United Methodist elders must receive a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) from a United Methodist seminary, or a seminary approved by the Church. Seminary studies must include the following Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS) courses:
- Old Testament
- New Testament
- Church History
- Mission of the Church in the World
- United Methodist Doctrine, Polity, and History
Up to two-thirds of coursework taken in seminary may be taken online.
United Methodist deacons must also complete the bulleted list above but have three options for the remainder of their educational requirements.
After completing all educational requirements, candidates for ordination who wish to become elders must serve as a provisional member for at least two (2) years. Provisional membership is a residency program designed by your annual conference.
After residency is complete and all requirements are met, provisional members may be ordained.