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New 5-year BA and MDiv gets students through faster with less debt

Calvary University is announcing the latest development in their academic program: A 5-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Master of Divinity (MDiv). While traditionally, an MDiv takes three years of study after the completion of a four-year BA, this program compacts the seven years into five.

Calvary’s Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Teddy Bitner, explained that most MDiv programs assume the incoming student does not have a biblical background, so there is a lot of redundancy between a Bible college degree and an MDiv, especially for Pastoral Studies majors. The new program identifies the overlapping courses and eliminates the undergraduate equivalents so students, can, according to Bitner, “cut out hours and compress the timeline.”

The program requires 163 hours and has enough space for an undergraduate minor in Biblical Counseling or Business. Bitner said this is an innovation. None of the other 5-year programs he studied offered room for a minor. Students in the 5-year track work through their General Education courses the first two years before advancing to higher level courses.

The 5-year plan enables students to get through the program faster, get into ministry faster, and in doing so save money on tuition. Due to the intense nature of the program, applying students will be vetted by Bible and Theology and Ministry Studies faculty.

Five-year masters programs are not entirely new to academia. Bitner explained that Calvary did thorough checking with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) which confirmed that a large enough number of schools have incorporated the plan. It has become a broadly accepted practice.

Bitner pointed out that the new track would strengthen Calvary’s academic program and help students get into the field sooner to pursue ministry. “We want to reinforce the importance of a biblical foundation for ministry,” he said, “which is not always the case in other institutions anymore, especially in areas of languages. So we are becoming more and more unique.”

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