Overview

The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program is a three-year degree that prepares students for a wide range of ministries in the church, academy, and world. Our distinguished faculty members teach a broad set of core course requirements that cover the classical disciplines of church history, Biblical studies, theology, and practical ministry, as well as elective opportunities that allow students to either complete ordination processes or to pursue the particular interests and passions to which God has called them.

There are generously paid field education internships built into the three-year model, allowing students to receive practical experience and training as a complement to work done in the classroom. Our spiritual formation component, required of each first-year student, nourishes the life of discipleship and prayer.

Support for Field Education

Engagement in Real-World Experiences

Duke Divinity is unique in its ability to provide funding for up to three field education internships (two placements are required for graduation). The Office of Field Education places students in either full-time placements during the summer or part-time placements during the academic year and can provide up to $9,100 per placement. This funding is in addition to any scholarships, grants, or outside aid that a student receives, and can result in as much as $27,300 in additional support throughout the course of the program.

 

Explore Pressing Societal Issues

Your Calling in Depth

Our electives give students the opportunity for in-depth exploration of critical theological issues that face contemporary society. Take a class with Project TURN, in which incarcerated men and women study alongside Duke Divinity School students; engage connections between food and faith with Professor Norman Wirzba; or explore connections between Christianity and medicine with practicing physicians and theologians.

Houses of Study

Resources and Support

Our houses of study help prepare you for service—and ordination—in the communities and denominations where you’ll serve. They include the Methodist House of Studies, the Baptist House of Studies, the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies, the Presbyterian/Reformed House of Studies, Black Church Studies, and the Hispanic House of Studies.

Scholarships

All M.Div. Students Receive Funding

All M.Div. students receive some form of scholarship support from Duke Divinity School, and there is no separate application needed in order to be considered. We're committed to ensuring that every student who hears the call to ministry can fund their education here.

Our M.Div. program boasts an academically rigorous curriculum surrounded by vibrant worship, contextual learning, opportunities for spiritual formation, and a close-knit student community. Through the breadth and depth of its program, the M.Div. leaves open many vocational doors to graduates, including pastoral ministry, non-profit leadership, further academic work, and teaching.

Curriculum

The curriculum for our flagship degree program is designed to give students a solid foundation for wherever their calling takes them—be that ordination, lay ministry, nonprofit work, or a career in teaching. Our classes cover Old and New Testament, Church history, Christian theology, world Christianity, ministry, worship, preaching, Biblical languages, the Black Church, and a variety of electives. View a sample three-year curriculum (pdf) and a curriculum designed for United Methodist students (pdf).

We form students for ministry in a variety of ways — through coursework, corporate worship, field education, service opportunities, houses of study, and denominational associations. Each first-year M.Div. student is also placed in an intentional spiritual formation group led by a local pastor or religious leader. These small, diverse groups meet weekly to share concerns, reflect on the nature of Christian discipleship, and pray together. Two weekend retreats each year extend the experience.

Transition to Ministry workshops, Commissioning and Full Connection seminars, and Mentoring for Ministry programs provide opportunities for students to engage in vocational discernment, hear from and develop relationships with experienced ministers, strengthen leadership skills, engage in reflective practices, and gain practical knowledge to aid in the transition from academic life to lay or ordained ministry in the church and the world.

 

Curriculum Highlights

Foundations for Future Service

Our basic curriculum includes foundational courses in biblical, historical, theological, and ministerial studies that are representative of the Christian tradition and are indispensable for subsequent elective classes. Required courses include Old Testament 752 and 753, New Testament 754, Church History 750 and 751, American Christianity 756, Christian Theology 755, Christian Ethics 757, and Preaching 758. In addition, students choose at least one course from designated offerings in each of the following subject areas: advanced Church Ministry, Black Church Studies, World Christianity, New Testament exegesis, and Practicing Theology in Ministry.

