Duke Divinity School (Map)
(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 Duke Divinity School’s Course of Study office.

Duke Divinity School cooperates with the General Board to offer the Course of Study program each summer and on weekends (see Weekend Course of Study) throughout the academic year in an effort to train faithful and effective leaders for pastoral ministry. Course instructors include faculty and staff of Duke Divinity School, as well as 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, please see the 2019-2020 Program Guidelines (pdf).

Dates & Deadlines

2021 Summer COS (summer sessions remain online)

Summer Session One

May 24 - July 3, 2021

Basic Courses — May 24-June 26 (5 weeks)

Advanced Courses — May 24-July 3 (6 weeks)

Summer Session Two

July 12 - August 21, 2021

Basic Courses — July 12-August 14 (5 weeks)

Advanced Courses — July 12-August 21 (6 weeks)

2021 Summer Online Course of Study

2021 SCOS Course Offerings & Schedule (pdf)

2021 Advanced SCOS Course Descriptions (pdf)


Important Dates

February 19: Summer COS registration opens at 10 a.m. Eastern Time


May 24: Session One BEGINS


July 12: Session Two BEGINS

Which Course of Study Is Right for You?

Trying to choose between Summer Course of Study and Weekend Course of Study?

Both full-time and part-time local pastors are permitted to attend either weekend or summer sessions of Course of Study. Choosing which session works best for you is largely based on your schedule and flexibility. Both require pre-work and readings ahead of time. Please contact our office if you would like to talk more about the differences between summer and weekend sessions.

All students seeking credit for Advanced COS courses from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) must have already completed the Basic COS curriculum. There are a couple of exceptions and you may contact us with questions.

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


The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) implemented a new Course of Study curriculum for all COS programs in 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:

All students seeking credit for Advanced COS courses from GBHEM must have already completed the Basic COS curriculum. There are a couple of exceptions and you may contact us with questions.

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 can help but will first need a copy of 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 complete Basic COS and Advanced COS throughout the year. If you intend to complete the Course of Study program this year, you will need to send a copy of your official transcript and a brief email to Barbara Campbell at dukecos@div.duke.edu.

Courses, Booklists, and Pre-Class Preparation

2021 SCOS Course Offerings & Schedule (pdf)

2021 Advanced SCOS Course Descriptions (pdf)

Our summer sessions will continue in an online format with 5 weeks of instruction. Each week basic courses will have 2 hours of asynchronous instruction in Sakai and 2 hours of synchronous instruction in Zoom class periods with their instructors and classmates, for a total of 20 required contact hours. Each advanced course will have 6 weeks of instruction for a total of 25 required contact hours.

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.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Duke Divinity Bookshop.

Booklists and Pre-Work

Each course will make available a booklist and pre-assignment that is to be completed before the session begins, according to the deadlines set by instructors. Online work will include tasks such as uploading documents, posting comments, watching videos, and etc.

Information related to course(s) including booklist and required readings is sent 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 is sent to registered students.

Sakai Resources

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

Online Library Research Resources/Links

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


Registration & Enrollment

Registration Process

Students must register for courses through the registration link provided below. Please read the information just below before registering.

Registration Requirements

  • Effective June 1, 2019 the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) approved a new 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 policy.
      • Please do not register for any other courses until after you have completed these two courses.
  • You must provide your GBHEM PID number during online registration. If you do not know your 6-digit PID number, please email cosregistrar@gbhem.org at GBHEM to obtain it.
  • All students seeking credit from GBHEM for Advanced COS courses must have already completed the Basic Course of Study curriculum. 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.
  • 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. We recommend that you be in conversation with your DS and LPR prior to registration about the courses you intend to take this year. This will help the approval process run more smoothly. 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 UM 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.
  • Enrollment is not complete until all registration requirements and fees have been received by the Course of Study office.
  • COS online courses remain capped at 20 students per course, and you may take up to 2 courses ONLY per session across all COS schools.


