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Princeton Theological Seminary

2020–2021 Catalogue

Two Hundred and Ninth Year
64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540

This catalogue is an account of the academic year 2019–2020 and an announcement of the proposed program for the 2020–2021 academic year. While it has been prepared based on the best information available at the time of publication, all information, including statements of fees, course offerings, and admission and graduation requirements, is subject to change without notice. This catalogue should not be construed as a contract between the Seminary and any potential, current, or former student or any third party. The projected programs for 2020–2021 are subject to change without notice and are in no way binding upon the Seminary. Tuition and fees listed herein cover the 2020–2021 academic year and are also subject to change in subsequent years without notice. At all times, Princeton Theological Seminary acts as permitted by law, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ancestry, sex, age, marital status, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability in its admission policies and educational programs. The associate dean for institutional diversity and community engagement (Multicultural Relations Office, Templeton Hall, 609.688.1941) has been designated to handle inquiries and grievances under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other federal nondiscrimination statutes.


Princeton Theological Seminary is accredited by the
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West
Philadelphia, PA 19104

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of
Theological Schools (ATS)

10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1110

The following degree programs are approved:

Princeton Theological Seminary is a member of the
American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR)
and the Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium (HTIC).

Princeton Theological Seminary is licensed by the State of New Jersey.

This catalogue is true and correct in content and policy.

©2020 Princeton Theological Seminary. All rights reserved as to text, drawings, and photographs. Republication in whole or part is prohibited. Princeton Theological Seminary, the Princeton Seminary Catalogue, and the logos of Princeton Theological Seminary are all trademarks of Princeton Theological Seminary.

Excerpts from Hugh T. Kerr, ed. Sons of the Prophets: Leaders in Protestantism from Princeton Seminary, copyright ©1963 by Princeton University Press, reprinted with permission.


Mission Statement

Princeton Theological Seminary prepares women and men to serve Jesus Christ in ministries marked by faith, integrity, scholarship, competence, compassion, and joy, equipping them for leadership worldwide in congregations and the larger church, in classrooms and the academy, and in the public arena.

A professional and graduate school related to the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Seminary stands within the Reformed tradition, affirming the sovereignty of the triune God over all creation, the gospel of Jesus Christ as God’s saving word for all people, the renewing power of the word and Spirit in all of life, and the unity of Christ’s servant church throughout the world. This tradition shapes the instruction, research, practical training, and continuing education provided by the Seminary, as well as the theological scholarship it promotes.

In response to Christ’s call for the unity of the church, the Seminary embraces in its life and work a rich racial and ethnic diversity and the breadth of communions represented in the worldwide church. In response to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit, the Seminary offers its theological scholarship in service to God’s renewal of the church’s life and mission. In response to God’s sovereign claim over all creation, the Seminary seeks to engage Christian faith with intellectual, political, and economic life in pursuit of truth, justice, compassion, and peace.

To these ends, the Seminary provides a residential community of worship and learning where a sense of calling is tested and defined, where Scripture and the Christian tradition are appropriated critically, where faith and intellect mature and lifelong friendships begin, and where habits of discipleship are so nourished that members of the community may learn to proclaim with conviction, courage, wisdom, and love the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord.

A Brief History

The establishment of The Theological Seminary at Princeton by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1812 marked a turning point in American theological education. Within the last quarter of the 18th century, all learning was of a piece and could be adequately taught and studied in the schools and colleges, nearly all of which were church-initiated. General education was also the context for professional studies in divinity, medicine, and the law. In the first quarter of the 19th century, professional training became disengaged from the college curriculum, medical and law schools were established, and 17 divinity schools and seminaries came into existence.

On the threshold of the 19th century, powerful elements in American life, both secular and religious, were forcing some radical changes in the older, more unitive education and intellectual climate. The emergence of scientific studies, the expansion of the college curriculum, new economic and social responsibilities associated with a democratic government, industrial development in the east and geographical movement toward the west — all such factors required the churches to reconsider their own mission and message.

There were also intramural conflicts within the churches. As the denominations multiplied, they became more self-conscious, polemical, and defensive. Local “parsons” found they were not always the undisputed intellectual “persons” in the community. The western migration created a sudden demand for ministers that could not be met under the old training programs, and the rough-and-ready people on the frontier were less exacting in their requirements for an educated ministry. Religious and theological tides in the meantime were running between deistical, rational influences and pietistic, revivalistic enthusiasm.

The plan to establish a theological seminary at Princeton was in the interests of advancing and extending the theological curriculum. It was not, as has sometimes been intimated, a sectarian withdrawal from secular university life. The educational intention was to go beyond the liberal arts course by setting up a post-graduate, professional school in theology. The plan met with enthusiastic approval on the part of authorities at the College of New Jersey, later to become Princeton University, for they were coming to see that specialized training in theology required more attention than they could give.

With fewer than a dozen students, Archibald Alexander was the only Seminary professor in 1812. He was joined the following year by a second professor, Samuel Miller, who came to Princeton from the pastorate of the Wall Street Church in New York. Though the faculty of the Seminary was as big (or as small) as at the College, it was a venture of faith bordering on the foolhardy to lay elaborate plans for the future.