Certificates and Concentrations

Duke Divinity School currently offers six certificates and concentrations that give students the opportunity to focus their coursework on a particular area of ministry or study:

Certificate in Anglican Studies
The Certificate in Anglican Studies is designed to serve the academic and formational requirements of those preparing for ministry—lay and especially ordained—in the Episcopal Church and other member churches of the Anglican Communion.

Certificate in Baptist Studies
The Certificate in Baptist Studies is designed to serve the academic and formational requirements of those preparing for ministry—ordained and lay—in the Baptist tradition.

Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, Theology, and Ministry
The certificate in Gender, Sexuality, Theology, and Ministry (GSTM) is designed to offer opportunities to women and men to study gender and sexuality in the life of the church, in the Christian tradition, and in contemporary culture.

Certificate in Prison Studies
The certificate in Prison Studies provides students with the opportunity to engage specifically with people in prison and the system that imprisons them in the context of theological education and formation for ministry.

Certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture
The Certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture will prepare Duke Divinity students for robust theological and practical engagement with contemporary practices in medicine and healthcare.

Concentration in Christian Education
The Concentration in Christian Education benefits persons seeking to practice as church educators, teachers, college chaplains, youth workers, or health care workers.

Application Information

Duke Divinity School accepts applications for our three deadlines starting in September and concluding with the final deadline on April 15. Our admissions requirements include a demonstrated commitment to some form of ordained or lay ministry and a minimum GPA of 2.75 in a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university prior to the intended date of enrollment.

Application Deadlines

  • Early deadline: November 1
  • Priority deadline (to be considered for merit scholarships):  January 15
  • International applicant deadline:  January 15
  • Final deadline:  April 15
Application Checklist

1. Create a ChooseDuke account

Our application is part of ChooseDuke, a university-wide system for applicants. To begin your application to Duke Divinity School, you will need to create an account (or resume an in-progress application).

You must log out of other social media accounts before attempting to create a Duke OneLink (social media login). If you need assistance with creating a social media account or logging in to ChooseDuke, you may contact our office at admissions@div.duke.edu or request help from our Applicant Help Desk at chooseduke-support@duke.edu

2. Work on your application form

The system requires you to submit information in 3 sections in order to complete your application. The first step is to answer all required questions and to submit the application form.

Please upload .pdf documents

3. Add your recommender information

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation submitted through the online application system are required: 1 academic, 1 church, and 1 personal/character or additional academic or church.

All applicants will be asked to provide recommenders' contact information as part of the online application. After you enter your recommender's information, the system will automatically send an email request to your recommender. The email will contain instructions guiding your recommender through the process of submitting a recommendation via our secure form.

Please ask your recommenders to upload .pdf files.

4. Pay the fee and submit your application

A $55 non-refundable application fee is collected by credit card when you submit the online application. The online application must be submitted before you can upload required supplemental materials. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible to ensure that you have adequate time to upload all required supplemental materials by the final program deadline.

5. Submit required supplemental documents by deadline

The online application and fee must be submitted before you can upload required supplemental materials. Supplemental materials such as unofficial transcripts, essays, resume, and any writing samples can only be uploaded once your application and fee are submitted.

  • Unofficial Transcripts
    • All applicants must have, at minimum, an unofficial copy of their transcript from the college or university that granted or will grant their bachelor’s level degree. Additional coursework or degree information from previous colleges, universities, graduate schools, study abroad institutions, and seminaries may also be uploaded as part of the application. Transcripts may be submitted regardless of when you attended, how many hours you earned, or whether you earned a degree or not.
    • Transcripts must be uploaded as part of your online application. Do not send paper or electronic copies directly to us. 
    • All students who are admitted and matriculate at Duke Divinity School must submit final transcripts showing that the minimally required degree has been granted before enrollment.
    • The file limit size is 2.5 MB, so please compress files that are over this size.  
    • Submit .pdf files only
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    You will upload your resume as part of the online application process. The resume should provide an overview of your life and experiences — educational background, work experience, church or vocational preparation, leadership roles, professional affiliations, honors and awards, community service, skills, and interests and hobbies.
  • Recommendations
    • Three (3) letters of recommendation submitted through the online application system are required: 1 academic, 1 church, and 1 personal/character or additional academic or church.
    • All applicants will be asked to provide recommenders' contact information as part of the online application. After you enter your recommender's information, the system will automatically send an email request to your recommender. The email will contain instructions guiding your recommender through the process of submitting a recommendation via our secure form.
    • Please ask your recommenders to upload .pdf files
  • Essay
    A three-page essay describing (1) your sense of vocation in Christian ministry, articulating the significant points of affirmation that led to your understanding of your calling; (2) integrating your reflection on a theological book(s) that has helped to shape your understanding of your calling; and (3) how you understand your call in relation to the mission of Duke Divinity School to prepare leaders for the church, academy, and world.

