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ERIC Number: ED525168
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 428
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-1536-8
An Exploratory Study of Female Master of Divinity Students in a Conservative West Coast Evangelical Seminary
Clemen, Valerie A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Issues surrounding female participation in graduate theological education are complex and multifaceted. One important problem concerning female theological students is the lack of research exploring the experiences and unique challenges faced by conservative evangelical female Master of Divinity (M. Div.) students as they pursue academic and ministerial training. The goal of this exploratory study was to examine the lived experience of a small group of female M. Div. students in a conservative west coast evangelical seminary from the perspective of the research study participants. This qualitative study utilized a phenomenological research approach to capture the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs of the research study participants. Four primary data sources were collected from all participants including: a brief demographic questionnaire, individual 1-1.5 hour interview, a brief follow-up interview, and a 1-1.5 hour focus group. A fifth data source was utilized for selected participants for data clarification purposes. The interview data were analyzed using accepted data reduction and research analysis methods. The data sources provided thick, rich descriptions of the students' experiences from their perspective. The resultant emergent themes were used to summarize the "participants' perceptions of seminary calling" (why did they come?) and "their experience of participation" (what did they find?) in the M. Div. degree program. This study allowed the participants to freely express their experiences as female M. Div. students. Data analysis yielded the following results. "Perceptions of seminary calling" (why did they come?) included three major themes: (1) credentials, (2) encourager/influences, and (3) sense/experience of God. "Experience of participation" (what did they find?) included nine major themes: (1) calling, (2) M. Div. program, (3) obstacles, (4) voice, (5) value of M. Div., (6) ministerial contexts, (7) sensing or experience of God, (8) women in theological education, and (9) desire to please God. The results of this study provide valuable insights into the phenomenon of female M. Div degree students at one evangelical seminary. Implications from this study contribute to research by elucidating unique challenges in the learning environment for these female M. Div. students; thus providing an opportunity to expand understanding on how to better serve future female constituents. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A