begin any time. Available through February 28, 2021.
Spiritual Reflection Groups
Please check back later!
Winter 2021 (January — March)
The Theology and Practice of Generating Hope
Practicing Sabbath in the Time of Pandemic
African American Poetry (reading selections from Kevin Young’s new anthology)
Centering Prayer Theory and Practice
Spirituality in the Comic Book World
Spirituality in Latinx Films
Talk Saves Lives webinar – Delivered by the American Suicide Prevention Foundation (with CADER and STH). Participants will learn the common risk factors for suicide, how to spot the warning signs in others, and how to keep ourselves, our loved ones and those in our community safe.
Memory Sunday webinar – Memory Sunday New England is a faith-based collaboration made up of leaders at the local, city, and state levels working in partnership with African American congregations to raise awareness about memory loss, aging and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Spring 2021 (April — June) (Check back in Late February for more Spring topics!)
Beyond LGBT-Acceptance: toward Inclusion and Equity
Creating New Meaning-Making Activities/Rituals
A Theological Look at Violence and Fear
Reflecting with Howard Thurman
Let us know if you would like to see any of these offered again! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reflecting with Howard Thurman
Church Mission in Uncertainty and Adversity
Leading Community Lament
Discerning Vocation in Changing Times
Asset Mapping to Develop Your Community – an ABCD Approach
Embodying the Spirit of Afrofuturism
Reflecting on the Poetry of Joy Harjo
A Spirituality of Suffering as Depicted in African-American Films
Conflict Transformation Close to Home: How to Have Hard Conversations Across Ideological Differences
Moving Upstream: Spiritual Care Plans as a Tool for Proactive Pastoral Care
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 who already have a seminary masters degree 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 2021 course offerings here.
Please note that in Spring 2021, almost all STH courses will be offered with both residential and remote participation options. However, continuing scholars may only take courses as remote participants in our efforts to de-densify classroom spaces to create safe on-campus conditions for learning. We would be happy to have you as a remote learner in the fall though!
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.