United Methodist Studies

As a charter seminary of The United Methodist Church, Wesley Theological Seminary provides all the courses required for ordination as an elder or deacon in the UMC. United Methodist Studies courses do not fulfill requirements for the Master's degree at Wesley, and so should be taken as electives either during or after completing a Master's program. All UM Studies courses are also available to non-degree students, Licensed Local Pastors enrolled in the Advance Course of Study program, and alumni and may be taken for Continuing education units (CEUs) or audited. (Note: The decision to audit a course or take it for CEUs must be approved by your district superintendent or Board of Ordained Ministry prior to registration.)

Some of the required courses for election as a probationary member or commissioning in the UMC, per the 2008 Book of Discipline ¶324.4a, are as follows:

  • Mission of the Church in the World
  • Evangelism
  • Worship/Liturgy
  • United Methodist Doctrine
  • United Methodist History
  • United Methodist Polity


This spring 2016, join seminarians from around the country in preparing for leadership in the global United Methodist Church through Wesley Theological Seminary! The following Spring 2016 course options are open to all seminary and divinity school students at accredited schools:

·         Online UMC polity course (CM-251; 2 credits)

·         Online General Conference course (1 credit – available only as a summer add-on to spring online polity)

·         Hybrid General Conference course (CM-571; 2 credits) – featuring Portland experience


Online Polity & General Conference Courses

The online polity course prepares United Methodist candidates for ordination and is a helpful grounding to understand the connectional structure and legislative processes used at General Conference. Therefore, a one-credit online General Conference course is also available to polity students. The online General Conference course will host pre-conference discussions with delegates, district superintendents, and General Conference planners, then will use the General conference live stream to follow plenary sessions held May 16-20.


Hybrid General Conference Course

Through four online pre-conference  sessions and one debrief (Tuesdays, 4:30-6:30 p.m. EST: Feb. 2, Feb. 16, March 22, April 19, May 31), students will engage with well-known church leaders and conference organizers to gain insight into the primary issues facing United Methodism as a global church. The heart of the course is the General Conference immersion (May 11-17). Students will experience both the legislative committee process (week 1) as well as the worship, presentations, debate, and voting of the conference plenaries (week 2). In order to better understand the legislative process, each student will track a piece of legislation through committee to the final vote in plenary. Daily morning briefings will put students in conversation with various leaders at General Conference, including presiding bishops, delegates, agency staff, worship planners, and special interest groups. Debriefing sessions each night will allow students to process and learn from one another’s experiences, encounters, and reactions.



To Register:
Wesley students may register for the course during normal fall class registration, beginning Oct 19.

Students from other seminaries must complete a brief application, available from Beth Ludlum at bludlum@wesleyseminary.edu. Students may register for the course beginning Oct 31.

Normal tuition and fees apply.

For the hybrid course:  Students will be responsible for booking their own flight/travel. Hotel rooms will be booked as a group, and students will pay Wesley for the cost, based on how many persons share each room. Contact Beth Ludlum at bludlum@wesleyseminary.edu for specific details about onsite costs.


Partnerships with Non-Methodist Seminaries

Wesley has partnered with several non-UM seminaries outside of the Washington, D.C. region to offer United Methodist Studies courses to United Methodist students attending those institutions. As of Summer 2012, these partnerships include Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA and Eastern Mennonite Theological Seminary in Harrisonburg, VA. Wesley also partners with  Pfeiffer University (through Wesley's Center for Deacon Education) to assist UM Diaconal students in fullfilling their denominational requirements.


Any student seeking credit at Wesley must first apply for admission, including the authorization of a background check. For courses held in the Fall or Spring semesters, you should complete the non-degree student application through our Admissions page. If the course is held at Wesley's campus during the Summer Term, you may complete the combined application/registration form to both apply and register simultaneously.

A waiver of the application fee is available for students from our partner seminaries (listed above). Contact the Admissions Office at 202-885-8659 or admissions@wesleyseminary.edu to request the code you should use while completing the online application. In lieu of other application materials (e.g. official transcripts, a personal statement, letters of recommendation) your home school's Registrar should submit a Letter of Good Standing on your behalf. This may be emailed to admissions@wesleyseminary.edu or faxed to 202-885-8585 attention: Partner Seminary Applications.

Registration for UM Studies courses held at Wesley Theological Seminary or at Partner Schools:

For incoming students who wish to take UM Studies courses held during the Spring and Fall semesters either at Wesley's campus in Washington, D.C. online, or at our Partner Schools you may register for classes by printing and completing a Registration Form.  To register for Summer Term courses at Wesley, please use the combined application/registration form. Registration forms will be processed as soon as you have been admitted for study. Shortly thereafter, you will receive two letters from Wesley: one confirming your admission and registration, and the other providing you with account information for our online systems. The login/password in this letter will work on our My Wesley portal and provides access to all of the systems listed below:

  • WesleyWeb (viewing your final grades and the online registration module for subsequent courses)
  • Student Email @students.wesleyseminary.edu
  • Blackboard (learning management system for downloading course materials and online class discussions)

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