The Course of Study for Ordained Ministry has been established by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church as an alternate educational route for persons seeking to serve as pastors in United Methodist congregations.
Duke Divinity School cooperates with the General Board to offer the Course of Study program each summer and on a part-time basis on weekends (see Weekend Course of Study) throughout the academic year in an effort to train faithful and effective leaders for pastoral ministry. Course instructors include faculty and staff of the Divinity School and other universities and institutions, and experienced pastoral leaders. University course credit is not granted through this program.
For Duke Divinity Course of Study information in a printable format, please see the Program Guidelines (pdf).
Dates & Deadlines
Duke Divinity School offers the Summer Course of Study in two 2-week sessions:
Summer Session 1
Orientation: July 3
Summer Session 2
Orientation: July 17
2016 Summer Course of Study enrollment is now LIVE!
Need assistance selecting courses? Please consult our Basic Course of Study Completion Checklist (pdf). If you would like additional assistance, we are happy to help but will first need your official transcripts from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. For officail transcript requests, please contact Pamela Frost at email@example.com or 615-340-7416.
Enrollment is not complete until all application materials and fees have been received by the Course of Study office. Once students have completed the entire enrollment process, including receipt of the application approval forms and payment of all fees and tuition, they will be given access to the Duke Divinity Library online resources to assist in their studies.
*Please note that there is only one registration site for both sessions of Summer Course of Study this year.
Jan. 2016: Summer COS enrollment opens
March 1: Early bird enrollment deadline
May 31: Enrollment deadline
July 3: Session 1 orientation
July 4: Session 1 classes begin
July 17: Session 2 orientation
July 18: Session 2 classes begin
July 21: Community luncheon
July 28: Closing convocation
Which Course of Study Is Right for You?
Trying to choose between Summer Course of Study and Weekend Course of Study?:
- Full-time local pastors are required by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry to attend summer session courses. They may attend weekend courses on an exceptional basis only with the permission of their Annual Conference local pastor registrar and the Course of Study Director.
- Part-time local pastors may attend weekend or summer sessions.
- Advanced courses, for pastors who have completed the basic course of study and are seeking ordination in full connection or simply want to continue their learning, are offered in both the summer and the weekend sessions.
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry implemented a new Course of Study curriculum for all COS programs since the Fall of 2014. This new curriculum was revised to emphasize formation for ministry, while maintaining theological integrity and remaining relevant to the needs of the church.
Students who began the Course of Study prior to the Fall of 2014 will be given credit for courses taken under the old curriculum OR their new equivalent. Additional information about the new COS curriculum can be found below, as well as worksheets to assist students in tracking their progress in the COS program:
- New COS Curriculum (with equivalent courses) (pdf)
- Course of Study Completion Plan (pdf)
- Exchange Credits for COS (pdf)
- New COS Course Descriptions (pdf)
Students who have questions or concerns regarding the new COS curriculum are encouraged to contact Duke Divinity School’s Course of Study office.
Basic Course of Study
All of the twenty required courses will be offered during the summer sessions.
Advanced Course of Study
The Advanced Course of Study courses that will be offered during the Summer 2016 COS Session are: Congregational Care, Women's Studies, Christian Spirituality, World Christianity, Advanced Worship, and Advanced Leadership.
Advanced preparation is required of all students. Each course will make available a book list and pre-work that is to be completed before the session begins, according to the deadlines set by the instructors. Course of Study at Duke Divinity has provided writing guidelines (pdf) to assist students in completion of their assignments with best academic practices. We ask that you would take particular note of the sections on plagiarism and asking for help. Students with learning disabilities should contact the director to discuss appropriate accommodations. Book lists and pre-work will be posted on a rolling basis through the end of January.
The Divinity Bookshop is the preferred provider of textbooks for the Course of Study program.
Please Note: the new COS curriculum has changed the order of many courses. Those who began COS prior to the Fall of 2014 should be aware of the following enrollment recommendations:
- Second Year: If you have taken 114 (224), then take 123.
- Third Year: If you have taken 214 (324), then take 223.
- Fourth Year: If you have NOT taken 413, then take 223 (instead of 423.)
- Fifth Year: If you have taken 313 (523), then take 423.
Application & Enrollment
Registration is set to begin in the middle of January
Early Bird Enrollment Deadline: March 1, 2016
Regular Enrollment deadline: May 30, 2016
Tuition and Fees
Tuition varies according to program enrollment. The information listed here applies to students who are United Methodist pastors under appointment and in the care of their annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry. Students not fitting these criteria should contact the Course of Study director for information.
