Accelerated Undergraduate Degree to Master of Divinity Pathway

The Accelerated Undergraduate Degree to Master of Divinity pathway is designed to prepare students on the ground campus for ministry in a local church or Christian organization. This pathway requires completion of a specified Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Divinity Program following a year-round program of study.

Students who choose this pathway must complete specified courses at the baccalaureate and graduate levels following a 12-month plan of study. Required coursework includes specified courses within the BA in Christian Studies and Master of Divinity programs, a series of formative pastoral labs, a recommended internship and supervised ministry requirements.

Why does GCU offer an accelerated pathway for pastoral training?

The church faces a pressing need for skilled, insightful pastors who commit to serve God and his church early in life, sustaining the fulfillment and practice of this calling over a lifetime. Biblical leadership demands a longstanding commitment to guidance, protection and patience, so an accelerated degree plan provides a pathway to ministry where classroom work represents one part of a larger structure built out to prepare, support and encourage pastors to develop Christ-honoring virtues over the long haul of ministry.

As well, pastoral training does not reach full maturity anywhere else but in the context of local church life. While seminary coursework provides essential components for faithful church leadership, pastoral work must be embodied in a community of faith through the fundamental church practices of Word and sacrament. Immersing young, theologically-trained pastors in these experiences early on in ministry life offers a unique, transformational foundation for fanning to flame the embers of ministry calling (2 Timothy 1:6).

Note that many students who are eligible for the Accelerated Undergraduate to Master of Divinity pathway may also be eligible to participate in the Barnabas Pastoral Program, which is a formative pathway for pastoral preparation that combines coursework, co-curricular activities and hands-on training. The Barnabas Pastoral Program is subsidized by scholarship funds for eligible students.

Barnabas Pastoral and Scholarship Program

The Barnabas Pastoral Program is an accelerated pastoral degree pathway designed for young men and women preparing for vocational, pastoral ministry within the context of a local church.

This program exists to serve local churches by strategically educating, preparing and deploying pastoral leaders to meet the needs of the churches in Phoenix, the southwest U.S. and beyond.

Like the Accelerated Undergraduate to Master of Divinity pathway, the Barnabas Pastoral Program provides students with an opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity within as little as five years following a year-long program of study.

The Barnabas Pastoral Program differs from the standard accelerated pathway in that:

  • The program entails fifth-year scholarships for all participants*
  • The program employs co-curricular and post-curricular elements in order to form students holistically and professionally for missional, gospel-centered ministry
  • The program requires additional commitment and participation on the part of the student including a commitment to:
    • Be trained, mentored, deployed for pastoral ministry and supported in community during and after degree completion
    • Complete specified courses at the baccalaureate and graduate levels following a twelve-month plan of study
    • Participate in programmatic activities including co-curricular events and experiences, surveys, assessments, interviews and career preparation activities


Who is an ideal student for this program?

The Barnabas Pastoral Program is designed for younger students entering the accelerated pathway as undergraduate students prior to 21 years of age. The target student is a young woman or man who has discerned a clear sense of calling to pastoral ministry in the local church.

While a student may not know every detail about what kind of pastoral position or office they will fill in the future, the scholarship is meant to support students on a trajectory toward pastoral ministry in the local church. We affirm those sensing calls to other ministries such as missions, chaplaincy, higher education, counseling or marketplace ministries. However, they do not fit within this scope of this scholarship.

Given the diverse traditions represented in our student body, we understand there may be varying language used for offices or roles. This may be especially true for some denominations when it comes to the ordination of women, for example. These variations in language should not dissuade any applicant if the work fills the spirit of pastoral work.


Who is eligible to participate in the Barnabas Pastoral Program?

Students applying for admission to the program should be able to articulate and demonstrate a clear calling to pastoral ministry in the local church. The application process will require students to share their story of conversion and calling as well as a capacity for pastoral leadership. Applicants should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a discernible sense of calling to and aptitude for vocational ministry
  • Demonstrate potential for self-discipline, ministry leadership and contextual sensitivity and
  • Provide pastoral and character references supporting application to the program

*The Barnabas Pastoral Scholarship will be used to cover your GCU tuition expenses in your fifth year of enrollment. This scholarship has no cash value, and cannot be used for room and board.

In order for this scholarship to be applied to your account for the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms of your fifth year in the program, you must meet all programmatic requirements during your first four years in the program and meet the below requirements:

Academic progression requirements are the same as those required for the Accelerated Undergraduate to Master of Divinity and include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Maintain continuous full-time enrollment in a year-long program of study
  • Uphold the ethical and moral values by which GCU stands
  • Uphold the Covenantal Standards of GCU's College of Theology and Seminary
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 institutional GPA


Admission Steps: We're Here For You

At GCU, the admissions process is simple and straightforward; guided by an admissions counselor who provides step-by-step personalized support. A GCU admissions counselor ensures that your application and registration process is seamless and helps you make informed decisions in your best interest. Furthermore, your counselor will connect with you with student support resources to help with the first-year experience, campus living, academics and more.

GCU values transparency and trains our counselors to offer financial details and benefits, while directly answering questions about how you can pay for college and incur minimal debt. You and your family can trust that financial plans will be tailored to your unique financial situation and needs.

Let’s get started! Follow these four easy steps:

  1. Apply for free at, to start the college admission process.
  2. Log on to and set up your Student Portal at to submit your transcripts and monitor your progress toward acceptance.
  3. Once transcripts are evaluated, sign up for Discover GCU, our all-expenses* paid on-campus experience, to learn more about Lope Life.
  4. Register early to lock in your scholarships, class schedule and housing preferences by working with your admissions counselor.

*Restrictions for travel reimbursement may apply.

Take The First Step