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3.6.2 Graduate Curriculum

 

The institution structures its graduate curricula (1) to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and (2) to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences.

 

_X_  Compliance           ___  Partial Compliance          ___  Non-Compliance

 

Narrative

 

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) structures its graduate curricula to include knowledge of the literature in the discipline and ensures ongoing student engagement in research, professional practice, and training experiences.

 

Curriculum Requirements

 

Each degree level possesses differing scholastic requirements related to its gradation. For example, with the exception of language courses, associate and bachelor courses require 500 pages of reading, while master courses require 1,000 pages of reading [1]. Doctor of Ministry seminars require 2,000 pages of reading per seminar [2], as well as reading reports that evaluate each book read [3]. Doctor of Philosophy seminars also require 2,000 pages of reading. Additionally, the Doctor of Philosophy program requires a directed seminar (Supervised Departmental Reading DR 9945) that consists of intensive reading in the student’s field of study [4].

 

Ongoing Research

 

Master level degrees facilitate ongoing research in a number of ways. First, the Director of Library Services familiarizes new students with the library’s resources and procedures. Second, students are required to take Introduction to Research and Writing (EN 7900). This course is an intensive study of academic composition in the form of argumentation, with an emphasis on research [5]. Third, students are assigned artifacts for each course. Depending on the class, artifacts may take the form of research papers, projects/portfolios, lessons, sermons, presentations, or book reviews [6].

 

Students enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry Program are required to take the course Graduate Research and Writing (DR 9910) [7]. Students also must successfully complete a Graduate Teaching course (DR 9920) that helps them to attain proficiency in teaching [8]. Furthermore, for each seminar, students develop a post-session project that applies the theory of the course reading and seminar sessions to each student’s ministry setting [9]. Finally, students write either a ministry project or a research project consisting of 100 to 125 pages. In this assignment, the student discusses the inception, justification, development, implementation, evaluation, and impact of the project [10]. Students enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy program are also required to take the course Graduate Research and Writing (DR 9910) [11]. Students also must successfully complete a Graduate Teaching course (DR 9920) that helps them to attain proficiency in teaching [8], as well as a Graduate Research Methodology course (DR 9921) that aids them in attaining proficiency in social science methodology [12]. Other research opportunities include seminar papers for each course, two doctoral colloquia per year [13], teaching experience [14], and supervised departmental intensive reading [15]. Finally, students must write a 150 to 200 page dissertation that makes a contribution to the scholarly literature in its field [16].

 

Professional Practice

 

At both the master and doctoral levels, MABTS seeks to train for effective service those whom God has called. Therefore, evangelism at home and cross-culturally is the seminary’s theme and mission. Practical missions work is the demonstration of what the student learns in the classroom. Students are expected to fulfill the biblical command to witness and thus are required to meet mission assignments each week, share their faith, and report on the work completed. This linking of the classroom and the practical aspects of ministry and evangelistic zeal is one of the unique identities of MABTS.

 

Each full-time student (twelve or more hours per semester) must complete two mission assignments per week during the semester. Each part-time student (eleven or fewer hours a semester) must complete one mission assignment per week during the semester. A mission assignment consists of approximately one hour of ministry time and normally provides the student with the opportunity to present the type of witness described in this section. The total number of practical mission assignments that a student may complete during any given week is computed on this basis [17].

 

Additionally, students serve in ministry contexts, performing such activities as church visitation, evangelism, baptisms, sermon delivery, lesson presentation, directing music in worship services, and participating in mission trips.

 

Examples of Ongoing Research in Selected Master Courses

 

The curricula of the master degrees at MABTS, as indicated in the 2014-2015 MABTS Catalog, provide independent learning requirements that foster the ability of graduate students to become active contributors in the field of their calling [18]. Professors make use of a paper rubric in order to ensure that research papers demonstrate knowledge of the literature of each respective discipline [19].

