CDSP campus

General Questions

Is an undergraduate degree required for admission?
Yes. We do not admit students without undergraduate degrees except in rare occasions.

If you do not possess an undergraduate degree, the Director of Admissions can counsel you on accredited schools and other information that may lead to obtaining an undergraduate degree.

What’s the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), and how does it work?
The GTU is an internationally-known consortium of nine Bay Area seminaries and various affiliates, located in or near Berkeley. Together, the consortium offers over 750 courses to its students each year, and access to the expertise of around 126 faculty members and scholars. CDSP students frequently enroll in courses offered by other GTU schools. The GTU provides the opportunity for students to simultaneously obtain a solid grounding in their own tradition while broadening their horizons within an ecumenical setting. This allows for and invites a diverse and rewarding seminary experience.

All students share the GTU library (one of the top four theological libraries in the country), containing more than 400,000 volumes of books and other works. In addition, students have lending privileges at the University of California, Berkeley libraries and Stanford University collections.

Is the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) required for admission?
The GRE is required for the Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies programs unless you hold a masters or doctoral degree. CDSP's minimum score expectation is 550 Verbal, 5 Analytical Writing.

The GRE is required for the Certificate of Theological Studies/Certificate of Anglican studies programs unless this condition is met:

  • Possession of a masters or doctoral degree

The GRE General Test is used by the CDSP Admissions Committee as a gauge to help determine academic aptitude for graduate school. The GRE is a very common test used by many graduate schools in the United States. The test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills.

The CDSP Admissions Committee evaluates all parts of the application equally when making admissions decisions. The scores are not an exclusive factor in the admissions process, but are balanced with other parts of the application (essays, interviews, transcripts and references).

Please visit the Educational Testing Service for information on the GRE.

Is the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) required for international applicants?
Please read Frequently Asked Questions for International Students for more information on the TOEFL.

What is a typical course load for a full-time student?
Full-time students typically enroll in four, three-unit courses per semester.

Can I attend part-time? How long does it take to complete a degree/program?
CDSP’s degree and certificate programs may be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis. Listed below are the number of years required for each program, if pursuing full-time study:

  • Master of Divinity: three years
  • Master of Arts: two years
  • Master of Arts/Master of Divinity (concurrent): four years
  • Master of Theological Studies: two years
  • Certificate of Anglican Studies: one year
  • Certificate of Theological Studies: one year
  • Doctor of Ministry: three years

Please note that there are upper limits for completing each program; please see the Director of Admissions for more details.

Do you have a course catalog?
Yes. View the online, searchable course catalog. You can search for CDSP courses there, as well as courses at other GTU seminaries. You can search by seminary, semester year, subject and other options.
Specific curriculum requirements are located in the CDSP catalog under “Academic Programs.”  

Do I have to be an Episcopalian or Anglican to enroll at CDSP?
No. Although many of our students are Episcopalian, others come from a variety of faith and cultural backgrounds.

Is CDSP only for people who want to be priests?
No. Theological education is for everyone. Although many of our students enter seminary with the intention of pursuing ordination, we have several options for those wishing to pursue theological education for personal and professional interests, including certificate and Masters’ programs, and online courses.

What does CDSP do to encourage diversity?
CDSP strives to be welcoming to students regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, political convictions, physical ability, and age. We are on a continuing journey to learn how best to do this, and how the community can become transformed by encounters with each other.

CDSP has welcomed students from many different backgrounds, including African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Korean, and Filipino. We can also accommodate students with physical disabilities.  The gender ratio is about half female and half male, but that varies from year to year. CDSP does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, ethnic origin, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or age.

What’s an average class size/incoming class size/age/size of the student population?
The average incoming class size numbers between 25-35 and the entire student body varies between 100 and 135. Our students range from age from the 20s to the 70s. Students come from states across the U.S. and several foreign countries. 

Classroom sizes vary from five to 45, depending on enrollment requirements, type of class (seminar or lecture), and class level (introductory, intermediate and advanced).

Does CDSP have night and weekend classes?
CDSP has a limited number of evening classes. Some night and weekend classes are also available through the GTU consortium. It is not possible to complete a degree program exclusively through evening or weekend classes.

Campus/Student Life

I can only attend part-time. What’s that like at CDSP?
Attending part-time is a good and sometimes necessary option for a variety of reasons, including work, family and financial obligations. Generally speaking, part-time students take longer to graduate and need to be very intentional about incorporating themselves into fellowship and community life, mostly because they either live off-campus or have time constraints not experienced by full-time students.

I plan on commuting to CDSP. Do you have many commuter students? What services do you offer for commuters?
Commuter students comprised 58% of CDSP’s student population in fall 2007. As with part-time students, commuter students face unique challenges when incorporating themselves into community and fellowship life. CDSP is aware of this situation, and works hard to provide special services to commuter students.

