Master of Divinity (MDiv) Urban LEAD Program

Urban is not a place. It's a culture.

The Urban LEAD MDiv program meets one night a week and one Saturday a month and has no language requirements. Students will develop an awareness of and appreciation for their social, political, economic, historical, and cultural context, enabling them to construct a theology that speaks to urban issues such as gentrification, racial reconciliation, community development, and systemic injustice.

BTS offers a Master of Divinity (MDiv) that provides a unique cultural experience through our Philadelphia location which also draws students from other urban environments in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. The program is taught by knowledgeable faculty that not only understand the urban culture but also serve there.

We believe that urban practitioners need to develop skills in negotiating urban systems as well as recognizing the complexity of today’s global, pluralistic world. With sacrifice and commitment, our students are pursuing change to broken systems that transform urban communities to look like the kingdom of God.

“I looked at a number of seminaries. What drew me to BTS is that everything in the Urban LEAD MDiv program curriculum is sifted through an urban lens. There is an authenticity in that what is birthed out of the missional hermeneutic is lived out and is not just about words.”

Chris Browne, Current Student

Why learn in an urban context?

A melting pot of cultures, Philadelphia isn't just a city that lies between the shadows of New York and Washington. It is an urban area that is identified by its choices of music, attire, and attitude. As the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with a population of over 1.5 million people, Philadelphia is no stranger to issues within the urban culture such as gentrification, racial tension, and socio-economic conditions. And BTS is right in the middle of it all.

Learning in an urban context increases one’s ability to appreciate the culture, empathize with the current conditions, and serve the urban community in a way that is realistic and relevant. This practical, academically challenging, and biblically-based MDiv program will enable you to exegete the urban culture and understand the needs of its people.


  • Offered in an urban environment which demonstrates and authenticates the program's ethos.
  • Designed to meet the needs of an urban practitioner while keeping its academic rigor.
  • Ethnically, gender, and denominationally diverse program of study.
  • Cohort based - Offering a dynamic and enriching learning environment.

Why BTS’s Urban LEAD MDiv?

BTS will provide practical training that will equip you to lead a ministry in an urban setting. You can expect challenging, biblically-based academic courses delivered in a format that will equip you to apply your knowledge to you current ministry, including:

  • The use of Cohort based learning groups to foster an "iron sharpens iron" environment.
  • Learning how to exegete the urban culture and understand the needs of its people by developing an urban theology, which addresses the vital issues of justice and poverty.
  • Being equipped to embrace the diversity of your community and reflect it in your ministry in order to reach it.
  • Being equipped with counseling skills that help you minister to broken people facing complex life issues.

How can the Urban LEAD Program change you?

At BTS, the cohort model is a powerful delivery format for professional development because it taps into students’ prior ministry experience, it is collaborative, and it occurs over a period of three years. Because students move through the program together, the quality of learning from one course to another is enhanced. Cohorts develop strong communication skills where students sharpen and challenge each other. This dynamic learning community produces the kind of deep learning, authentic contextualization, and relational wisdom that missional leaders need today.

In addition, students will embrace spiritual formation through participation in three retreats (included in tuition), an exciting ministry internship component, and an intercultural learning experience at the completion of the program.


One Night a Week - One Saturday a Month - Less Than Four Years

Are you short on time?

Of course you are and BTS's Urban LEAD MDiv program is custom tailored to the full-time ministry candidate, or the full-time career oriented person who desires additional training and is strapped for time. The Urban LEAD MDiv program is designed to allow a student to earn a degree in three years. Throughout the program classes are offered one night a week with an additional Saturday class once a month.

Joy in the City

Located in North Philadelphia, BTS’s urban location provides students with a place where theology meets reality. The location, known as, “Joy in the City” and often referred to by the nickname “Joy” , is where men and women enrolled in our Urban MDiv program are equipped to minister to the communities in which they work, live, and serve. The convenience of our program allows each individual to complete a degree while maintaining full or part-time employment.

The focus of the Urban MDiv is to teach our students not only to break down and interpret Scripture but also to analyze their community in a kingdom focused way. Asking ourselves, “Does our presence in the community make a difference?” is the driving force for the faculty and students as we seek to reach the city of Philadelphia.

BTS’s Philadelphia location is at 4455 N 6th St is right in the action of the Philadelphia community. Unlike other higher education venues with an “urban” program located in the suburbs, BTS is in the heart of the city. This unique location allows our education to be relevant no matter the metropolitan area you are from, or where you want to minister.

Get Directions to our Philadelphia location

Urban LEAD Master of Divinity Curriculum

Biblical Studies - 24 Credits

  • Pursuing Authentic Biblical Interpretation
  • Reading the Old Testament Missionally
  • Reading the New Testament Missionally (pre-req., Reading OT)

Take 5 of These 6

  • Old Testament Pentateuch Book Study
  • Old Testament Prophets Book Study
  • Old Testament Writings Book Study
  • New Testamnet Gospels Book Study
  • New Testament Acts or Pauline Book Study
  • New Testament General Epistles Book Study

Theology - 21 Credits

  • Missional Church
  • Missional Theology 1: God and Creation
  • Missional Theology 2: Reconciliation and Redemption - (pre-req., MT1)
  • Theology, Ethnicity, and Gender
  • Christianity and World Religions
  • World Christian History 1 and 2

Practical Theology - 18 Credits

  • Formation and Mission
  • Community and Mission - (pre-req., Formation and Mission)
  • Leadership Development - (pre-req., Formation and Mission)
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Organizations and Change - (pre-req., Leadership Development)
  • Homiletics - (pre-req., 4 book study courses)

Urban Track - 12 Credits

  • Exegeting the City (3 Credits)
  • Anthopology (3 Credits)
  • Church Planting in an Urban Context (2 Credits)
  • Justice and Mercy (2 Credits)
  • Islam (2 Credits)

Integrative - 15 Credits

  • Senior Seminar (3 Credits)
  • Intercultural Ministry Experience + Integrative Seminar (8 Credits)
  • Retreat (4 Credits)

Total Required Credits - 90

*Note: Students entering their program in 2012-13 and beyond must pass the Bible Knowledge exam to qualify for graduation.


How long will it take to complete the MDiv program?

The Master of Divinity program can be completed in three years with a total of 90 credits. However, many students pursue the program on a part-time basis for all or part of their course of study. A comprehesive schedule of night classes allows for a flexible program of study.

What are the entrance requirements to the MDiv program?

BTS welcomes men and women who have or are about to complete a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Prior study in Bible or theology is not required. International applicants have additional requirements that are posted on our website .

The admissions committee assesses each applicant on the basis of academic ability, personal characteristics, and educational and ministry goals and objectives.


"Too many times seminary brings an image of "cemetery." That's not the case with BTS. I don't know if there is a seminary more alive to the Spirit and mission for God than BTS is at this very moment."

- Larry Anderson, DMin

Our admissions department is always available to assist you and answer any question that you might have regarding our programs and the application process.

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