Overview

The Master of Arts in Christian Studies (M.A.C.S.) degree offers students the opportunity to explore theological study in a general way or through theological reflection on a specific theme for the purpose of enriching their Christian service in the church and the world.

This program is a good fit for recent undergraduates, Duke University students enrolled in other graduate programs, medical students pursuing a research year, and local residents who find that a one-year commitment complements both their schedule and interests and are interested in Christian service in a non-ordained vocation.

Tuition Credit

Funding the M.A.C.S.

Each admitted student is awarded a 20% tuition credit scholarship for the M.A.C.S. program. Students can complete a FAFSA so that the Financial Aid Office can determine loan eligibility if needed. With careful planning, budgeting, and counseling from our Financial Aid Office staff, students often find Duke to be more affordable than they initially assume. By taking advantage of the tuition credit offered to each admitted student and any outside aid available, many students will incur little to no debt.

Theology, Medicine, and Culture Fellowship

Tuition grants of $10,000

The Theology, Medicine, and Culture (TMC) Fellowship at Duke Divinity School aims to encourage theological formation among those with vocations to healthcare. It provides students tuition grants of $10,000 for the first year of study with additional scholarship support available on a competitive basis. The fellowship is open to students and practitioners in any of the health professions, as well as to others whose vocations and aspirations involve full-time work in health-related contexts (e.g. hospital administrators, chaplains, and public health workers). 

For students who are called to ministry or Christian service in a non-ordained vocation, the M.A.C.S. offers the opportunity to deepen theological knowledge while exploring options for faith-based service and leadership. Students learn to read Scripture and other Christian texts with greater understanding and clarity, to think deeply about church doctrines and practices, and through the practice of theological reflection, discern how they might serve the church and the world.

Students are also able to take advantage of all the resources and support that Duke Divinity School offers, including a library with more than 400,000 volumes in the fields of religion and related disciplines (and access to the Duke University library system with more than 6.2 million volumes), the Center for Theological Writing’s tutoring services, and an exciting array of lectures, workshops, and discussions with leaders in Christian theology and ministry.

Curriculum

The M.A.C.S. program is fully residential and is designed to cultivate habits of theological reflection on Christian thought and practice. It consists of eight courses taken over two semesters: one course each semester is a required course that combines a survey of Scripture, history, and theology, while the remaining six courses are chosen from our large array of electives. Through these electives, students can explore theological study in a general way or focus on a specific interdisciplinary theme.

Certificates & Concentrations

Duke Divinity School currently offers two certificates for students in the M.A.C.S. program. These certificates give students the opportunity to focus their coursework on a particular area of ministry or study.

Certificate in Gender, Sexuality, Theology, and Ministry
The certificate in Gender, Sexuality, Theology, and Ministry (GSTM) is designed to offer opportunities to women and men to study gender and theology in the life of the church, in the Christian tradition, and in contemporary culture.

Certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture
The Certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture will prepare Duke Divinity students for robust theological and practical engagement with contemporary practices in medicine and healthcare.

Application Information

Duke Divinity School accepts application on a rolling basis from September to June 15. For admission, we require a minimum GPA of 3.0 in a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university prior to the intended date of enrollment. 

Application Deadline

  • Final deadline:  June 15
Application Checklist

1. Create a ChooseDuke account

Our application is part of ChooseDuke, a university-wide system for applicants. To begin your application to Duke Divinity School, you will need to create an account.

Note: You must log out of any existing social media accounts before attempting to create a Duke social media log-in. If you need assistance with creating a social media account or logging in to ChooseDuke, you may contact our office at admissions@div.duke.edu or request help from our Applicant Help Desk at chooseduke-support@duke.edu

2. Work on your application form

The system requires you to submit information in 3 sections in order to complete your application. The first step is to answer all required questions and to submit the application form.

3. Add your recommender information

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation submitted through the online application system are required: 1 academic, 1 church, and 1 personal/character or additional academic or church.

All applicants will be asked to provide recommenders' contact information as part of the online application. After you enter your recommender's information, the system will automatically send an email request to your recommender. The email will contain instructions guiding your recommender through the process of submitting a recommendation via our secure form.

4. Pay the fee and submit your application

A $55 non-refundable application fee is collected by credit card when you submit the online application. The online application must be submitted before you can upload required supplemental materials. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible to ensure that you have adequate time to upload all required supplemental materials by the final program deadline.

