Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks "to provide theological education for individuals engaging in Christian ministry." It was founded in 1901 as an outgrowth of Baylor University in Waco, but was separated 6 years later by a charter from the Baptist General Convention of Texas. At that time, several Texas cities made a bids to move it, but the convention decided to keep it in Fort Worth. The first building was erected in 1910 , named "Fort Worth Hall" in honor of it's new location. Fifteen years later, the seminary was passed from the BGCT to the SBC. They boast one of the largest theological libraries in the world, and have many courses of study tailored to prepare an individual for a successful ministry carrer.
A Brief History:
- 1901 - School established as an outgrowth of Baylor University, B.H. Carroll as director.
- 1905 - With 5 full-time instructors, it became "Baylor Theological Seminary".
- 1907 - BGCT authorized a separation from Baylor, giving it the name "Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary".
- 1908 - Seminary chartered on March 14th, continued to function on Baylor's Waco campus.
- 1910 - After a bidding contest between many Texas cities, the SwBTS decided to move to Fort Worth, under the leadership of J.K. Winston. Winston provided land and funding to erect the first building.
- 1914 - Upon the death of B.H. Carroll, L.R. Scarborough elected new president.
- 1915 - The departments of Religious Education and Gospel Music were founded to compliment the existing School of Theology.
- 1921 - The departments of Religious Education and Gospel Music become full-fleged schools
- 1925 - Control of the seminary passes from the BGCT to the SBC
- 1926 - The School of Gospel Music is renamed the School of Sacred Music.
- 1942 - Upon retirement of L.R. Scarborough, E.D. Head served as president.
- 1953 - E.D. Head retires, replaced by J. Howard Williams
- 1957 - The School of Sacred Music is renamed the School of Church Music.
- 1958 - Robert E. Naylor became the fifth president. Upon his retirement in 1978, he receives the title "President Emeritus".
- 1977 - Russell H. Dilday was elected sixth president.
- 1994 - Kenneth S. Hemphill was voted by the board of trustees to be the seventh president.
The School of Theology
"Our purpose is to provide graduate theological education for students preparing for Christian ministry. To accomplish this task a curriculum is composed of basic biblical, historical, theological, and practical disciplines, designed to prepare the student for effective pastoral ministry and other ministries of the church and to correlate the content and practice of the Christian faith."
The School of theology offers M.Div.
, and Th.M
degrees with many tracks and concentrations. The M.Div.
can be taken with concentration on Educational Ministries
, Communications Arts
, and Missions/Evangelism
. Tracks are also available in Church Music
, Church Planting
(both North American and International), and Chaplain
Ministry. The M.A.
degree is offered by itself, or with concentrations in Missology
or Islamic Studies
. The Th.M.
degree is also offered for those who'd prefer to concentrate on the theory rather than the practice.
Ph.D. (an extension from the Th.M. track)
and D.Min. (an extension from the M.Div. and M.A. tracks)
degrees are also offered. The Ph.D. track may be taken with majors in Biblical Backgrounds
, Old Testament
, Church History
, Pastoral Ministry
, Christian Ethics
, Philosophy of Religion
, and New Testament
. The D.Min. track may be taken with majors in Proclamation
, Pastoral Care
, and Missions and Evangelism
The School of Educational Ministries
"Our purpose is to provide graduate education for men and women preparing for the ministry in Christian education. To accomplish this task, the school provides a curriculum designed to prepare students for the various religious education ministries in the church, and in denominational agencies and institutions. The curriculum of religious education includes biblical, theological, historical and practical studies."
The School of Educational Ministries offers M.A.
degrees that prepare individuals for a career in education, counseling, or social work. The M.A. degree is offered with tracks in Christian Education
, Christian School Education
, Ministry-Based Evangelism
, Psychology and Counseling
, Marriage and Family Counseling
, and Christian Counseling
. Concentrations are also offered in Childhood
, Ministry-Based Evangelism
, Church Growth
, Collegiate Ministry
, Church Recreation
, Women's Ministry
, Youth/Student Ministry
, and Church Music
. The only M.S. degree offered is the Master of Science in Social Work
, in conjunction with the MSSW program at the University of Texas at Arlington
Likewise, for those who take classes sufficient for M.Div. equivalency, this school offers Ph.D.
, and D.Min.
The School of Church Music
The School of Church music offers 7 degrees: the Master of Music in Church Music, the Master of Arts in Church Music, the Doctor of Musical Arts in Church Music, the Doctor of Philosophy in Church Music, the Master of Divinity with Church Music (offered jointly with the School of Theology), the Diploma in Church Music, and the Graduate Diploma in Church Music.
The Master of Music in Church Music degree is designed to supply basic skills necessary to provide the individual with an advanced level of performance and scholarship in church music. The Master of Arts in Church Music prepares the student for a comprehensive church music ministry above and beyond the level achieved by the undergraduate music major. The Diploma in Church Music and the graduate Diploma in Church Music are designed for students seeking preparation for masters level study, but are ineligible for a graduate degree program.
The Doctorate programs offered by the school are designed to being the student to the highest levels of development in church music. Emphasis is placed on creative scholarship in the Ph.D. program, and on performance in the D.M.A. program.
Now for the personal notes...
Every Southern Baptist Minister I personally know (except me) has graduated from this school.
This is the school my stepfather has spent the last 9 years studying for dual masters degrees in Psychology and Counseling and Marriage and Family Counseling.
This is the school my family wants me to attend once I graduate college.
This, however, isn't a school I want to be associated with.
When choosing my major in college, I spent many months trying to figure out which degree to pursue, assuming I'd eventually end up here. I checked into the Master of Music degree, the Master of Counseling degree, and eventually decided to shoot for the generic Master of Divinity. It was going well... I went to the seminary, talked to their admissions department (3 years ahead of schedule), got a library card, and did research there for many College English classes. Then I started talking to friends of mine who had graduated there, asking specifics about the M.Div. program.
From what I understand of what they shared with me, once you graduate from SwBTS with a M.Div. degree, you must sign an agreement with them stating that you won't publicly disagree with anything the SBC teaches. I agree with a good bit of what the SBC teaches, but I have problems with their stance on a certain few issues.
Anyhow, I have no problem with the schools of R.E. or Music, who don't employ such practices.
By the way, it's got an absolutely beautiful campus...