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SMU Perkins:
Hybrid that Comes to You 

Online Ministry Degrees with In-Person Immersions 

Our mission is to educate and equip persons for faithful leadership and Christian ministry in a changing church and society. Perkins School of Theology meets you where you are, both spiritually and geographically, through our hybrid program..If you’ve felt torn between your service in a local ministry and your desire to pursue a ministry degree, our hybrid program is designed for you. At Perkins, you don’t have to choose between two callings... we want to empower you to fulfill both. 

If you are searching for a ministry degree program that...

Is accessible and flexible

Offers convenience, allowing for over 70% of degree program to be completed remote and online

Provides immersion courses that are tentatively scheduled in rotating cities, letting students see the world

Contextualizes theology classes in hybrid ministry locations

Offers core theology classes online, but includes electives as well

Provides classes taught by Perkins faculty

 …all while creating connections through immersive, in-person experiences, the new Perkins hybrid program may be right for you!

Unique Features of the New Hybrid Degree Program

Continue with the vocational work that you may have already begun with our accessible hybrid program option. Designed to accommodate all from across the country, the hybrid program provides the flexibility to join the Perkins community while minimizing the need for on-campus presence. 

The Perkins Hybrid Program is NOT…

The Perkins Hybrid Program IS…

All Online

 Providing (mostly) online coursework

All asynchronous

Offering both asynchronous and synchronous, scheduled class times

Disconnected from peers

 Relationship-building with fellow cohort members

Fully remote

  Requiring in-person immersion experiences (amount differs based on program of choice)

Taught by faculty not associated with Perkins programs

 Taught by renowned, tenured and adjunct Perkins faculty


Immersion Experiences

The program combines a majority of online coursework with occasional immersive experiences.

The in-person requirements for the M.Div. (five trips) and M.A.M. (two trips) are called immersions and they typically last a week. You will be required to do pre- and post-work online, while the majority of contact hours will occur in-person during the immersion trips. 

These experiences are more than just in-person learning. The week-long immersions will include course instruction, shared meals, worship, engagement with ministries/leaders and free time for study, relaxation and building community and relationships with other students. 

“The immersions truly set our hybrid format apart, providing students with a unique opportunity to engage with ministry in diverse contexts and develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities they may encounter in their future careers.”

Bishop Michael McKee, the Leighton K. Farrell Dean ad interim at Perkins ('23-'24). 

Where Are The Immersions Taking Place?

While many hybrid M.Div. and M.A.M. programs offer in-person gathering sessions throughout the program timeline, Perkins' unique approach allows you to fulfill these in-person requirements in different locations around the country! The mobile element of immersions means courses are delivered on a one-time basis at a host-church or host-ministry. 

This not only ensures broader exposure to a variety of ministry contexts but also puts your needs first by holding immersions where you and other students are located. The immersions are made for you, whether you’d like to pick an option closer to home or a place that’ll provide a new experience. They can be completed in Dallas or Houston as well as a variety of Mobile Sites. 

Potential Immersion Sites

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Perkins: Hybrid for Today's Church

Why leave your ministry context for a degree if you are called to serve that same context? At Perkins, hybrid means that almost three-fourths of studies will be completed online, allowing students to continue to serve in their ministry context while continuing with their education. In-person degree requirements are completed through week-long immersions, fostering connection through learning communities. Immersion courses are offered not just in Dallas but in various ministry settings across the nation.

Through coordination with churches, district and regional offices, and non-profits, Perkins aims to reconnect the church with theological education, by housing classes in your cities, neighborhoods, and communities. Ministry context is what drives the hybrid theological education at Perkins, making your learning more applicable and your connections more relevant. And with the ever-rising costs of higher education, hybrid education at Perkins is an incredibly affordable solution for both students and the faith communities that support them. This allows valuable resources to remain focused on local ministry—while ensuring students still receive a robust theological education in preparation for ministry.

Benefits of In-Person Learning: How Hybrid Stacks Up Against 100% Online Ministry Courses

“Why would I want any in-person classes? I want to earn my ministry degree online.” 

If you simply want accountability for your theological reading, there are many 100% online theology degree programs to choose from. But, if you are looking for information and formation, the Perkins hybrid program offers both: the flexibility of online theology programs without sacrificing the critical component that an in person experience provides for an excellent education.

The beauty of Perkins' hybrid program is the opportunity to build relationships, meet new people and develop close connections with other future leaders of the church — all while growing closer in faith and worship with one another. 

Flexibility While Fostering Spiritual Growth

Our hybrid courses provide an opportunity to continue your journey in ministry remotely by still attending seminary, mostly online and some in-person. We’ve adapted our curriculum and modalities to meet the current demand and recognize the importance of location and lives outside of school. With this new option, you can still be employed. The program reduces tuition, fees and travel time, and also creates a smoother transition for you and your families. 

Perkins acknowledges the longing for connectedness at seminary and fulfills that longing by providing the immersion experiences that foster togetherness. In the hybrid program, you will build relationships from afar and in-person.

“[The hybrid format] is not easier than face-to-face classroom work. Typically, students have constant interaction with each other and the professor by way of forum conversations. In an in-person classroom, a few students might earn a good grade without participating in class. You cannot get away with that in an online classroom."

Hugo Magallanes, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Christianity and Cultures

Online Theology and Ministry Degrees With In-Person Immersions Offered at Perkins

The hybrid program currently offers two ministry degrees: the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.). Both of these degrees have the same academic requirements as the face-to-face, in-person programs. 

We are proud to offer our hybrid students instruction from Perkins professors, who also teach our full-time students who attend on campus, all while serving students the best education possible. 

We strongly encourage you to check with the ordaining body of your denomination before beginning your pathway if not a member of The United Methodist Church.

Master of Divinity (M.Div.) 

Learn More 

Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.)

Learn More 

Are Online Ministry Classes and In-Person Immersion Experiences Right for Me? 


  • Have you been called to ministry and find yourself needing to satisfy requirements for ordination? 
    • Your goal may be to become a lead pastor, deacon or chaplain, and earning a ministry degree will provide the requirements needed.

  • Are you currently serving in ministry full- or part-time, or not able to relocate for school?
    • Whether it be for familial, financial, work or other obligations, we understand that relocation for school can be a heavy burden for some.

  • Are you seeking a flexible theological education whose focus is on building community even in the midst of a hybrid program?
    • The new format addresses the social concerns that come with “distant” learning by leveraging our in-person immersions to foster friendships and create close, tight-knit communities.

  • Do you have outside responsibilities, such as a family, employment or other? 
    • Work-life balance is crucial to some, as other responsibilities may come before school. The hybrid program is perfect for those who want to earn a ministry degree but have other priorities in life, as well.

  • Are you looking to reduce degree program costs? 
    • Earning a degree comes with a cost, but by reducing everyday travel expenses to and from class, relocation and fees, it can help make earning a ministry degree more affordable. Generous scholarship aid, up to the full cost of tuition, may be available. 

A Perkins Degree is Closer Than You Think: Enrolling in the Hybrid Ministry Program


Whether you are near or far, we welcome you to join us! We invite you to learn more so that you can truly experience the connection we’ll bring to you as a hybrid student, even when you are not physically learning and growing with us.


Request More Information About the Perkins Hybrid Program

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