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(919) 613-5326

The Course of Study has been established by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (GBHEM) as an alternate educational route for persons seeking to serve as pastors in United Methodist congregations.

Pastoral leaders from other denominations and lay persons may register for classes in the Course of Study program by contacting our office.

Duke Divinity School cooperates with the General Board to offer the Course of Study and Advanced Course of Study programs throughout the 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 and additional details in a printable format, see the Program Guidelines Booklet (pdf).

Dates & Deadlines

2022 Course of Study Schedule & Course Offerings (pdf) - Updated

2022 COS Session 1

January 10 - February 12 (basic courses: 123, 323, 523)

January 10 - February 19 (advanced course: UM History)

2022 COS Session 2

February 28 - April 2 (basic courses: 124, 324, 524)

February 28 - April 9 (advanced courses: UM Polity and Mission)

2022 COS Session 3 (Registration Opens at 7:00am EDT, February 14, 2022)

May 2 - June 4 (basic courses: 121, 221, 321, 421, 521)

May 2 - June 11 (advanced course: OT: Exegesis of the Book of Judges)

2022 COS Session 4 (Registration Opens at 7:00am EDT, February 14, 2022)

June 27 - July 30 (basic courses: 122, 222, 322, 422, 522)

June 27 - August 6 (advanced course: NT: Exegesis of Mark and UM Doctrine)

The current plan for Sessions 5 and 6 is a hybrid model, and registration will open on June 20. Additional details coming soon. These are the planned course offerings:

Session 5: 123 / 223 / 323 / 423 / 523 / Advanced TBD

Session 6: 124 / 224 / 324 / 424 / 524 / Advanced TBD

We will remain in an online format with synchronous class periods in Zoom each week and asynchronous coursework in Sakai each week for Sessions 1 - 4.

Note: All synchronous class periods and asynchronous coursework are required contact hours.

2022 COS Advanced Course Descriptions Sessions 1-4 (pdf)


Registration Deadlines for Basic and Advanced

Session Deadline
Session 1 December 3, 2021
Session 2 January 21, 2022
Session 3 March 18, 2022
Session 4

May 13, 2022

Session 5 TBD
Session 6 TBD


The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) implemented a new Course of Study curriculum for all COS programs since Fall 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 Fall 2014 will be given credit for courses taken under the old curriculum OR their new equivalent. Additional information about the current COS curriculum can be found below, as well as completion plan documents to assist students in tracking their progress in the COS program.

In 2020, GBHEM implemented a Course of Study prerequisite policy. Local pastors must take course 121 (Bible I: Introduction) and course 122 (Theological Heritage I: Introduction) before taking any other courses.

ALL students seeking credit for Advanced COS courses from GBHEM must have already completed the Basic COS curriculum.

Students who have questions about which courses to take or concerns regarding the COS curriculum are encouraged to contact Duke Divinity School’s Course of Study office. If you would like specific guidance, we will help but may first need your official transcript(s) from GBHEM.

For official transcript requests, please contact the GBHEM Course of Study Registrar at cosregistrar@gbhem.org or (615) 340-7416.

Completing Course of Study

Students will complete COS and Advanced COS throughout the year. Following the close of each COS session, completion certificates will be requested by our office from the registrar at GBHEM. Once we receive the certificates, they are signed by our director and mailed to the students' preferred mailing address.

Courses, Booklists, and Pre-Class Preparation

2022 Course of Study Schedule & Course Offerings (pdf) - Updated

2022 COS Advanced Course Descriptions Sessions 1-4 (pdf)

2022 Sessions 1 through 4 will remain in an online format and includes 5 weeks of instruction. Each week basic courses will have 2 hours of asynchronous instruction in Sakai and 2 hours of synchronous class periods in Zoom rooms with their instructors and classmates, for a total of 20 contact hours. Each advanced class will have 6 weeks of instruction for a total of 25 contact hours.

