Master of Divinity Degree

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During this course of study, students will learn the major concepts of the Divinity of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit and their interrelationship. An examination of the method of biblical theology is followed by a discussion of how God reveals Himself through revelation. This course explores the teachings of the Old and New Testaments and shares discoveries that provide proof for the existence of God through Biblical studies and Archeology. The M.Div., program equips students with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills requisite for Christian ministry. The curriculum provides opportunities for growth in personal and spiritual maturity and moral integrity, knowledge of the church’s religious heritage founded in biblical revelation, historical context and development, and confessions and doctrine as these serve Christian ministry and leadership roles.

Academic Probation M.Div. Program

A student whose curriculum GPA falls below 2.35 or whose grade point average in any quarter (term curriculum GPA) falls below 2.00 will be placed on academic probation. The probationary status serves as a warning that the student is not making satisfactory progress and, unless improvement is achieved, will be subject to dismissal from the Seminary. The director of the Master Degree program and/or the dean of students will speak with the student to identify factors, which may have contributed to the unsatisfactory academic performance, and to help establish strate¬gies for improvement. Ordinarily, a student who continues on academic probation for two consecutive quarters will be dismissed because of academic deficiency.

Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Syllabus Overview

The Master of Divinity Program (M.Div.), Session One, entails four introduction courses: (1) Master’s Level Theology Video Lecture Series, (2) Bibliology and Hermeneutics Lecture Series, (3) Advanced Soteriology Lecture Series, Trinitarianism Lecture Series, and, (4) Session One’s Exam.

This session of study aims to bring the student’s body of undergraduate academics, pastoral internship hours, and life experiences into one body of master-level works consistent with the M. Div. objectives of this program. Session One (as with subsequent sessions) also aims to challenge, and thus enhance, the student’s ability to exceed mere theoretical research and textbook study. For these reasons, your M. Div. program professor will expect every paper to demonstrate: (1) original thoughts and positions of the student, (2) complete hermeneutical analyses and interpretation of the Scriptures, and, (3) practical life application for today’s challenges in the Christian church and in secular society.

Required Textbook / Independent Research

Textbooks

In the Master of Divinity program, you will find the requisite textbook(s) listed in the post-application syllabus.

Independent Research

There are a number of specified classes in the Master of Divinity program that require the student to view a video lecture series from which the student is to take source notes to form a Master-level RESEARCH AND POSITION paper. Upon reviewing these lecture-series, the student is permitted to use any sound theological textbook(s) and resource(s) of their choice from which to compose their research and position paper. These textbooks and resource materials must be properly cited in the paper and comply with the Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary’s statement of beliefs as declared in the school catalog.

Assignments

Each session’s class requires a minimum 4000-word research and position paper. So that we are clear, the word “research” according to the professor means that the student will consider a multiplicity of scholarly resources from which to make a finding, and then draw a sound subject-matter conclusion. The word “position” means that throughout the paper, or in the paper’s conclusion, the student will draw from their research materials, their prior theological education, and their life experiences, whether from interning in the church or serving in the community. Then the student will synthesize this information and form a “firm theological stand” as though the student were an actual confidant or a consultant with influence to affect the subject or the people in the subject. In other words, the student’s position demonstrates the range of critical thinking on the student’s part. It further tells the professor what the M.Div. student would do, or how he or she would handle a “real life” situation in the event the student is confronted with the assignment’s subject matter in the future.

Formatting, Spelling and Grammar

Each paper (typed or handwritten) is to follow the MLA format; otherwise, the paper will be instantly docked 5 points and immediately returned to the student. Spelling and grammar are also expected to be at a master’s level. Overall, the professor expects that Master level students are proficient with MLA formatting standards, grammar and spelling. Therefore, the professor’s grading time should not be occupied with such rudimentary matters. As a refresher, we have included the MLA formatting instructions to our post-application syllabus for your convenience.

Assignment Matrix

In each assignment, the student is to identify a “major concept” of his or her own choosing, so long as the concept is clearly relevant to the main theme of the lecture series or required reading for the course. However, ONCE A MAJOR CONCEPT IS CHOSEN, THE STUDENT MAY NOT USE THAT CONCEPT AGAIN IN A SUBSEQUENT ASSIGNMENT, except as, perhaps, a brief reference to the concept in order to solidify a theological point. In doing so, the student is to cite his or her paper as “a source” pursuant to MLA citation standards.

