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 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
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. 11-12, 18-19, and 25-26, 2015
Session 2 Oct. 30-31, Nov. 6-7, and Nov. 13-14, 2015
Session 3 January 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23, 2016
Session 4 March 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19, 2016
Advanced Course of Study
Advanced Course of Study classes meet over four weekends (Friday 7:00-10:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m.-noon) at the Divinity School.
Session 1 Sept. 11-12, Sept. 18-19, Oct. 30-31, and Nov. 6-7, 2016
Session 2 Jan. 8-9, Jan. 15-16, March 4-5, and March 11-12, 2016
|Basic||Session 1||August 15, 2015|
|Session 2||October 1, 2015|
|Session 3||December 6, 2015|
|Session 4||February 8, 2016|
|Advanced||Session 1||August 15, 2015|
|Session 2||December 6, 2015|
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.
Course Offerings and Pre-Class Preparation
Advance preparation is required of all students. Each course has a textbook list and pre-work that, when available, can be accessed by clicking the course name below. 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.
Session 1 Courses
- WCOS 122: Theological Heritage I: Introduction
- WCOS 323: Congregational Care
- WCOS 522: Contemporary Theology
- Advanced Ministerial Formation
Session 2 Courses
- WCOS 121: Bible I: Introduction
- WCOS 324: Preaching
- WCOS 521: Bible V: Acts, Epistles, and Revelation REVISED
Session 3 Courses
- WCOS 123: Formation & Discipleship
- WCOS 322: Theological Heritage III: Medieval through Reformation
- WCOS 524: Theology of Ministry
- Advanced New Testament: Ephesians and Colossians
Session 4 Courses
Application & Enrollment
Tuition and Fees
New this year: There is no longer a pay later option for enrollment: all fees are due at the time of enrollment. Each WCOS session has a separate enrollment site.
Application fee (non-refundable): $50 per class
Tuition for basic classes: $150 per class
Tuition for advanced classes: $200 per class
A hold will be placed upon your enrollment until all enrollment materials have been received.
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.
Duke Net ID
When you have completed the enrollment process, you will be given access to the Duke Divinity Library’s online resources to assist in your studies. You will receive an email titled “Request for more information” from Duke OIT. In order to receive your Duke Net ID (required for online access), please complete this form and return to OIT as soon as possible.
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.
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.
Returned Check 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 and special rates for two local hotels are 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 ($82/night, taxes not included)
2800 Campus Walk Avenue, Durham, NC 27705
Staybridge Suites: Durham-Chapel Hill-RTP ($92-107/night, taxes not included)
3704 Mount Moriah Road, Durham, NC 27707
Students are responsible for their meals while at Weekend Course of Study.
General Information & Policies
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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.
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.