Costs below are per session: please enroll in each session separately.
Application fee (non-refundable)
$140 (before March 1, 2016)
$170 (on or after March 1, 2016)
Year 1-5 Course Tuition fee
$50 per class
Advanced Course Tuition fee
$150 per class
Duke Handicapped Parking Permit*
Green Zone Parking (optional)
Bryan Center Parking (optional)
$46 per session
Durham Bull's Tickets (optional)
*For more information about parking, please see the "Housing, Meals, and Parking" section.
Late Payment Policy
Any students paying application and tuition fees after the May 29 enrollment deadline will be assessed a $50 late fee.
There are times when it is necessary for a student to cancel their enrollment in Course of Study, but any student failing to cancel their registration for Course of Study courses two weeks prior to the start of the session will not be refunded their tuition fees.
Library access and Duke Net ID
Once your enrollment has been completed per the enrollment guidelines, we will submit a request for your Duke Net ID (an account that will allow you access to the online resources of the Duke Divinity Library). In order to receive your Duke Net ID (required for online access), Duke OIT will send you an email requesting information, please promptly complete the Duke OIT form and return to Duke OIT as soon as possible. Duke OIT will email your Duke Net ID to you and inform us that your Net ID has been issued.
Housing, Meals, and Parking
Students attending the Summer Course of Study School have several housing options:
On-campus housing is provided in cooperation with Duke University Conference Services. Students may request housing on Central Campus in one or two bedroom apartments. Central Campus is within an easy walking distance of the Divinity School and is served by the free Duke Transit System. Central Campus is also equipped with a convenience store, a swimming pool, and tennis courts. Central Campus apartments will be provided by reservation on a first come, first served basis. On-campus housing assignments will be available on orientation day.
Housing Application (pdf)
Students living within a 50-mile radius of the campus may commute daily. Others may wish to make housing arrangements at motels or campgrounds in the area. Persons desiring to live off-campus must make their own arrangements, although the Course of Study office has arranged special rates with some area hotels and will also make available a listing of sublet apartments and houses in the spring. Sublet lists will be available from the Course of Study office beginning in April 2015.
Hotels with special rates for Summer Course of Study students are:
- Staybridge Suites: 3704 Mount Moriah Rd., Durham, NC; 877.238.8889
- Homewood Inn Suites: 3600 Mount Moriah Rd., Durham, NC; 919.401-0610
- Millennium Hotel: 2800 Campus Walk Ave., Durham, NC; 919.383.8575
On-campus meals are available in the Divinity Café, Duke University cafeterias; the Duke Medical Center cafeterias; and the fast-food facilities in the Bryan Center (the University student union) and the Dining Pavilion. Because of the hospital's schedule and needs, both very early and late meals are available at a reasonable price in the Medical Center cafeterias. In addition to the University facilities, Durham has a wide variety of restaurants, including fast-food chains and low- to medium-priced restaurants located close to campus.
Many students choose to prepare food in their campus room or apartment. Apartments located on Central Campus are equipped with a kitchen. Students must bring their own cookware, utensils, and coffeemakers. In addition, students living in Central Campus may bring microwaves or toaster ovens for their use during the school term.
Parking and Automobile Registration
Motor Vehicles: All motor vehicles must be registered with the University Parking Services. Parking on campus requires the purchase of a parking permit. Students must obey all parking and traffic regulations.
Handicapped Parking: Handicapped parking on campus requires a Duke University permit as well as a state permit. Please see the “Forms and General Information” section for the application form.
Bicycles: Bike racks are available for students and are located adjacent to the Divinity School building.
Forms & General Information
Policies and Forms
- Program Guidelines (pdf)
- Writing Guidelines (pdf)
- Inclusive Language Policy (pdf)
- Handicapped Parking Permit Form (pdf)
- Medical Information Form (pdf) (please submit at Orientation)
- Housing application form (pdf)
- Housing Information Sheet
- Housing Options Comparison Sheet
- On-Campus Housing Tips
Please see the Duke Campus Map.
Fully enrolled students will have online access to the Divinity School Library prior to arrival on campus. During the sessions, the Divinity School Library is available for use by Course of Study students. Hours are Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Students, while on campus, will have access to free wireless internet. Access to the internet is also available on the Duke Visitors network which is available throughout campus.
A computer cluster is available in the Divinity School library during regular library hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). Additional computer clusters on the Duke University campus are available for your word processing use. Included are PC and Macintosh models. Students will be assigned a temporary Duke University network account upon completion of their enrollment. This account provides access to the Duke University network both through on-site computer clusters and for remote system access.
