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Ministerial Candidates

Acceptance into the ministerial program as a trainee and approval as a candidate are both required for the completion of a Theology or Pastoral Care major. 

Students are considered for approval as ministerial candidates in the first semester of their senior year. These applications are considered during the early part of the first semester and announced about the end of September. 

To qualify for ministerial candidacy, a student must: 

  1. Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the 34-hour major in theology or the 33-hour major in pastoral care. 
  2. Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the 20-hour certification in biblical languages.
  3. Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the 25 hours required for certification for ministry or the 16 hours required for certification for pastoral care, whichever may apply.
  4. Be in the process of completing (within one academic year) the general education requirements and the required cognates for the BA in theology or pastoral care.
  5. Maintain an overall grade point average (GPA) of 2.50, and 2.50 in religion courses. 
  6. Complete the ministerial candidate requirements checklist. 
  7. Maintain a record of regular attendance at required activities of the Southern Adventist University School of Religion. 
  8. Complete the first ministerial externship year with the assigned local congregation. 
  9. Submit a ministerial experience portfolio, including all items required for trainee status (updated to the time of the candidate's interview), as well as the following:
  • A current resumé.
  • A description of goals for ministry and plans for further education.
  • A recommendation by the mentoring pastor.
  • A recommendation by a member of the board from the mentoring church.
  • A digital studio photograph of yourself.

10. Go through the candidacy interview. 

11. Be approved by the School of Religion Faculty Committee based on the following factors:

  • Evaluation of the ministry experience portfolio
  • Consideration of the recommendations of the adviser and others received
  • Consideration of the student’s performance in ministry activities
  • Consideration of academic performance
  • Consideration of the student’s reputation in the university, church, and community

Procedure Timeline

  • Deadline for Ministerial candidate applications is September 10, and applications are considered by the faculty in September. This will allow time for evaluation and additional consultation with students, if necessary.
  • A list of candidates approved in this program will be posted as soon as they are approved.

Candidates will be considered officially approved at the time the list is posted and will be honored in the Ministerial Candidate Recognition service at the end of September.

 Conference Employment Interviews

Students will be eligible to sign up for conference interviews for graduating seniors only after their approval as candidates. If interviews for juniors are requested, students will be eligible only if they have been admitted as trainees.

Theology students may apply to the School of Religion for variances from #2, #3, and #4 of the above qualifications, including exemptions from:

  • One biblical language (Hebrew or Greek).
  • Intermediate languages.
  • Christian Church History I, II.
  • Advanced Biblical Preaching.

Students who apply for variances must: 

  • Have attained the age of 35 years prior to applying for these variances. 
  • Transfer in a minimum of 48 semester hours applicable to a degree in Theology. 
  • Have been active in church work and be recommended by their local pastor or conference for ministerial training on the basis of this work. 
  • Have individualized study programs accepted by the faculty prior to being approved for the variances indicated above.