Graduate Theological Union

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Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley
Established 1962
Type Private
Location Berkeley, California, U.S.
President Riess Potterveld

The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is a consortium of eight independent American theological schools and eleven centers and affiliates. Seven of the theological schools are located in Berkeley, California. The GTU was founded in 1962 and is affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley. Most of the GTU member schools are located in the Berkeley hills one block north of the university. GTU's enrollment is currently around 1,300. The local nickname for the neighborhood is "holy hill".


Religious traditions represented include Protestant, Catholic, Unitarian Universalist, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist. Curricula amongst the schools includes the arts, cultural and historical studies, spirituality, philosophy and interdisciplinary studies, in addition to traditional theological subjects. GTU offers M.A., M.Th., and M.Div degrees, as well as Ph.D and Th.D programs in cooperation with the University of California at Berkeley's graduate school, and two joint Ph.D programs with the university's Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Department of Jewish Studies. All degree seeking students at GTU may take any classes offered at the University of California, Berkeley

Constituting schools[edit]

Research centers[edit]


GTU maintains the Graduate Theological Union Library, one of the most extensive libraries of its type in the world. Its material acquisitions are coordinated with the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University libraries. Borrowing privileges are available for all three institutions.


The National Research Council (NRC) has released a comprehensive assessment of doctoral programs in the United States.[1]

In one independent compilation based on the NRC’s "regression-based" rankings, the GTU appears at No. 22 overall.[2]

Notable alumni[edit]

Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe (Ph.D.), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council Nancey Murphy (Ph.D., Th.D.), Professor of Christian Philosophy at Fuller Theological Seminary Wesley Wildman (Ph.D.), Professor of Theology and Ethics at Boston University, Co-Founder of Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion, and Director of Liberal Evangelical Arthur S. Thomas, Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Air Force

Notable graduates of GTU member schools[edit]

Yvette Flunder, San Francisco Theological Seminary, founder of the City of Refugee and Chair of the San Francisco Inter-religious Coalition on AIDS

Carolyn S. Leeb, San Francisco Theological Seminary, professor in theology at Valparaiso University.

Herb Long, former Dean of Students at Harvard Divinity School.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, first female Primate in the Anglican Communion


The GTU's dean is Arthur Holder. The president is Riess W. Potterveld.

Robert J. Russell, Professor of Science and Theology and the founder and director of the Center for Natural Science and Theology at Berkeley

Ted Peters, Lutheran theologian and the Professor of Systematic Theology at GTU and editor of the Journal of Theology and Science

David Alexander, Professor of Old Testament and Theology at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and President Emeritus of Pomona College

Aaron Brody, Robert and Kathryn Riddell Associate Professor of Bible and Archaeology at Pacific School of Theology and participating faculty at the University of California at Berkeley

Christopher Ocker, Professor of History at the San Francisco Theological Seminary and affiliated faculty of the history department of the University of California at Berkeley

John Dillenberger, Professor Emeritus, Graduate Theological Union Berkeley, California

Imam Zaid Shakir, Served in the United States Air Force; served as an interfaith council Chaplain at Yale University, currently chairman of the board, co-founder, and senior faculty member at Zaytuna College

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, President, co-founder, and senior faculty member of Zaytuna College. Also, an advisor to Stanford University’s Program in Islamic Studies and the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union

Hatem Bazian, co-founder, senior faculty, and Academic Affairs Chair at Zaytuna College. He is also a senior lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Bazian is also a visiting Professor in Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California and adviser to the Religion, Politics, and Globalization Center at UC Berkeley.

John Klentos, Spanos Associate Professor of Orthodox Theology at the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute.


External links[edit]