2022 Session 5 and Session 6 current plan is a hybrid model.

Advance preparation is required of all students. Course of Study at Duke Divinity has provided writing guidelines (pdf) to assist students in completion of their assignments with best academic practices. We ask that you would take particular note of the sections on plagiarism and contact our office for clarification, if necessary.

If desired, textbooks can be purchased through the Duke Divinity Bookshop.

Booklists and Pre-Work

Each course will make available a booklist and pre-assignment in Sakai course sites. Pre-work is to be completed by the beginning of each session, according to the deadlines set by instructors. Online work will include tasks such as uploading documents, posting comments, watching videos, taking quizzes, etc.

Information related to a course, including booklist and required readings is sent by email to registered students about 5-7 business days following the individual session registration deadlines. Our course sites are in Sakai, an educational learning platform. Following the registration deadline dates, details about the process required to access coursework, how to create a required Duke Net ID Sponsored Guest Account, how to set-up a Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) for secure access, and how to log into Sakai will be sent by email to registered students. Individual session registration deadline dates are listed above in the Dates & Deadlines section.


Please refer to the following self-help resources to answer questions about using Sakai:

Online Library Research Links:

Course of Study students do not have access to Duke Libraries online materials. Our licensing agreements with vendors for electronic materials require the university to limit access to active faculty, staff, and students in Duke University degree-seeking programs. We keep a research guide on open access internet resources in religion and theology which we recommend to Course of Study students and others who do not have access to Duke Libraries’ electronic resources.

Students with learning disabilities should contact the director to discuss appropriate accommodations.

Registration & Enrollment

Registration Process

Students must register for courses through the registration link(s) provided below. Please read the information here before registering.

Registration Requirements

  • Effective June 1, 2020, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) implemented a Course of Study Prerequisite policy as follows:
    • Course 121 (Bible I: Introduction) and Course 122 (Theological Heritage I: Introduction) will be prerequisites for enrollment in any other Course of Study courses.
      • Contact your District Superintendent or Duke Divinity COS office if you have questions about this required prerequisite registration policy.
      • If you have not already taken both of these courses and we are not offering either of them in our current session, please do not register for any other course. Contact our office by emailing dukecos@div.duke.edu to discuss your options.
  • All students seeking credit from GBHEM for Advanced COS courses must have already completed the Basic Course of Study curriculum. If you have a special circumstance, please contact our office. You are required to submit a copy of your completed COS transcript to Barbara Campbell at dukecos@div.duke.edu. To obtain a copy of your transcript, please contact the COS registrar at cosregistrar@gbhem.org.
  • You must provide your GBHEM PID number during online registration. If you do not know your 6-digit PID number, email cosregistrar@gbhem.org at GBHEM to obtain it.
  • In order to attend Course of Study, United Methodist (UM) local pastors under appointment must receive approval from both their district superintendent (DS) and their Board of Ministry local pastor registrar (LPR). Please provide the most current and accurate names, email addresses, and conference and district designations when registering. The Duke COS School will request the formal approval(s) on your behalf, and any student not approved will be notified by us as soon as possible. If you are a LLP currently under appointment in a United Methodist Church, approval for coursework is likely.
  • Everyone who completes online registration will receive a confirmation email. These emails are system generated and are sent immediately, however they may arrive in your junk or spam folders. Please forward the confirmation email to your conference if it requires proof of your course enrollment for scholarship reimbursement.
  • If you are not a United Methodist licensed local pastor you may register for classes in the Course of Study program by contacting our office.
  • Payment online is required at the time of registration, and enrollment is not complete until all registration requirements and fees have been received by the Course of Study office.


2022 Registration

2022 COS - Session 1 Registration - CLOSED

2022 COS - Session 2 Registration - CLOSED

2022 COS - Session 3 Registration - CLOSED; call for possible late registration

2022 COS - Session 4 Registration - OPEN

2022 COS - Session 5 Registration - OPENS June 20, 2022

2022 COS - Session 6 Registration - OPENS June 20, 2022

Tuition and Fees

Registration fee (non-refundable): $100 per class

Tuition for basic classes: $225 per class
Tuition for advanced classes: $300 per class

Late registrants will be charged a processing fee.

