Mission

Princeton Theological Seminary prepares women and men to serve Jesus Christ in ministries marked by faith, integrity, scholarship, competence, compassion, and joy, equipping them for leadership worldwide in congregations and the larger church, in classrooms and the academy, and in the public arena.

A professional and graduate school of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Seminary stands within the Reformed tradition, affirming the sovereignty of the triune God over all creation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ as God’s saving word for all people, the renewing power of the word and Spirit in all of life, and the unity of Christ’s servant church throughout the world. This tradition shapes the instruction, research, practical training, and continuing education provided by the Seminary, as well as the theological scholarship it promotes.

In response to Christ’s call for the unity of the church, the Seminary embraces in its life and work a rich racial and ethnic diversity and the breadth of communions represented in the worldwide church. In response to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, the Seminary offers its theological scholarship in service to God’s renewal of the church’s life and mission. In response to God’s sovereign claim over all creation, the Seminary seeks to engage Christian faith with intellectual, political, and economic life in pursuit of truth, justice, compassion, and peace.

To these ends, the Seminary provides a residential community of worship and learning where a sense of calling is tested and defined, where Scripture and the Christian tradition are appropriated critically, where faith and intellect mature and lifelong friendships begin, and where habits of discipleship are so nourished that members of the community may learn to proclaim with conviction, courage, wisdom, and love the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Overview

Princeton Theological Seminary, established in 1812, the first Seminary founded by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, serves today as a residential institution of theological education providing academic excellence in service to the church and the world. As the Seminary celebrates its bicentennial, it continues to be affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the wider Reformed tradition, and flourishes within an ecumenical, interdenominational, and multicultural community. The Seminary is a freestanding institution with historic and continuing links to Princeton University. The President is a pastor/scholar/preacher embodying both traditions of the academy and the Reformed church to lead this community of piety and learning. Each graduate of this institution is a valued person serving Christ’s work through the church—pastor scholars are the legacy and mission of this Seminary.

The Seminary’s global perspective can be seen in the faculty, the student body, and in the broad range and depth of the Seminary’s academic programs. In keeping with the Reformed tradition’s deep commitment to ecumenicity, Princeton welcomes students from other Protestant denominations as well as from the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Pursuing its commitment to diversity, more than 175 Asian, African American, Latino/a, Native American, and international students are included in the Seminary’s total enrollment of more than 500 full time students, bringing a rich diversity of gifts to the learning environment and demonstrating the Seminary’s commitment to train women and men for the whole of Christ’s church. The dialogue and exchange among American students and their colleagues from around the world is an invaluable part of theological education for the whole community as well as the future church. The Seminary is committed to lifelong learning and international, ecumenical engagement.

Academic Degrees

The Seminary offers the following degree programs:

• Master of Divinity (M.Div.) The centerpiece of the Seminary’s program of study is a three-year, residential program designed to prepare students for congregational ministry, graduate study in theology and related disciplines, various forms of chaplaincy, mission work, and other forms of church vocation. The curriculum includes a cutting edge field education program, which affords all of our students both domestic and international opportunities for the integration of theology and practice.

• Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work (M.Div./M.S.W.) Offered jointly in partnership with Rutgers University School of Social Work, this degree is for those entering forms of ministry that will require competence in both theology and social work.

• Master of Divinity/Master of Arts Dual-Degree (M.Div./M.A.) This dual-degree is a four-year program designed to integrate the preparation for congregational ministry with a specialization either in Christian education or youth ministry.

• Master of Arts (M.A.) This two-year program in Christian education is designed to prepare students for administering Christian education in congregations or other educational institutuions, and may include specialized preparation for youth ministry.

• Master of Theology (Th.M.) This one-year degree program is for those holding the M.Div., and is designed to deepen scholarship in a particular field of study and improve effectiveness in ministry. It is often used for prepartion in studies at the doctoral level.

• Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) This distinguished research degree offers work in biblical studies, history, practical theology, theology, and religion and society, and is designed to prepare women and men to do research, write, publish, teach, and preach in universities, colleges, theological seminaries, and congregations.

