Concentrations Available Within the Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Theological Studies (MTS) Programs

Do you want to customize your degree to meet your specific professional goals? Iliff offers nine concentration areas within the Master of Divinity (MDiv) and Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree programs.

Biblical Studies   

The Biblical Studies Concentration is for students seeking specialization in the study of Hebrew Bible, New Testament, early Christianity and ancient Judaism, including optional language courses in Greek and Hebrew. Students will explore critical methods of biblical interpretation and exegesis, literary analysis, and current issues in biblical research.

Black Religious Studies
A concentration focused on developing students’ knowledge about the particularities of Black religion as well as their capacities to engage as practitioners within and/or partners with Black religious institutions. This concentration especially focuses on Black churches, Afro-diasporic Religious traditions, and womanist and liberation theoethics.

Congregational Practices

This concentration is for students who intend to serve in congregational settings as pastors, youth/young adult ministers, religious educators, spiritual formation, ministries to families, and ministers of discipleship.  The concentration provides students an avenue to strengthen their pastoral management, develop their organizational skills, and learn to engage more effectively in the ministries of their churches, faith groups and local communities.

Gender and Sexuality

This concentration promotes critical thinking about and social justice praxis with issues of gender and sexuality.  The concentration prepares students to recognize and respond to social justice issues of equality and equity having to do with sexual orientation, gender identity, reproductive choice, and other related matters especially in terms of their religious, spiritual, professional, political, social, and personal significance.

Historical Studies Concentration

The Historical Studies Concentration is for students seeking specialization or additional coursework in the areas of historical development and/or historical expressions of religious traditions.  Students need not concentrate only on the history of Christianity, but may consult Iliff’s history faculty for advice and guidance on how to focus on the historical context of other religious traditions covered in the school’s curriculum.

Leadership in Emerging Contexts

This concentration develops sophisticated leaders who are capable of leading in a complex world.  The concentration provides students with both a theoretical and practical orientation towards leadership. The area draws on the best thinking from the fields of management, leadership, congregational studies, and social movement studies to provide an array of viewpoints and ways of acting in leadership.

Social Justice and Ethics
Through this concentration, students develop the capacity to critically and comparatively evaluate theories of social justice.  Students develop an understanding of ethical analysis from a religious and philosophical perspective while they are trained in identifying, evaluating, and conscientiously participating in forms of advocacy.  Students will examine symbolic systems, power structures, ideologies, values, and religious meanings at play in micro and macro level events and interactions, institutional structures, ethical judgments, organizational and living communities, and other formal and informal political arrangements.

Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy
This concentration is for students interested in pastoral and spiritual care within religious communities or other organizations like hospitals, hospice, and military institutions. Students will be exposed to Iliff’s courses for chaplaincy in interreligious settings that implement both an intercultural and evidence-based approach to spiritual care.

Systematic/Constructive Theology

By taking courses in specific theological doctrines or in courses that take up the interconnection of doctrines, students will develop: 1. familiarity with the range of possible theological decisions that can be made; 2. a sense of the importance of thinking through individual doctrines in concert with a theological system as a whole; 3. a sense of the connection of systematic theology to changing historical, cultural, and intellectual contexts, and a sense of responsibility for formulating theology carefully in awareness of the effects it has on the lives of people; and 4. an ability to articulate their own theological positions in conversation with historical traditions.