Commuter students have their own lounge, complete with resting areas, cubicles, cooking facilities and other amenities. Additionally, our Dean of Students recently held a weekly series of conversations about the specific needs of commuter students, staff, and faculty. The result was an active listserv, where commuters share ideas and discuss issues such as traffic, childcare, fellowship and distance learning. Other initiatives are being researched.

What kind of housing options does CDSP offer?
CDSP has two types of housing: dorms and apartments. Parsons Hall, our dormitory, contains single-room housing along with two kitchens, shared bathrooms, and a common room.

Nichols Hall Apartments is our campus apartment building, and is generally reserved for students with families. There are 21 units, ranging from one- to four-bedrooms, all within two blocks of the campus.

For detailed information on housing rates, contact the Admissions Office at admissions@cdsp.edu.

I want to bring my family. Where can I find information on childcare, schools, and other services?

You can find information on local schools through the Berkeley Parents Network. The BPN is an excellent resource for all sorts of parent-to-parent advice, including reviews and recommendations for childcare, schools, housing, playgroups and other services.

What worship opportunities are there at CDSP?
CDSP holds regular worship services at All Saints Chapel during the academic year at our campus worship space, All Saints Chapel. Services include but are not limited to the following:

  • Morning Prayer at 7:30 a.m., M-F
  • Holy Eucharist at 11:30 a.m., M, T,  F
  • Holy Eucharist at 5:45 p.m. on Thursdays (this is followed by dinner and Community Night, one of our main fellowship events)
  • Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m., M,T,W,F

CDSP uses Rite I, Rite II, Enriching Our Worship and occasionally liturgies from elsewhere in the Anglican Communion. Additionally, we also have multilingual services, joint services with the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, and other worship opportunities throughout the year.

Top of PageDegree/Program QuestionsDegree/Program Questions

Degree/Program Questions

a. Certificates

I'm not sure what the difference is between your two certificate programs. How do I decide which one is the better fit for me?
The Certificate of Theological Studies (CTS) is designed for students wishing to pursue graduate theological education without pursuing a degree. The program has a great deal of flexibility, and is a great opportunity for people to experience a few classes without the requirements and time commitment of a degree program.

The CTS may also be used as part of a diocesan program for ministry development and/or discernment; in that case, CDSP will work closely with your diocese to create a curriculum that meets local needs.

The Certificate of Anglican Studies (CAS) is a one-year certificate program focused on Anglican Studies, including history, theology and ethics, liturgics and pastoral studies (including homiletics).

CAS is a good option for those already possessing an MDiv from a seminary of another denomination and who wish to pursue special study of the Anglican tradition. It may also be appropriate for people seeking ordination under special canonical provisions of the Episcopal Church.

For more information on program discernment and certificates, please email the Admissions Office at admissions@cdsp.edu. You can also contact the Admissions Office at 510-204-0715.

b. Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Do I have to be in the ordination process to pursue the MDiv?
No, but please know that the seminary will routinely notify an applicant’s bishop of that person’s MDiv application. Applicants considering ordination are encouraged to get in touch with their diocese to find out about particular policies regarding the timing of seminary applications in relation to admission to postulancy.

I want to be a priest. Is the MDiv the only requirement for priesthood?
No. Episcopal clergy (priests and deacons) must be ordained by the Episcopal Church, and the ordination process is often parallel but separate from seminary. Please contact your diocese for more details.

I’m ordained in another denomination, and want to be ordained in the Episcopal Church. Do I need to take the MDiv all over again?
Please contact your diocese and/or bishop regarding specific ordination requirements for those who are already ordained in another tradition.

Many ordained clergy apply to the Certificate of Anglican Studies program. This is a one-year program focusing on Anglican history, theology and ethics, liturgics, and pastoral studies (including homiletics).

c. Master of Arts (MA)

How does the MA program work?
The MA is offered by the GTU. That means you must apply for the program through the GTU, rather than through CDSP. MA students choose a special field for the MA, or area of concentration. They also choose one seminary as their “home base,” that is, their advisor is a professor at that seminary and a significant number of their classes may be taken there.

CDSP offers MA specializations in the following fields: Art and Religion, Biblical Studies, Christian Spirituality, Ethics and Social Theory/Religion and Society, History, Homiletics, Liturgical Studies and Systematic and Philosophical Theology.

When a student applies to the MA program, their application (provided it meets all GTU criteria) is sent to the student’s first seminary affiliation preference. The Admissions Committee then discerns whether the applicant is a good candidate, and determines if there is an advisor available for that student. If the answer to both questions is yes, then the student is accepted at that seminary. If not, the application is passed onto the second seminary of choice.