 

Independent learning requirements included in class syllabi may include papers, projects, reading and language requirements, and presentations. Examples are included below of graduate-level course syllabi demonstrating how graduate instruction promotes independent learning:

 

GR 5811: Greek 3. As evident from this syllabus, students write a technical paper. The paper is essentially an exegetical analysis of a passage from the Greek New Testament, employing the skills gleaned during the course of the semester. The text is selected by the student and approved by the professor. As the semester progresses and once the biblical text is selected, the student is encouraged to apply the principles of word study, syntax classifications, and exegetical principles to the passage throughout the semester. The goal is that these principles, regularly applied to the text, will culminate in the finished product at the end of the term [20].

 

NT 5601: New Testament Survey 1. As evident from this syllabus, a term paper is required for the successful completion of the course. The paper must be original to this course and must not be a re-working of a paper previously submitted to any other class. The paper must be a minimum length of 12-15 full pages of text, plus title page, contents, and bibliography. A minimum of ten (10) sources which include at least two (2) scholarly journals must be cited in the paper. It must be written in conformity to Turabian's A Manual for Writers, 8th ed. and the MABTS Turabian Guide [21].

 

EV 6200: Evangelism. As evident from this syllabus, students are required to submit a church evangelism notebook. The notebook must include sections that examine: 1) preparation for revival; 2) preaching during revival; 3) preserving the results from revival; and 4) how to develop an evangelistic church [22].

 

MS 6405: Traditional World Religions and Cults. As evident from the syllabus, each student will prepare an eight-lesson notebook for teaching on cults and world religions. The notebook will list a class schedule, books, and materials to be used in the course, specific teaching materials including an original typed 3-page lesson plan for each of the 8 weeks, handouts for the participants, and the PowerPoint slides for each session. Suggested content includes general principles for dealing with cults and world religions, background information of specific world religions, some approaches to witnessing to the cults, and scriptural support for each lesson [23].

 

Information about graduates’ attitudes concerning the effectiveness of their seminary preparation is gathered from the Graduate Survey [24].

 

Examples of Ongoing Research in Selected Doctoral Courses

 

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed to equip students for creative scholarship, independent research, and effective teaching and preaching. The Doctor of Philosophy program involves a minimum of two years of study beyond the Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent. Students entering the program should be aware that three or more years are frequently needed for completion of the degree requirements, depending upon individual circumstances.

 

The Doctor of Philosophy program consists of graduate seminars, an examination covering each seminar as it is completed, comprehensive written examinations, directed reading and research, teaching under faculty supervision, the writing of a dissertation, and an oral examination covering the dissertation and related fields. The program is specifically oriented toward preparing students for teaching in universities and seminaries; for specialized church, missions, and denominational leadership; and for scholarly writing [25].

 

OT 9131: Daniel. As evident from the syllabus, each student selects a topic approved by the professor for a seminar paper of at least 25 (but no more than 30) pages in length. The paper should follow Turabian’s form and style manual. This paper will also be presented orally to the seminar group, with time given for interaction on the topic. This research paper will be graded on content and form and style according to the PhD Seminar Paper Rubric [26]. Additionally, the student will prepare an annotated bibliography consisting of at least 20 commentaries and other books relating to Daniel's prophecy and at least 10 scholarly journal articles on Daniel. Journal articles should be relatively recent—1980-present. Annotations should consist of a minimum of two sentences. Students should use the journal abbreviations found in Journal of Evangelical Theological Society (JETS). Students will share the bibliographical material with other members of the seminar [27]. 

 

Documentation

 

1. Academic Council Meeting Minutes, May 17, 2013

2. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 170

3. 2014-15 Doctor of Ministry Handbook, p. 20

4. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 190

5. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 166

6. Sample Syllabus Packet

7. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 171

8. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 170

9. 2014-15 Doctor of Ministry Handbook, p. 22-32

10. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 183

11. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 183

12. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 183

13. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 189

14. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 190

15. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 190

16. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 191-92

17. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 59-61

18. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 121-123, 125-138

19. Sample Rubric for Research Papers

20. GR 5811: Greek 3 Syllabus

21. NT 5601: New Testament Survey 1 Syllabus

22. EV 6200: Evangelism Syllabus

23. MS 6405: Traditional World Religions and Cults Syllabus

24. MABTS 2012 Graduate Survey

25. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 181-94

26. Rubric for PhD Research Papers

27. OT 9131: Daniel Syllabus

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