The field education program provides students with opportunities to serve the church of Jesus Christ and the world. The program depends on partner churches and agencies that are willing to offer themselves as laboratories where the art of ministry is considered and practiced. A set of unique partnerships develop between the student, the Seminary, the supervisor, and those at the ministry site. Partnership implies a relationship based on mutual trust fostered through two-way communication and tangible support. Partnership produces the best sites and supervision.
As a field education supervisor, you must be prepared to invest considerable time and interest in working with the student, and be willing to join peers in supervision training. The program requires the supervisor to invest at least one hour per week of dedicated and uninterrupted time to supervise the student for the length of time the student serves in the placement. Field education is an addition to the church’s mission program, not a means of acquiring additional personnel. While benefits to the church’s program may be secondary, you will find that field education enhances the church’s mission and enriches the supervisor’s ministry.
Students begin interviewing at sites as early as the end of October. They are required to have all summer and academic-year placements finalized by April 1st. Although we accept new site applications at any time, applications received after December 1st are less likely to find a student for the following summer and academic year as many students will already have a placement in mind when they return for classes in late January.
Most Princeton Theological Seminary students must take and pass two field education courses in order to graduate. Because academic credit is awarded, every site and supervisor must be approved and certified. In other words, every site is a classroom. The Office of Field Education must guarantee the quality of the course taught in each classroom to the faculty, administration, and the Seminary’s accrediting association. Therefore, we require:
- the site provide a theologically trained and accredited supervisor or an accredited supervisor supplemented by a person to complete theological reflection with the student
- the site provide a context for learning and serving that meets the student’s educational and professional development needs as well as the ministerial needs of the site
- the site annually provide a description of the student’s ministry as well as educational objectives and criteria for evaluation
- the supervisor possess an M.Div. or equivalent degree, or, in the case of specialized ministries, appropriate professional certification.
- the supervisor have been in ministry for three years and on-site for one year
- the supervisor be trained and certified in supervision, and to maintain that certification through on-going programs of education
- the supervisor have Title IX & Title VI training
- the supervisor be background checked by PTS every 3 years
- the supervisor complete all required ministry reports on-time
- the supervisor participate in periodic programs to enhance skills.
The seminary will provide training opportunities necessary for the supervisor to fulfill the contract, offer counsel to supervisors and governing bodies to interpret the program, and work to see that the program runs smoothly.
Presently the recommended minimum stipend for a student engaged in field education full-time during the summer is $3150; part-time during the academic year is $2700; full-time for a yearlong placement is $1200 per month. Limited financial assistance is available from PTS for stipends. Complete the Funding Eligibility with the application to apply. In addition to the stipend, the site is required to reimburse the student for mileage for private vehicle use while on official business. PTS recommends using the current IRS rate. The site should also reimburse the student for pre-approved, out-of-pocket expenses like supplies, trips, meals, or overnight lodging necessitated by the field education work. Any reimbursement to the student for expenses commuting to and from the site is considered earned income and is therefore taxable.
Year Long Intensive Placements have further considerations:
The site is expected to provide housing and utilities for the intern and funding for the basic student insurance policy at the rate specified in the current PTS Catalogue. Please speak with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid regarding current rates by phone at (609) 497-7805.