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Preparation for Ministry in the United Methodist Church

Building on Wesleyan values, United Methodist-related institutions strive to provide quality education. Iliff is one of 13 United Methodist theological schools. Education is a core value of The United Methodist Church that dates back to the earliest days of the Methodist movement in 18th century England.

The Office of the Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church

Academic preparation for ordination as a Deacon can be completed in three different ways:
1. The MDIV degree;
2. The MAPSC or MASJE degrees, which may require enrollment beyond two years of study; or
3. With approval of the denomination, students who already have a professional graduate degree in a field related to their work as a Deacon may enroll as non-degree students.

These students complete the Basic Graduate Theological Studies course requirements and the five required United Methodist courses, which are listed below. Students should consult with their Conference Board of Ordained Ministry to discuss the most appropriate way to complete the requirements for ordination as a Deacon.

The Office of the Ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church

Students preparing for ordination as an Elder enroll in the MDiv degree. The United Methodist Church requires that students complete the Basic Graduate Theological Studies and the five United Methodist courses, which are all listed below. Annual conferences may also ask for additional requirements, including CPE.

United Methodist Basic Graduate Theological Studies

The following Iliff courses meet the Basic Graduate Theological Studies requirements. This course list was developed in consultation with the UMC General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM):

Sacred Texts/Contextual Analysis (TX):

  • One breadth course in Hebrew Bible
  • One breadth course and one depth course in New Testament

Development and Expressions of Religious Traditions (HI):

  • One breadth course

Constructive Theology (TH):

  • One breadth course and one depth course. A Christology course is highly recommended.

Theology and Religious Practices (PF):

  • One breadth course explicitly on Christian Worship and one course on preaching

United Methodist courses:

  • United Methodist History
  • United Methodist Doctrine
  • United Methodist Discipline and Polity for Leadership
  • UM Mission of Church in the World
  • Evangelism in Contemporary Contexts

The rest of the Iliff curricular requirements will round out your preparation but are not specified by the denomination.

Additional denominational information and contacts can be found on the Professional Formation Canvas website:

Support for United Methodist Students

Iliff supports United Methodist students in a variety of ways through the United Methodist Student Support Team. Support services include:
The Methodist Society, a student group, which meets regularly throughout the academic year;
Special UM courses in addition to requirements for ordination;
Hosting Annual Conference representatives and facilitating individual and/or group meetings with students;
Arranging for mentoring groups for the candidacy process; and
Individual advising for students in the ordination process.
For further information, contact the Office of Professional Formation, 303-765-3115. To learn about ministry preparation and resources, visit the General Board for Higher Education and Ministry website.

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