Licensing & Course of Study
Welcome to the Licensing and Course of Study web site for The United Methodist Church.
If God is calling you to become a pastor, but you do not see seminary as a reality for you, then you may want to consider becoming a licensed local pastor. We welcome you to the start of a new faith journey.
Where Do I Begin?
The Course of Study
The Course of Study (COS) is prescribed by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry – Division of Ordained Ministry (¶ 1421.3d). It includes License School and the Five-Year Basic Course of Study. In prescribing the COS, the Division of Ordained Ministry is responsible for developing curriculum, purpose and learning goals; providing resources; establishing, maintaining, and evaluating License Schools and Course of Study Schools (COS); keeping central records on all students, and reporting on student progress to each Board of Ordained Ministry every year.
The Basic Five-Year Course of Study is a year-round experiential and classroom learning process. This process assumes cooperation between the instructors in the Course of Study Schools and the clergy mentors in the annual conferences. Each Regional Course of Study School shall offer all 20 courses of the Basic Five-Year COS and shall seek to meet the needs of both the full-time and part-time local pastors. Normally courses are to be taken in the sequence prescribed by the curriculum. At a minimum, students are expected to take first year courses in the first year of study and fifth year courses in the final year of study.
Regional Course of Study Schools
Regional Course of Study Schools are established by the Division of Ordained Ministry at locations central to the student populations, taking into consideration such factors as availability of United Methodist theological school faculty, library resources, dormitory space, the density of student populations, etc. Full time local pastors shall attend one of the approved Regional Course of Study Schools.
Extension Schools for Part-Time Local Pastors
Some local pastors serve churches on a part-time basis. Some of them are bi-vocational and are unable to attend a Regional Course of Study School. In such cases, where numbers make it sustainable, The Division of Ordained Ministry authorizes a Regional School to have an Extension site. These classes are available in a week end format.
Correspondence and Online Classes
Most of the basic Course of Study classes are available by correspondence and online formats through the Division of Ordained Ministry. By Discipline, no more than one-half of the classes may be taken in this format. ¶322.1(3) For more information, please use the link for Form 110.
Advanced Course of Study
After completing the basic Course of Study, a local pastor may choose to continue the process toward Provisional membership through the Advanced Course of Study. It includes 32 hours of Masters level education in a seminary recognized by the University Senate. It must include United Methodist History, United Methodist Doctrine and United Methodist Polity. (¶324.6d)