During your summer stay, all correspondence should be addressed to:
Your Name C/O Course of Study
Duke Divinity School
Durham, NC 27708-0966
Mail will be delivered daily to individual student mailboxes located in the Student Lounge. General mail services are NOT available at the campus post office in the Bryan University Center. Students are asked NOT to forward mail through the U.S. Postal Service from their home address to the Course of Study. Students are encouraged to make arrangements for someone to collect their mail at their home and forward only those items that need immediate attention.
Duke Divinity Bookstore
The Duke Divinity Bookstore is the preferred provider of textbooks for the Course of Study program.
The most convenient and accessible health care for Course of Study students is the Duke University Medical Center, located on the Duke campus. Duke University Medical Center provides a wide variety of health care services, ranging from basic primary care to highly specialized treatments. All students are asked to complete the medical information form as part of the registration process (please submit at Orientation.) Students with ongoing medical concerns are encouraged to bring pertinent medical records and prescriptions with them if they need medical care during the Course of Study. Please note that Course of Study students are unable to use the Student Health Clinic.
Opportunities Outside the Classrom
Worship services will be conducted every day beginning at 10:05 a.m. in Goodson Chapel. Students are invited to share their musical gifts in coordination with worship leaders. The worship leaders and preachers are chosen from students and faculty to represent the diversity of our community.
Many fellowship opportunities are scheduled during the course of the summer session. Periodic activities scheduled during the afternoons or evenings provide opportunities for students and their families to spend time as a community.
Student officers and class representatives are elected annually. They work with the director and school staff to help maintain the excellent opportunities for fellowship and learning at the school.
Annual Community Luncheon
On Thursday, July 23, 2015, representatives from our constituent annual conferences will visit. There is a community luncheon and an opportunity for students to meet with their conference representative(s).
On the evening of the last Thursday of Summer Course of Study, July 30 at 7:00 p.m., a special service of worship will be held in Goodson Chapel to close the school and to recognize those students who are completing their fifth year or advanced studies. Immediately after the service a reception for all students and families is held in the Divinity Café.
Students are expected to attend all class sessions during Course of Study. There are no excused absences from Course of Study classes. Absences may affect class participation grades, and therefore a student’s overall performance at Course of Study. Per the policy set by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry, a student missing more than 20 percent of any one course shall not receive a grade for the course. If you find you must miss a class, please be courteous to your instructors by notifying the instructor and class representative of your absence and arranging to share notes with one of your classmates.
Conduct of Students
The Course of Study expects and will require of all its students continuing loyal cooperation in developing and maintaining high standards of scholarship and conduct. The Divinity School expects Course of Study students to participate in a communally shared concern for growth in life appropriate to Christian faith and to the dignity of their calling.
Grades are assigned by faculty following completion of all coursework. Grades range from “A” to “F, including + and - . A “D” is considered a passing grade.
Official transcripts for Course of Study work are available through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry; contact Pamela Frost (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (615) 340-7416.
The Honor Code
Ministerial and theological education involves developing and shaping a life of honor and integrity, virtues rooted in our faith. Therefore, we in the Divinity School of Duke University pledge, individually and corporately, to exhibit our commitment to these virtues by abstaining from any form of cheating, lying or plagiarism and by respecting the facilities of the Divinity School and the property of our peers and professors. We do also assume responsibility for the maintenance of these virtues by pledging, individually and corporately, to report any violation of this code. By signing their application to the Course of Study program, students indicate their willingness to abide by all policies outlined in these program guidelines.
All students are expected to do their own work. Friends and spouses may help with spelling and punctuation and may proofread papers, but should not participate in the research and writing of the papers. Plagiarism, the use of someone else’s work without giving appropriate recognition, is a highly serious matter of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism and other instances of academic dishonesty will be dealt with harshly and may result in the failure of the class involved. It is at the discretion of the Course of Study Director whether to report academic dishonesty to the student’s District Superintendent, the Board of Ordained Ministry, and the Bishop.
Students with learning disabilities should contact the Director to discuss appropriate accommodations.
Using inclusive language that expands and enriches our understanding of God includes the practice, when writing and speaking of persons or God, of using precise language and explicit pronouns; referring to collective and abstract nouns without gender; and avoiding the exclusive use of either masculine or feminine pronouns for God.
No form of harassment is acceptable at Duke University. It is inconsistent with the University's commitments to excellence and respect for all individuals. Duke University is also committed to the free and vigorous discussion of ideas and issues, which the University believes will be protected by this policy.