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ETS’ Urban Ministry Diploma Can be Your Path to a Masters of Divinity; No Bachelor’s Degree Required

Do you want to serve your community beyond the walls of the church? If yes, the Ecumenical Theological Seminary’s Urban Ministry Diploma (UMD) may be the right program to help you reach your goals. Our UMD program is designed to enable ministers, nonprofit leaders, and the general public to practice service in a busy urban environment. Read on to find out more about what to expect from this program:


About the Urban Ministry Diploma

The Urban Ministry Diploma Program (UMD) is a non-degree course of study in theology and ministry designed for clergy and laypeople. The aim of the program is to provide theological and ministerial training that is concise, practical, specific to urban church ministry—and that is multicultural, cross-cultural, and ecumenical in focus. It is intellectually and spiritually empowering for leaders and laity in any Christian tradition, who work in an urban context. The only requirement for entrance is a High School Diploma or GED, as well as a passion for ministry. Students who excel in the UMD program may be admitted into one of ETS’s Master’s programs, even without a Bachelor’s Degree.


The program, begun in 1994 as the Christian Ministry Diploma Program (CMD), targeted persons who desired a seminary-type educational experience that would ordinarily be out of their reach. To meet this need, the UMD Program offers alternative seminary ministry training that embraces and reflects the heart and soul of the city and surrounding communities. Each of the six courses includes 40 hours of classroom instruction over a ten-week period.


What to Expect

Earning the diploma of UMD can help you become a more confident spiritual leader.

In an interview, Brandon R. Grafius, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Director of the Urban Ministry Diploma program, said, "We had a student a couple of years ago who had a Ph.D. in philosophy. He wanted to start with the basics of theology and religion," He added, "It gives us the basic knowledge about our faith, traditions, history, and scripture. It gives us the knowledge that we need to take what we're doing and do it even better."


Further Study

Upon successful completion of the Urban Ministry Diploma, students receive a certificate of completion. Students who perform well in the UMD program will be eligible to join the master's program without having a bachelor's degree.


Application Requirements

A GED or high school diploma is required (although a bachelor's degree is not required, our UMD program is intended for serious students). Prospective students must complete an application, submit two letters of recommendation and submit a copy of your high school diploma, or GED.


Apply today!


Urban Ministry Diploma – Course Plan

This diploma includes introductory courses in Bible theology, church history, and the practical aspects of ministry. Each of the six courses has 40 hours of classroom instruction over ten weeks.


“It has six courses that are each ten weeks for hours a week. Some students take one course in a quarter and finish in two years. Some students who are motivated and aggressive even take two courses at a time and can finish in a year.” Brandon further explained.


What You Can Expect After Receive An Urban Ministry Diploma

After completing the Urban Ministry Diploma, you can expect to be spiritually and professionally equipped for spiritual nurturing and ministry that is community-building, holistic, and able to surpass the challenges that numerous face within urban settings. The knowledge and experience gained from this degree will build a strong presence in the community and prepare you to serve in institutions, nonprofits, and social welfare programs.


We are focused on providing each student with a quality education. If you’d like to learn more about the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, visit our website or contact Aarti Ahuja, Director of Recruitment and Enrollment Manager at 313-831-5200 X224.

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