Scoring for each assignment will be as follows: (1) has the student met the Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary Essay and MLA formatting requirements? 10 points; (2) Has the student demonstrated the ability to identify a major concept within the courseware, and then articulate a clear and instructive position paper on the subject? 20 points; (3) Has the student solidified their position on the subject matter, as well as offered a recommendation as though the student were a real-life confidant, or a consultant to a “true-to-life” situation of today, relating, of course, to the class’s main theme? 20 points;(4) Has the student demonstrated proper hermeneutical application and Scripture references in support of the paper? 30 points; (5) has the student met the minimum word count of 4000 words, or a number satisfactory to the professor? (20 points) Total points: 100.

Submission Schedule And Class Acceleration

The student is permitted to work and submit assignments for grading at a pace conducive with his or her lifestyle schedule. However, upon completion of a full session, the student MUST TEST WITH 30 DAYS OF COMPLETION OF EACH SESSION. Conversely, the student may not submit more than two (2) assignments in any given calendar month. For administrative reasons, any further acceleration of M.Div. classes or sessions is prohibited.

Defense of Paper

At any time during the grading process of a student’s paper, the professor may elect to have the student defend any part of their work, in writing, under proctor supervision, either by phone, or by video conference. The student will be notified in advance of the defense session.

Our advice: Don’t write it if you can’t defend it.

Exams

The student will be required to take a proctored exam at the conclusion of each session. In the M.Div. program offered at Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary, our exams are seldom standardized. In other words, each exam given is not automatically given to every student. On occasion, the professor may elect to augment the student’s specific exam based on the research and position writings of the student.

Exam Preparation

How should M.Div. students prepare for an exam? First, know your subject well. Know especially what you wrote. In addition, know the Scriptures and their locations (at least by book and chapter) to the major concepts contained in your paper. For example, you might see something like this: “In your paper, you mentioned the churchy term “unmerited favor”. In theological terms, what is unmerited favor, then, (1) cite its key verse or application from the Bible, and, (2) explain the theology behind it, and (3) what is the true-to-life application in today’s society?” Be mindful that as a M.Div. student, the professor will expect the student’s essay answers to express clear ideas, research, or a position in a well-organized manner, consistent with that of a master’s-level student. When testing, the professor may combine more than one question (in the design of a test question) in order to draw the student out, and, perhaps, stimulate further critical thinking about the subject matter. So keep in mind, if the professor receives vague or brief answers, or the student merely quotes Scripture passages and textbook writings as a substitute for critical thinking, the grade will reflect as such.

Because this is a distant learning course, attendance is determined by the coursework the student submits. If the student does not submit an assignment within the span of sixty (60) days from the date of enrollment, or thirty (30) days following the last submitted assignment, the student will make an effort to notify the professor of his or her status. Otherwise, on the forty-fifth (45) day, the professor will officially drop the student from the class without obligation of refunding any portion of the fees paid to Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary.

Curriculum Overview of Master of Divinity program

4 Sessions | 2-4 Courses per Session |3-4 Credit
Hours per Course | 90 Total Credit Hours |Requisite
Intern Credit Hours

Session 1 / DVD Lecture Series

MDP-01 Master’s Level Theology / Lecture Series
MDP-02 Bibliology and Hermeneutics / Lecture Series
MDP-03 Advanced Soteriology / Lecture Series
MDP-04 Trinitarianism / Lecture Series

Session 2 / DVD Lecture Series And Research Assignment

MDP-05 Ecclesiology and Eschatology / Lecture Series
MDP-06 Humanity and Sin / Lecture Series
MDP-07 Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith
MDP-08 The History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

Session 3 / Research Assignment

MDP-09 Biblical Archaeology
MDP-10 Pastoral Theology
MDP-11 Biblical Prophecy: Perspectives for Christian Theology, Discipleship, and Ministry
MDP-12 Old Testament Pentateuch

Session 4 / Research Assignment

MDP-13 The Words and Life of Christ
MDP-14 Old Testament Prophets
MDP-15 Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Book Research)
MDP-16 A Journey through Israel (DVD Lecture and Book Research)

Session 5 / Research Assignment

MDP-17 Attributes of God
MDP-18 Early Christian Doctrines
MDP-19 Encountering the Book of Hebrews: An Exposition
MDP-20 The Dead Sea Scrolls Research assignment

Session 6 / Research Assignment

MDP-21 Old Testament Poetic Books
MDP-22 Intern Credit Hours

Final Project

Thesis: A 30,000 to 40,000 word thesis. Topic of thesis will be selected by the professor.
90 credit hours

Note: Each class to be awarded 4 credit hours
Final Project: 10 credit hours totaling 90 credit hours.

Course Requirements

For each course, students will be required to complete the assigned readings, correctly answer all review questions, pass all exams, and submit all essays. Essays will need to conform to the Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary General Essay Requirements format.

