Meadville Lombard's groundbreaking education model

At Meadville Lombard, leadership formation in the MDiv and MA(R) degree programs is anchored by our groundbreaking Signature Courses: multidisciplinary 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 community and congregational settings.

The Signature Courses incorporate academic learning, service through internships, and the support of a cohort of peers. The classes gather in person for a one- or two-day meeting in Chicago each term, and also meet 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. Many semester-long academic classes include a one-day Intensive on-campus portion. The on-campus days for academic classes and for Signature classes combine for about one week of on-campus time each Fall and Spring term. Some other classes are fully online, requiring no on-campus time.  

First-Year Signature Course: Grounding: Theology and Social Praxis (Fall)

This course, required for first-year Master of Divinity students, provide students with theological grounding and the ability to read and appreciate communities of difference—key skills for religious and spiritual leaders.  

Second-Year Signature Course: Vocational Studies

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. In addition to guidance from Meadville Lombard faculty, internship supervisors (experienced parish ministers) help direct a student’s congregational work.

Leadership Studies Signature Course

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 under the guidance of Meadville Lombard faculty and an internship supervisor. During this course, students develop and lead a project that helps the congregation expand its cultural borders.