Overview

Our combined four-year program in law and theology prepares students for ministries in a host of fields, such as advocacy for social justice issues and teaching. It also means students can graduate with degrees from both Duke Divinity and Duke Law in four years instead of five.

The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) degree is a program tailored to fit the needs of students pursuing advanced doctoral studies or seeking careers in teaching or research. It also provides a strong foundation for students called to serve in lay ministry roles throughout the church, academy, and world.

Duke Law School offers a Juris Doctor (J.D.) program that provides a firm grounding in the core subjects of the study of law and rigorous training in legal analysis, reasoning, and writing. The program also combines traditional coursework with practical skills, clinics, research tutorials, and small seminars.

Spiritual Formation

Support for Christian Discipleship

M.T.S. students can opt to participate in spiritual formation groups during the first year of study at the Divinity School. Spiritual formation creates a unique opportunity for students to support each other in prayer, fellowship, and community.

Mentoring for Doctoral Applications

Preparation for Further Study

Our M.T.S. degree program is a strong platform for students who plan to pursue further academic work. Our professors mentor students for the doctoral application process, providing support and feedback on research projects and support during the process. The M.T.S. program directors and cohort representatives hold various workshops to assist students in preparing for further graduate work.

Merit-Based Scholarships

Ray C. Petry and M.T.S. Scholarships

M.T.S. applicants are eligible to be considered for one of four Petry merit-based scholarships (100% tuition) and M.T.S. scholarships (22% tuition per year of study). Scholarships are awarded based on a combination of academic performance and promise for ministry. There is no separate application for scholarships.

Duke Divinity School’s academically rigorous curriculum— enriched by vibrant worship, opportunities for spiritual formation, the close-knit student community, and mentoring for the doctoral application process— makes the M.T.S. a premier program for those seeking preparation for their ministry to the world in an intentional Christian community, while the Duke Law J.D. is rigorous, innovative, and respected around the globe.

Curriculum

Students apply separately to each school. Upon acceptance, students enroll in either the Divinity School or the Law School for their first year, and the first-year curriculum is the same as that of other students in that school. In the second year, students complete the full first-year program of the other school. During the third and fourth years students take courses in both schools. However, approximately two-thirds of the courses will be in the Law School.

The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) curriculum covers foundational areas of history, theology, and Scripture with the flexibility to pursue electives in one's area of interest. Students also complete a thesis under faculty direction during their final year.  

Core courses include Old Testament, Church History, New Testament, Christian Theology, Christian Ethics, and Ministerial Studies. Students can choose from a wide variety of electives ranging from New Testament Exegesis, to Christianity and Race, to Restorative Justice and the Church.

At the law school, first-year students begin their study of law through the traditional core courses of civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. At least one first-year course is a small section of less than 30 students and rarely does any first-year class exceed 90 students.

From the first-year foundation, Duke Law has built an extensive upper-class curriculum that blends traditional coursework with an extensive array of practical skills courses and clinics and opportunities to study in small groups with faculty.

Certificates

Duke Divinity School currently offers two certificates that can be earned in the M.T.S./J.D. program. These certificates give students the opportunity to focus their coursework on a particular area of ministry or study.

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 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.

Application Information

You must apply separately for admission to each school. Visit the Duke Law website to learn more about law school application requirements.

Duke Divinity School accepts application on a rolling basis from September 2015 to June 15. Our admissions requirements include demonstrated program goals commensurate with the M.T.S.  degree program, a commitment to some form of diaconal or lay ministry, and a minimum GPA of 3.25 in a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university prior to the intended date of enrollment.

M.T.S. Application Deadlines

  • Priority deadline (to be considered for merit scholarships):  January 15
  • International applicant deadline:  January 15
  • Final deadline:  June 15
Divinity School Application Checklist

Prospective students interested in dual-degree programs are required to pursue admission to each school independently, and upon successful admission to both programs, are enrolled as dual-degree students.

1. Application currently offline

We are currently making changes to the Application in preparation for the 2017 season. Please check back in mid-September to create an account and begin applying.

Directions listed below will be largely unchanged for the upcoming season.

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.

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.

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
    • Transcripts from all previous colleges, universities, graduate schools, study abroad institutions, and seminaries must be uploaded as part of the application. Transcripts must be submitted regardless of when you attended, how many hours you earned, or whether you earned a degree.
    • Transcripts must be uploaded as part of your online application. Do not send paper or electronic copies directly to us. 
    • All students who enroll at Duke must submit final transcripts before registration.   
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    Your 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.
  • Essay
    A three-page essay describing (1) your goals for enrolling in the Master of Theological Studies program; (2) integrating your reflection on a theological book(s) that has helped to shape your theological imagination; and (3) how you understand your goals and development of theological imagination in relation to the mission of Duke Divinity School to prepare leaders for the church, academy, and world.
  • Writing Sample
    Submit a 4-6 page (1000-1500 words) academic writing sample, such as an essay or excerpt from an academic paper or article. Attention to theological themes is desired. Include the title of the writing sample and provide context if an excerpt.

Applications must be complete in order to be considered by the Admissions Committee. All supporting documents (e.g., transcripts and reference letters not submitted online) must be received by 5:00 p.m. 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. on the Monday after the deadline date.

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 their support of your pursuit of theological education in the United States.
  • 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
    The applicant must include an extra page in their essay, provides and 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. When you create your application, you will be able to enter the information for 3 recommenders. You can then enter the fourth recommender’s information after submitting the application.  

Graduation Requirements

The M.T.S./J.D. program is normally completed in four years. Requirements for graduation are as follows:

M.T.S.

  • Twelve courses: Of these twelve courses, the Divinity School selects eight requirements, and the student may choose four electives.
  • Thesis: Each student is required to write a paper that addresses the learnings or major emphases of the individual's program. The paper is submitted within a course during the final semester, fulfilling the requirements of both the course and the degree program.
  • Student portfolio: All M.T.S. students are required to compile a portfolio consisting of certain papers with faculty feedback and student reflections. The portfolio serves to demonstrate the formation of the student in the areas of exegesis of Christian texts and the ability to think theologically.

J.D.

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.