Duke Divinity School is committed to supporting a new generation of transformative leadership in support of healthy congregations and thriving communities. The Thriving Communities Fellowship program is designed for those pursuing a residential master of divinity (M.Div.) degree who are exploring a vocation as an ordained pastor and who have a vision of the church as a catalyst for social healing, local economic development, and community revitalization.

In addition to receiving full-tuition scholarships, Thriving Communities Fellows participate in signature programming tailored to their vocational aims, including mentoring, a travel experience hosted by Duke faculty, and cohort-based professional formation and events. Fellows are also eligible to receive stipends totaling up to $24,000 through participation in the Communities of Learning program offered by the Office of Field Education, in which small groups of students build relationships across denominational and institutional differences for the flourishing of the community.

Thriving Communities Fellows are selected on the basis of:

  • Creative capacity for transformational, pastoral leadership in and through congregations
  • A commitment to exploring vocation as an ordained pastor
  • A desire to catalyze a life of faith through Christian formation
  • An ability to curate cross-sector partnerships
  • A strong commitment to making the love of Christ visible through social healing, local economic development, and community revitalization

Fellowship Details

Supported by a grant from The Duke Endowment, Thriving Communities Fellows receive scholarship funding to cover the full cost of tuition for three years of study in the residential M.Div. program. In addition, the Divinity School provides the funding for regular programming, mentoring, and travel and enrichment experiences.

Many of the fellowship seminars and events are open to all Duke Divinity students. Residential M.Div. students are especially encouraged to participate in Communities of Learning through Field Education.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should apply for the M.Div. through the regular Duke Divinity School admission process. The fellowship can be listed as an "Area of Interest" or folded into the narrative of the "Statement of Purpose."


Residential Master of Divinity applicants who are actively exploring ordained ministry, looking to cultivate cross-sector partnerships in communities, and pursuing a vision for the ways congregations can be a catalyst for social healing, economic development, and community revitalization will be considered.


Thriving Communities Fellows will need to enroll full-time as a residential student and maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. After graduating, fellows are expected to engage in creative and life-giving forms of ministry connecting congregations to communities. Graduates of the fellowship will not have any official obligations.