5. Submit required supplemental documents by deadline

The online application and fee must be submitted before you can upload required supplemental materials. Supplemental materials such as unofficial transcripts, essays, resume, and any writing samples can only be uploaded once your application and fee are submitted.

  • Unofficial Transcripts
    • Transcripts from all previous colleges, universities, graduate schools, study abroad institutions, and seminaries must be uploaded as part of the application. Transcripts must be submitted regardless of when you attended, how many hours you earned, or whether you earned a degree.
    • Transcripts must be uploaded as part of your online application. Do not send paper or electronic copies directly to us. 
    • All students who enroll at Duke must submit final transcripts before registration.   
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    You will upload your resume as part of the online application process. The resume should provide an overview of your life and experiences — educational background, work experience, church or vocational preparation, leadership roles, professional affiliations, honors and awards, community service, skills, and interests and hobbies.
  • Recommendations
    • Three (3) letters of recommendation submitted through the online application system are required: 1 academic, 1 church, and 1 personal/character or additional academic or church.
    • All applicants will be asked to provide recommenders' contact information as part of the online application. After you enter your recommender's information, the system will automatically send an email request to your recommender. The email will contain instructions guiding your recommender through the process of submitting a recommendation via our secure form.
  • Essay
    A three-page essay describing (1) your goals for enrolling in the Master of Theological Studies program; (2) integrating your reflection on a theological book(s) that has helped to shape your theological imagination; and (3) how you understand your goals and development of theological imagination in relation to the mission of Duke Divinity School to prepare leaders for the church, academy, and world.

Applications must be complete in order to be considered by the Admissions Committee. All supporting documents (e.g., transcripts and reference letters not submitted online) must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the stated deadline date. If the application deadline date falls on a weekend, all applications and supporting documents must be received in the Admissions Office by 5:00 p.m. on the Monday after the deadline date.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

All non-U.S. citizens must review the application requirements for international applicants.

  • Endorsement Letter
    One letter of recommendation must be from a church official affirming support of your pursuit of theological education in the United States.
  • TOEFL Scores for International Applicants
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as part of the application process. Official TOEFL scores must be transmitted electronically from the Educational Testing Services (E.T.S.) to Duke (institution code 5156). Personal copies are not accepted and must be less than two years old.
    A TOEFL waiver question is included in the online application form. You do not need to contact us in advance if you meet the criteria for a TOEFL waiver. No exceptions will be made if you do not meet the criteria:
    • Received or will receive by the time of enrollment an undergraduate degree where the language of instruction was English only (the official language of the country is English)
    • Earned or will earn by the time of enrollment an undergraduate degree from a college or university in the United States

Financial Certification

Unlike many schools, Duke does not require financial support documents as part of the application; instead, students submit this information after they have been admitted and are enrolled in the program.  

Duke does not automatically issue I-20s to students upon admission.  Instead, students work with the department to submit information and supporting documents to Duke's Visa Services Office. The process is described below.

  • Upon accepting the offer of admission, a student will receive an email from our office with a User Name and password in order to complete the online Request for Temporary Visa Form - Part II.
  • The student completes the online form, prints it off, signs it, and returns it to our office, along with the appropriate supporting documents. 
  • Students must show liquid funds in the total amount listed in the PDF document available on our Tuition page.
  • Financial documents must be less than four months old.
  • Only after we receive everything from the student will our office complete Part I of the Request for Temporary Visa Form. At that time, the student’s entire packet will be sent to Duke Visa Services for processing.
  • Visa documents (I-20 or DS-2019) are usually issued within 2 calendar weeks from the date that Duke Visa Services received the completed packet.
  • Register for your visa appointment only after you receive your visa documents.

Those on non-Duke visas complete a modified process during the enrollment period.

Graduation Requirements

The Master of Arts in Christian Studies is normally completed in one year. Requirements for graduation are:

  • Eight courses and no fewer than two semesters of residency
  • Completion of the M.A.C.S. core course, offered over two semesters (fall and spring)
  • Completion of a first-year writing assessment
  • Student portfolio: compile a portfolio to be reviewed by a faculty advisor
  • Maintenance of a cumulative grade point average of 2.0
  • Completion of all requirements for the degree within a three-year period

Resources

We’re available to answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at admissions@div.duke.edu or (919) 660-3436 or toll-free: (888) GO-2-DUKE. The resources below will also help you learn more about our programs.