Meadville Lombard’s MDiv and MALS degree programs provide a web of practical experience and personal support that give our students unparalleled opportunities to deepen spiritually, grow academically, and mature vocationally.
In their first year of study, as part of our Signature Courses, students in our Master of Divinity program serve as volunteers in a community agency, such as refugee resource centers, Planned Parenthood clinics, job training centers for homeless adults, and community conflict resolution agencies. Our Senior Director of Contextual Ministry supports students in finding a site that offers opportunities to cross boundaries, learn to be of service, and experience different styles of leadership. Master of Divinity students then go on to serve as interns in a faith-based community (most often a congregation), while Master of Arts in Leadership Studies students complete an internship in a congregation or community placement alongside the first-year Signature Courses, based on their learning and vocational goals.
We uniquely knit these experiences into the fabric of our curriculum. Our students learn through practicing religious and community leadership in everyday, hands-on ways. These practical experiences are brought into the classroom in the way that assigned readings are used in other, more traditional, schools. They provide a basis for theological and spiritual reflection as students “act ourselves into new ways of thinking and being.”
Students proceed through our programs with the guidance of teaching pastors and teaching mentors. These are congregational and community leaders who supervise, mentor, provide spiritual guidance, coach, and act as role models for students during the programs’ practical site work.
Meadville Lombard understands that the best religious and spiritual leaders are formed by many voices and many perspectives. They are shaped by teachers who excel in academics, seasoned practitioners, organizers and activists, and mentors who possess pastoral and spiritual wisdom. A Meadville Lombard education lends all these voices and perspectives to each and every student.