WEST PALM BEACH -- Palm Beach Atlantic University will offer a Master of Divinity (M. Div.) degree program beginning next fall.
President William M. B. Fleming, Jr. said that the Board of Trustees approved the program proposal at their meeting last week.
"The establishment of an M. Div. Program at PBA has long been awaited and perfectly reflects the founders' vision for the University," President Fleming said. "For 45 years, PBA has stood as a beacon for Christ. Now we have the opportunity to prepare graduates for even more fruitful careers in ministry.
"With the faculty, facilities and technology in place, the trustees believe that this is the right time to launch this graduate program."
Dr. Randy Richards, dean of the School of Ministry, said that the degree program will be offered in the traditional three-year format, an accelerated two-year format, and a part-time four-plus year format to meet the needs of students. The degree can be completed in as few as five semesters and includes a required apprenticeship in ministry. In addition, a "3 +2" format is available consisting of three years of undergraduate ministry studies and two years of graduate coursework. Classes will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays in morning and afternoon sessions.
“PBA's seminary will be cutting edge in every way. The emphasis on integration of practice and learning, the missional focus, the global perspective and the unwavering evangelical stance make this M.Div. tremendously useful for ministry situations in the 21st century,” said Dr. Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach, Fla. and a University trustee. “Palm Beach Atlantic’s location in southeast Florida places their students in one of America's central gateways to the world. I give them my wholehearted support.”
“I am enthusiastic in my support of the M.Div. program at PBA,” said Rev. Walter B. Arnold III, pastor of First Presbyterian of North Palm Beach and a University trustee. “I believe it will make accessible theological education to ministers and ministerial candidates in South Florida in a very helpful way.”
The new M. Div. program is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Commission on Colleges. All current PBA programs have this full tier-one accreditation. The M. Div. program also has been designed to meet the requirements of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The normal processes and timetables are being followed with the expectation of full approval from both accrediting boards, Dr. Richards said.
"In conversations about this degree program, local pastors have expressed enthusiastic support and look forward to partnering with our students," Dean Richards said. "Those called to ministry can receive integrated graduate training without leaving their current ministry responsibilities."
Presently, Palm Beach Atlantic offers master degree programs in Counseling Psychology, business administration (M.B.A.) and leadership. In addition, PBA offers a professional degree in pharmacy (Pharm.D.).
For more information on the Master of Divinity degree program, call Graduate Admissions at 561-803-2122 or visit learn-well.pba.edu
Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, independent university offering undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in West Palm Beach, Orlando, Wellington and online. The University is dedicated to the integration of Christian principles to prepare students for learning, leadership and service.