To read back over the wording of the original “Design of the Seminary” is to perceive the early growth of the modern development in theological education in America — though the Princeton innovators were not at all thinking of breaking new ground except in the literal sense. They were prophetic enough, however, and among other things the “Design” noted that the purpose of the Seminary was to unite in those who shall sustain the ministerial office, religion and literature; that piety of the heart, which is the fruit only of the renewing and sanctifying grace of God, with solid learning; believing that religion without learning, or learning without religion, in the ministers of the gospel, must ultimately prove injurious to the church.

The dialectic suggested in the juxtaposition of piety and learning deserves some comment. It is an apt text for expounding the peculiar genius of Princeton Seminary and its view of theological education. The piety side of the formula stems from the accent on personal salvation, the experience of repentance and forgiveness, the Christian life of faith, justification, and sanctification, the reality of new selfhood in Jesus Christ, all of which can be traced to the roots of American religion, whether of the Puritan, Calvinist, Lutheran, Quaker, Wesleyan, or “left-wing” Reformation traditions. So it was that Princeton Seminary, as was true of most other divinity schools, deliberately defined itself as a school of “that piety of the heart,” a training center for church leaders of all sorts, which specialized in preaching, the cure of souls, evangelism, and missions. To be sure, there were many at Princeton unsympathetic with much of the methodology of the new pietism and revivalism; but regarding the religious goals interpreted as personal salvation, “the fruit only of the renewing and sanctifying grace of God,” there was unanimity between thumping revivalists and proper Princetonians.

The other side of the piety-learning formula was equally important for the founders of the Seminary. The new institution was never described as a Protestant monastery or retreat, a place distinguished mainly for prayer and meditation. It was to be a school with teachers and students, library and books, ideas of the mind as well as convictions of the heart, all in the service of “solid learning.” The Reformed tradition, to which Princeton Seminary was and is committed, has always magnified intellectual integrity of the faith. Theology has been a highly respected word on the campus. Systems and structures of thought, reflection on the meaning and application of the faith, clarity of expression, and precision of definition — these are recognized norms for theological thinking.

The Seminary has been served by a remarkable succession of eminent presidents. Francis Landey Patton (1902–1913) came to the Seminary after serving as president of Princeton University. J. Ross Stevenson (1914–1936) guided the Seminary through some turbulent years and expanded the institution’s vision and program. John A. Mackay (1936–1950) strengthened the faculty, enlarged the campus, and created a new ecumenical era for theological education. James I. McCord (1959–1983), whose presidency saw the institution of the first center of continuing education at a theological seminary, the establishment of endowment for 26 faculty chairs, and the construction or renovation of major campus residences and academic facilities, gave leadership to both the national and world church through denominational and ecumenical councils.

Thomas W. Gillespie (1983–2004), a pastor-scholar, gave leadership to the Presbyterian Church (USA) nationally through its Committee on Theological Education. He made faculty development and increasing the diversity of the Seminary community priorities, added endowed chairs, effected a partnership between the Seminary and the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, led in a major building program of renovation and new construction, and oversaw the founding of major new Seminary programs, including the Institute for Youth Ministry, the Center for Barth Studies, and the Joe R. Engle Institute of Preaching.

Iain R. Torrance (2004–2012) came to Princeton Seminary from Scotland, where he served as a parish minister, was a chaplain in Britain’s armed forces, a chaplain-in-ordinary to HM the Queen in Scotland, and taught at Queen’s College, Birmingham, the University of Birmingham, and Aberdeen University, where he was professor of patristics and Christian ethics and dean of the faculty of arts and divinity. In 2003 he was elected moderator of the Church of Scotland. As president of Princeton Seminary, he led a major curriculum review and revision of the Master of Divinity program, supported the use of technology in administrative and academic areas in providing access to the Seminary’s resources by scholars and churches around the world. Under his leadership, the Seminary initiated an Office of Multicultural Relations to lead the Seminary community in addressing issues of inclusion, respect, and understanding among the many cultures and perspectives represented within the community. During his presidency, the Board of Trustees initiated a major capital campaign to build a new library and new campus apartments for student families.

M. Craig Barnes became the Seminary’s seventh president in January 2013. Prior to his appointment, he was on the faculty of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and pastor and head of staff of Shadyside Presbyterian Church. He is widely respected as a preacher and pastor and has written nine books on ministry. He is deeply committed to the theological formation of pastors to lead the church in changing times.

Affiliated from the beginning with the Presbyterian Church and the wider Reformed tradition, Princeton Theological Seminary is today a denominational school with an ecumenical, interdenominational, and worldwide constituency. This is reflected in the faculty, in the curriculum of studies, and in the student body.

Worship Life

Worship enriches the spiritual and communal life of Princeton Theological Seminary and all who gather here to study, teach, and serve. More than 200 years ago the founders of the Seminary wrote that Princeton Seminary should be a place that unites the “piety of the heart…with solid learning.” To this end, worship in Miller Chapel remains both an extension of and a complement to learning in Stuart Hall.

