Master of Divinity: Essentials for Enquirers

SATS is excited to announce the launch of our MDiv programme. We have received full accreditation, but we have to wait for the educational authorities to wrap up some administrative formalities before we may officially launch. We expect the formal launch to be 1 August 2020, provided they do not take inordinately long with their paperwork. This document will answer most of the questions you may have about the MDiv.

Who is the programme for?

The MDiv is a professional Master’s degree with a strong emphasis on Bible and ministry. Since it does not require a theological degree, it is ideal for second-career pastors—people who entered pastoral ministry after training for another career. However, it is also suitable for pastors who have prior theological degrees and wish to advance their studies with a focus on ministry (as opposed to research) and for Christian professionals who want to equip themselves for life and mission in the workplace.

What are the entrance requirements?

To register for the MDiv, you need an accredited four-year degree or equivalent with above-average grades. In South Africa, this means a qualification on NQF level 8 with an average of at least 60 per cent. For foreign applicants, we calculate equivalents on a case-by-case basis.

You do not need to have any prior studies in theology. Your degree can be in English, Engineering, Education, or any other academic discipline.

If you have a three-year degree (NQF 7 in South Africa), we will allow you to do one year of bridging work to gain access to the MDiv.

Do I need prior theological studies?

No! They would help you, but the programme does not presuppose that you have studied theology previously.

What if I have a three-year degree?

We offer a bridging option that will require an extra 120 credits. In South Africa, a standard Bachelor’s degree is three years and exits on level 7. The MDiv is on level 9, and it presupposes one extra year of academic work at level 8. The additional year could be an Honours degree in any subject area. However, you may do the extra 120 credits at SATS as bridging coursework into the MDiv. These credits will reflect on your academic transcript, but they do not culminate in a qualification.

When can I start?

You can start doing courses immediately with stand-alone subjects, or you can wait until the official launch. We may not formally enrol you for the MDiv until the DHET1 issues our updated Registration Certificate. Since we have received full accreditation for the programme, the issuing of the Registration Certificate is an administrative formality. If you wish to start post haste, you can register for MDiv courses as stand-alone subjects. When the DHET paperwork is finalised, we shall register you for the programme and the completed courses will count towards your degree. Alternatively, you can wait for the official launch. We expect it to be 1 August 2020, but we cannot guarantee it.

1 The South African Department of Higher Education and Training

How long will it take?

This depends on you—but 3–4 years for most part-time students. The MDiv requires 240 credits, which makes it a two-year programme for full-time students. As a part-time student, if you take one course per term (10 hours per week), you will need five years to finish. If you can manage two courses per term (20 hours per week), you will complete it in two-and-half years.

How much study time does it require?

Each course requires about 10 hours per week for 11–12 weeks. If you can commit 10 hours per week to study, you can do this.

What are the courses?

The programme requires you to complete 15 courses and a capstone research project. The classes focus on the Bible and ministry, with a secondary concentration on theology. For a full list of the courses, see Master of Divinity.

Do I have to write a thesis?

The MDiv culminates in a 60-credit capstone project, which is more in the mould of major paper than a thesis.