Other Programs

Alongside its degree programs, the Seminary offers a variety of continuing education opportunities through the School of Christian Vocation and Mission. These include, among others, the Princeton Forums on Youth Ministry, the Joe R. Engle Institute of Preaching, several professional certificate programs (interim ministry, youth and theology, commissioned lay pastors in Spanish and Portuguese), a range of institutes (Institute of Theology, Multicultural Ministry, Latino/a Leadership, Faith and Public Life, Pastoral Leadership, and Science for Ministry), and diverse programs for training and enrichment of church leaders and lay people.

Inter-institutional Arrangements

Relations of academic reciprocity have been established between Princeton Theological Seminary and Princeton University, Westminster Choir College of Rider University, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, and the School of Social Work at Rutgers University. The Seminary also has an historic and ongoing relationship with the Center of Theological Inquiry.

Resources

God has blessed Princeton Theological Seminary with an abundance of resources:

• A faculty of outstanding, internationally respected scholars, teaching within a residential community of gifted, diverse, and committed students in seven different programs of study, supported by a highly dedicated administration and staff.

• A library for Christ’s church in the world. The scope and depth of this prestigious collection confers upon the Seminary a responsibility to serve as a center of global, collaborative learning. Regarded as among the most distinguished theological libraries in the world, it is designed to be a center of scholarly excellence connecting faculty, students, pastors, and researchers. Innovative services and technologies make many of the libraries’ resources available to the world.

• Miller Chapel, built in 1833, and most recently renovated in 2000, is the spiritual and geographic center of the Seminary’s life, testifying to the importance of regular worship in the formation of women and men for ministry. Here the community gathers, Monday through Friday, to be led in prayer by students, faculty, administrators, visiting guests or alumni/ae, with musical leadership provided by Seminary choirs and musicians. The Lord’s Supper is celebrated weekly. In recognition of the Reformed tradition’s commitment to ecumenicity, worship is not solely Presbyterian, but includes expressions of the worship traditions of others in the community.

• Extensive student housing, including a new complex of 200 two and three bedroom apartments. Nearly all students live on campus, creating a dynamic living and learning community.

• Learning centers and classrooms with wireless Internet access and audiovisual technology.

• The Erdman Center, a meeting and lodging facility used primarily for continuing education, including a multimedia “smart” classroom, and a full range of audiovisual capabilities, including audio and video conferencing.

• The Carol Gray Dupree Center for Children, a subsidized daycare facility for children of staff, students, faculty, administrators, and visitors.

• A substantial endowment that supports the Seminary’s mission.

• A highly dedicated ground of thirty-five trustees; women and men who are deeply invested in and committed to Christ’s church and the Seminary’s mission and future in service to that church.

Presidents

• Francis Landey Patton (1902–1913)
• J. Ross Stevenson (1914–1936)
• John Mackay (1936–1959)
• James I. McCord (1959–1983)
• Thomas W. Gillespie (1983–2004)
• Iain R. Torrance (2004–present)

Looking Ahead

The Board of Trustees has identified seven working imperatives that are helping to shape a strategic direction for the future:

• Reaffirm and realign the entire institution to its primary mission of forming church leaders in service to Jesus Christ. Essential to this process is reforming the M.Div. curriculum and strengthening the entire campus culture needed to support it.

• Re-envision the Ph.D. program while maintaining its current level of admissions.

• Recruit, admit, enroll, and welcome a diverse student body comprised of women and men primarily seeking roles defined by the church (ministerial or other).

• Affirm and increase our commitment to lifelong formation and professional development of church leaders, enhancing the institutional affinity of our graduates, and instituting career support through a strengthened alumni/ae network.

• Develop creative ways in which the Library may be accessible to the global church and to congregations and scholars all across America.

• Cultivate sustained collaborative relationships between the Seminary and the world church.

• Build a culture of stewardship of our financial, human, and physical resources.

As Princeton Theological Seminary enters its third century to Christ and his Church, it looks forward to embracing its unprecedented opportunities. We seek to equip women and men to become effective, visionary, committed, and faithful witnesses for Christ in his Church within today’s radically changing landscape at home and across the world.

“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” (Luke 12:48 NRSV)