Degree Overview


Golden Gate Seminary offers degree programs at the Diploma, Master, and Doctoral level. Certificates are also offered. Not all degrees are available at all five campuses or online.

Master's Programs

The Masters degrees offered by Golden Gate Seminary combine the best of academic studies with significant professional training to prepare men and women called to a multiplicity of ministry expressions in our world. Done within small class settings, professors join students in a pilgrimage of learning that often resembles a mentoring relationship.

Since Golden Gate Seminary's Masters degrees are fully accredited academic and professional degrees, students must hold baccalaureate degrees before being admitted to one of the programs offered.

The curriculum design of each Master degree conforms to the stated mission of the Seminary and reflects the "21 Essential Leadership Characteristics" adopted by Faculty and Trustees. Students in Master degree programs take courses in areas of Biblical Studies, Theological and Historical Foundations, Leadership Formation, Educational Leadership, and Intercultural Studies. The Seminary's degree programs are designed to prepare students for a variety of ministry roles and/or vocations. Examples of these areas of ministry are enumerated in the catalog in relation to particular degrees.

Advanced Academic Programs

Golden Gate Seminary offers two advanced academic degrees: the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the Master of Theology (ThM). The PhD is a four-year program requiring the completion of 42 credit hours of seminary work including a dissertation. The ThM is a two-year program requiring the completion of 28 credit hours of seminary work including a thesis. The ThM is offered to enable students of above-average ability to continue academic research beyond the MDIV (or an equivalent degree from an accredited institution). The program prepares students for specialized types of ministries or for additional graduate study. The PhD is a terminal academic degree designed for those preparing to teach as well as those who want a higher academic preparation for the pastorate.

Doctor of Ministry Program

The highest advanced professional degree offered by Golden Gate Seminary is the Doctor of Ministry, which requires completion of 29 hours of seminar work beyond the MDIV (or its equivalent from an accredited institution). The purpose of the Doctor of Ministry degree is to stimulate the candidate's growth toward personal and professional maturity and competence in the practice of Christian ministry. The program consists of seminars, supervised ministry, and a ministry project. Directed toward the basic responsibilities of ministry, the seminars are designed to enable the candidate to integrate theological discipline into the highest levels of ministry practice. General and specialized cohorts begin about three times each year, in various locations. See the Doctor of Ministry page for additional information.

Diploma Programs

Golden Gate Seminary faculty and trustees are convinced that a call to service is a call to preparation. A college degree followed by the Seminary program is the best procedure. However, if this procedure cannot be followed, we are convinced that the best substitute is a degree from one of our Baptist colleges.

There are some, however, for whom neither of these programs is possible. We recognize a definite obligation to provide the best possible training for mature individuals who have experienced a call from God to one of the gospel ministries, but find it impossible to complete their college training. Students aged 25 and older, without a college degree, but with a high school diploma or its equivalent, may be accepted for study in regular Seminary classes to pursue a program leading to either the Diploma in Theology or the Diploma in Educational Leadership.

Diploma program objectives are the same as those of the corresponding Master degrees. Curriculum plans are available from the Director of Admissions. Student spouses with a high school diploma but not a college degree are encouraged to enroll in these programs.

Special Students

Students who wish to take seminary courses for credit without enrolling in a degree program can be admitted to the Seminary under the Special Student classification. No more than 20 hours taken at GGBTS under this classification may be applied to any GGBTS degree, diploma, or certificate program. Students admitted under this status are strongly encouraged to enroll in a degree program before they earn 20 hours of credit.

Certificate Programs

A Certificate may be granted to students who complete a program of at least 14 units of prescribed master-level study intended to provide a specific skill set for Christian ministry. A Certificate can be earned by a "Special Student" (one enrolled in the Seminary but not intending to complete a master degree), or a Certificate can be earned by completing the required coursework while seeking a degree. The five certificates currently being offered include:

The CLD Program

Contextualized Leadership Development (CLD) provides high-quality, pre-baccalaureate, Bible-based ministry training in a geographically convenient and contextualized setting. Each center is established under a cooperative agreement with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, local Baptist associations, and state/regional conventions.

To meet the challenge of equipping church leadership to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we stand ready and willing to provide a means of training in local churches, Baptist associations, or wherever there is a need. Equipping leaders for evangelism and church planting is at the heart of CLD training.
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