The Interseminary Committee consisting of members from Berkeley Baptist Divinity School, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Pacific School of Religion, and Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and led by Dean Sherman E. Johnson of CDSP, proposed a cooperative graduate program in religion to the University of California, but the initial responses were inconclusive.

San Francisco Theological Seminary joined the discussion in 1959 when Pacific School of Religion invited the other schools to participate in a special PSR department in graduate studies. At the time, PSR and SFTS were the only schools that offered ThD degrees.