At Meadville Lombard, leadership formation in the MDiv and MALS degree programs is anchored by our groundbreaking Signature Courses: multidisciplinary yearlong classes that help students move from discernment to leadership. These courses are designed to give you an opportunity to integrate your academic learning with the real-world experience of service and leadership in
Each Signature Course incorporates academic learning, service through internships, and the support of a cohort of peers. The class gathers in person for a one- or two-day meeting in Chicago each term, and also meets by videoconference throughout the semester. Cohorts meet via videoconference periodically to check in with each other and deepen their learning. The cohort is also divided into smaller groups that meet weekly via video chat or by phone to work on projects and reflections.
Academic classes taken each term align with your degree program, the Signature Course being taken, and your individual learning goals. Most semester-long academic classes include an Intensive on-campus portion of one to two days. The on-campus days for academic classes and for Signature classes combine for about one week of on-campus time for each Fall and Spring term. Some elective classes are fully online, requiring no on-campus time.
These courses, required for first-year Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Leadership Studies students, provide students with theological grounding and the ability to read and appreciate communities of difference—key skills for religious and spiritual leaders. As part of the Signature Courses, MDiv students serve 4 to 6 hours per week in a community agency, while MALS students complete their year-long 20-hour per week internship. Students are supported in finding a site that offers opportunities to develop multicultural competencies.
Vocational Studies (required for Master of Divinity students) supports students in applying the skills developed in the first-year Signature Courses to the nuances of congregational or communal religious life. Site work is conducted most often in a congregational setting, where students serve 20 hours per week. In addition to guidance from Meadville Lombard faculty, teaching pastors (experienced parish ministers) help direct a student’s congregational work.
Leadership Studies (required for Master of Divinity students) helps students develop and hone religious and spiritual leadership abilities, most often within the context of a continued congregational internship for 20 hours per week under the guidance of Meadville Lombard faculty and a teaching pastor. During this course, students develop and lead a project that helps the congregation expand its cultural borders.