Students in Perkins School of Theology’s Houston-Galveston Extension Program will be able to earn the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) degree completely on-site through a groundbreaking distance-education program scheduled to launch in fall 2018.

Through intensive and hybrid courses, students from the Houston-Galveston region — or those who travel to Houston — can earn the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree in three years or Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) degree in two years. This new model, approved by the Association of Theological Schools in February 2018, waives the Dallas campus residency requirement, which included completion of at least one year of the M.Div. and one-third of the M.A.M. on the Perkins-SMU campus, in place since the program’s inception in 1995.

The program, which enables students to attend seminary while still employed full- or part-time, will reduce the strain on students’ time and money while providing quality instruction from Perkins’ full-time faculty.

“Students who are called to service will receive the same outstanding education as those on the SMU campus,” according to Perkins Dean Craig C. Hill. “Our world-class faculty will commute to Houston-Galveston from Dallas for the intensive courses and will also have regular and substantive interaction with students during the face-to-face portion and through online forums.”

Many Perkins faculty, through SMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence, have completed the University’s course in online teaching, and the program will receive ongoing technological support from SMU. Residential classes, spiritual formation and community engagement take place in the program’s four partner sites: St. Paul’s UMC, Houston Methodist Hospital, and St. John’s UMC in Houston, and at Moody Memorial UMC in Galveston.

“This enhancement of the Houston-Galveston Extension Program is great news for United Methodists in this region,” said Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Annual Conference.

“We are committed to raising up a new generation of leaders for the church, and Perkins is an important partner in our efforts. This new form of education will give many more students the opportunity for a world-class theological education close to home,” he said.

Director of the Houston-Galveston Extension Program is Hugo Magallanes, associate professor of Christianity and cultures at Perkins School of Theology and former director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions. A member of the Perkins faculty since 2007, Magallanes was named as the program’s first director in June 2017. Campus manager is Dallas Gingles, a Ph.D. graduate of Southern Methodist University.

“We are convinced that there are many prospective students in the greater Houston region and beyond who have been waiting for this moment,” Magallanes said. “Obtaining a seminary education from Perkins while maintaining the stability of work, home and family is an option we know many will want to take advantage of.”

The M.Div. and M.A.M. degrees can be completed in their entirety in Houston-Galveston by following this plan:

  • Students must take all courses offered: three courses per semester (Fall, Spring, Summer);
  • The basic M.Div. and M.A.M. degree (no standard concentrations or certificates) is offered. Completion of standard concentrations may require travel, although students may build customized concentrations;
  • Students are required to be physically present for 20 hours of face-to-face instruction — 10 hours at the beginning and end of each semester — per class;
  • All residential classes will include a community meal;
  • Some courses will be offered in one-week intensives, typically in the January Term or Summer.

For more information about the Houston-Galveston Extension Program, contact:

Margot Perez-Greene, Associate Dean for Enrollment Management,

Hugo Magallanes, H-G Extension Program Director,

Dallas Gingles, Campus Manager,