Candler Experience

The Candler Experience

It's transformative.

Truth is, there is no one Candler experience. We’re a diverse community of committed learners (teachers included!) called in countless ways to enlist our hearts, minds, and hands in the study of theology and in service to God, the church, and the world. Each of us brings our own gifts and story, and together we weave these threads to create the tapestry that is Candler. Though there’s infinite variety in the details, if you step back, you can see patterns emerge in the fabric—patterns that give shape to “The Candler Experience.”


The Emory Advantage

The first professional school established at Emory University, Candler School of Theology remains at the heart of Emory’s mission today. When this globally active, top-25 research institution creates, preserves, teaches, and applies knowledge in the service of humanity, Candler has a seat at the table—and so do you. That seat gives you access to deep, broad resources and a network of connections that enriches your studies and enlivens your vocational imagination.

What does it mean to study theology here? It means access to 300 Emory faculty with research interests related to religion. Dual degrees with Emory’s other respected graduate and professional schools, including the Goizueta Business School, Laney Graduate School, Rollins School of Public Health, and the School of Law. Nine world-class libraries to support your research. Collaborations with The Carter Center, the Carlos Museum, the Center for Ethics, and the Med School. A front-row seat to groundbreaking medical research that improves lives worldwide. Opportunities to learn from major players on the world stage. And perhaps best of all, an invitation to add your voice to conversations that drive real change.


A Thriving Spiritual Life

First things first: There are scores of opportunities to grow spiritually as you study theology at Candler. (Yes, these things really do go together!) One of the most dynamic ways is through worship. We gather on Tuesdays and Thursdays for our main chapel services, where we come together as Christians of all denominations and backgrounds to hear a word from one of our stellar faculty or a guest preacher. The diversity of our services speaks to the diversity of our community, and God will reach you in new and inspiring ways every time. Even outside of chapel, worship will continue to be a touchstone throughout your busy weekly routine. With Wednesday Evensong, Friday Eucharist and special services, the opportunities are plentiful. Check out our worship schedule.

We also carve out time for spiritual formation through the offerings of Candler’s Office of Student Programming. Lunchtime seminars on prayer practices and spiritual disciplines present you with new ways to encounter the Holy. Spiritual retreats during fall and spring breaks provide refreshment and rejuvenation in the midst of studying and work. Short-term reflection groups and other small groups create true Christian community and nurture spiritual growth. 


Challenging Courses

You’ve probably heard the phrase “rigorous academics” before. And we’ve got that. But here at Candler, we don’t just specialize in challenging academics, but in challenging assumptions. You’ll be thinking. (Hard.) You’ll be reading. (A lot.) You’ll be engaged in serious dialogue about serious issues. You’ll be considering and re-considering long-held beliefs and hidden biases in light of new information. You’ll be learning in large lecture classes that inspire standing ovations and in small seminars that put you face-to-(smiling) face with renowned biblical scholars. It’s demanding, but in the end, you’ll agree that it was worth it. 


Gifted Faculty

You won’t be alone on this epic odyssey of learning. There will be world-class experts guiding you along the way: the Candler faculty, 52 strong, all of whom are eager for you to succeed. Made up of some of the most respected minds in theological education, our distinguished faculty could work anywhere in the world, but they choose Candler because they value teaching, scholarship, and serving the church for the positive transformation of the world—and so do we. They’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know them—a rare treat made possible by Candler’s 9:1 student/faculty ratio, the lowest among our peer institutions


Hands-on Learning

Whether you’re bound for ministry or further study—or somewhere in between—Candler gives you plenty of hands-on learning opportunities to clarify your vocation, deepen your understanding and sharpen your skills. We make sure that what you learn here will be relevant to your future.

For those pursuing professional ministry degrees, our Contextual Education program is essential to the way we “do” theology at Candler, blending hands-on ministry, classroom learning, and critical reflection. In your first year, you’ll serve in a social service or clinical setting, such as a homeless shelter or a hospital. In your second year, you’ll move to an ecclesial setting at a church or campus ministry. Regular meetings with a reflection group made up of fellow Candler students and led by a faculty mentor round out the experience and help you connect the dots. Just ask our students: Con Ed stretches, strengthens, humbles, affirms and challenges them, perfecting their skills for ministry.

Pat Graham and students in the library.
For those who wish to perfect more academic skills, hands-on learning takes a different form. Personal attention from faculty and special courses that teach effective research skills develop your aptitude for meaningful scholarship, giving you a foundation you can continue to build on as you move to advanced studies. The Pitts Theology Library, with more than half a million volumes, feeds any theological interest you may have. Plus, the Pitts reference librarians are incredible assets to your scholarly development: trained in theology, most have PhDs or are currently writing their dissertations. They’ll guide you as you search for sources for a paper or project, and they hold weekly workshops on research skills unique to theology. What’s more, they’re nice!

You’re probably starting to get the idea that Candler doesn't exist in a bubble, and it’s not an ivory tower where we keep to ourselves. It’s the perfect preparation for living, working, and ministering in the real world.