Overview

The Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree is designed for graduates of accredited theological schools who desire to continue or resume their theological education to enhance their professional competence in specific areas of study.

Through this degree program, students can pursue advanced training—with opportunities to take doctoral seminars and engage closely with professors on a written thesis—to enhance their ministry or prepare for a doctoral program.

Distinguished Faculty

Scholarship and Mentorship

At Duke Divinity School, you'll be immersed in theological inquiry with world-renowned faculty members. Drawn from all over the globe and a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, these men and women share a commitment to teaching and to the church and ministry.

Students in the Th.M. program are 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 engaging array of lectures, workshops, and discussions with leaders in Christian theology and ministry.

Though Duke University, students also have access to outstanding recreation facilities, a thriving arts community, a large network of campus organizations, and tickets to exciting collegiate athletic events.

Curriculum

The curriculum for the Th.M. consists of eight elective courses (800 or 900 level) taken over two semesters. During the final semester, students often work directly with a faculty advisor towards completion of a substantial written thesis.

At least four of the eight courses must be taken in one of the basic theological disciplines and will be designated as the student's major. These disciplines are: Biblical Studies, Historical Studies, Theological Studies, and Ministerial Studies.

Certificates

Duke Divinity School currently offers two certificates that can be earned with the Th.M. degree. 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 sexuality 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 applications for the Master of Theology program beginning in September concluding with the application deadline in April. For admission, we require a GPA of 3.25 in a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), or comparable master’s degrees from an ATS-accredited school prior to the intended date of enrollment.

Application Deadline

  • April 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 (or resume an in-progress application).

You must log out of other social media accounts before attempting to create a Duke OneLink (social media login). 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.

Please upload .pdf documents

3. Add your recommender information

  • Three (3) letters of recommendation submitted through the online application system are required: 2 academic, 1 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.

Please ask your recommenders to upload .pdf files.

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
    • All applicants must have, at minimum, an unofficial copy of their transcript from the college or university that granted or will grant their bachelor’s level degree. Th.M., applicants must, at minimum, additionally supply an unofficial copy of their transcript from the seminary or divinity school that granted or will grant their master’s level degree. Additional coursework or degree information from previous colleges, universities, graduate schools, study abroad institutions, and seminaries may also be uploaded as part of the application. Transcripts may be submitted regardless of when you attended, how many hours you earned, or whether you earned a degree or not.
    • Transcripts must be uploaded as part of your online application. Do not send paper or electronic copies directly to us. 
    • All students who are admitted and matriculate at Duke Divinity School must submit final transcripts showing that the minimally required degree has been granted before enrollment.
    • The file limit size is 2.5 MB, so please compress files that are over this size.  
    • Submit .pdf files only
  • 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.

Please ask your recommenders to upload .pdf files.

  • Essay
    A three-page essay describing (1) your personal, educational, and professional reasons for enrolling in the Master of Theology program and how you anticipate employing these students in your ministry; (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 your theological imagination in relation to the mission of Duke Divinity School to prepare leaders for the church, academy, and world.
  • Writing Sample
    Submit a 4-6 page (1000-1500 words) academic writing sample such as an essay or excerpt from an academic paper or article. Attention to theological themes is desired.

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. EST 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. EST 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. Please ask your recommenders to upload .pdf files.
  • 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 Theology program is normally completed in two years. Requirements for graduation are:

  • Eight advanced course units
  • An average grade of B or higher
  • Comprehensive exam or thesis: Each student is required to demonstrate superior performance on a comprehensive examination covering the major area of study. In lieu of the exam, a student may choose to write a thesis in one major area. This thesis research project is counted as one of the eight course credits required.

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.