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New Degrees Help Meet Changing Church’s Need

During the coming year the Divinity School will launch three new degree programs, two of which allow ministry professionals to continue working while they study at Duke.

All three degrees—the doctor of ministry (D.Min.) , the master of arts in Christian practice (M.A.C.P.) , and the master of arts in Christian studies (M.A.C.S.) —were developed in response to the church’s need for a greater variety of educational offerings from seminaries in the 21st century.

“Using innovative teaching technologies, the Divinity School’s faculty can reach a wider circle of students and provide the same sort of rich, tradition-grounded theological education for which Duke Divinity School is internationally known,” says Dean Richard Hays.

“Our new degrees will continue to offer academically rigorous reflection on the heart of the Christian tradition: Scripture, Christian theology, and the ministry of the church. At the same time, we expect these programs to prepare students to respond imaginatively and wisely to the new challenges faced by the church today.”

Associate Dean for Academic Formation and Programs Laceye Warner will lead the M.A.C.S. degree program. The other new programs will be led by Craig Hill, who joined the Divinity School in July as research professor of theological pedagogy and executive director of the D.Min. and M.A.C.P.

Prior to coming to Duke, Hill was a professor and executive director of academic outreach at Wesley Theological Seminary. He holds a B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University, an M.Div. from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. An ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, he has served as an associate pastor and chaplain in a variety of church settings.

Doctor of Ministry

A mainstay of theological education that is new to Duke, the D.Min. is a professional doctorate for those who have a master of divinity degree, are ordained, and are currently serving as associate or senior pastors—or as executives of Christian institutions.

“The D.Min. combines elements of both residential and distance learning, allowing Christian professionals to pursue advanced study without leaving their full-time work,” says Laceye Warner, associate dean for academic formation and programs. Cohorts in both the D.Min. and the M.A.C.P. degree programs will be created in response to the needs and interests of particular constituencies.

Students will participate in seminars on Duke’s campus, usually for a week at a time, and take part in ongoing group interaction through online tools. They will be asked to integrate course material with the ecclesial practices that are part of their daily work, adds Warner, and to do so in collaboration with their peers in the degree program.

Students will ordinarily complete their coursework in two academic years followed by a period of research, culminating in a substantial written thesis. The first student cohort will matriculate in August 2011 and will focus on “Leadership in the Christian Tradition.”

Master of Arts in Christian Practice

Designed primarily for those seeking to deepen lay vocations while in full-time ministry or other professional positions, the M.A.C.P. will introduce students to disciplined theological reflection as a means for enriching their Christian service.

Cohorts in both the M.A.C.P. and D.Min. will be created in response to the needs and interests of particular constituencies, says Warner.

“Given both the current strengths of the faculty and growing collaborations with other schools at Duke, possible themes for cohorts in the first few years of the program are youth ministry; the ministry of reconciliation in a divided world; leadership in the Christian tradition; biblical hermeneutics; and Christian ministry and the healing arts,” Warner says.

Two academic years, which includes a period of supervised ministry, will be required to complete the M.A.C.P. program. The first class is expected to matriculate in June 2011.

Master of Arts in Christian Studies

This one-year residential program offers students the opportunity to explore theological study in a general way, or to combine it with specific vocational interests.

“We see the development of a one-year master’s degree as an essential aspect of what the Divinity School needs to do to open itself up to inquiring undergraduates seeking their next step, and to professional students in other schools seeking to supplement their formation in other professions with theological education,” says Warner, who will lead the M.A.C.S. degree program.

Christian undergraduates who wish to explore opportunities for faith-based service and leadership—and graduate students in other, non-theological programs at Duke, particularly the School of Medicine—have expressed interest in the M.A.C.S.

The degree encompasses eight courses to be completed in two semesters and is not intended to