All students completing the M.A.M. degree are required to register for the program in spiritual formation. Students are required to attend a daylong orientation held in conjunction with the new student orientation program and are then enrolled in formation groups. These groups meet weekly throughout the fall and spring terms during the first year of the program.
Led by facilitators in groups of five to 10, students share in a formative experience designed to provide them with the framework of a common experience, emphasizing the following:
- The opportunity to explore the vital connection between spiritual formation and ministry.
- Opportunities to explore the central genius of spiritual traditions.
- The development of a critical capacity that will allow the student to evaluate those traditions theologically.
- Broad-based exposure to a variety of spiritual disciplines.
- Experience in prayer and devotion.
Students are evaluated and given credit by the group facilitators on the basis of attendance and engagement with the subject matter of the formation process. Students should register in both the fall and spring of the first year. Exceptions to this rule must be requested in writing from the director of spiritual life and formation.
The M.A.M. program requires the satisfactory completion of a supervised internship in a church or agency setting appropriate to the student’s area of specialization. The internship is nine months long, over the fall and spring terms of one academic year, and it carries six credit hours of academic credit. While the student registers for three hours of internship course credit during each of the two consecutive terms, the internship degree requirement is satisfied only upon completion of the six credit hours.
ST 6301 – Interpretation of the Christian Message I is a prerequisite for the Internship course. The following courses are recommended in preparation for the internship course: XS 6310 - The Church in Its Social Context , two courses in biblical studies, spiritual formation and at least one of the foundational courses for the student’s specialized degree concentration.
All internships are coordinated through the Perkins Intern Office. The placement process begins in September when a prospective intern is invited to apply for an internship that would begin in August of the following year. A student completes an application and interviews with the intern faculty who will determine throughout the placement process the student’s readiness for internship. If at any point during the placement process, the student exhibits patterns of behavior that suggests that the student needs further preparation prior to participating in an internship, the intern faculty may conclude that a student is not ready for an internship. The intern faculty will engage in a consultative process to determine appropriate measures to help the student become prepared for internship.
If a student declines two faculty-approved intern placements in a year, the Intern Program will remove the student from the placement process for that year. A student who is removed from the placement process is encouraged to re-apply for an internship the following year; however, the student must accept a subsequent faculty approved intern placement.
A student demonstrating readiness for an internship is encouraged to pursue placement possibilities for discussion in the initial interview with the intern faculty. Internship placements include church, agency and hospital chaplaincy settings. During the placement process serious consideration is given to the student’s denominational preference.
The M.A.M. internship is part-time, requiring 20 hours per week (inclusive of the internship seminar) of work in the internship setting. All interns receive a stipend.
Master of Arts in Ministry students may complete the Perkins internship requirement (six credit hours) by successful completion of either:
- An introductory unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (Level 1), or
- An extended unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (Level 1). In most cases the unit schedule is 20 hours per week, between seven and nine months, within the span of August and May.
Master of Arts in Ministry students who choose either option to fulfill the Perkins internship requirement may not also receive academic credit for PC 7639 – Basic Clinical Pastoral Education .
An intern faculty member will be assigned to the CPE intern and will consult with the CPE certified educator regarding satisfactory completion of the internship requirement.
During the internship course, students do ministry under supervision and reflect theologically on their experiences. As the interns become more competent and self-confident in carrying out the tasks of ministry and gain theological, emotional and spiritual maturity in their understanding of it, they prepare themselves to provide resourceful, faithful Christian leadership in the world.
The design of the Perkins Intern Program assumes interns to be adult learners who can assess and value their past experiences and vocational goals and build on these creatively and systematically in pursuing the learning opportunities offered at their particular internship site. To that end, the internship course curriculum specifies a set of required competencies under each of three categories (be aware, think theologically and lead faithfully), tailored to the student’s particular degree concentration.
The Perkins Intern Program faculty partners with staff and laity at congregations and agencies and with mental health professionals experienced in church family systems to provide supportive supervision for students during internship. The mentor pastor and lay teaching committee assigned to each intern receive orientation and training as part of the intern program.
A student’s internship begins with a required two-day Intern Orientation conducted in August by the intern faculty.
Admission to Candidacy
M.A.M. students will be reviewed for admission to formal candidacy for the degree following the completion of 12 credit hours of academic work. A student will be admitted to candidacy provided that he or she is not on probation and is not disqualified for having given evidence of patterns of personal behavior tending to seriously hinder ministry. Admission to formal candidacy signifies that the student is proceeding satisfactorily in his or her course requirements, including admission to and continuation in internship courses, and possesses a seriousness of purpose, emotional stability, and likelihood of satisfactory performance of Christian leadership. Formally, the presence of patterns of personal behavior tending to seriously hinder ministry may be grounds for the faculty to disqualify a student from graduation with the M.A.M. degree, or, if the prognosis justifies it, to defer awarding the degree until such time as the hindering pattern is overcome. A student may be considered for the degree upon completion of all the requirements, but admission to formal candidacy does not oblige Perkins to grant the degree.