Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
The basic professional degree for the work of clergy supported by academic studies, a Master of Divinity degree requires the equivalent of three years of full-time study, 72 credit hours, and is considered a “terminal degree.” Ordination by one’s specific group or tradition may be required for endorsement or employment in addition to the degree (Cherry Hill Seminary does not ordain clergy). Students in the program are required to choose a major area of study and corresponding academic department from those described under Major Areas of Study. The Master of Divinity with a Pastoral Counseling major is a separate program (described below), with different requirements from the Master of Divinity degree.
Master of Arts – Pastoral Counseling
Designed to meet various practice standards, the Master of Arts, Pastoral Counseling, degree requires the equivalent of two and a half years of full-time study, 60 credit hours. Studies focus on academics and field or clinical practices, and will require specific types of supervision and testing. Students in the program are considered to be Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy majors.
Master of Divinity – Pastoral Counseling
The Master of Divinity, Pastoral Counseling major, degree provides coursework and practical experience leading to a career as a Pastoral Counselor. A Master of Divinity degree requires the equivalent of three years of full-time study, 72 credit hours, and is considered a “terminal degree.” Ordination by one’s specific group or tradition may be required for endorsement or employment in addition to the degree. Cherry Hill Seminary does not ordain clergy. Students in this program are considered to be Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy Majors. The Master of Divinity with a Pastoral Counseling major is a distinct program, with different requirements from the general Master of Divinity degree described earlier.
Master of Divinity – Chaplaincy
The Master of Divinity degree, Chaplaincy major, provides coursework and practical experience leading to a career as a Chaplain who also follows a Pagan spiritual path. A Master of Divinity degree requires the equivalent of three years of full- time study, 72 credit hours, and is considered a “terminal degree. Ordination by one’s specific group or tradition may be required for endorsement or employment in addition to the degree (Cherry Hill Seminary does not ordain clergy). Students in this program are considered to be Chaplaincy majors. The Master of Divinity with a Chaplaincy major is a distinct program, with different requirements from the Master of Divinity program with a Pastoral Counseling major.
Master of Pagan Ministry
The Master of Pagan Ministry degree allows students to develop expertise in areas of ministry, advocacy and leadership. While the Master’s in Divinity degree is intended for those seeking ordination in their traditions, the MPM is appropriate for those pursuing and developing work auxiliary to other organizations which brings Earth-centered service, advocacy and leadership to the larger community. This is a 48 semester hour degree, the equivalent of two years of full-time study. Studies include courses from each department, plus a project, intensives attendance and a portfolio.
Master of Pagan Studies
The Master of Pagan Studies degree fosters Pagan scholarship with study and research in the Department of Theology and Religious History. To earn the degree requires 48 credit hours, the equivalent of two years of full-time study. Studies include courses from each department, plus a project, intensives attendance and a thesis.
Each master’s degree has specific requirements for face-to-face Academic Intensive sessions, held in various retreat locations. A student can expect to travel to a four-to-seven-day event once for each “full-time-equivalent” year.
Majors, also called focus areas or areas of concentration, are fields of specific study within a degree. We offer five majors, each with unique content, goals and objectives, academic expectations and practical application.
All of our degrees at this time are Master’s level. Most classes will continue to be online, i.e., distance education. Practicums and internships must be done locally, with Seminary and local supervision.
Each of three major areas of graduate study is associated with an academic department at Cherry Hill Seminary:
Department of Ministry, Advocacy and Leadership
Department of Pastoral Counseling & Chaplaincy
Department of Theology and Religious History
Students are advised to contact the chair of the department for specific program and course information. Master of Pagan Pastoral Counseling students do not select an additional major area of study. Students admitted to Master of Pagan Ministry, Master of Pagan Studies and Master of Divinity programs may not choose Pagan Pastoral Counseling as a major. Such students may pursue a Master of Pagan Pastoral Counseling or a Master of Divinity, Pagan Pastoral Counseling major, programs with requirements specific to pastoral counseling.
Ministry, Advocacy and Leadership
The Department of Ministry, Advocacy and Leadership combines two former departments, Pagan
Ministry and Expression (PME) and Pagan Advocacy and Leadership (PAL). Students previously
admitted to the former departments may optionally choose PME or PAL as a track of study within
Ministry, Advocacy, and Leadership (MAL).
Studies in the Pagan Advocacy and Leadership track prepare students to serve the pan-Pagan
community in interfaith, interreligious and secular venues, as well as to promote religious and other rights and responsibilities through interfaith chaplaincy and dialogue, media relations, activism, and public advocacy.
