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The formation of religious and spiritual leaders depends on a curriculum that builds on a student’s learning and at the same time allows for their individual needs and goals. At Meadville Lombard, the experience of formation is anchored by our ground-breaking Signature Courses.

Signature Courses are multi-credit, multi-disciplinary, yearlong classes that help the student move from discernment to leadership. They are designed to give students an opportunity to integrate their academic learning with the real-world experience of service and leadership in community and congregational settings.

Building on their learning, students take the courses in the following sequence:  

First: Community Studies Signature Course

The learning goal of Community Studies (required for Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in Leadership Studies students) is to provide students with the ability to read and appreciate communities of difference—a key skill for religious and spiritual leaders. In their first year, students serve 8 hours per week in a community agency. They are assisted by the school’s Director of Contextual Ministry to assure that the site offers an opportunity to develop their multicultural competencies.  

Second: Congregational Studies Signature Course  

The learning goal of Congregational Studies (required for MDiv students only) is for students to apply the skills developed in Community Studies to the nuances of congregational life. Site work is conducted most often in a congregational setting where students serve 20 hours per week. In addition to the faculty, Teaching Pastors (experienced ministers leading the congregation) help direct a student’s congregational work.  

Third: Leadership Studies Signature Course

The learning goal of Leadership Studies (required for MDiv students) is for students to develop and hone their religious and spiritual leadership abilities, most often within the context of a congregation where they continue their work for 20 hours per week under the guidance of the faculty and their Teaching Pastor. During the course, they lead a congregational project that helps the congregation advance its own cultural borders.