Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Metro-Urban Institute

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has been preparing leaders for Christian ministry for more than 200 years. In 1991, the Seminary initiated the Metro-Urban Institute to help churches address growing concerns related to urban living. MUI has become an important resource for those concerned with "the welfare of the city" (Jeremiah 29:7) whether or not they actually live in urban areas. 

Primary Goals

Providing Classroom and Field Placement Educational Opportunities

To provide or help arrange formal and informal, credit and non-credit, in-class and field-based educational experiences, which will assist in the development of religious leaders. 


To collaborate with churches, church-related agencies, and other human service programs to respond educationally to the social and spiritual problems of people in the metropolitan context.   

Providing Resources on Urban Ministry

To provide assistance to congregations and the seminary community with scholarly research concerning urban ministry.  

Metro-Urban Institute Programs

Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry

Students in either the M.Div. or the M.A. degree programs may pursue a Graduate Certificate in Urban Ministry. Those seeking the certificate must

  • attain 18 hours of course work related to urban ministry (including Church and Society) with a grade of B or better in each course of the urban-focus;
  • complete two year of field placement or internship in an approved urban placement;
  • participate in an urban intensive weekend and cross-cultural immersion experience; and
  • maintain a 2.5 or above overall GPA. 

Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE)

To help further expose students to urban theological education resources nationally and globally the Seminary’s Metro-Urban Institute is a member of SCUPE, one of the nation’s oldest seminary-based urban collaborations. Through partnership in SCUPE, PTS students may participate with other seminarians in joint classes and urban internships designed for the urban context. 

Christian Leadership Certificate

The Christian Leadership Certificate is a non-academic program that is open to anyone with a high school diploma or beyond with the recommendation of his/her pastor or other Christian advocate. The program is open enrollment. However, there are individuals from every walk of life, occupation, and level of academic achievement studying side by side. Special consideration is given to individuals considering opportunities to complete their undergraduate education and receive a college degree.

While the Seminary grants advanced graduate degrees only, one can obtain graduate certification at the master level. MUI utilizes a diverse group of educators and urban practitioners from throughout Greater Pittsburgh, country, and world communities. MUI makes high quality theological education available at a low cost to persons who, ordinarily, would be unable to attend Seminary due to educational deficiencies or lack of financial resources. 

Learn more about the CLC Program.

Field Education Placement

One year of field placement is required for the Master of Divinity degree in the general program. Urban-focus students seeking the graduate certificate in Urban Ministry, however, participate in two years of field placement. Each field placement site has a professional who works with the Seminary in developing the placement and providing supervision.

Urban Internship Placement

This arrangement provides supervised experiential learning opportunities for master’s level students. Students work in an urban-related context with a church or agency associated with the MUI Collaborative for an academic year (or greater portion thereof).

Cross-Cultural Education

Given the realities of today's global marketplace and multicultural cities, awareness of the cross-cultural challenges of urban life is essential for effective local city ministry. The Metro-Urban Institute's Cross-Cultural Education program exposes students to urban ministry and theological education in cultures outside of the USA, typically in non-Western societies. Urban focus students have enjoyed study with practitioners and educators in West Africa. Cross-cultural education is generally offered as a summer intensive course, due to the inclusion of foreign travel.


Apply online for the Christian Leadership Certificate.

Contact MUI 

Kimberly Merrell, director




Metro-Urban Institute
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
616 North Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206