The Advanced Course of Study (ACOS) is a curriculum that enables a licensed local pastor to meet the educational requirements for provisionary membership, full conference membership, and ordination in The United Methodist Church. Local Pastors who have completed the Course of Study may be eligible for ordination and membership in full connection with the completion of a minimum of 32 hours of graduate theological study.

Transcript evaluations are a useful tool for conferences and clergy discerning the best educational path in response to their call, whether it be licensed ministry or ordination (¶ 635.2.e). Requests for GBHEM to evaluate previous education for Course of Study or M.Div. transfer credit should be sent to by the Bishop, District Superintendent, District Committee on Ordained Ministry, or an officer of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

Please note that every Annual Conference has different requirements for students seeking ordination. Before beginning Advanced Course of Study, students should meet with the Annual Conference Ministerial Services team and become familiar with their specific requirements.

A total of 32 credit hours are required to graduate from Advanced Course of Study. Each Annual Conference may require additional credit hours.

Students may complete fifty percent of the Advanced Course of Study curriculum through fully online (non-residential, non-hybrid) courses.

The following United Methodist Studies courses are required by the Book of Discipline (¶ 324.4a) and for provisional membership. United Methodist Studies courses must be included in a student’s overall 32 credit hours. The three United Methodist Studies courses must equal a total of 6 credit hours:

  • United Methodist Doctrine
  • United Methodist Polity
  • United Methodist History

The following Basic Graduate Theological Studies courses must be taken to meet the 32-hour Advanced Course of Study requirement. Advanced Course of Study credit hours vary at each educational institution. (¶ 324.4a)

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Theology
  • Church History
  • Mission of the Church in the World
  • Evangelism
  • Worship / Liturgy

Each year advanced courses are offered in areas that meet the disciplinary requirements and are relevant to the pastor’s role in ministry and local context. Advanced Course of Study (ACOS) courses are also designed to fulfill the Basic Graduate Theological Studies (BGTS) requirements for ordination. Students pursuing Advanced Studies as a route to ordination should choose their elective courses based on individual annual conference requirements.Some courses are cross listed; for example, Mission and Evangelism.  Students must choose one of these for their course concentration.  Please note, classes in Advanced COS are not introductory or survey; that was covered in Course of Study classes.

This course will include information on the early Methodist movement beginning in eighteenth-century England and explore characteristics and practices of the movement including its transition to North America. Understanding UMC History prepares students to participate in the life and leadership of The United Methodist Church.

This course focuses on United Methodist polity and governance including its doctrine, mission, ordination, and connectional structure.

This course is designed to introduce students to a practical understanding of United Methodist doctrine—its origins and sources, its shape and character, and its practices and contexts for ministry within our world.

This course deepens the student’s understanding and exegetical interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures and their application in the student’s pastoral and personal life.

This course builds upon the student’s knowledge of the Gospel and other New Testament scriptures and faithful interpretation in the student’s pastoral and personal life.

This course continues to explore the student’s relationship to God and critically reflect upon God’s activity in the world and interpret it to the people students are appointed to serve.

This course examines different aspects of how the Christian community has developed over time.

This course expands the student’s understanding of Wesley’s social holiness and justice within the student’s ministry context across diverse and global settings.

This course assures students that evangelism is the broad sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ to every generation through relationships and accountable discipleship for the flourishing of the Christian community.

This course deepens the student’s knowledge and appreciation of praising God within a community of faith.

The GBHEM COS Online program offers a variety of courses which meet Advanced COS and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) requirements. To learn more about the CPE program, visit

All GBHEM Advanced COS courses are currently being offered online. Courses are taught in a fully online, 10-week format.  A Syllabus Overview with course objectives and a required book list is available upon registration. The syllabus of assignments is available when the course begins. Some courses include a required Zoom class component.  Weekly reading and coursework are required online. Moodle is the educational learning platform used by GBHEM; a tutorial for this platform is available online. Upcoming advanced course offerings and program dates are listed on the registration website at Students who have questions about which courses to take or concerns regarding the Advanced Course of Study curriculum should contact