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 licensedlocal pastor, we welcome you to the start of your journey.
Where Do I Begin?
- Talk to your pastor.
- Read The Ministry of the Licensed Local Pastor.
- Locate License Schools, Course of Study Schools and Advanced Course of Study Schools.
- Read the FAQ for more detailed answers to licensing questions.
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, the Five-Year Basic Course of Study, Advanced Course of Study, and Correspondence Studies. 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.
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
When the Division of Ordained Ministry determines that there is a need for a Basic Five-Year COS school for part-time local pastors who are unable to attend a Regional Course of Study School, the division may negotiate its development as an extension of an existing Regional Course of Study School. Regional Schools establishing Extension Schools shall not cross jurisdictional lines without consultation with other Course of Study Directors in the jurisdictions involved.
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. In addition to these basic curriculum courses, the school may provide a communication skills program for students. Other special programs may be funded at the discretion of the schools or the Division of Ordained Ministry and other programs that meet student needs.