The Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological programs for two master’s degrees, eight certificates, and introductory explorations.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute has partnered with Lancaster Theological Seminary to create a path to the Master of Divinity. Students will take the first half of their MDiv coursework from the Ecumenical Institute, then complete the degree in Lancaster’s accessible weekend program.
Students take 12 courses (36 credits) at the EI (11 required and 1 elective), which must be completed within four years. Students then take the final 39 credits at Lancaster over a four year period. The weekend classes at Lancaster meet on Friday nights or Saturday mornings (with lodging available for those who need it).
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute will now offer Baltimore-area students a pathway to the Master of Divinity through a partnership with Lancaster Theological Seminary. “This pathway is ideal for working adults who cannot enroll in traditional, daytime MDiv programs” said Dean Brent Laytham. “I’ve long known that there are Baltimore students who want to study here with us, but need to earn a degree we can’t offer—the MDiv. Now they can.”
The first half of the degree is taken at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute; the second half is earned through Lancaster’s easily accessible weekend program of unique and integrative courses. Most of the classes taken at the Ecumenical Institute are foundational in content and typically offered on weeknights. Most of the classes taken at Lancaster are integrative and contextual in focus; they are always scheduled on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings.
This partnership pairs America’s oldest Catholic seminary (celebrating its 225th year) with one of America’s oldest Protestant seminaries (in existence for 190 years). Lancaster’s newly revised, 75-credit MDiv is designed to address the pressing needs of the church and the realities of student’s busy lives. It is fully accredited, and is also approved for United Methodists who are pursuing ordination.
The general qualification for admission to St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute is a bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited school with an appropriate grade point average. In certain circumstances, exceptions are allowed to the requirements of a degree or minimum grade point average.
Additional Qualifications for Specific Admission Categories
MACM requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (on a four-point scale). Applicants must be able to articulate, in writing and in person, their understanding of ministry and their particular aptitude for the ministry track selected.
MAT requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (on a four-point scale).
MDiv in partnership with Lancaster Theological Seminary requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (on a four-point scale).
Certificates require a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (on a four-point scale).
CAS requires a master’s degree in theological studies (e.g., M.A., M.Div.) or its equivalent, with a minimum GPA of 3.30 (on a four-point scale), and evidence of potential for success in advanced theological study at the Ecumenical Institute.
Auditor requires minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.0 GPA (on a four-point scale).
Advanced Standing, Transfer Credit, and Cross-Registration
Master’s Degree candidates must earn at least 24 of their 48 credits, including their culminating experience, in St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. In addition, they may earn credits from advanced standing, transfer of courses taken at other institutions, and enrollment in St. Mary’s School of Theology according to the policies stated below.
All credits toward a certificate must be earned within St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute.
Advanced Standing without Credit
Advanced standing without credit (no reduction in the total hours required for a degree) may be granted for core courses to candidates in the M.A. in Theology or the M.A. in Church Ministries upon the decision of the Dean. Such advanced standing is based on undergraduate credits in theology or religious studies that were earned within the past 10 years and completed with a B or better. For each course waived, the student must substitute an elective course in the same department (as guided by the Dean). A student who desires advanced standing without credit should petition the Dean for a transcript evaluation before registering for the first class. The maximum number of credits that may be replaced with electives on the basis of advanced standing without credit is 12.
Advanced Standing with Credit
The following policy is based on the requirements of the Association of Theological Schools.
Advanced standing with credit (reduction in the total hours required for a degree) may be granted for core courses to candidates for the M.A. in Theology or the M.A. in Church Ministries who have an undergraduate major or similar significant undergraduate work in theology or religious studies after formal assessment in the course(s) they have pursued and for which the credit is desired. Such advanced standing with credit is based on undergraduate credits that were earned within the past 10 years and completed with a B or better. A student who desires advanced standing with credit should petition the Dean for a transcript evaluation, and for formal assessment in the course for which credit is desired before registering for the first course. The maximum number of credits of advanced standing with credit that can be granted is 9.
A student transferring from another institution into the Ecumenical Institute’s M.A. in Theology or Church Ministries degree program must complete at least 24 of his or her 48 credits, including the culminating experience, in St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute to be eligible for a degree. The decision about transfer of credit, as well as any award of advanced standing, is made by the Dean at the point of admission. The maximum allowance for the combination of advanced standing with credit and transferred graduate credits is 24 credits. Transfer credits must have been earned at an accredited school within the past 10 years and completed with a B or better to be eligible for transfer.
Matriculated students may request permission to take a course concurrently at another institution and transfer the credits into their Ecumenical Institute M.A. This transfer requires approval from the Dean prior to enrolling in the course; requests for courses underway or already completed will not be considered.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute does not belong to any consortia of theological schools, but it has working relationships with several schools in the region. Nearby institutions from which transfer credit may be earned with advance approval of the Dean include Wesley Theological Seminary, Howard University Divinity School, and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.
Credits Earned in St. Mary’s School of Theology
Under certain circumstances, Ecumenical Institute students are allowed to cross-register for specific courses in the School of Theology. They must meet the prerequisites for the classes they wish to take, and normally must request permission to cross-register from the E.I. Dean. E.I. students pay E.I. tuition when they register for School of Theology classes as E.I. students.
Students Related to Other Institutions
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute welcomes students from neighboring theological schools and other graduate institutions. In recent years, we have had students from Wesley Theological Seminary, Howard University Divinity School, Lancaster Theological Seminary, the Pastoral Counseling programs at Loyola University Maryland, Notre Dame University of Maryland’s graduate program, and other programs in the region. We also encourage students from the Baltimore area who are considering attending other theological schools in any part of the country to begin their theological studies in St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological education that is intellectually rigorous, personally enriching, and professionally empowering. Students in our diverse learning community pursue two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, introductory explorations, and a post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS). St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute also offers master’s level coursework leading to a Master of Divinity through Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Our student body of women and men is both interdenominational and interracial, as is our excellent faculty. Nearly all of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute’s professors have earned doctorates, and a significant number are well-known published scholars. The faculty is drawn from neighboring academic and religious institutions as well as from St. Mary’s.