Pittsburgh Seminary at a Glance
Pittsburgh Seminary professor wants students to always make the connection between theology and practice
The Rev. Dr. John Burgess, the James Henry Snowden Professor of Systematic Theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, wants his students to understand the ways theology can strengthen the life of the church. Read more
616 North Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Students: 307 (222 FTE)
Faculty: 18 full-time, 29 part-time
Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Sacred Theology, Doctor of Ministry, Master of Divinity with emphasis in Church Planting
Metro-Urban Institute; Miller Summer Youth Institute; World Mission Initiative; Center for Business, Continuing Education, Kelso Bible Lands Museum and biblical Archaeology
The mission of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is to prepare men and women for pastoral ministry and Christian lay leadership in all phases of the church's outreach. Dedicated to excellence in theological education, the faculty strives to prepare graduates who will demonstrate both personal piety and keen intellectual understanding of the gospel and its implications for individuals and social living. The seminary is rooted in the Reformed history of faithfulness to scripture and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In keeping with our tradition, the seminary continues to be a caring and ecumenical community, nurturing personal faith and corporate worship. It also seeks to promote global consciousness and service and to encourage students and faculty to integrate learning with styles of contemporary ministry.
History and Location
In 1794, the Rev. John Anderson established the first Presbyterian seminary in the United States to serve the frontier regions of western Pennsylvania and Ohio. From those humble beginnings in a log cabin with six students, the ministry and mission of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has continued through many mergers and moves, both within the seminary and the Presbyterian Church. Since 1959, the seminary has made its home on a tree-filled, peaceful campus in the heart of the east end of Pittsburgh.
The seminary's location is complimented by the close proximity of some of the finest colleges and universities in the United States: Carnegie-Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University as well as first University rate medical centers including the nation's leading transplant center. And yet, within a 15-minute drive of the seminary campus, one can find rural farming communities and small towns. This location of cultural, social and academic richness has provided Pittsburgh Seminary with many opportunities for developing unique and exciting educational opportunities.
What programs does Pittsburgh Seminary offer?
More than 300 students are enrolled at Pittsburgh Seminary and more than 3,000 persons participate in the seminary's special programs annually. Seminary degree programs include Master of Divinity, Master of Divinity with Church Planting Emphasis, and Master of Divinity joint degrees in law, social work, and public policy in cooperation with local universities. Other degree programs include the Master of Arts, Doctor of Ministry, and a joint Ph.D. with University of Pittsburgh. Nondegree emphases include Pneuma: Spiritual Direction and Leadership Program, spiritual formation, Christian leadership for urban ministry, and commissioned ruling elder certification. A wealth of seminars and lectureships are offered through the Department of Continuing Education. Through the World Mission Initiative students have opportunities for cross-cultural experiences. The annual Miller Summer Youth Institute provides an opportunity for high school students to participate in two weeks of inspiration and exploration as they learn more about theological education and ministry.
Meet a Pittsburgh student: Ellen Dawson
A former PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer in Guatemala, Ellen envisioned herself serving God in the mission field or an established church stateside. At a family friend’s suggestion, Ellen packed her bags and left South Carolina to pursue a degree at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
With a heart for mission, Ellen is a work-study student in the Seminary’s World Mission Initiative office. Along with a group of PTS students she traveled to Southeast Asia. “On that trip, I discovered new gifts for ministry. Now I just have to process how I can use these gifts.”
Seminary for Ellen has been an ongoing discernment process of how to incorporate her class work, experiences and talents in her future ministry. “For now I’m thinking new church development. If you’d have asked me at the beginning of my studies what I would have wanted to do with my life, I would not have said ‘new church development.’ The fact that I’m considering that now is exciting.”
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s proximity to urban, rural, established and new churches gives students like Ellen a variety of experiences. Having completed her field education in a 400-member traditional suburban church, Ellen opted to later serve as an intern with the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community, an innovative, emergent church on the city’s South Side.
“When I came to the Seminary I thought I knew what I wanted, where I’d be, and that I was answering God’s call. I’ve learned that although I’m answering that call by preparing for ministry, I need to keep being open to the call because it changes.”