Degree Information for ISM Students in Divinity Programs
Institute faculty are responsible for the programs in Liturgical Studies and Religion and the Arts at the Divinity School. Outside of those specialized programs, ISM/Divinity students may also pursue the Comprehensive Master of Arts in Religion or the M.Div. (see Core Curriculum and Degrees). Students should also consult the bulletin of the Divinity School for degree requirements and other course information.
Master of Divinity
The degree of Master of Divinity (M.Div.) certifies completion of a program of theological studies designed primarily, although not exclusively, to prepare the candidate for ordination to the Christian ministry. Students are offered many electives in this program to explore the full range of studies in sacred music, worship, and the arts. By the time of graduation, all ISM/YDS students in the Master of Divinity program will have taken one 3-credit course from ISM faculty in EACH of the following areas:
- Sacred Music
- Religion and the Arts (Visual Arts or Literature)
In addition, students will have taken a total of 9 credits in other ISM courses. This requirement may be fulfilled by applied music lessons for credit, participation in any of the listed vocal ensembles, or by an upper level homiletics course. (Those pursuing the Berkeley certificate are only required to elect three other ISM credits.)
Master of Arts in Religion
This two-year program offers the opportunity to prepare for new and special forms of ministry that do not require ordination. Students may elect to complete either a comprehensive program that introduces the basic theological disciplines, or a concentrated program of study in preparation for one of the many forms of lay ministry or service.
Master of Arts in Religion (Comprehensive)
The Comprehensive M.A.R. Program emphasizes general studies in the basic theological disciplines, and offers maximum curricular flexibility. Institute students in this program use their electives for further graduate-level study in music and the arts. Some matriculate in doctoral programs in religious studies or musicology or other fields. By the time of graduation, all ISM/YDS students in the Master of Arts in Religion comprehensive program will have taken four 3-credit courses from ISM faculty. One course may be substituted with participation for one year in one of the listed vocal ensembles.
Master of Arts in Religion (Concentrated)
The Concentrated M.A.R. program in Religion and the Arts (either the visual arts, literature, or music) or in Liturgical Studies integrates basic course work at the Divinity School with studies on the graduate level within the professional schools and the Graduate School department appropriate to the concentration. Undergraduate preparation in the concentration sufficient for work on the graduate level is required.
Master of Arts in Religion (Liturgical Studies Concentrate and S.T.M.) / click here
Master of Arts in Religion (Religion and the Arts Concentrate) / click here
Master of Arts in Religion (all other concentrates)
By the time of graduation, all ISM/YDS students in all concentrates other than those listed above will have taken at least two 3-credit courses from ISM faculty. (Participation in a vocal ensemble does not count toward this requirement.)
Extended Degree Program
An extended degree program is offered for selected students in the concentrated M.A.R. programs. This allows students to take up to six additional three-hour courses during a third academic year in the program.
Each year, the number of openings available for the extended year is determined in late August/early September. The selection committee can fill no more than this number of openings but may develop an alternates list if warranted. There are two selection rounds, the first in the fall term and the second in the spring term. If students are not selected in the fall, they may reapply in the spring, along with students who did not submit their applications for the fall-term selection round.
Applications in the fall term are due in the ISM Admissions Office by September 29; notifications are sent by November 15.Students must notify the Admissions Office of their decision by March 20. Applications in the spring term are due by February 15; notifications are sent by March 30. Students must notify the Admissions Office of their decision by April 15.
Students must include the following items in their applications: (1) address and e-mail address; (2) area of concentration; (3) a completed M.A.R. courses plan, with anticipated fourth term courses included; (4) a statement explaining why the student wishes to extend his or her concentrated M.A.R. program; (5) a description of the doctoral program the student will be applying for and how it fits into his or her statement of interest above; and (6) two letters of recommendation from Yale faculty. One of these letters must be from a faculty member in their concentration.
Joint Degrees and the Double Major
Institute music students may, in the first year of study, decide to audition for rigorous programs that are designed for church musicians. Those pursuing a joint degree will complete requirements for the Master of Arts in Religion (either concentrated or comprehensive) and the Master of Music; the double major is for a music student wishing to major concurrently in organ and choral conducting. For further discussion, please see Programs of Study.
Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)
This program is available to graduates of theological schools who have completed the Master of Divinity degree or equivalent. It is designed to provide advanced training for a specialized form of service. The area of specialization should be proposed at the time of application. The ISM provides a maximum of one year or equivalent of financial support to students in this degree.
Candidates for the concentrated S.T.M. in Liturgical Studies must complete twenty-four credit hours of study, eighteen of which must be in the major area. Six credits may be satisfied by reading courses and/or thesis work. If not previously taken, the following courses are required: the introductory core course, Foundations of Christian Worship, REL 782, and nine credits of limited electives in liturgical studies, three with an historical focus, three with a theological orientation, and three with a strong methodological or practical component. An extended paper or an independent thesis (one- or two-term option) is required for the S.T.M. degree. In addition, ISM students also present their work at the Institute Colloquium.
The work for this degree may be regarded as a fourth year of preparation for the Christian ministry. The S.T.M. program may also be used as a year of specialized work in one of the theological disciplines or as preparation for doctoral studies. The schedule of courses may involve offerings in other schools or departments of the University.
Each candidate is required to plan, submit for approval, and pursue an integrated program designed to serve either of the purposes stated above. A minimum of three-fourths of the courses taken must be related to a designated field of concentration.
A candidate for the S.T.M. degree must complete the equivalent of at least twenty-four term hours of graduate study beyond the B.D., M.Div., or equivalent degree. Only course work graded High Pass or above is credited toward the S.T.M. degree. A thesis, major paper in a regular course, or other acceptable project in the selected field of study is required. It must demonstrate the ability to do independent research. Students writing theses or projects are required to register in REL 999, S.T.M. Thesis or Project.
The work for the degree may be taken in one year, or distributed over two, three, or four years; it must be completed within four years of matriculation. In the case of students who wish to extend their studies, nine term hours is the minimum course load that can be regarded as a full-time program of studies. Normally, no work taken prior to matriculation will be counted toward the degree, nor will credit be transferred from other schools unless approval to utilize a course to be taken elsewhere has been given in advance.
More detailed information about the S.T.M. degree and requirements is in the Yale Divinity School bulletin.
All YDS students who transfer to the ISM shall attend the ISM Colloquium for the remaining time in their program. The requirements for the number of ISM courses and the Colloquium presentation may be adjusted. The students are otherwise required to fulfill all curricular requirements expected of ISM students.
M.A.R. students in the ISM who wish to transfer to the M.Div. program must apply to the ISM faculty for admission and a third year of ISM funding. Applications are due by October 1 of the third term of a student’s concentrated M.A.R. program. Admission and funding decisions will be announced by November 15 of that term.
* Vocal Ensembles fulfilling requirements for Divinity students:
Marquand Gospel Choir
Yale Schola Cantorum
updated July 5, 2012