2021-2022 Samford University Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 19, 2024  
2021-2022 Samford University Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Beeson School of Divinity

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Douglas A. Sweeney, Dean, Professor
Thomas L. Fuller, Associate Dean


Carl L. Beckwith, Professor
Mark S. Gignilliat, Professor
Paul R. House, Professor
Kenneth A. Mathews, Professor
Osvaldo Padilla, Professor
Michael Pasquarello, Professor; Methodist Chair of Divinity; Director D.Min. Program and Robert Smith, Jr. Preaching Institute
Allen P. Ross, Professor
Robert Smith Jr., Professor; Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity
Frank S. Thielman, Professor; Presbyterian Chair of Divinity
Douglas D. Webster, Professor
D. Mark DeVine, Associate Professor
Piotr Malysz, Associate Professor
M. Sydney Park, Associate Professor
Stefana Dan Laing, Assistant Professor; Theological Librarian
Gerald L. Bray, Research Professor
Timothy F. George, Research Professor
David A. Parks, Administrative Faculty; Director, The Global Center and Contextual Learning
Ronald D. Sterling, Instructor, Director, Student Services


On February 9, 1988, the Board of Trustees of Samford University authorized the establishment of a School of Divinity beginning in the 1988-89 academic year. In one sense this action fulfilled the founding purpose of the University adopted in 1841, which provided for “the establishment of a Theological Institution, connected with the college hereinafter established.”

In December 1988, the Samford Board of Trustees voted to name the school the Beeson School of Divinity in honor of Ralph Waldo Beeson and his late father, John Wesley Beeson. Ralph Beeson provided the largest gift from a living individual in Samford history to establish the only divinity school at that time at a Baptist college or university in the nation. In its first year, Beeson School of Divinity secured the dean, four full-time faculty, and two adjunct faculty, and enrolled 32 students.

The School of Divinity, like other entities of Samford University, is open to persons from all Christian denominations. The confessional context in which the faculty teaches is defined by the Baptist Faith and Message Statement of 1963. The school offers quality theological education in a Christian university setting from an explicitly evangelical perspective. Non-Baptist faculty teach in accordance with their confessional statements on matters of denominational distinctives.


The mission of Beeson Divinity School is to prepare God-called persons to serve as ministers in the Church of Jesus Christ. We accomplish this by providing face-to-face, classical graduate theological education, worshiping the Triune God, and encouraging the practices of Christian spirituality in covenanted community.


Beeson Divinity School is accredited by The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) and by The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) to award the following degrees: master of divinity (M.Div.), master of arts in theological studies (M.A.T.S.), and doctor of ministry (D.Min.).

For questions or concerns about the accreditation of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, contact:

The Commission on Colleges Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA  30033-4097
(404) 679-4500

The Commission on Accrediting Association of Theological Schools
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA  15275
(412) 788-6505

Centers and Institutes
The Global Center

The Global Center at Beeson Divinity School exists to encourage, connect, and equip Samford University’s campus and the church for cross-cultural and global missions. The Global Center hosts regular lecture events, prayer meetings, and fellowship events for students, faculty, and staff to build cross-cultural awareness and inform visitors about major issues in world missions and global Christianity.

The Global Center’s exhibit area highlights major figures in cross-cultural Christian witness throughout history, as well as major issues of global concern for 21st century cross-cultural workers. The resource room hosts a small library of books and periodicals on global missions and more that is available for student use. Additionally, the space includes a hospitality station with coffee and tea to welcome students and visitors, and features multiple seating areas for study, fellowship, or events.

The Global Center facilitates the short-term cross-cultural ministry practicum for M.Div. students, as well as the missions certificate, an emphasis program with special electives and requirements designed to equip and mobilize students with a particular call to cross-cultural ministry.

For additional information please contact:

The Global Center
Beeson School of Divinity
Samford University
Birmingham, Alabama 35229-2268
Phone: (205) 726-2170
Fax: (205) 726-2271
Website: www.beesondivinity.com/globalcenter

Institute of Anglican Studies

The Institute of Anglican Studies at Beeson Divinity School provides specifically Anglican training for Beeson Divinity School students preparing for service in the Anglican communion, in ordained or non-ordained capacities, through the certificate of Anglican studies. Not all Anglican students enroll in the certificate program, and the courses linked to it are open to non-Anglicans, on the understanding that they will be taught from an Anglican perspective. Beeson Anglicans graduate with a good knowledge of their own tradition, a solid grounding in local parishes, and the experience of working with others in an ecumenical context.

The Institute also seeks to build the Anglican communion by educating the public in the riches of the Anglican tradition through lectures, meetings for students with Anglican leaders, monthly lunches and theology nights, weekly evensong, and occasional theology conferences.

For additional information, please contact the director of the Institute of Anglican Studies.

Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute

The Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute at Beeson Divinity School exists to serve and strengthen the whole person in relation to God, the church, other preachers, and the world for faithful proclamation of God’s Word. It seeks to do this by increasing knowledge and understanding as a preacher, deepening formation as a Christian and preacher, and strengthening competence and skill in the practice of preaching. The institute is deeply committed to personal, face-to-face ministry and education. Therefore, it is intentional about serving pastors in person. The institute takes a holistic approach, focusing simultaneously on both the person (preacher) and the work (preaching), and it fulfills its mission by focusing on five key areas: peer groups, conferences, events, sabbaticals and retreats, and resources. It sponsors and supports pastoral peer groups and conducts various events and conferences for educational and enrichment purposes.

The Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute began in fall 2018 and is named in honor of longtime Beeson faculty member and renowned preacher, Dr. Robert Smith Jr., the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity and professor of Christian preaching. The Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute is funded by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.

For more information, please contact Dr. Mike Pasquarello, director of the Institute.

Departments and Program Offerings

Divinity (Graduate)

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Certificate - Graduate

Divinity (Doctoral)

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