Payne Theological Seminary has its roots in, and is nurtured by, the African American community. The seminary, however, attracts students from many denominations and religions in the African American community and abroad. Payne Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, and its graduates are qualified to do further graduate work or enter into the pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, education, pastoral counseling, and community outreach.
Applicants of all religious, ethnic, gender, and cultural persuasions are welcomed at Payne Theological Seminary. Applicants are expected to achieve a level of academic competence that makes their seminary experience profitable.
African American Studies pervade the curriculum of this historically Black seminary. Examples include: African American Religion Experience, Christianity and Racism, The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr., African American Liberation Theology, African Americans and the Bible, Early African Christianity, and the Theology of the Spirituals.
Biblical, Historical, Theological, and Practical Studies are at the core of the seminary’s curriculum.
Biblical Studies: Studying the biblical word while learning the principles of exegesis prepares the graduate to preach and teach. This is aided by classes in both Hebrew and Greek.
Historical Studies: In addition to an acquaintance with the entire scope of Christian history, the student can expect to focus on the experience of African Americans. The life and thought of African American religious leaders such as Richard Allen and Martin Luther King, Jr., Howard Thurman, and others receive extensive examination. Courses in both African American Church History and AME Church History are also taught.
Theological Studies: While studying the classical doctrines of the Christian Church as well as more recent developments such as the Liberation Theologies, particularly its African American formulations, the student analyzes Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics. Courses in Black Theology, Womanist Theology, and Ecological Theology characterize the distinctive offerings available.
Practical Ministry: Classes such as The Church in its Urban Environment, Worship and Liturgy, Pulpit Communication, Christian Education, and Church Leadership and Administration are centered in the Black Church experience with the goal of preparing persons for ministry in the global community.