For more information on the MA program, please review the GTU’s website at www.gtu.edu; or email GTU Admissions.

Can I pursue concurrent MA/MDiv programs?
Concurrent MA/MDiv programs are indeed possible. No less than four full years of coursework, or its part-time equivalent, are required to complete both programs.

Typically, students take courses which count towards both programs through the four years and pay two years of MA tuition, and two years of MDiv tuition. Application to the two programs may be made concurrently or sequentially after having begun one of the programs. However, a student must apply and be admitted to the second program before completing the requirements of the first.

Separate admissions processes are necessary, as is the completion of all requirements for each program. MA applications are made through the GTU, as mentioned above, and the MDiv through CDSP. There are separate application deadlines for both.

For more information on concurrent MA/MDiv programs, including deadlines and application procedures, please visit the Admissions web page.

I’m an Episcopalian/Anglican, but CDSP does not offer an MA in my field. What should I do?
Not a problem. That’s one of the great things about the GTU, actually; you can take classes at all the seminaries, regardless of your “home base” for your studies. You can and are encouraged to find the seminary that is the best fit for your field and area of interest.

Should you find yourself affiliated with another school, you are welcome to worship with us at all times, and share fellowship over meals and events such as Community Night. Please see the FAQ on worship opportunities.

Admissions Process

Please describe the CDSP admissions process.
Applicants must submit a complete application in order to be considered for admission to CDSP. A complete application includes: application, application fee, essay(s), transcripts for all college work; GRE (unless a waiver is requested); TOEFL (international applicants only); three letters of reference (one of which must come from an ordained person), and a bishop’s letter (MDiv and CAS applicants only). This letter is sent to the applicant’s bishop by CDSP, asking for comments on his/her capacity for ministry and graduate education.

Completed applications become the property of CDSP, and are part of the student’s permanent CDSP record. The only exceptions are reference letters and email correspondence, which are shredded after enrollment.

a. Transcripts and Reference Letters
Applicants are encouraged to request that transcripts and reference letters be sent directly to CDSP to avoid delays in the application process. Please have all materials sent directly to the Admissions Office (2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA, 94709-1217). It is the applicants’ responsibility to make sure references and transcripts arrive at the seminary.

To the Recommender:   Education at CDSP is geared primarily for Christian Ministry, both lay and ordained, in its great variety of forms. On a separate sheet, please indicate the context in which you have come to know the applicant and give a realistic appraisal of the applicant, including both strengths and weaknesses as you see them. In writing your reference, please consider the following:  1) emotional and social maturity; 2) academic/scholarly aptitude for graduate study; 3) imagination and openness to new ideas; 4) attitude toward authority; 5) potential for leadership.   Please send all references to admissions@cdsp.edu or by regular mail to Admissions Committee, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 2451 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709-1211.

b. Financial Aid and Housing Applications
Financial aid and housing applications are separate from the admissions application. For housing applications, please contact our housing office at 510-204-0700. For financial aid applications, please email finaid@gtu.edu. You can also contact them at 510-649-2469. For housing applications, please email the Admissions Office at admissions@cdsp.edu. You can also contact the Admissions Office at 510-204-0715.

The application deadline for financial aid and housing is March 1 for the fall semester and November 1 for the spring semester. Please complete applications on or before these dates if you want top consideration for both.

In addition to grant-in-aid (please see “Finances” for more information), there are a limited number of scholarships available through CDSP. There is no application process; rather, a Scholarship Committee awards scholarships to top candidates applying to CDSP on or before April 1. If you want top consideration for a scholarship, please apply by that date.

c. Interviews and Admissions Procedures
On-campus interviews by a faculty member, current student and the Dean of Students are required for MDiv and MTS applicants. Interviews are normally scheduled once all of the applicant’s materials have been received by the Admissions Office. Phone interviews can be scheduled in rare cases, but we strongly encourage applicants to make an on-campus visit. A visit helps both parties to get to know each other better by sharing meals, participating in worship, classes and community events.

All application files are reviewed by an Admissions Committee consisting of faculty members, the Director of Admissions, the Dean of Students, and current students. Application files may contain not only the completed application, but also any email correspondence and supplementary material received by the Admissions Office. The Admissions Committee bases its decisions on the applicant’s vocational, emotional and academic readiness for seminary, and all decisions are final and confidential.

Once the admissions decision is reached, the applicant is notified by a formal letter from the chairperson of the admissions committee. If offered admission, the applicant is strongly encouraged to notify the Admissions Office as soon as possible about their intentions in order to secure housing and/or financial aid.

d. Deferrals
Applicants can defer admission for one year after acceptance without submitting another application. You will need to notify us via email or in writing about your decision and provide a transcript of academic work completed in the interim.

e. Denials
Applicants denied admission to CDSP can re-apply at a later date. Due to the confidentiality of admissions decisions, detailed explanations of admission decisions are not provided.

