We were very pleased to have a visit from Al Krummenacher, Development Officer for the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Al gave us a very interesting and complete overview of the activities of the Seminary as well as an indside olook at how future ministers are trained and prepared for ministry.
Al's talk is recorded in the audio at the bottom of this page. Below is an overview of many aspects of the Seminary.
At the end of the nineteenth century, two Presbyterian pastors—Dr. Robert Lewis Dabney and the Rev. Richmond Kelley Smoot—looked to the dusty expanses of the American frontier and dreamed a dream. Their Austin School of Theology operated for eleven years until it closed 1895. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, founded in 1902, was the result of their vision and labor. Established under the auspices of the Synod of Texas in the Presbyterian Church in the United States, Austin Seminary began its mission of educating and equipping ministers for the Southwestern United States. It wasn't long, however, before the institution blossomed and grew beyond the wildest visions of its forebears. Soon, Austin Seminary was training women and men for a variety of ministries throughout the nation and world.
At the dawning of a new century, Austin Seminary stands poised on the cutting edge of church and culture. Today, our frontiers are technological, demographic, and philosophical. The Seminary seeks to blaze innovative and imaginative paths through each of these frontiers, without forsaking its responsibility to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Reformed theological tradition. A superb faculty of scholars and teachers serve as pioneers and mentors in the faith to each new class of prospective pastors, lighting the way for the church of the twenty-first century.
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is located on twelve pristine acres at the center of one of America’s most dynamic and creative cities, and right across from the campus of the largest university in the country; it offers the benefits of an excellent faculty, students marked by both substance and passion, and appealing academic and residential facilities.
The Biblical Department
Austin Seminary recognizes the value of biblical studies for theological education and preparation for ministry. Introductory courses in the master's-level degree programs provide an overview and survey of the biblical witness in its proper context. Additional requirements in the MDiv program serve to develop students' abilities to integrate biblical exegesis, theological reflection, historical awareness, and cultural analysis.
The Department of the Church's Ministry
The Department of the Church's Ministry engages in practical theology, which consists of critical and constructive theological reflection on the practices of the community of faith. God calls people through the church to engage in a number of diverse practices in the course of Christian ministry. This department organizes these practices into the folowing areas: Christian Education, Leadership and Administration, Mission and Evangelism, Pastoral Care, and Preaching and Worship. Each of these areas of theological inquiry finds its roots in scripture, its foundational doctrines articulated within the tradition, its practices changing throughout history, and its methods in conversation with the social sciences. Consequently through biblical and historical study, theological analysis, and interdisplinary dialogue, this department assists students to gain the understanding and skills necessary to being faithful participants in the ministry of the church.
The Theological-Historical Department
The courses in this department are designed to provide grounding in Christian theology, history, ethics, and comparative religion. Theology courses survey the history, significance, and philosophical dimensions of the major doctrines and issues of the faith, exploring their significance for contemporary life and ministry. Ethics courses address both fundamental matters and specific topics and thinkers. The courses encourage students to bring theological, philosophical, and ethical insights to bear upon contemporary moral and cultural issues. Courses in comparative religion explore basic basic concepts of religion, the particularity of Protestant Christianity within the diversity of religious thought and practice, and the beliefs and nature of other religions.
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a school of the church. Each of our four degree programs is designed to serve the church and its ministers in a specific way.
MDiv - Master of Divinity
The essential skills for a lifetime of ministry are woven into the Master of Divinity curriculum. Theology, biblical studies, ethics, world religion, pastoral care, preaching, worship, Christian education, and mission and evangelism are combined with practical ministry experience in real-world settings. You will graduate equipped for imaginative and winsome leadership in a variety of pastoral contexts.
MAMP- Master of Arts in Ministry Practice
Whether you are considering a lay leadership ministry within the church, involvement in a service organization, or you are already serving in ordained ministry in your tradition, this two-year degree will equip you for Christian leadership through a combination of classroom study and practical experience. You will focus on effective communication skills, proficiency in the pastoral arts, and growth in spiritual maturity.