During the fall and spring semesters, when classes are in session, the community gathers Monday through Friday to worship. The sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated on Fridays. During summer language courses, the community gathers midweek for worship. Special services are held throughout the year. The president leads in worship weekly, and other daily chapel services are led by our students, faculty, and administration.

The worship life of the chapel is coordinated by the minister of the chapel and the director of music under the supervision of the president of the Seminary. The Directory for Worship of the Presbyterian Church (USA) provides a guideline for the ordering of worship. However, we encourage and welcome worship leadership and participation from the broad range of faith traditions that we find within the Seminary community. This adds to the rich texture of worship life here at Princeton Seminary and reflects the diversity of Christ’s church in the world. The ministry of the chapel is also enriched by the chapel office program and publications manager, student chapel assistants, and sextons who prepare the space and provide hospitality for worship and special events.

Statement of Educational Effectiveness

Princeton Theological Seminary is a school dedicated to forming women and men in service to Jesus Christ for leadership in changing churches and to serving as an unsurpassed resource for Reformed theology worldwide.

The Seminary engages in ongoing evaluation of its educational effectiveness which, as an institution of the PC(USA), is measured in part through: 1) graduation rates, 2) completion rates, 3) PC(USA) ordination exam pass rates, 4) student's rating of effectiveness in preparation with primary areas of the core curriculum, and 5) placement.

1) Graduation rate for 2018-2019 class: 95% for Master of Divinity, 100% for Master of Arts in Christian Education and Formation, 94% for Master of Arts (Theological Studies), 100% for Master of Theology (ThM), and 64% for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

2) Completion rates for the 2018–2019 graduating class:

  • 82% of the Master of Divinity (MDiv) graduates completed the degree in three years and 18% in four years.
  • 83% of the Master of Theology (ThM) graduates completed the degree in one year, 9% in two years, 4% in three years, and 4% in five years.
  • 50% of the Master of Arts in Christian Education and Formation (MACEF) graduates completed the degree in two years, 25% in three years, and 25% in four years.
  • 100% of the Master of Arts (Theological Studies) graduates completed the degree in two years.
  • 44% of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) graduates completed the degree in five years and 56% in six or more years.

3) PC(USA) 2018 ordination exam pass rates for Princeton Theological Seminary students:

  • Biblical Exegesis: 78% (national average: 67%)
  • Theological Competence: 91% (national average: 80%)
  • Worship and Sacraments: 93% (national average: 76%)
  • Polity: 90% (national average: 72%)

4) 2019 graduating MDiv students’ rating of educational effectiveness in facilitating skills in the primary areas of the core curriculum as reported on the ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire (Average rating based on a 5-point scale: 1-Not at all effective, 2-Not very effective, 3-Somewhat effective, 4-Effective, 5-Very Effective):

  • Ability to think theologically: 4.1
  • Ability to use and interpret Scripture: 3.8
  • Ability to relate social issues to faith: 4.1
  • Knowledge of church history and doctrine: 3.8
  • Ability to preach well: 3.8
  • Ability to work effectively with women and men: 4.0
  • Ability to relate social issues to faith: 4.1
  • Knowledge of Christian philosophy and ethics: 3.8

5) Placement information for various graduating classes:

MDiv and ThM Graduates

  • Placement for the 2017-2018 graduating MDiv, dual, and MA students who have reported to the Placement Office: 60% in Vocational church ministry placement, 2% in non-church placement, 14% on to further study, 9% seeking placement, and 14% unknown.
    • Church ministry: pastor (senior/associate/youth/campus), Christian education director
    • Non-church ministry: chaplain (college/hospital/military), teacher at a Christian school
  • Princeton Theological Seminary MDiv and ThM graduates have been accepted into PhD programs at institutions such as Duke Divinity School, Eastern University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton University, Rutgers University, University of Aberdeen, University of Edinburgh, University of North Carolina, University of Notre Dame, University of Toronto, Vanderbilt Divinity School, Yale University, and others.

PhD Graduates

  • Placement for PhD graduates from 2010–2017: 67% in higher education faculty positions, 18% in professional clergy/ministry positions, 4% in post-doctoral fellowships, 5% in other professional positions (private and nonprofit enterprises, higher education administration), and 6% unknown.
  • Princeton Theological Seminary PhD graduates are serving at institutions such as Azusa Pacific University, Candler School of Theology, Columbia Theological Seminary, Drew University, Duke Divinity School, Episcopal Divinity School, Harvard University, Iliff School of Theology, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary (Seoul, Korea), Princeton Theological Seminary, Seattle Pacific University, Seigakuin University (Japan), Seminário Teológico Batista do Nordeste (Brazil), Taiwan Theological College and Seminary, Tokyo Christian University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Union Presbyterian Seminary, University of Chicago Divinity School, University of Edinburgh, University of Geneva (Switzerland), University of Munich, University of Notre Dame, Villanova University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Wheaton College, Yale Divinity School, Yonsei University (Seoul, Korea), and others.

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