OCU/Saint Paul agreement means less debt for seminarians
A historic agreement that creates a new pathway to fulfill the academic requirements for ordained ministry was signed in November by Presidents Robert Henry of Oklahoma City University and Neil Blair of Saint Paul School of Theology.
The new path, called "3+3," permits students to enroll at OCU for their undergraduate studies and then transition to seminary studies at Saint Paul School of Theology in their fourth year.
Academic credit earned in the transition year counts for both the bachelor’s degree and the first year of master’s study in the M.Div. program — thus reducing to six the total years of post-high school education needed for students pursuing careers in ordained ministry. The traditional study path requires seven to eight years.
This reduction in total years of study also will lower the debt load for seminarians entering full-time ministry.
The 3+3 Program is the result of several years of work by Saint Paul and OCU, both United Methodist-affiliated entities. Careful attention was given to how course loads are structured and scheduled so that students successfully complete the dual set of requirements as well as meet the standards set by the Higher Learning Commission, the University Senate, and other accrediting bodies.
Both schools already have experience with similar programs. For several years OCU has maintained an Oxford Plan for students transitioning from undergraduate studies to law school, and last year SPST pioneered the 3+3 agreement with Kansas Wesleyan College.
The 3+3 Program will take effect with the incoming freshman class in Fall 2017.
OCU President Robert Henry, left, and Saint Paul President Neil Blair meet to seal the new academic agreement between the schools.