Urban Ministry Diploma

Dr. Brandon Grafius
Director of the Urban Ministry Diploma Brandon R. Grafius Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

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 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.

Application Information

Our recruitment team and admissions personnel are ready to assist you. To apply for the Urban Ministry Diploma program, please prepare and submit the following:

  • Online Application
  • A non-refundable application fee of $45.00 must be paid at the time of submitting the application. Your application will not be processed until payment has been received. 
  • A copy of your High School Diploma or GED Certificate.
  • Official transcripts from any undergraduate institutions attended (if any) should be mailed directly from the institution(s) to ETS. Student-issued transcripts are not acceptable. All transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope. 
  • Two letters of recommendation. At least one must be from a pastor, others may be from co-workers, professors, fellow parishioners, or anyone else qualified to speak about your academic abilities or your spiritual gifts. If you have a difficult time obtaining the letters of recommendation, please contact the admissions office. All references must be submitted to ETS in sealed envelopes.

An interview with the Program Director may be required based on an evaluation of your completed admission file. The final admission decision will be made by the Admissions Committee on a rolling basis.

Apply today to take the next step into your future.  We look forward to talking with you soon.


The UMD program requires six 4-credit courses. Each course is offered once per year. In addition, the program requires the student to take two ten-hour workshops, offered at various times and on various topics throughout the academic year.

The following courses are offered as a part of the UMD program:

  • Community Seminary in Urban Ministry
  • Christian Scriptures (New Testament)
  • Doing Theology in Context
  • Church History: The Untold Story
  • Biblical Interpretation
  • Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)


Program of Study.


UM101 Community Seminar in Urban Ministry

This course is an introduction to ministry in the urban setting. Through site visits and classroom discussions, the theology and practice of ministry in the city is examined and evaluated.

UM102 Church History: The Untold Story

This course will examine American Church history with emphasis on the particular contribution and influence of the African American Church. The Canadian Church will also be discussed.

UM103 Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)

This course is a general survey and critical review of the literature of the Hebrew Bible with emphasis on the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings.

UM104 Christian Scriptures (New Testament)

This course is a general survey and critical review of the literature of the Christian Scriptures.

UM105 Biblical Interpretation

This course is an introductory course in the science and art of biblical interpretation. Topics will include hermeneutics, exegetical methodology and associated theories.

UM107 Theology in Context

This course introduces the student to the complex world of theological thought and theory. The purpose of the course is to help the student learn how to do theology with his/her context in view.