2021 Summer COS Session One Registration - OPEN

2021 Summer COS Session Two Registration - OPEN

Tuition and Fees

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

Tuition for basic classes: $175 per class
Tuition for advanced classes: $250 per class

Late registrants will be charged a processing fee.

Financial Aid

United Methodist (UM) local pastors may be eligible for funds from their conference Board of Ordained Ministry to cover tuition and/or non-tuition expenses. 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 their 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 registrar. There are no refunds given for registration fees. Course tuitions are not refundable after the final deadline to withdraw has passed; see withdrawal deadline dates just below. These dates are approximately two weeks prior to the start of each session and fees apply for cancellations that are not received by these dates.

If you do not withdraw by the following dates you will be charged the full cost of enrollment:

2021 Summer COS Session One withdrawal deadline May 10, 2021

2021 Summer COS Session Two withdrawal deadline June 28, 2021.

Housing, Meals, and Parking

NOTE: The entire section below is NOT applicable for the 2021 Summer Online COS due to the online format because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Students attending the Summer Course of Study School are responsible for making their own housing arrangements. Duke Divinity School and the COS program office negotiate reduced rates for COS students at a few nearby establishments. These hotels offer free shuttle service to the Duke University campus; we recommend this option to avoid parking fees and the challenges of parking on campus. Additionally, some properties offer a few meals including breakfast and other amenities.

2020 Summer COS Housing

Recommended Hotel Information Sheets:


A Welcome Luncheon will be provided for students, instructors, and staff during the lunch break on Monday of both Session 1 and Session 2. On-campus meals are available in the Divinity Café, Duke University eateries, Duke University Medical Center eateries, and the fast-food facilities in the Bryan Center. A list of on-campus dining options and their hours will be distributed to registered students. In addition to the university facilities, Durham has a wide variety of restaurants, including fast-food chains and low- to medium-priced restaurants located close to campus.


All students are encouraged to stay at one of the recommended local hotels that will provide a free shuttle to campus to avoid the challenges of parking on campus.

If you choose to drive to campus for classes, the closest parking garage is the Bryan Center Garage (PGIV). As it gets closer to the residency weeks, registered students will receive a special link to pre-purchase parking, if desired.

Handicapped accessible parking on campus requires a state-issued permit. Handicapped parking spaces are available in the Bryan Center Surface Lot as well as the Bryan Center Parking Garage.

Here is a map that highlights Duke Divinity School and surrounding roads.

General Information

General Information and Resources

Students will have online access to the Divinity School Library while on campus. During the sessions, the Divinity School Library is available for use by Course of Study students. The hours can be found on its website at Duke Divinity Library.

Internet Access
Students will have access to free wireless Internet while on campus. Access to the Internet is also available on the DukeVisitor network, which is available throughout campus.

Computer Services
A computer cluster is available in the Divinity School library during regular library hours. Additional computer clusters on the Duke University campus are available for your word processing use. Included are PC and Mac models. Students will be able to use their Duke Net ID to access the Duke University network upon completion of their enrollment. This Duke Net ID provides access to the network both through on-site computer clusters and for remote system access.

The Divinity Bookshop
The Duke Divinity Bookshop is a preferred provider of textbooks for the Course of Study program.

Medical Care
The most convenient and accessible health care for Course of Study students is Duke University Medical Center, located on the Duke campus. The medical center provides a wide variety of health care services, ranging from basic primary care to highly specialized treatments. Please note that Course of Study students are unable to use the Student Health Clinic.

Annual Board of Advisors Meeting (TBD)



Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend all phases of class during Course of Study sessions: pre-residential, residential, and post-residential. 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% of contact hours 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 all phases of your class, 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 enrolls 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 program.

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 Board of Ordained Ministry, and the bishop.

Special Accommodations
Students with learning disabilities should contact the COS 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 students 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
016 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.