The School of Theology. Sewanee: The University of the South


Please see the current catalog for details on the individual courses.

Anglican Studies

Anglican Studies offerings provide the opportunity to explore the tradition, heritage, and current experience of Christianity expressed in the Anglican and Episcopal churches. They are not “museum” courses for preserving the past uncritically. Rather, they seek to give students a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of their own church, help develop a secure religious identity, and prepare future ministers to lead and teach within this church. In some years, Anglican Studies courses are merged with other courses.

Biblical Studies

There are two questions that we must address to the Holy Scriptures: “What do they mean now?” and “What did they mean then?” No serious study of the Bible can avoid either. Not to ask “What do they mean now?” is to refuse to deal with the fundamental intention of the texts, which were certainly written to inform, inspire, challenge, and convict. Not to ask “What did they mean then?” is to run the risk that the answer to the former question will be fantasy. The Scripture courses at The School of Theology are a serious attempt to address both questions, in a setting where commitment to Christ and commitment to academic integrity are seen as ultimately inseparable.

Christian Ethics and Moral Theology

The Church is a community of moral discourse, decision, and action. Accordingly, courses in Christian ethics and moral theology are central to a seminary curriculum. Our studies, always within the context of the Church, make no hard and fast separations between philosophical and theological foundations and practical applications, or between a life of moral virtue and a life of spirituality and prayer. The coordinating themes for the courses in Christian ethics and moral theology at The School of Theology are our obligations of love of God and neighbor as they pertain to the formation of individual and social character. Throughout, we explore the distinctiveness of the Episcopal and Anglican traditions in ecumenical conversation with other traditions of Christian faith. In all courses, we engage the Church’s contemporary challenges and on-going debates. Our hope is that our vision of God and neighbor will deepen and inspire our moral reflection and action.

Christian Spirtuality

Christian Spirituality is the study of the spiritual life of Christians as indwelt by the Holy Spirit and, hence, in Christ. Courses include the history and literature of Christian spirituality, theology of the spiritual life, and pastoral applications, such as spiritual direction.

Church History and Historical Theology

History is thinking about and studying the meaning of the past, not simply to examine it but to recover a usable past that can help shape the future. The courses offered trace church history and historical theology from the formation of the church to the present. Special emphasis is given to English church history and the Episcopal Church in the United States.

The study of church history is essential also for the unity of the church. As we study our common past, we become convinced that unity and reconciliation are the heart of the church’s message and mission.


The Apostle Paul explained the challenge with uncharacteristic clarity and brevity—“How are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim?” (Romans 10:14). Homiletics trains believers to be proclaimers. Building on the foundation of Theology, Ethics, Church History, and Biblical Studies, students learn how to have something to say that is worth hearing, and how to say it well enough to be truly heard. Two courses in Homiletics are required in the Master of Divinity curriculum, one in the Middler and one in the Senior year. Each course is a mix of lecture and preaching groups, during which students offer sermons of their own for feedback and critique.

Liturgics and Church Music

Liturgy lies at the core of the church’s being: in its classical definition, the ekklesia or “church” is the worshipping assembly. The study of liturgy is therefore of crucial importance in theological study.

Core courses in liturgics and church music offer a basic education in historical, theoretical, and practical aspects of liturgical studies. Electives enrich this core, allowing students to pursue greater knowledge of various aspects of the liturgy.

Through participation in the chapel rota as officiants in the daily office, readers, and lay assistants, and through participation in liturgy planning meetings in their final year, M.Div. students gain practical experience in various liturgical minis-tries. This participation carries no academic credit but is required of all M.Div. students.


Missiology is the study of all aspects of the mission of the Church, including theology and history of missions, current mission practice and experience, multicultural studies including that of other world religions, and social and economic issues that affect mission.


Theology is sustained through critical reflection on the sources, norms, and contents of Christian belief. This task belongs to both the individual and the community and seeks a faithful and effective expression of the Gospel for our time and place. Core courses and electives develop a student’s skill in theological reflection as integral to the church’s ministry and mission.

Theory and Practice of Ministry

Theory and Practice of Ministry courses encourage students to form an understanding of human nature and a theology of lay and ordained ministry.

Research and Writing

While research and writing are skills conventionally mastered in the humanities at the undergraduate level, many students arrive in seminary after a long hiatus between their undergraduate work and their master’s program. Other students will not have majored in the humanities and do not have the same skills as their peers. Even those who have an extensive humanities background can benefit from further work on their writing skills and from the chance to learn the particular bibliographical resources available for the academic study of theology. The course is designed to strengthen the student’s abilities in academic research and writing in the theological disciplines. It complements the introduction to theological writing that takes place during orientation.

Courses in the College

Every year, courses are offered in the College of Arts and Sciences that are relevant and open to students of The School of Theology. Students interested in these courses should consult the college catalog. With the approval of the associate dean for academic affairs, students may also take electives through upper level (300–400) level courses taught in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the South provided:

  • the instructor requires additional work in the course, sufficient to allow graduate credit;
  • the course can be demonstrated to meet an educational need of the student.

External Electives

Elective credit may be earned for courses with a residency away from The School of Theology. Such courses must be approved by the faculty and meet the requirements of the catalog of The School of Theology.

Directed Reading Courses

Directed reading courses may be offered as open electives at the discretion of the instructor. Such courses are subject to the requirements stated in the student handbook. Directed reading courses are generally not open to summer-term students. The Rose Model is a planning design resource for your use.

Choral Group

The School of Theology has a choral group, which provides music for the midweek Eucharist, choral Evensongs, and other special occasions during the academic year. Membership is open to all students, their spouses, faculty, staff, and others.

Cross-Listed Courses

M.A. students are required to take a certain number of hours in various subject areas. This cross-listed course document allows a quick reference of courses that can count in more than one area.