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Overview of Classes for Aspiring Clergy Members

Aspiring clergy members can take classes at various colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Many result in a master's degree, though undergraduate courses and programs are available as well. Areas of study for aspiring clergy members include religious studies, divinity and theology. Read on to learn more about courses for aspiring clergy members.

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Essential Information

Clergy refers to the formal leaders of certain religions, such as Christianity, Islam or Judaism. The requirements for becoming a clergy member differ not only from one religion to another, but also between denominations. Many Christian denominations require a Master of Divinity, doctorate in theology or similar type of graduate degree. However, some require only a certificate.

Here are some core concepts you'll see in clergy-related courses:

  • Major religions
  • Old and New Testament Biblical concepts
  • Morality and religion
  • Definitions of God
  • Religious text interpretation

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  • Divinity and Ministry Studies
  • PreTheology and PreMinisterial Studies
  • Rabbinical Studies
  • Talmudic Studies

List of Common Courses

Women and Religion Course

The roles of women throughout religious history and in different religions are covered in this course. Students also explore women in religious texts, as well as controversy surrounding women and religion. This course typically is found in the middle of undergraduate or graduate programs in religious studies.

Bible Study Course

The Christian Bible is the focus of this course, which is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students examine scripture, discuss interpretations of the Bible and study how Biblical teachings have been applied throughout history. They explore the Old Testament and its relation to the Jewish and Christian religions. The New Testament also is discussed, with students researching archaeological evidence related to its teachings.

Religious Ethics Course

The relationship of ethics to topics such as sexuality, marriage, war and family is discussed in this course. Students learn to apply religious ethics to daily life for purposes such as solving moral dilemmas and making decisions. This course is offered at all degree levels.

World Religions Course

This course may be offered at the undergraduate level as a general study of the main religions of the world. Students learn about different interpretations of the teachings and traditions of each religion. In graduate-level courses, major religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism Islam and Christianity, are often studied in-depth. Students explore definitions of God, fundamental beliefs of individual religions and various religious texts.

Foreign Language Course

At the graduate and postgraduate levels, students often take a foreign language course. Languages studied typically include French, German or Hebrew. Students become proficient in nouns and verbs, accents, sentence structure and grammar. By the end of this course, students should be able to read texts written in their chosen language.

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