The Master of Divinity program at Meadville Lombard is designed to integrate seamlessly with the requirements to become a fully credentialed minister within the Unitarian Universalist Association.
For those interested in Unitarian Universalist ordination, the path to credentialing is as follows. The UUA’s resources on becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister provide further details.
- Contact the UUA Ministerial Credentialing Office. You should do this as soon as possible after being accepted into Meadville Lombard’s MDiv program, in order to gain Applicant Status.
- Review the two additional required courses that students seeking Unitarian Universalist ordination must complete as part of their curriculum (as two of your seven electives): Unitarian Universalist History and Polity, and Tools for Parish and Nonprofit Administration. Make sure to take those courses as part of your MDiv program. Meadville staff will also help you remember to include those courses in your curriculum.
- Apply for Aspirant Status. Attaining Aspirant Status requires some paperwork, an interview with a UU minister, and the sponsorship of a congregation. You will also have to sign a Criminal Offense Disclosure Form.
- Complete a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Before the end of the summer between the first and second year (for full-time students), you will complete a basic unit of CPE. This is a 10-week full-time program in a hospital or other setting, offered at sites all over the country.
- Meet the requirements for Candidate Status. Before you begin your second-year Signature Course (Vocational Studies), you will need to meet the requirements for Candidate Status, which include:
- Successfully completing one year of theological school; and
- Completing a career assessment and sending the report to the UUA. This is a comprehensive personal, emotional, and psychological evaluation. The UUA offers grants to offset the costs related to the career assessment to aspirants with financial need. Learn more at the UUA's career assessment page.
- Complete a congregational internship. During your second- and third-year Signature Courses (Vocational Studies and Leadership Studies), you will serve as an intern minister at a congregation for 20 hours a week. This internship is integrated into our MDiv curriculum. Our Senior Director of Contextual Ministry will work with you to find the best congregation and teaching pastor for your ministerial formation.
- Complete a final evaluation. In your third-year Signature Course (Leadership Studies), you, your teaching pastor, and a lay intern committee will complete a final evaluation to be submitted to the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the credentialing body of the UUA.
- Make an appointment with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee for an interview. Appointments fill up fast and far in advance, so make sure to contact them in a timely manner. The interview with the MFC requires an extensive preparation: reading, writing, practicing, and putting together a packet. The MFC will determine whether or not you will be granted Preliminary Fellowship. Because Meadville Lombard is affiliated with the UUA, the Ministerial Credentialing Director visits us on a regular basis and is available for consultation concerning the requirements for fellowship.
Below is a recommended timeline for UUA Credentialing milestones for full-time students.
Please contact Sr. Director of Contextual Ministry with any questions about the credentialing process.