Brandon R. Grafius

Director of the Urban Ministry Diploma

Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies


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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.

Dr. Brandon Grafius describes the Urban Ministry Diploma program at ETS.

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:

  • Complete Application

  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation

  • Copy of High School diploma or GED


Email directly to

Aarti Ahuja

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.


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.