Certificate in Ministry

The Certificate in Ministry is a primarily online program for those who seek substantive theological education but who are not planning to pursue study in a degree program. To earn the certificate you must take seven courses. If you want to be more prepared for a church leadership role or you simply wish to enrich your personal biblical and theological understanding, you will be well-served by the CIM program. For potential lay leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the CIM may meet requirements for Commissioned Ruling Elder.

Courses that are offered
  • Church History  
  • Theology 
  • Worship and Preaching (online with some on campus instruction)
  • Christian Education (online with some on campus instruction)
  • Pastoral Care and Leadership  
  • PC(USA) Polity  
  • Introducing Christian Ethics  
  • Evangelism
  • Introduction to the Hebrew Bible
  • New Testament

Additional courses are in development

Upcoming Courses

Winter 2020: January 6 - March 13
CIM.12 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, Professor Paul Hooker

Spring 2020: March 23 - May 29
CIM.03 Worship and Preaching, Professor Carolyn B. Helsel
CIM.13 New Testament, Professor Bridgett Green

Fall 2020: September 8 - November 13
CIM.01 Church History, Professor David Johnson
CIM.07 PC(USA) Polity, Professor Paul Hooker 


How to Apply

If you are interested in this program, please fill out the "Apply Now" form at right. Please allow up to two weeks for us to process your application. Once you have been admitted to the program, you will be emailed information to register for a course.


What is the application process?

Interested applicants will apply online. Prospective students will be required to submit to a background check and interview with admissions staff. Students completing the CIM for Commissioned Ruling Elder requirements must provide a letter of endorsement from their Presbytery. Other students are required to submit a letter of reference, which may come from a governing body in their tradition, or from a pastor, elder or deacon, employer, or friend.

How are the courses administered?

Typical courses will include video lectures, online discussion, written papers, and responses to readings. Courses are presented in an asynchronous manner, meaning they do not require simultaneous The majority of courses are taught online. Two courses (Christian Education and Worship and Preaching) are blended courses, which require one weekend of on-campus instruction in addition to the online components. Housing, parking, and meals are included in the fees for blended courses. Students are responsible for making travel arrangements. 

Courses are self-paced with assignments and schedules set by each instructor. Course materials are available online to students 24/7participation of students and the instructor. 

What materials are necessary for the course?

CIM courses will utilize as many digital resources as possible. Some courses may require the purchase of traditional books. Each instructor will provide a list of required materials to registrants.

Technical requirements include:

  • Computer or tablet with internet connectivity capable for streaming video and audio
  • Speakers or audio capabilities
  • Browsers supported: Internet Explorer 7.X+, Firefox 5+, Google Chrome, Safari, any mobile browser
  • Flash or HTML5 capability
  • Word processing software
  • Adobe Acrobat reader

How will the courses be graded?

All CIM courses are credit/non-credit.

What is the cost of CIM courses?

Each course is $380 and is subject to change.  There is a $25 one time application fee and a fee for the background check (approximately $36). 

Scholarships, financial aid, and direct aid are not offered for CIM students.

Is there a time limit to complete the certificate program?

Yes, the certificate program must be completed within four years. Students may not miss more than two consecutive terms and remain in the CIM program. Students who miss more than two consecutive terms may reapply to the CIM program.

Can courses be taken for CIM credit in conjunction with other certificate or degree programs?

Yes, but if a student is enrolled in a certificate or degree program at another institution and wishes to augment that program with a CIM course from Austin Seminary, it is at the discretion of the other institution whether or not to accept the credit.

If a student wishes to transfer from another certificate program into the Austin Seminary CIM, credit from the previous program may be accepted. In such cases, the student should discuss this with the Office of Ministerial Formation and Advanced Studies.

Apply Now