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Church Embedded Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Church Embedded Master of Divinity (MDiv)

The Church Embedded MDiv offers the same academic rigor and accreditation in a program suitable for students who are unable to relocate to meet the residency requirements of the traditional MDiv degree.

The “embedded” aspect of the program enables students to remain in their congregation or local ministry, where they will work under the direction and nurture of a personal mentor. The personal mentor is an experienced pastor or other ministry leader who also fulfills an important role in guiding the student’s spiritual formation and practical experience.

Academic coursework will be completed remotely, under the direction of an academic mentor at the seminary. The program harnesses technology through a specially designed web application to track and assess assignments done within the ministry setting and to maintain the vital communication link between the student and both mentors. Embedded students will also benefit from the Puritan Reformed campus experience by coming to Grand Rapids for one-week modular courses that will be offered starting in 2024.


The aim of the Church Embedded MDiv is to teach students to:

  • Exegete individual passages of Scripture accurately, employing their knowledge of the original languages, historical circumstances, and literary and theological relationships;
  • Understand the major issues in faith and life that the Church has confronted throughout its history, and the system of truth revealed in the Scriptures;
  • Systematize exegetical, historical, and theological data into a consistent and coherent theology, and explain how that theology applies to personal beliefs and behavior;
  • Use homiletical skills to proclaim the Word of God to the congregation biblically, doctrinally, experientially, and practically;
  • Show effective pastoral skills in leading worship, teaching youth, exercising leadership and administration, counseling publicly from the pulpit and privately, implementing church order and discipline, and promoting evangelism and missions;
  • Respond with discernment to contemporary trends in biblical interpretation and to contemporary and cultural movements;
  • Understand human relationships, Christian living, and church administration, thereby assisting him to become a sound, sensitive, and edifying servant of the Word in his future ministry.

Admission Requirements

To apply for study in any of the master’s programs of the seminary, the applicant must ordinarily present the following application components:

  1. A completed online application form.
  2. Two letters of recommendation: an ecclesiastical letter of recommendation from the pastor or consistory (i.e., session or council) of the church of which the applicant is a member, and an academic letter of recommendation from a college professor under whose guidance the applicant has pursued studies.
  3. Official transcripts of all academic work beyond high school. If more than one college was attended, transcripts from each institution must be sent. MDiv applicants must have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree. If the bachelor’s program has not been completed at the time of application, a final transcript should be submitted before final admission can be granted. Applicants should have achieved a minimum average of 2.7 (B-) in college coursework.
  4. Application essay(s). All applicants must submit a short essay (250–500 words) explaining why they are applying to PRTS. MDiv applicants must also submit an essay describing their conversion and their calling to pursue the ministry. The specific details for these two essays can be found online when completing the general application form.
  5. Academic writing sample. All applicants must submit an academic writing sample. This sample may be a previously written paper, article, or essay that demonstrates proper citation methods and ability to construct, in English, a graduate-level paper.
  6. TOEFL or IELTS results. All ESL (English as a Second Language) students are required to submit their TOEFL or IELTS score. PRTS requires a minimum of 85 on the internet-based TOEFL. The IELTS equivalent required is 6.5. The PRTS reporting code is 0368.
  7. Application fee of $50. The application fee is non-refundable.

Each applicant:

  • is subject to all the admission and registration regulations of the institution;
  • is responsible to determine whether a current institution will accept credit earned at Puritan Reformed, if desired;
  • must understand that falsification of any part of an application may result in cancellation of admission and/or registration at the institution;
  • if transferring from another seminary, must include with the application form an official transcript of their current seminary work, syllabi of courses requesting to be transferred, and an academic catalog from that institution.

Tuition and Fees

  • Application for admission (non-refundable): $50.00
  • Enrollment deposit: $100.00 (applied to tuition)
  • Tuition: $275.00 per credit
  • Late registration fee: 5% of total semester tuition cost
  • Distance Education fee: $75.00 per course that is taken from a distance
  • Graduation fee: $75.00


Does the addition of the Church Embedded MDiv program run the risk of creating two different degrees to the extent that churches may favor one type of candidate over another?
We recognize the potential risk. There is no difference in the academic credits required to complete the MDiv degree whether the student goes through the traditional on-campus program or the embedded program. Both programs result in the same degree. It is a reasonable question for a calling church to want to consider the extent of practical experience an MDiv candidate has as part of the calling process. Puritan Reformed remains committed that all MDiv graduates will be fully competent and prepared for pastoral ministry.

Considering Mark 6:4, do candidates run the risk of being too well known to serve effectively in an embedded ministry at their home church?
This is a fair question that will have to be assessed together with the student’s proposed mentor as part of his application to the program. We would expect the student and mentor to be able to work through such difficulties by designing assignments that would take any personal/familial situations into consideration and find alternative equivalent assignments, perhaps with the help of neighboring churches or ministries. The student may also be embedded in another church in which he is not as well known.

How are mentor pastors determined to be competent mentors? What criteria are used, and which churches/denominations would qualify?
We share this concern, as the embedded experience under the pastor mentor is a key point of the program. Mentors must go through a rigorous application and training process designed to identify men from churches/denominations who are aligned with the Puritan Reformed core values: reformed, confessional, experiential, practical. The extensive application form addresses his theological training, doctrinal/confessional positions, and practical experience. There are also specific questions about the congregation and church setting. A careful review of the answers to these questions and a follow-up interview are done as part of the admissions process before accepting a candidate as the mentor of a student in the embedded program. Mentors who do not align with our standards will not be accepted into the program.

How will equivalency be maintained with the on-campus program so that the students working remotely are held to the same expectations and standards of accountability?
Academic equivalency is a must. Students in the embedded program will be taking the same classes and held to the same standards as on-campus students. In fact, overall accountability for the student’s academic performance and spiritual formation will be enhanced through the Puritan Reformed faculty’s relationship with the student’s mentor.

Won’t opportunities for relationship building with other students and learning outside the classroom be lost?
We highly value the immersive character of theological education. We believe that immersive character may take different forms on campus and embedded in a ministry.  The church embedded experience provides rich opportunities for practical learning that the ministry environment will provide. There will also be an annual on-campus requirement for embedded students to take intensive courses at the seminary. This will provide the opportunity for face-to-face enrichment of relationships that have already been forged through remote classwork and student-to-student interactions online.

Required Credits and Completion Time-frame

A total of 106 credit hours (including language credits) must be completed with a minimum 2.3 grade average (C+) for the completion of the MDiv program. Should a student already possess knowledge of Greek and/or Hebrew, the number of credits may be reduced upon successful completion of a language placement exam. All credit hours for the MDiv must be completed within eight (8) years of matriculation; any exception must be approved by the president and academic dean.

The required courses for the Church Embedded MDiv are as follows:

  • Master of Divinity - 106 credits

    • Old Testament (11 Credits Total)
    • New Testament (13 Credits Total)
    • Historical Theology (13 Credits Total)
    • Systematic Theology (24 Credits Total)
    • Homiletics (12 Credits Total)
    • Pastoral / Counseling (13 Credits Total)
    • Missions (4 Credits Total)
    • General Degree Requirements (4 Credits Total)
    • Propaedeutic Courses (12 Credits Total)

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