Those wishing to re-apply will need to complete a separate application package, including new reference letters. Transcripts previously provided may be used for a re-application made within three years. Transcripts for all new academic work completed must be provided.

Finances (Tuition & Financial Aid)

Finances (Tuition, Financial Aid, $ Cost of Attendance)

What are CDSP’s tuition rates?
Tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year for the Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies and Certificate programs is $700 per unit, or $16,800 per year for full-time study.  Tuition for the Common Master of Arts is $650 per credit unit. More information.

Do you have financial aid?
Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. Scholarships are awarded based on merit. Grants are awarded based on need. The actual amount received for both is based on the demonstrated need on your financial aid application, or FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). CDSP has several scholarships available, including one for women in ministry, minority and parish ministry scholarships.

You must apply for financial aid in order to be eligible for all scholarships. You can download a financial aid application here. You can also contact the CDSP Financial Aid Office at finaid@cdsp.edu.

You can and are encouraged to apply for financial aid before being offered admission to CDSP. Please note that the financial aid application deadline is March 1 for the fall semester, and November 1 for the spring semester. The financial aid application is separate from the admissions application.

What is the full cost of attendance?
You can download a projected complete cost of attendance, inclusive of books, housing, food, healthcare, etc. here.

Online/Distance Learning/Auditing

Do you offer distance education?

Yes.  Residential and low-residence programs are both offered.  The length of the residential program is three years full time, but not more than six years part-time, including internship and leaves of absence. The low-residence program is designed to be completed by a part-time student in a minimum of four academic years, including four June intensives and four January intensives. Learn more about the requirements for our low-residence programs here.

Does CDSP offer the opportunity to audit courses?
Through CDSP’s Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL), one can sit in on some CDSP courses as a not-for-credit auditor. In addition, CALL offers some online courses which carry Continuing Education units (CEUs). Note: neither the CALL online courses norwork done as a not-for-credit auditor can be credited toward regular academic programs at CDSP.

For more information on auditing courses and continuing education, please review CALL’s webpage or email call@cdsp.edu.

Transfer Credit

Can I transfer credit from current or previous university work?
Yes, in some cases. Coursework to be credited toward a CDSP program must be completed on the graduate level and cannot have been counted toward another completed academic program. For instance, if you completed an MA, coursework used to fulfill requirements for that cannot be applied to another degree program. If you did not complete the MA, then transfer credit may be an option.

Transfer credit situations are unique, so it is a good idea to discuss your plans to transfer coursework well ahead of beginning study at CDSP. To do so, please contact our Registrar, Andrew Rorabaugh, and discuss your situation with him. Please contact him at arorabaugh@cdsp.edu, or by calling 510-204-0753.

 Visiting the Campus/Interviews

Visiting the Campus/Interviews

How do I arrange a campus visit?
CDSP welcomes all visitors, and encourages everyone to visit a few classes, worship, share a meal, and join us in fellowship and student life. Free lodging is usually provided at either our guest house or a nearby hotel, and meals are provided free of charge in our refectory.

Typical visits begin with a friendly greeting and chat with one of our Admissions representatives. This is followed by a campus tour, classroom visits, worship, lunch or dinner in the refectory, and other fellowship opportunities.

We particularly encourage visiting on Thursday for Community Night. Community Night is an informal get-together with students, staff, faculty and their families, and usually includes music and other fun activities. It’s a great chance to get to know us, and to experience student life in an informal atmosphere.

To arrange a visit, please contact CDSP at admissions@cdsp.edu, or at 510-204-0715.

Are interviews required for admission?
Interviews are required for all MDiv and MTS applicants. Interviews are encouraged for all certificate applicants. While most interviews are held on-campus, phone interviews can also be arranged under special circumstances.

There are three interviews: one by a faculty member, a student and the Dean of Students. Interviews consist of questions about academic and emotional readiness, vocational/study interests, and any special questions you have regarding seminary life.

Do you have Prospective Student Days?
Yes! See CDSP! for more details.

Request More Information

Where can I get more information on CDSP and admissions?
We’ll be happy to help you with any questions about CDSP. We can be reached by the following methods:

  1. E-mail admissions@cdsp.edu
  2. Phone 510-204-0715
  3. Regular mail
    Church Divinity School of the Pacific
    Admissions Office
    2451 Ridge Road
    Berkeley, CA 94709-1211


Transcript Requests

How can I request transcripts from CDSP?
Download a transcript request form and follow the instructions contained in it.

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