Diploma for Ministry

The Diploma for Ministry can train you for a specialized ministry and requires fewer credits than a Masters of Arts (M.A.) degree. Since the requirements are flexible, the Diploma can be adapted to your specific vocational interests. For example, if you are interested in becoming ordained as a Commissioned Pastor in the Christian Reformed Church (or a comparable ordination in other denominations), the Diploma is one appropriate training option. Although the Diploma is not an accredited degree program, its courses are graduate-level and can be transferred to M.A. or M.Div. programs at Calvin Seminary (you must still meet the admissions requirements for those programs).

Core Curriculum (18 credits)
  • Theological Education as Formation for Ministry (2)
  • Vocational Mentoring (2)*
  • Hermeneutics (1)
  • Digital Bible Tools (1)
  • Bible Survey (3)
  • Christian Theology in Reformed Confessions (3)
  • Christian Reformed Church Polity (1.5)
  • Christian Reformed Church History (1.5)
  • One of the following:
    The Church in Historical Context Survey (3)
    The Church in Historical Context I (3)
    The Church in Historical Context II (3)

*Students will register for and participate in Vocational Mentoring for two semesters, and get one credit for each semester.

Practice of Ministry (4-6 credits)
  • Introduction to Missional Ministry (2)
  • Evangelism and Cross-Cultural Ministry (2)
  • Discipleship and Teaching in North American Culture (2)
  • Forming Worshiping Communities (2)
  • Preaching Theory and Methods (2)
  • Pastoral Leadership (3)
Electives (4)

In addition, the student must take four credits of electives (generally two courses) which are most appropriate for his/her intended ministry.

Distance Learning Course Sequence

Students may obtain a Diploma for Ministry via the Distance Learning option, which consists of fully online courses as well as hybrid courses. Hybrid courses involve a mandatory on-campus intensive ordinarily 4-5 weeks into a semester. Intensive schedules are posted on the Distance Learning page.

Summer I Fall Spring Summer II
*716 Bible Survey (3)
*Elective (2)
*Hermeneutics (2)
304 Church in Historical Context I (3)
311 Intro to Ministry (2)
or 306 Preaching Theory & Methods (2)
Vocational Mentoring (1)
712 Theological Education as Formation for Ministry (2)
441 Evangelism & Cross-Cultural Ministry (2)
*773/774 CRC History & Polity (3)
Vocational Mentoring (1)
*303 Christian Theology in Reformed Confessions (3)
*Elective (2)

*fully online course

Admission Requirements

To participate in a Diploma Program you need to have a  Bachelor Degree from an accredited institution.  You will need to submit a completed application form, any transcripts of post-high academic work, a complete pastoral recommendation form, and a $25 application fee.

Please contact the Admissions Office for the necessary forms.

Advanced Placement

You may be able to gain advanced placement for prior study, knowledge or experience in Bible and Theology. Advanced placement means that you have gained competence equivalent to one or more of the courses listed below.

The following courses are available for Advanced Placement. Study Guides and more information may be found here.

  • Bible Survey
  • Christian Theology in Reformed Confessions
  • One of the following:
    The Church in Historical Context I (3)
    The Church in Historical Context II (3)

Student competence is demonstrated by way of a written exam and evaluated by faculty. If granted, advanced placement reduces the number of CTS credit hours needed to complete one’s program.

Continuation and Transfer Requirements

Continuation in the Diploma program requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.3. During or upon completion of a Diploma Program, the completed course work can be transferred into a Master’s program at CTS, if the admissions requirements are met.