Union Theological Seminary Academics


Special Study Opportunities


Credit for Master's-Level Directed Private Study

Directed private study (Guided Reading 401 courses) may, with the consent of the professor and the approval of the registrar, be pursued for up to three points of elective credit in any semester for M.Div., M.A., and S.T.M. candidates. The professor will, after consultation with the student, set up the program of study and, before the end of the semester, ascertain through examination or the student's papers that the project has been satisfactorily completed.

Guided reading or directed private study cannot be a substitute for a required course and is not to be seen as an alternative means for pursuing studies normally available in regular academic courses. To request it, the student must be sure (1) there is no other provision for it, (2) an ability to pursue specialized work at an advanced level has been acquired in the field of inquiry through previous courses, (3) there is a commitment to fulfill study requirements proportionate to those of a regular course, i.e., at least 45 hours of study per semester for each point of credit. Those interested should outline in writing the content and objectives of the study for evaluation at a conference with the professor chosen to direct the project.

Credit for Tutorial Work or Student-Initiated Courses

Subject to the agreement of the professor concerned and the approval of the appropriate curricular field or department as well as of the Academic Policy Committee, a small group of students may arrange to study, for elective credit only, some special subject under a professor's tutorial direction. The students will submit their proposal to the Academic Office and to the professor concerned not later than the middle of the semester prior to the term in which the study is to take place. The proposal will set forth course aims, a proposed syllabus and reading list. Normally the study will be for one or two credits only. A member of the faculty must act as sponsor of the course or tutorial and be willing to participate fully in its sessions and activities. By agreeing to sponsor the student-initiated course, the professor consents to assist in planning and conducting the course and accepts responsibility for evaluating and grading the work of the students.

The January Intersession

The month of January is used as a short study term between semesters called the January Intersession. The Biblical Field offers an intensive introductory language course during the January Intersession. Other departments and fields may offer courses as well. Students are encouraged to use this period for reading programs, to pursue research, or to enroll in the courses offered at Union or approved institutions. Reading programs with members of the faculty or other work taken for credit must be approved prior to registration by the dean of academic administration. Degree candidates enrolled at Union in both the first and second semesters pay no additional tuition for intersession courses unless taken at non-consortium schools. Other students must pay for courses at the current per point tuition rate. All students taking work in the January Intersession must enroll in the Registrar's Office on the registration date given in the academic calendar for intersession.

Two-week travel-study seminars are sometimes arranged during January Intersession as courses in the curriculum, sometimes in cooperation with outside organizations. Some financial assistance may be available. Students must enroll with the registrar in advance in order for credits to be earned.

Study Abroad

The Seminary sometimes approves requests from Union degree candidates for permission to study abroad. Such study may earn academic credit toward requirements for Union degrees if approved in advance by the dean of academic administration. Students must be in good academic standing to be considered. Those engaged in studies that involve overseas travel will be required to have health insurance coverage comparable to that available under seminary auspices. The Seminary can not accept responsibility for mishaps or accidents of any kind while a student is traveling or studying abroad. For information, contact the registrar.

Once the study is approved, the student will register and pay tuition to Union on a full-time basis for the semester spent abroad. The Seminary will then be responsible for the student's normal tuition fees at the host institution. Students must themselves provide for their living expenses.

Summer Reading

A credit of one point toward the M.A. or M.Div. may be allowed for a discriminating report on the reading of five or more books, during the summer or any semester when the student is out of residence, either in one field or selected from several departments of theological study. Students who wish to secure this credit should select the books they plan to read and submit the list for approval and advice to the member of the faculty who will direct the reading. A written report on the reading must be presented through the Registrar's Office at the opening of the fall semester.

Pastors on Study Leave

By special arrangement, a limited number of pastors may enroll in courses for periods of up to one full semester. Contact the admissions office for more information. The Masland Fellowships, described in the section on Financial Aid, can provide funds for parish ministers on study leave who have been admitted as students to Union Seminary.

Resident Programs in New York City at Auburn

The Auburn-Union Program of Continuing Education provides opportunities for clergy and laity to study with skilled teachers and resource persons from Union Seminary, Auburn Seminary, and other institutions. All study groups require advance preparation, intensive work during the sessions, and a project to be carried out in the home setting of each participant. Write to Auburn Seminary for a schedule of the courses to be offered during the academic year and summer, or visit the Auburn website.

©Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York

3041 Broadway at 121st Street, New York, NY 10027 | Tel: (212) 662-7100