Current Educational Curriculum

The mainstay of the ESR curriculum is the Master of Divinity (also known as the Master of Ministry) degree. Eighty-one credit hours are required to earn this degree. More than merely academic ability is evaluated over the course of this three year degree, as the ESR faculty looks for personal growth and spiritual transformation within its students before granting the degree.

The Master of Divinity degree is a graduate theological and professional degree designed to help equip graduates for a variety of ministries. At ESR, the degree allows for deep preparation in pastoral ministry, ministry among unprogrammed Friends, counseling, hospital ministries, religious education, campus ministry, spiritual direction, peace and justice, and writing ministries. Students choose a ministry emphasis after completing a course in the discernment of gifts and calls to ministry. The accompanying graph provides data related to the ministry emphasis selections of students for the 2000-2005. Such a range of ministry possibilities is not always supported in North American seminaries, but is appropriate for  a Friends school, given Friends' long-held belief in universal ministry, and allows ESR to serve Friends from all traditions as well as to appeal to a wide range of ecumenical students.

A second degree, the Master of Arts in Religion, is also offered by the school. While not lacking in spiritual grounding, this two-year degree is more focused upon research and writing. Concentrations are offered in the fields of Biblical Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Quaker Studies, and Theological Studies. This degree program prepares students for a range of options, including doctoral programs, teaching at secondary-level Quaker or other parochial schools, and employment with faith-based service organizations.

In 2001, the school introduced ESR Access, and has been a leader in distance education since that time.Designed to serve those students who desire an ESR education but for whom a move to Richmond is impossible, this program has the additional advantage of allowing persons to continue in their current ministries while studying. Though still a relatively young program, it already is attracting international interest.