Pastoral Accelerator Program

Beginning in the fall of 2021, and available now for sign up, a new degree path known as the Pastoral Accelerator Program will be available within the Barnett College of Ministry and Theology, Southeastern’s church partnership site network, and online. Through this program, students can earn both a bachelor’s degree in ministry and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) in as little as five years as opposed to the typical seven or eight.

The Pastoral Accelerator Program was made possible through a $2.1 million grant from The Kern Family Foundation, an organization that provides funding to faith-based institutions for the development of accelerated degree programs in the field of ministry and theology.

How Does the Pastoral Accelerator Program Work? 

On average, it takes about seven to eight years to earn both a bachelor’s and MDiv degree. The Pastoral Accelerator Program shortens this process with a 2+3 model. The undergraduate portion is designed to be completed in approximately two years and the work of the master’s degree in approximately three years. (These timeframes may vary based on the amount of general education credits completed and individual student progress.)

Several acceleration strategies allow this program to work. Ideally, students will enter the program with their general education requirements already completed, but may also earn additional credits online in the summer or by taking additional classes during the academic year. Students may also earn college credit by assessment when appropriate. 

Once the undergraduate requirements are fulfilled, students may be awarded up to 24 credit hours of advanced standing into the master’s program, saving them time and about $12,000 in tuition. The remaining 48 credit hours of the MDiv are split between one year of standard classes and a two-year residency at one of Southeastern’s high-impact church partner sites.

“We’ve developed degree plans to accommodate any student, no matter where they stand with credit hours,” said Dr. Mike Cuckler, executive director of the Pastoral Accelerator Program.

Courses Designed for Today’s Ministries

Many courses will be brand new, relevant, and focus on developing a theoretical foundation of biblical literacy, orthodox Judeo-Christian theology, and ministerial leadership. In addition, the coursework completed in residence will be highly experiential. Students will be fully immersed in their assigned church setting, gaining practical ministry experience and learning the best practices and strategies that correspond with their classes.

Every student in the program will also be enrolled in a virtual cohort, available through the MyFire portal. The virtual cohort will include interactive discussions, community development among students, and content from SEU President Kent Ingle and many other leaders from across the country.

“Our hope is the Pastoral Accelerator Program will become a premier ministry preparation degree delivered at SEU and throughout our partnership site network,” Cuckler said. “The program creates a truly integrated model of academic vitality and practical ministry experience, equipping students to be field-ready and employable upon graduation.”

How to Get Started

The Pastoral Accelerator Program is open to incoming, dual enrollment, and current students who attend SEU online, through a partner site, or on the Lakeland campus. Current students must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in ministry. 

Incoming/Dual Enrollment Students:

  1. Apply to SEU using the code ACCELERATE to waive your application fee
  2. Under Program of Study, choose your preferred bachelor’s level ministry degree
  3. Check “Yes” for the question “Are you interested in the Pastoral Accelerator Program?”
  4. Complete the rest of your application

If you’ve already applied to SEU, or forgot to check off the opt in box, please contact your admission counselor or email admission@seu.edu to join this program.

Current Students:

Ministry students who have not begun their major core classes should contact the Office of Advising at advising@seu.edu to discuss their eligibility to opt in to this program.  

Ministry students who have begun taking their core courses (typically juniors and seniors) may be eligible for advanced standing. Please contact Dr. Alan Ehler at ajehler@seu.edu

For more information about the Pastoral Accelerator Program, visit SEU.edu/PastoralAccelerator. 

The School of Divinity (graduate programs) within the Barnett College of Ministry & Theology at Southeastern University is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).


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Pastoral Accelerator Program
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