Today, more than 80 percent of the U.S. population—and 50 percent of people worldwide—live in and around urban centers.

The Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry is a flexible program allowing community members and seminarians to explore their Christian vocation in urban settings. This program allows students from all denominations to think about how to apply their faith to where they work, live, and play.

The Metro-Urban Institute combines the theory and practice of collaborative community ministry with a program of urban theological education that prepares students for excellence in any context of ministry, but with particular attention to public realities affecting the urban environment.

Courses are offered during the day and evening. Pittsburgh Seminary alums who have completed certain courses within the last 10 years may qualify for advance standing. This program is offered through the Seminary's Metro-Urban Institute and can be completed as a stand-alone certificate program or combined with the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, or Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry degree.

New graduate certificate students can take their first class at half price!

About the Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry Program

Those seeking the certificate must complete six classes (three credit-hours each) of graduate-level course work related to urban ministry with a grade of B or better in each course of the urban focus. The Introduction to Urban Ministry class (MU01) and one practicum are included in the required courses. All others may be taken as electives. Masters degree students will receive credit toward the certificate for their required course Church and Society and must maintain a 2.5 or above overall GPA.

Students interested in this certificate program must complete the Seminary’s standard application for admission process, and will ordinarily have an undergraduate degree.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the certificate:

  • Students will demonstrate competence in narrating how social factors, theological understandings, and church practices shape the work of ministry in urban contexts.
  • Students will apply sociological and theological analysis to explore and critique urban ministry approaches and ministry with attention to ever-evolving demographic, cultural, psycho-social, and socio-structural complexities of 21st century urban life.          
  • Students will describe how ministry extends beyond church walls by narrating the potential of God’s movement in an array of institutions and human initiatives.
  • Students will demonstrate awareness of theologically and sociologically grounded approaches to church engagement with society, including the advancement of collective spiritual and ethical formation in pursuit of progressive political witness and comprehensive socio-economic development.

Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry Program Sequence

"The church is uniquely located where Christ-centered ministry can have great impact for the Kingdom of God and positive change for the community.” - Eric McIntosh ’12

Pittsburgh Seminary Blog

Seeing God in the World through Short-term Mission

September 18, 2017

In the fall of 2014, my wife, TJ, encouraged me to look into going on a mission trip through Pittsburgh Seminary’s World Mission Initiative. I was apprehensive in the beginning because this was my first year in seminary and I had never been outside the United States or Canada. After looking at the different trips offered in the spring, I joined a group that regularly met over lunch to share about their relationships with folks that they met while in Southeast Asia on previous WMI mission trips. Through the stories I heard and the learned reality of God’s people in this land, I had to go for myself and witness [...]

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When Faith Gets Political

August 14, 2017

  Years ago, I was serving as a short-term supply pastor for a very small congregation in rural Virginia. My third Sunday there fell on the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, so I decided to weave a couple of sentences from Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech into my sermon. It seemed appropriate, especially since I was preaching from the book of Amos that day. The following Sunday, after worship, the head deacon pulled me aside and apologetically informed me that “some” people in the congregation were upset about my sermon from the previous week. When I asked him why, he explained that these congregants felt the sermon [...]

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