Mar 15 2008

Concentrate on Concentrations

Though classes are not in session this week because it is spring break at Candler School of Theology, surprisingly, I’ve been thinking a lot about academics. While I thoroughly enjoyed—even loved—my classes, faculty interactions, assignments and studies during my time at Candler from 2004-2007, I think I would have really excelled and delighted in the new Master of Divinity curriculum that Candler launched this school year. If only my discernment and decision to attend seminary had happened a few years later! As I mentioned before, I have very few complaints about my own experience as a Candler student, but the interactive nature of the curriculum through Contextual Education, introductory Arts of Ministry classes, advising groups, reflection colloquies, and a plethora of Concentrations to choose from certainly sounds appealing to me, one who already is and has a “Master of Divinity.”

There is a strong interdisiplinary foundation to the degree program, which offers a core curriculum that is nurtured and grounded in Christian texts, traditions, theology and practices. All the elements of the curriculum foster courageous leadership and compassionate inquiry in the practices of ministry and theological reflection. If that doesn’t sound cool enough, this new curriculum allows each student to choose a Concentration that I like to think of and compare to a minor. Just like the Minor Prophets from Hebrew scripture, you will graduate as a Minor of Leadership in Church and Community (or something else from the list of concentrations), not to mention a Master of Divinity. This choose-your-own-adventure style of study allows students to develop their interests and passions through focused study in a particular area by engaging with other students and faculty with the same interests.

The following are Candler’s concentrations:
Formation and Witness
Leadership in Church and Community
Religion, Health and Science
Religion and Race
Scripture and Interpretation
Society and Personality
Theology and the Arts
Theology and Ethics
Traditions of the Church
Women and Religion


Just like many of us, I’m sure that before you reached the end of the list, there were at least one or two concentrations that sparked your interest, peaked your imagination, or made you run for your bookshelf in remembrance of a favorite author or writing. And though I can’t give you the full description of each and every concentration in this one little blog post (check with the Candler registrar’s office to read the Concentration Handbook), take my word for it, these classes are going to rock your world.

How do concentrations work, you might ask? Well, each concentration requires 12-15 hours of classes to complete, and each Master of Divinity student is required to complete a concentration in order to graduate. There is a handy-dandy Concentration Handbook that students have and will be made available online soon, which outlines the courses offered for each concentration. Because of the integrative nature of learning here, it is very likely that classes can overlap and count for various concentrations, so you could be sharing a classroom with students in the Religion and Race concentration as well as Society and Personality. Though not required, if you are so energized by the learning process here at Candler, you can complete more than one concentration during your degree program. This works well for someone with diverse passions and interests or for one who is trying to diversify one’s resume!

Now is the time to be studying at Candler, and we want you to be in academic study and play with us! I hope I didn’t make you “concentrate” too hard on the gory details, but we do hope you will seriously consider Candler when discerning about seminary education. For more information about Candler School of Theology, visit our website at http://www.candler.emory.edu/, or email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu. In addition, you can call us at 404.727.6326, or learn more about the admissions process at Candler by clicking here. Look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.