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Field Education

Field education at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary assists students in learning about the practice of ministry through direct involvement in congregations and other settings, under the direction of experienced field supervisors.

Master of Divinity students must complete one year of supervised field education in a setting approved by the director of Field Education. This requirement is normally fulfilled in the middler year while students are enrolled in the Pastoral Studies sequence of courses so that students can use their field placements as laboratory settings for specific assignments in those courses. During this year students are also required to participate in a weekly seminar for theological reflection on their experiences, under the guidance of a member of the faculty.

The Field Education Program is designed to help students gain acquaintance with a wide variety of ministerial activities, skill in selected tasks, sensitivity to the dynamics of pastoral relationships, awareness of the social context of ministry, and theological perspective upon the various aspects of the practice of ministry.

A detailed learning agreement, developed by each student in conjunction with his or her field supervisor, coordinates these educational objectives with the needs of the church or agency to be served and provides a basis for a shared evaluation of progress at later points in the year. This requirement has been fulfilled when the final evaluation has been completed by supervisor and student and accepted by the director of Field Education. This information is shared with the student's sponsoring judicatory only when confidentiality is assured.

Students in the Field Education Program are expected to give approximately 10 hours of service in the field per week. Time spent with the field supervisor and in staff meetings should be included in this total, but time spent in travel to and from the field is not to be counted.

Field education placements are negotiated with the intent of broadening each student's range of experiences in order to contribute to his or her personal and professional growth. Placements in hospitals and other service agencies can sometimes be arranged for students who anticipate an institutional ministry after graduation.