Th.D. in Profile

Melanie Dobson Hughes
Healing for Body & Soul


The interdisciplinary approach of Duke’s Th.D. gave it a distinct edge over traditional Ph.D. programs in religion for Melanie Dobson Hughes, who knew she wanted to study healing within the church.

“With this degree I can look at aspects of suffering, reconciliation and redemption through Scripture, the Tradition, and in the church’s practices,” she says.

“As an ordained United Methodist minister, I also was attracted to the program’s commitment to doing scholarly work that is integrated into the life of the church.”

While Hughes is open to teaching and a return to pastoral ministry, she and her husband, a fourth-year medical student, dream of establishing a retreat center in the North Carolina mountains.

“Our vision is to offer truly integrated, wholistic healthcare in a setting that honors people’s minds, bodies and spirits, as well as creation,” she says.

“I am focusing on courses that will help me reflect deeply on the nature and practices
of healing.”

A registered yoga instructor, Hughes currently teaches classes in Durham as a way of practically embodying healing in her own life.


April 13, 1975, Charlotte, N.C.


M.Div. & Th.M., Duke Divinity School, 2001, 2002

B.A., Furman University, Greenville, S.C., 1997


“Being Real: The Practices of the Body of Christ,” Ministry at Large, Divinity magazine, Winter 2004


2002-2006 – Associate Pastor, Dayspring United Methodist United Church, Tempe, Ariz.

2000-2001 – Student Pastor, Trinitatis Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bonn, Germany

1997-1998 – Teacher/Missionary, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, Utila, Honduras


Elder, United Methodist Church

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