Additional Requirements

Thesis: After successfully completing all courses, students will be required to complete and submit a final thesis. This thesis will require a significant amount of thought and research, and will need to be at least 80 to 160 pages in length. Topics for a thesis will be assigned by the professor. The chosen topic will address doctrinal issues, as well as the roles and responsibilities of a vocational calling.

Internship: While enrolled in the Bachelor and Master degree programs, students will be required to serve in their local church in whatever capacity the pastor deems appropriate. A Certificate of Service, signed by the pastor, will need to be turned in at the end of each Session, especially if ordination is desired.

Research Degree Programs

Many of the courses provided by Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary contain both video lectures series and book research programs. The purpose of research programs is to encourage students to develop their hermeneutical skills, which are essential in both homiletics and teaching environments. Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary encourages students to write book quality papers that would meet publication standards. Upon graduation from the undergraduate or graduate programs, graduates will be forever immersed in self-study and research during the life of their service in Christian ministry.

General Essay Requirements

The essays/papers students are required to write will need to conform to the format and standards outlined below. Essay topics will be assigned in each course. Essays must include the following elements:

  • Title
  • Introductory Paragraph
  • MLA Standard

The introductory paragraph presents the main idea of your essay. It provides the necessary introduction, background, definition of term(s), quotations(s), etc. for what you are writing about or trying to prove. It includes a clear thesis statement – a sentence that presents your main idea and tells the reader what you are writing about. Remember, the topic you write about has to be clearly within the scope of the topic that has been assigned.

Developmental Paragraphs

Developmental paragraphs expand and develop your main idea by providing evidence, explanations, details, and examples in support of the thesis. Include as many paragraphs as needed to support or defend your thesis. DO NOT RESTATE OR PARAPHRASE THE COURSEWARE. Each developmental paragraph shall include:

Topic Sentence: is a sentence that clearly supports your main thesis. It carries the central idea to which everything else in the paragraph is subordinated and unified. It shall include:

  • Subject – What are you writing about?
  • Treatment – What you intend to do with that subject

Supports: is the main content of the paragraph, which provides the supporting evidence or reasoning by which the topic sentence is developed. Again, do not use or restate the courseware as support. It should include well-researched information from other sources (references) that support your ideas:

  • Evidence
  • Explanations
  • Details
  • Examples
  • Concluding Sentence

The final comment or conclusion on the topic sentence

Conclusion Paragraph: The final paragraph of an essay should present a concluding thought.
Reference Page: List in numerical order each reference/source you used in the essay. Each reference shall include:

a. Name of the author;
b. Name of the reference (title of the book or article);
c. Publisher;
d. Year the reference was published and/or printed edition; and
e. Page(s) referenced.

Essays must meet the following standards:

1. Essays must be developed from your own understanding (Original thought) of the topic. You must demonstrate a cumulative understanding and master the subject material. An essay is not a continuous stream of consciousness or simply the first thing that comes to mind. An essay follows a specific structure, and demonstrates research discipline and well-organized thoughts/ideas.

2. You must cite references for every idea or sentence you have used in the essay, which is not your own. We take academic integrity seriously. You must number every idea or sentence quoted and you must cite this reference in numerical order on the Reference Page. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and subjects the student to disciplinary action.

3. Copying material from another student or from any other source without giving proper credit will be perceived as a failure to live up to Student Conduct Standards and will result in disciplinary action.

4. An essay is not a paraphrasing or summary of the courseware or of any other book or reference. An essay is a written expression of your own idea(s) regarding a particular topic. If the submitted work is merely a summary, it will not be accepted, and will be returned for rewriting.

There is a difference between “drafts” and “submissions”

A draft is something that the student feels is not done, not complete, and needs more work.
Students should never hand in work that they themselves feel is in need of more work. However, a submission is simply the act of handing in the paper.

Thesis Requirements

An Undergraduate/Graduate thesis is written under the direction of a Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary professor. A student must submit a thesis proposal within six credits of completing all coursework required by Signet Bible College and Theological Seminary. The thesis proposal must be developed by the student and approved by the Dean of Students or an assigned professor. Once the thesis proposal is approved, students will have 12 months to submit the final copy of the thesis.

UNDERGRADUATE THESIS:

20,000 to 30,000 words (40 to 80 pages)

MASTER’S THESIS:

30,000 to 40,000 words (80 to 160 pages)

MLA (Modern Language Association

The MLA writing style is most common among colleges and universities and used to write essays, thesis, and dissertation papers. Writers who properly use MLA as their foundation for creating a trustworthy paper also build their credibility by demonstrating accountability to their source material.

MLA (MODERN LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION) RESOURCE

Perhaps it has been a while since you attended college and your memory of MLA guidelines has waned. If so, we recommend the book: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Ed. New York, Modern Language Association of America, 2009, ISBN 978-1-60329-024-1

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