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News from the Hill October 24, 2012 | back to index

Andover Newton, Hartford enjoy M.Div. partnership

Educating the next generation of religious leaders is not a solo endeavor. Andover Newton is blessed to be part of the pioneering Boston Theological Institute, but the school also has another partner: Hartford Seminary in Connecticut (

The two schools have offered a cooperative Master of Divinity program since 2000.  Participants begin their seminary experience in Connecticut and complete it in Newton Centre after transferring up to 45 credits of the 81 required for graduation, receiving a Certificate of Professional Ministry from Hartford and the M.Div. degree from Andover Newton.

Students in the program go through the registration processes at both schools and must meet the same admissions standards as those who attend Andover Newton for the full length of the program.

Each year sees a few new arrivals at Andover Newton through this program, Admissions Director Alison McCarty said. Alison (pictured at left) made a visit to Hartford in February to talk with potential students, and her counterpart at Hartford, Tina Demo (right), made a reciprocal visit to Newton Centre over the summer.

The program’s origins arose from Hartford’s decision to phase out its Master of Divinity program. To continue to serve its students interested in ministry leadership,  the school entered into cooperative arrangements with both Andover Newton and Yale Divinity School. Hartford is a nondenominational seminary with Congregationalist roots. It has a focus on interfaith understanding and offers the only accredited Islamic chaplaincy program in North America.

“I think it’s worked out well, because for students—they start at Hartford Seminary,  they’re able to stay local, and then they come up here, (and) the way classes are arranged is convenient for them,” Tina said.

“For Andover Newton, it’s a wonderful relationship because we’re all about creating opportunities for students to get through their programs flexibly,” Alison said. “So when we see prospective students coming from Connecticut, one of my first questions is, ‘Have you been to Hartford Seminary, and are you aware we have a cooperative program with Hartford Seminary?’

“Because as a student already living in Connecticut, it’s going to be very convenient for you to start in the M.A. program at Hartford and then complete your degree, if you’re still heading in that direction, here at Andover Newton or you have the choice of Yale,” Alison continued. “It’s a great way to keep people as close to home as possible for as much of their degree as possible.”

“They’ve done well here, too,” Tina said.

“They add tremendous value in the classroom,” Alison agreed, “because they’re coming from a context where they have so many Muslim students in the classroom that they add a dimension here that we don’t get otherwise.”

Alison will be back in Hartford on Thursday, Nov. 1, with Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Sarah Drummond. They will be at the Hartford Seminary campus at 2:30 p.m., the second of two off-campus admissions visits that day for Alison. See calendar