Studies in the Public Ministry and Expression track equip students to serve the Pagan religious
community and include study of ritual, religious leadership, education and the arts.
Students admitted after the effective date of this catalog to a master’s program with a
Pastoral Counseling & Chaplaincy
The Department of Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy offers courses that lead to a Master in
Divinity degree (72 credit hours) or a Master in Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy degree (60
credit hours). Requirements for these degrees are described in the section entitled “Degrees.”
The department educates students in approaches that integrate Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy studies with broad spiritual and scientific dimensions. We help students explore how they, as practitioners of Pagan faith formations, serve Pagans and non-Pagans alike through counseling and chaplaincy services on parity with those professionals of other faith groups. We offer the education needed by those who aspire to be leaders with a global outreach in the pastoral counseling and chaplaincy professions. Department courses give the student a foundation in professional and pastoral counseling theories consistent with current standards of excellence and research, and foundations in the specialized ministry of chaplaincy in contemporary practice. Courses from each of the other departments enable students to explore a range of topics related to advocacy, ministry, theology and history.
The Pastoral Counseling and Chaplaincy Department meets basic educational and professional
standards for students who plan to work in various counseling settings, and for those who plan to
work in the professional chaplaincies. No institution or professional organization (i.e., APA, ACA,
APC, etc.) grants licensure to practice a regulated profession. Professional licensure is granted by
the state in which a clinician practices (not by Cherry Hill Seminary). In many states, minimum
qualifications include a master’s degree. Students seeking licensure are advised to consult the state regulating authority in which they plan to practice counseling, pastoral counseling or work as a professional chaplain. Professional counseling is regulated in all states; pastoral counselors and chaplains may or may not fall under the oversight or regulation of a given state. Visit
www.counseling.org under “Counselors, Licensure and Certification” for more information about
Theology and Religious History
The Department of Theology and Religious History combines two former departments, Nature, Deity and Inspiration (NDI) and Text, Tradition and Interpretation (TTI). Students previously admitted to the former departments may optionally choose NDI or TTI as a track of study within Theology and Religious History (TRH). Students admitted after the effective date of this catalog to a master’s program with a major in Theology and Religious History are not required to select a track unless desired.
Studies in the Nature, Deity and Inspiration (NDI) track of the Department of Theology and Religious History include the history and development of human interaction with the natural world and its ecosystems, spiritual formation, direct personal and community mystical experience, divination and augury, practice, devotion, meditation, and prayer.
NDI students do not simply study theology; they do theology as a spiritual practice. Students are educated in existing scholarship, then encouraged to dialogue with these materials in order to better articulate their own beliefs and find practical ways to act on them in service of their communities.
Although NDI classes include histories of land- and place-focused religious traditions, as well as artistic and literary responses to nature, the curriculum uses this material to frame students’ own encounters with the divine. Exposure to scientific understandings of the natural world also encourages students’ spiritual growth and formation. Finally, NDI concerns itself with the fundamentals of Pagan practice, examining the tools and paradigms that Pagans use to achieve spiritual experiences.
Studies in the Text, Tradition and Interpretation track of the Department of Theology and Religious History include the literature, language(s), traditions, arts, philosophy, theology, history, ethics, development and contemporary expressions of Pagan groups, tribes, and communities throughout the world. The Text, Tradition, and Interpretation track emphasizes training in contemporary methods of critical scholarship and the current scholarly conversations on the literature, history, traditions, languages, arts, and other traditions that form the background to contemporary Pagan communities.
Students are trained to engage in this kind of scholarship, with attention to original research as well as incorporating secondary research into Pagan ministries. Although students are encouraged to explore their own spirituality through their studies of material, emphasis in the TTI track is primarily on learning good scholarly approaches to study and understanding and communicating those secondary explorations of Pagan spirituality and the traditions that spirituality grows from. Ultimately, the TTI track concerns itself with providing students with the tools to become effective scholars who can perform scholarship in service to the Pagan community and present scholarship emerging from a Pagan context to the wider world.
Detailed information is found in the Student Catalog, including specific requirements. After careful study, you may begin the process of application by completing the online admission form, but be sure to have all your information available before you start.
When an application package is complete, a representative from the Admissions Committee will contact the applicant to schedule a required personal interview, which may be conducted by telephone or Skype. The applicant’s references will be verified. After the interview, the completed Application Package will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision within 30 days after final review.
Ready to start your educational adventure?