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Advanced Course of Study

The Advanced Course of Study is a curriculum that enables a local pastor to meet the educational requirements for probationary membership, full conference membership, and ordination as an elder in The United Methodist Church.

Local pastors who complete the requirements of the Course of Study may continue their preparation for conference membership and ordination as an elder through an Advanced Course of Study program. The Florida Conference requires a C or better grade for coursework completed. The Discipline requires that local pastors who seek ordination:

  • Be at least forty years of age
  • Complete a Bachelor’s degree from a College/University recognized by the University Senate. In some instances, a minimum of 60 semester hours of Bachelor of Arts credit is acceptable.
  • Complete the five-year Course of Study, of which no more than four courses may be taken by correspondence or online.
  • Complete 32 semester hours of graduate theological study or its equivalent as determined by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. 
    • The following 5 courses are required and must be included in your overall 32 credit hours: United Methodist History, United Methodist Doctrine, United Methodist Polity, and 2 additional courses from the BGTS (Basic Graduate Theological Studies section).

Please note that every Annual Conference has different requirements for students seeking Ordination. Before beginning ACOS, you must meet with your Annual Conference Ministerial Services Office and become familiar with those 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

Information about GBHEM ACOS

Information about Garrett ACOS

Information about Methodist Theological School in Ohio ACOS

Information about Saint Paul School of Theology ACOS