Lori Verspoor

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The research conducted for this thesis involves twelve exploratory, semi-structured interviews of women in Master of Divinity programs with the intent of uncovering some of the reasons why they choose an education at a theological seminary as well as why they choose certain ministerial paths over others. Much research has been conducted on women currently in positions of religious leadership, but little has been conducted on women in their educational phase of ministerial training. The decision women make during this time are pivotal and thus are worthy of examination.

The aim of this study is to discover some of the goals and decision-making processes of women in Master of Divinity programs. This thesis will point to a trend of women being less interested in conventional leadership roles within conventional congregations, and more interested in non-conventional ministerial positions within conventional congregations, ministerial positions outside of a conventional congregation, and/or ministerial positions outside of the congregation-setting altogether. It will conclude by offering reasons as to why women are choosing less conventional ministerial positions.

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