All supporting documents (e.g., transcripts and reference letters not submitted online) must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on the stated deadline date. If the application deadline date falls on a weekend, all applications and supporting documents must be received in the admissions office by 5:00 p.m. EST on the Monday after the deadline date. We must receive all required supplemental materials to consider your application for admission.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

All non-U.S. citizens must review the application requirements for international applicants.

  • Endorsement Letter
    One letter of recommendation must be from a church official affirming support of your pursuit of theological education in the United States.

Please ask your recommender to upload .pdf files.

  • TOEFL Scores for International Applicants
    Applicants whose native language is not English must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as part of the application process. Official TOEFL scores must be transmitted electronically from the Educational Testing Services (E.T.S.) to Duke (institution code 5156). Personal copies are not accepted and must be less than two years old.
    • Received or will receive by the time of enrollment an undergraduate degree where the language of instruction was English only (the official language of the country is English)
    • Earned or will earn by the time of enrollment an undergraduate degree from a college or university in the United States
  • A TOEFL waiver question is included in the online application form. You do not need to contact us in advance if you meet the criteria for a TOEFL waiver. No exceptions will be made if you do not meet the criteria.

Financial Certification

Unlike many schools, Duke does not require financial support documents as part of the application; instead, students submit this information after they have been admitted and are enrolled in the program.  

Duke does not automatically issue I-20s to students upon admission.  Instead, students work with the department to submit information and supporting documents to Duke's Visa Services Office. The process is described below.

  • Upon accepting the offer of admission, a student will receive an email from our office with a User Name and password in order to complete the online Request for Temporary Visa Form - Part II.
  • The student completes the online form, prints it off, signs it, and returns it to our office, along with the appropriate supporting documents. 
  • Students must show liquid funds in the total amount listed in the PDF document available on our Tuition page.
  • Financial documents must be less than four months old.
  • Only after we receive everything from the student will our office complete Part I of the Request for Temporary Visa Form. At that time, the student’s entire packet will be sent to Duke Visa Services for processing.
  • Visa documents (I-20 or DS-2019) are usually issued within 2 calendar weeks from the date that Duke Visa Services received the completed packet.
  • Register for your visa appointment only after you receive your visa documents.

Those on non-Duke visas complete a modified process during the enrollment period.

Additional Requirements for Transfer Applicants

All transfer applicants are evaluated on the same basis as other applicants. However, students applying to transfer from another seminary or theological school must include the following:

  • Essay
    Applicants must include an extra page in their essay that provides an explanation of and purpose for the proposed transfer.
  • Letter of recommendation
    A fourth letter of recommendation must submitted as part of the application, and it must be written by the director of field education or student life at the school from which the transfer is sought.

Please ask your recommender to upload .pdf files.

Graduation Requirements

The Master of Divinity is normally completed in three years. Requirements for graduation are:

  • 24 courses in 6 or more semesters (12 core classes, 12 electives)
  • 2 units of field education
  • First-year Spiritual Formation
  • 2 student portfolios (one each in second and third years)

Resources

We’re available to answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at admissions@div.duke.edu or (919) 660-3436 or toll-free: (888) GO-2-DUKE. The resources below will also help you learn more about our programs.