Thanks in part to more women students, seminary enrollment continues to climb.

Latest statistics show a record number of more than 40,000 students enrolled in graduate theology schools throughout the United States and Canada. A startling 11 per cent increase was reported between the fall of 1974 and the opening of the 1975–76 academic year.

The sharp rise occurred mainly in U. S. Protestant institutions, according to statistics compiled by the accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

ATS’s newly released Fact Book notes that half the numerical growth for the past year came in programs that normally lead to ordination, a reversal for the second year of an earlier trend toward declining enrollment in basic ministry training. Women in this category have risen 132 per cent since 1972 (the ATS has been noting the sex of theological-school students for only four years).

Religious News Service noted that total seminary enrollment was never hit by the severe drops projected in some quarters a decade ago. Enrollment climbed in the late 1960s and early 1970s primarily because of increases in programs beyond basic pastoral education. Persons seeking the basic seminary degree actually declined every year between 1969 and 1973, except for 1971. That degree was traditionally called the B.D. (bachelor of divinity) but now is increasingly called the M.Div. (master of divinity).

ATS said 36,830 students were enrolled for the last academic year and 40,895 for the current year.

The B.D. and M.Div. students increased by 815 from 1973 to 1974 and by 2,024 from 1974 to 1975. This apparent shift toward greater interest in ordination and the pastorate comes at a time when some Protestant denominations ...

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