Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies


Who Should Consider the Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies?

The Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies (GCTS) is a program of study designed for students who wish to achieve a basic introduction to the major theological disciplines. The GCTS is ideal for lay persons that wish to better prepare themselves for ministry in the local church, complement professional careers, or to challenge themselves towards deeper intellectual and spiritual growth. This program is taught at the Master’s level and requires a student to have finished their Bachelor’s degree. The GCTS is designed to be completed in two years part-time or one year full-time.


What Will I Study?

Ministry Formation Studies
Spiritual Formation (3 credits)
Biblical Studies Interpreting the Old Testament or Interpreting the New Testament (3 credits)
Theological & Philosophical Studies Introduction to Theological Studies (3 credits)
  Philosophy for Theology (3 credits)
  Introduction to Christian Ethics or In Search of Biblical Justice
  or Theology Elective (3 credits)
Historical & Cultural Studies Global Church History or Global Christianity & World Religions (3 credits)

  18 Total Credit hours*

*New curriculum requirements as of the 2019-20 Academic Catalog


What is the Spiritual Formation Focus?

An essential aspect of fulfilling Leland’s mission to “equip transformational leaders for the global ministry of Jesus Christ” is nurturing spiritual growth in students. Leland seeks to provide a structure and atmosphere that helps students to have the support and accountability necessary for both individual and corporate spiritual growth. Like anything, building community that encourages this kind of growth takes time and intentionality. To this end, Leland has set in place specific requirements for our students.

Spiritual Formation Class – GCTS students are required to take the Spiritual Formation class during their first semester at Leland. Besides acquainting students with basic aspects of the history and practice of Christian spiritual formation, this class will provide a model for practicing spiritual disciplines within the context of a covenanted small group.

Covenant Groups – In subsequent semesters, GCTS students may participate (as an auditor) in a covenant group comprised of 4-7 other graduate students, which will meet seven times during the semester. The group typically reads a spiritual classic together and encourages one another in their spiritual practices. Auditors must commit to following the group covenant.

Community Life Events – GCTS students are also asked to contribute to and benefit from the broader Leland community by participating in at least two required community life events each semester (or four per year). These events include the all-school gatherings that inaugurate each semester, Advent and Lent worship services, Theological Society meetings, and the Graduation ceremony.


What are the Admissions Requirements?

The John Leland Center for Theological Studies is committed to providing equal opportunity for all student applicants without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability. The decision for admission rests with the Admissions Committee. Admission into the Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies program is based on the following considerations:

  1. Attested commitment to the Christian faith manifested by a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, membership and participation in a church and recommendation from Christian leaders.
  2. Attested commitment to ministry indicated by a written statement of vocational or ministry objectives and church endorsement.
  3. Demonstrated academic ability by a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from a recognized institution with an overall grade point (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  4. Attested moral character evidenced by a life consistent with Christian principles and recommendations from Christian friends and leaders.

See Our Admissions Process for a more detailed description of the application process.



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GCTS In A Nutshell

Credit Hours: 18

Vocational Focus: Lay ministry in church or professional setting, foundation for further study in a Leland master’s degree program

Curricular Focus: Basic introduction to the major theological disciplines. Fully transferable into all Leland master’s programs.

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1306 N. Highland St.
Arlington, VA 22201

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