Financial Aid

UM local pastors may be eligible for funds from their conference Board of Ordained Ministry to cover tuition and/or non-tuition expenses. In order to receive an annual conference scholarship, students must be in touch with their Board of Ministry Local Pastor Registrar. Conferences will issue financial aid awards directly to the students. Please forward the confirmation email on to your conference if it requires proof of your course enrollment for scholarship reimbursement.

Cancellation and Early Withdrawal Policy

There are times when it is necessary for a student to cancel enrollment in Course of Study. Cancellations must be communicated in writing (email is acceptable) to the Course of Study office, your district superintendent, and your Board of Ministry local pastor registrarThere are no refunds given for registration fees. Course tuitions, parking fees, or special event fees are not refundable after the final deadline to withdraw has passed; see deadlines for withdrawal below. Fees apply for cancellations that are not received by these dates.

If you do not withdraw by the following deadlines you will be charged the full cost of enrollment.


Final Deadline to Withdraw

Session 1 – Jan 10 - Feb 19

December 27, 2021

Session 2 – Feb 28 - Apr 9

February 14, 2022

Session 3 – May 2 - June 11

April 18, 2022

Session 4 – June 27 - Aug 6

June 13, 2022

Session 5 – TBD TBD
Session 6 – TBD TBD

General Information & Policies

General Information

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to attend all online and residential 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 General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, a student missing more than 20 percent of contact hours (in ONLINE format this is equivalent to one Zoom class period) for any one course shall not receive a grade for the course. If you find you have an issue that will keep you from participating in the residential or online contact hours, please email or call the COS program office and your instructor as soon as you are aware of the situation to find out if an arrangement can be made to accommodate an absence.

Conduct of Students

The Course of Study expects and will require of all its students continuing 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 faith and life reflecting the dignity of our calling. Each student will sign a conduct covenant, agreeing to abide by these expectations, when he or she applies for Course of Study.


Grades are assigned by faculty following completion of all coursework. Grades range from “A” to “F,” including "+" and "-" designations. A “D” is considered a passing grade; an annual conference may have different standards. Students are encouraged to be in contact with their local pastor registrar regarding these requirements. Grades will be distributed approximately 4-6 weeks following the last day of the last weekly online session.


Duke Divinity School does not hold official transcripts for Course of Study students. Official transcripts for Course of Study work are available through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry; contact the GBHEM COS registrar at cosregistrar@gbhem.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 agreeing to the terms and conditions and initialing the covenant during online registration, students indicate their willingness to abide by all policies outlined in these program guidelines and all University policies.

Academic Integrity

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 could 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 student's Board of Ordained Ministry, and the bishop.

Special Accommodations

Students with learning disabilities should contact the director to discuss appropriate accommodations.


Duke University is also committed to the free and vigorous discussion of ideas and issues. To allow this to happen, no form of harassment is acceptable at Duke University. It is inconsistent with the university’s commitments to excellence and respect for all individuals. In addition to the university’s policy, students will be furnished with copies of the General Board of Higher Education’s policy on harassment as well. Duke Course of Study will follow the procedures outlined in the GBHEM policy handbook in cases of sexual and racial harassment; copies of this handbook are made available to all students online and may be requested by contacting the Duke Course of Study office.

Inclusive Language

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.

Contact Us

Mailing address:

Duke Divinity School
09 Gray Bldg.
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708

Duke Course of Study Staff

Barbara Campbell, Course of Study Registrar & Student Services
Rhonda Parker, Director

Duke University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Duke Course of Study at (919) 613-5326 in advance of your participation or visit.

Events In This Series

Monday, May 2, 2022 (All day) to Saturday, June 11, 2022 (All day)
Monday, June 27, 2022 (All day) to Saturday, August 6, 2022 (All day)