PATHWAYS at a Glance: Every practical thing you want to know about PATHWAYS


PATHWAYS Theological Education is an online program designed to equip learners for lay, licensed, or ordained ministry in the church and other specialized ministries (e.g. chaplaincy).

PATHWAYS is an alternative pattern of theological education that seeks to meet the educational needs of individuals who are unable to go the more traditional route such as a graduate level seminary.

PATHWAYS is a conference based regional theological educational program of the United Church of Christ open to serving the wider church by affiliating with other UCC conferences.

Who should study in the PATHWAYS program? 

If you desire affordable and accessible theological education and ministerial training in order to serve in the church or other ministerial settings, we encourage you to explore PATHWAYS as your educational option.

This is an online program; the learners must have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

How long is the PATHWAYS program?

  • The program is divided into 3 Levels. Level 1 has eleven courses that covers the foundation of theological education within 2 years.
  • Level 2 comes with six courses along with the 9-month long Supervised Ministry I practicum; entire Level 2 program can be completed in 15 months.
  • Level 3 is comprised of six courses along with the 9-month long Supervised Ministry II practicum; entire Level 3 program can be completed anywhere from 12 months to 18 months depending on your choice of elective courses.
  • Completing the Level 1 program or its equivalent is a prerequisite for Level 2; completion of the Level 2 program is a prerequisite for Level 3.

Why are there different levels and what do they mean?

  • Level 1 offers the foundational training in theology and ministry. It is offered to anyone who wishes to learn to equip for ministry in the church as lay leaders. 
  • Level 2 is designed to equip learners for licensed ministry in the United Church of Christ.
  • Level 3 is designed to prepare persons in ministry for ordination in the United Church of Christ.

Can I be licensed or ordained by completing the PATHWAYS program?

In short, yes. Licensure or ordination is authorized by the authorizing bodies of the United Church of Christ. Completing a theological education such as PATHWAYS is one of the requirements for authorization. You will need to work with the Commission on Ministry/Committee on Ministry of your Conference or Association and maintain an active membership at a local congregation in order to pursue authorization for ministry. 

How much do PATHWAYS courses cost?

Each Level 1 course is $400. Each Level 2 or Level 3 course is $450. PATHWAYS participants pay tuition for each class approximately 2 weeks before the class starts. All courses are six-weeks long and offered online.

Does PATHWAYS offer scholarship?

Yes. We like to encourage new applicants to seek out for scholarships from their local congregation, association, and conference as there are various funds available for leadership formation/leadership development in these settings; PATHWAYS does offer limited, need-based scholarship to qualifying individuals. To be considered for scholarship, fill out the section on ‘Tuition & Scholarship’ on the Online Application.

Which courses are offered in the different program levels?

Click on the following link to review all PATHWAYS curriculum: Curriculum by Levels

Who teaches PATHWAYS courses?

All courses are facilitated by seminary and university professors and ordained clergy and licensed ministers with extensive ministry and teaching experiences.

Who sponsors PATHWAYS?

PATHWAYS is a leadership formation ministry of the Southeast Conference, United Church of Christ. The program is developed and implemented in affiliation with the Lancaster Theological Seminary and the Iowa Conference, UCC. The program is endorsed by the Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization (MESA) Team of the United Church of Christ. Various donors and their financial contributions make this program possible.