MATS - Master of Arts (Theological Studies)
Whether you are considering a career in teaching, further graduate theological education, or active lay leadership in your faith community, this two-year degree will deepen your understanding of the Christian faith and enhance your research and leadership skills. Focused around reflection and study, this degree program allows for concentrated study in a single discipline.
MAYM - Master of Arts in Youth Ministry
This unique degree program, created in partnership with the Center for Youth Ministry Training in Nashville, Tennessee, will challenge you through intensive retreat-based master’s-level classes, immerse you in practical experience in local youth ministry settings, and nurture you through coaching and peer-to-peer interaction.
DMin - Doctor of Ministry
Our DMin program allows students to deepen and enhance their practice of ministry through concentrated study in an area of their own interest. Our program is designed for ministers with three or more years of pastoral experience. Students in the DMin program take courses in a particular area such as Christian spirituality, preaching and worship, theology, or chaplaincy. The program culminates with a student-designed research project, undertaken with the supervision of one of Austin Seminary’s faculty members, on a topic relevant to the practice of ministry.
For more detailed information, go here.
Dual Degree Program (MDiv/MSSW)
This program provides master's-level students the opportunity to complete requirements for two degrees concurrently: The Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Austin Seminary and the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) through the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work.
The program is designed to be completed in four years of full-time study. Students will receive degrees from both institutions. Students must be accepted into both programs independently, meeting each institution's admission criteria. As much as possible, the program of study will be tailored to meet students' individual vocational needs as approved by an oversight committee.
Certificate in Ministry (CIM)
The Certificate in Ministry is a program for church leaders and others seeking substantive theological education but who are not planning to pursue study in a degree program. Seven courses are required to complete the certificate program.
Certificado en Ministerio en Español (CeM)
El Seminario de Austin ha diseñado esta serie de cursos para abordar los intereses de los estudiantes cristianos adultos en temas clásicos teológicos. Algunas personas que buscan ser comisionados como Ancianos Gobernantes Comisionados en los presbiterios de la Iglesia Presbiteriana (U.S.A.) pueden encontrar que estos cursos cumplen los requisitos de su presbiterio para este tipo de educación.
Austin Seminary provides educational opportunities for persons to enroll in seminary course work for academic credit. Special Students are not enrolled in a degree program, but register for master's-level classes on a per course basis. This program is designed primarily for persons interested in beginning study toward a first theological degree and lay persons who want to deepen their own theological understanding.
Education Beyond the Walls
Education Beyond the Walls (EBW) is the outward-looking educational face of Austin Seminary, providing lifelong learning and fresh, innovative, and expansive theological education for clergy, church leaders, congregations, and communities. Established in 2011, EBW sits at the intersection of church and academy, and draws upon the deep resources of both to craft creative responses to emerging needs of church leaders.
The days when schools of theology can function solely in a receptive mode are over; that is, no seminary can serve the church most fully and faithfully only by taking in people with a call to ministry and providing them with a classical education. Austin Seminary recognizes this need for a more expansive mission. As a school of the church, we seek to meet people called to ministry where they are, in their own journeys; and we invite them into communities of learning that will support their flourishing, as leaders of the church and as disciples of Jesus Christ. Many learners are formed explicitly and excellently through our degree programs (masters and doctoral levels) and the Certificate in Ministry. Other learners gather in settings beyond the degree-granting specifications of seminary curricula.
Currently, EBW offers a range of opportunities for formation and learning:
Learning Communities for Practicing Clergy
Short Courses for Practitioners
For pastors and other leaders
One Day Intensives
For pastors and other leaders
EBW draws resources not only from the Austin Seminary faculty, but also from outside the seminary community. We currently have partnerships with SCRAPCE (South Central Region of the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators), the Association of Presbyterian Tentmakers, Seminary of the Southwest, Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, The University of Texas Office of Disability Studies, and The University of Texas School of Social Work Office of Continuing Education.