Where Faith and Career Intersect: Dual Degrees at Truett

At the crossroads of many decisions made in one’s academic journey, students often find themselves pursuing vocations within the world of business, humanities, or non-traditional ministry while desiring to underpin this education with a theological foundation. Similarly, some students find themselves in a position where combining their seminary courses with knowledge developed through an outside degree would best prepare them for their ministerial callings.


Sarah Zirkel

When Sarah Zirkel found herself in this perplexing situation as an undergrad Spanish major with one minor in business administration and another in medical humanities, she was unsure what the Lord’s calling was for her long term. She simply knew that there was more to her academic story yet to be written. “I grew up in Costa Rica where my parents are missionaries,” said Zirkel. “I knew the Lord led me to the States to attend college, but it was never clear to me as an undergrad where God wanted me to be long term. I just prayed I would eventually be able to be a part of a ministry/business that allowed me to invest my time both in Costa Rica and the States.”

As she went through school and began seeking different opportunities in the hopes of finding her next step, Zirkel took on an internship at a hospital where she was placed in roles shadowing a variety of areas of the organization. “I found myself really enjoying hospital administration and the healing environment of the hospital,” said Zirkel. “By the end of my internship, I realized there was so much brokenness among the patients as well as their families, and I began to see the larger vision of the organization and the true benefits of being able to incorporate the Gospel within the daily operations of administration.” 

Upon returning to finish her senior year, Zirkel discovered the joint degree program offered between Baylor’s business school and Truett Seminary. “As I was learning about the MDiv/MBA programs and how they work together, I felt like the joint degrees could give me depth to the minors I received in undergrad with the medical humanities side playing into my desire to connect with a ministry.”

Zirkel, now two years into the MDiv/MBA dual program, has been able to see positive crossovers as she shares coursework between the two degrees. “I recently took a class at Truett called Business of Ministry, and we dug into the balance of business in a church or ministry setting. It really opened my eyes to ministry administration and the need for good stewardship. The class was an excellent follow-up to the business courses I had in undergrad.” 

While Zirkel and many like her seek one of the six unique joint degree offerings, Baylor and Truett’s desire is to create an intersection for numerous contexts. Between the Seminary and the schools of business, education, law, music, and social work, paralleling coursework allows students to gain graduate-level knowledge of a particular field while engaging in theological education to prepare them for ministry both in and alongside the Church.