Non-degree Theological Studies

For Students in Special Circumstances

Modular, Flexible, Supplemental

At the request of and with the support of the Sewanee bishops, the faculty of the School of Theology has developed a non-degree, basic course of theological studies for candidates for ordination who have special circumstances. This includes those who will be worker-priests in very specific missional contexts, those who will serve small congregations in remote locations on a part-time basis, and others who, in the judgment of the bishop, need only a more limited introduction to theological studies to ground the ministry in which they are already engaged.

It is the understanding of the dean and faculty that persons who are identified for this program by a diocese of The Episcopal Church are those who are being called to serve in very particular, limited environments, nearly always on a part-time basis, and who are persons whose principal income will be derived from non-ecclesiastical sources. In no way does the dean and faculty understand this program to be a substitute for the normative formation of candidates for ministry by the pursuit of a master of divinity degree, nor is this program to be construed as a program in Anglican Studies for those whose theological formation for ministry has taken place in non-Episcopal seminaries or in other denominations. This “academic boot camp” track is to be part of a larger process of formation established by the diocese.

The need for all priests to be able conversation partners with their bishop and fellow presbyters in the defined areas of ministry as set forth in the canons of the church was factored into the course. The seven canonical areas of ministry are typically spread over a master of divinity curriculum with adequate time for reflection and integration. This program provides a basic classroom engagement with the seven canonical areas so that each student will be grounded in the primary questions, concerns, and resources of each canonical area. While the breadth of the Christian tradition will be always considered, the particularities of the Anglican tradition and The Episcopal Church will always be emphasized.

The Components

The academic component represented by the modules outlined below and provided by the School of Theology.

The practice of ministry component designed and provided by the diocese.

The designation by the bishop of a mentor who will meet regularly with the student for supervision, reflection, and coaching.

The office of contextual education of the School of Theology has resources to assist the diocese in creating components 2 and 3 above.

The Modules

Each student will participate in four modules per year for two years.

Learning will take place in both residential and online formats.

A student may begin the program either in January or June. During the residency, students will be introduced to the requirements of the course and immediately begin working with the course content. Time for personal consultation with the faculty will be provided in addition to regular opportunities for prayer and worship, fellowship and conversation, and personal study time.

Each residency will be followed by regular online work designed uniquely for each module. Students will be connected online to the instructor and fellow students. This provides an opportunity for asking questions, discussing particular topics, and clarifying assignments.

Scheduling the program in this manner makes use of the worship schedule in the Chapel of the Apostles, and the opportunity for fellowship and engagement with students in the M.Div.  and other programs as well as with seasoned clergy who are in Sewanee for advanced degree work and continuing education.

A student may enter into the two-year cycle of modules at any point.

At the end of each module, each student will receive a written evaluation of their work and a copy of the evaluation will be sent to their bishop.

Module Schedule

The program cycle proceeds as follows with the in-residency dates listed below:

June 2018—two-week session (June 11–22)
  Week 1—complete modules begun in January (session 1)
  Week 2—begin session 2
     Module 1: Ethics and Anglican Moral Theology
     Module 2: Contemporary Society and Christian Witness

January 2019—two-week session (Jan. 14–25)
  Week 1 – complete modules begun in June (session 2)
  Week 2 – begin session 3
     Module 1:  Church History, including Episcopal Church history and polity
     Module 2:  Theology, including sacramental theology

Admissions and Fees

Because of the wide variety of backgrounds anticipated in those who will participate in the program, the decision to participate in the programs rests solely with the bishop of the diocese from which the student comes.

The School of Theology will send a reminder to all bishops in the fall and spring of each year to register the students they anticipate will begin the program.

Tuition is $2,500 for each session. This is exclusive of food, lodging, and transportation. Costs of the program will be borne by the diocese from which the student originates. Whether the diocese passes the bill along to the student, to the parish the student serves, or in some other manner shares the cost of the program is solely at the discretion of the sending bishop.


The deadline for registering for the June 2018 session is May. 15, 2018. Please contact Dr. Andrew Thompson by email or at 931.598.1627 for details.