Duke Divinity School
(919) 613.5326

The Course of Study 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 (see Summer Course of Study) and on a part-time basis on weekends 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 2017-2018 Program Guidelines (pdf). 

Dates & Deadlines

2017-2018 Draft Schedule -- subject to change (pdf)

2017 - 2018 Basic Course of Study
Basic classes meet for three consecutive weekends (Friday 7:00-10:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m.-noon) at the Divinity School. Students complete one course in each weekend session. Completing all four weekend sessions is equivalent to one year of study.

Session 1         Sept. 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23, 2017
Session 2         Nov. 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, 2017
Session 3         Jan. 5-6, 12-13, and 19-2, 2018 (Please note: Inclement weather make-up dates will be Jan. 26-27, 2018)
Session 4         March 2-3, 9-10, and 16-17, 2018

Advanced Course of Study

Advanced Course of Study class for 2017-2018 will meet over three weekends (Friday 7:00-10:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m.-noon) at the Divinity School.  The class dates are: Nov. 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, 2017.  Registration is closed

The pre-work and reading will be sent out by Sept. 10, 2017.

Enrollment Deadlines

Program Session Application Deadline
Basic Session 1 Aug. 11, 2017 CLOSED
  Session 2 Sept. 22, 2017 CLOSED
  Session 3 Nov. 22, 2017 CLOSED
  Session 4 Jan. 19, 2018 CLOSED
Advanced One Session only Sept. 8, 2017 CLOSED

Which Course of Study Is Right for You?

Trying to choose between Summer Course of Study and Weekend Course of Study?

Both full-time and part-time local pastors are permitted to attend either weekend or summer sessions of Course of Study. Choosing which session works best for you is largely based on your schedule and flexibility. Both require about a month of pre-work and readings ahead of time. Please contact our office if you would like to talk more about the differences between summer and weekend sessions; we are happy to help!

If you are not a United Methodist licensed local pastor and you are interested in attending Course of Study, please contact our office.


The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) 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:

Students who have questions or concerns regarding the new COS curriculum are encouraged to contact Duke Divinity School’s Course of Study office. 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 official transcript requests, please contact the GBHEM Course of Study Registrar at cosregistrar@gbhem.org or (615) 340-7416.

Courses, Booklists, and Pre-Class Preparation

Advance preparation is required of all students. Course of Study at Duke Divinity has provided writing guidelines (pdf) to assist students in completion of their assignments using best academic practices. We ask that you take particular note of the sections on plagiarism and asking for help. Students with learning disabilities should contact the director to discuss appropriate accommodations.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Duke Divinity Bookstore.

2017-2018 Booklists and Pre-Work

Session 1 materials were distributed Aug. 11, 2017.

Session 2, 3, and 4 materials will be distributed approximately 6 weeks prior to the start of each session, and following the close of the application deadlines outlined above.

Application & Enrollment

Note: Your application must be approved to finalize enrollment. All application and tuition fees must be paid in full at the time of registration in order to reserve a space in the class.

Application Process

Duke Course of Study has a new procedure that replaces the previous application approval discount code process. This year we will contact the district superintendent (DS) and Conference Board of Ordained Ministry local pastor registrar (LPR) that you name on your registration profile and ask them to approve the course you have selected. If you are a licensed local pastor and currently under appointment there should be no issue with your approval. We will contact the DS and LPR for these approvals the day following the close of each session registration (see the "Enrollment Deadlines" table above).

Please note: In the rare circumstance that your course is not approved, we will contact you as soon as possible. If you are unsure whether your course will be approved, we recommend that you do not purchase books or begin pre-work until approximately one month before the start of courses and/or contact your district superintendent to confirm your approval in advance.

Please note: You must provide your PID number to register. If you do not know your 6-digit PID number (required to complete registration), please email cosregistrar@gbhem.org to obtain it.

Everyone who completes a registration form will receive a confirmation email. Please forward the confirmation email on to your conference if it requires proof of your course enrollment for scholarship reimbursement.

If you are not a United Methodist licensed local pastor under appointment and wish to attend Course of Study, please contact us at dukecos@div.duke.edu.


2017 - 2018 Enrollment

Register for Session 1 September WCOS -- CLOSED

Register for Session 2 November WCOS -- CLOSED

Register for Session 3 January WCOS -- CLOSED

Register for Session 4 March WCOS -- CLOSED

Tuition and Fees

Please note: There is no pay-later option for registration: all fees are due at the time of registration. Each WCOS session has a separate registration site.

Registration fee (non-refundable): $50 per class
Tuition for basic classes: $150 per class
Tuition for advanced classes: $200 per class

Late Registrants will be charged a processing fee.

Tuition and financial aid vary according to program enrollment. The information listed on this website 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 staff. 

Financial Aid
Students may be eligible for funds from their conference Board of Ordained Ministry to cover non-tuition expenses. In order to receive an annual conference scholarship, students must be in touch with their local pastor registrar. Conferences will issue financial aid awards directly to the students, as Duke does not accept these funds on students behalf.

Cancellation and Early Withdrawal Policy

There are times when it is necessary for a student to cancel their enrollment in Course of Study. Cancellations must be communicated in writing to the Course of Study office and to the district superintendent and Board of Ministry representative. As has been the longstanding policy of the Divinity School, there are no refunds given for registration fees.

If you do not withdraw by the following deadlines you will be charged the full cost of course tuition.


Final Deadline to Withdraw

Session 1 – September

Aug. 29, 2017

Session 2 – November

Oct. 24, 2017

Session 3 – January

Dec. 27, 2017

Session 4 – March

Feb. 20, 2018

Insufficient Funds Policy

Should a student’s payment be returned because of insufficient funds, an additional fee of $15 will be assessed.

Accommodations & Meals


Accommodations for Weekend Course of Study program participants are not arranged through the Course of Study office; participants are responsible for making their hotel reservations directly with the hotel of their choice. Contact information for two local hotels is listed below.

When making your hotel reservations, please be sure to state you are with the Duke Divinity School Course of Study program.

Millennium Hotel: Durham   
Details on pricing and booking deadlines for guaranteed availability and discounted rate (PDF) 
2800 Campus Walk Avenue, Durham, NC 27705
(919) 383-8575

Staybridge Suites: Durham-Chapel Hill-RTP
Details on pricing and booking (PDF)
3704 Mount Moriah Road, Durham, NC 27707
(919) 401-9800 or (855) 914-1886

Students are responsible for their meals while at Weekend Course of Study.

General Information & Policies

Attendance Policy
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% 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 the GBHEM Course of Study Registrar at cosregistrar@gbhem.org or (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 school, students indicate their willingness to abide by all policies outlined in these program guidelines.

Academic Integrity
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.

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.

Inclusive Language
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.  The Course of Study Inclusive Language Policy is a helpful guide to these expected practices.

Contact Us

Mailing address:

Duke Divinity School
059 Langford Bldg.
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708

Duke Course of Study Staff

Barbara Campbell, Staff Assistant
Olivia Stella, Associate Director

Duke University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Duke Course of Study at (919) 613-5326 in advance of your participation or visit.