The Course of Study for Ordained Ministry has been established by the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church as an alternate educational route for persons seeking to serve as pastors in United Methodist congregations.
Duke Divinity School cooperates with the General Board to offer the Course of Study program each summer and on a part-time basis 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 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 in a printable format, please see the 2017-2018 Program Guidelines (pdf).
Dates & Deadlines
Duke Divinity School offers the Summer Course of Study in two 2-week sessions:
Summer Session 1
Orientation: July 1
Summer Session 2
Orientation: July 15
January 2018: Summer COS enrollment opens
March 1: Early bird enrollment deadline
May 21: Final enrollment deadline
July 1: Session 1 orientation (required)
July 2-12: Session 1 classes (held weekdays only)
July 15: Session 2 orientation (required)
July 16-26: Session 2 classes (held weekdays only)
July 19: Annual community luncheon and Board of Advisors meeting
July 24: Durham Bulls baseball game and dinner (optional)
July 26: Closing Convocation (optional)
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's flexibility. Both require about a month of 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; we are happy to help!
If you are not a United Methodist licensed local pastor and you are interested in attending Course of Study, please contact our office.
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry implemented a new Course of Study curriculum for all COS programs since the Fall of 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 the Fall of 2014 will be given credit for courses taken under the old curriculum OR their new equivalent. Additional information about the new COS curriculum can be found below, as well as worksheets to assist students in tracking their progress in the COS program:
Students who have questions or concerns regarding the new COS curriculum are encouraged to contact Duke Divinity School’s Course of Study office. If you would like additional assistance, we are happy to help but will first need your official transcripts from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. For official transcript requests, please contact the GBHEM Course of Study Registrar at email@example.com or (615) 340-7416.
Completing Course of Study
If you intend to complete the Course of Study program and participate in our Closing Convocation ceremony, please send your official transcript to our associate director Olivia Stella at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses, Booklists, and Pre-Class Preparation
2018 Booklists and Pre-Work
2018 Summer Course of Study course booklists and pre-work will reside in DukeBox - a secure file-sharing website. Links to the coursework will be distibuted by email to registered students on a weekly basis beginning in mid-February and continuing until the May 21, 2018 enrollment deadline.
Basic Course of Study
All of the twenty required courses will be offered during the summer sessions.
Advanced Course of Study
The Advanced Course of Study courses offered during the Summer 2018 COS Session are shown on the schedule above.
Advance preparation is required of all students. Each course will make available a booklist and pre-work that is to be completed before the session begins, according to the deadlines set by the instructors.
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 asking for help. Students with learning disabilities should contact the director to discuss appropriate accommodations.
The Divinity Bookshop is the preferred provider of textbooks for the Course of Study program.
Need assistance selecting courses? Please consult our Course of Study Completion Checklist (pdf). If you would like additional assistance, we are happy to help but will first need your official transcripts from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. For official transcript requests, please contact the GBHEM Course of Study Registrar at email@example.com or (615) 340-7416.
Registration for 2018 is now open.
Note: Enrollment is not complete until all registration requirements and fees have been received by the Course of Study office. Please read all details below. Once your enrollment has been completed per the registration guidelines you will be invited to sign up for a Duke NetID or re-activate an existing one. Your Duke NetID will give you access to online resources and allow you to check-out books in the Duke Divinity Library.
Duke Course of Study has a new procedure that replaces the previous application approval form used in 2017. This year we will contact the district superintendent (DS) and annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry local pastor registrar (LPR) that you submit as part of your registration form, and ask them to approve the course(s) you have selected. If you are a licensed local pastor and currently under appointment there should be no issue with your approval. We will contact the DS and LPR for these approvals the day following the enrollment deadline, which is May 21, 2018.
Please note: In the rare circumstance that your course is not approved, we will contact you as soon as possible. If you are unsure whether your course will be approved, we recommend that you do not purchase books or begin pre-work until approximately one month before the start of courses and/or contact your district superintendent to confirm your approval in advance.
REQUIREMENT: You must provide your PID number to register. If you do not know your 6-digit PID number (required to complete online registration), please email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain it before going online to register.
Everyone who completes an online registration will receive a confirmation email. Please save the confirmation email and forward on to your conference if it requires proof of your course enrollment for scholarship reimbursement. Conferences must issue financial aid awards directly to the students, as Duke does not accept these payments.
If you are not a United Methodist licensed local pastor under appointment and wish to attend Course of Study, please contact us at email@example.com.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition varies according to program enrollment. The information listed here applies to students who are United Methodist pastors under appointment and in the care of their annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry. Students not fitting these criteria should contact the Course of Study director for information.
Registration fee (one time non-refundable)
$140 (before March 1, 2018)
$170 (on or after March 1, 2018)
Year 1-5 Course Tuition fee
$60 per class
Advanced Course Tuition fee
$160 per class
Duke Handicapped Parking Permit*
$25 per session
Green Zone or Blue Zone Parking (optional)
$14 per session
Visitor Parking; including Bryan Center Garage (optional)
$120 per session
Durham Bulls Baseball Tickets (optional)
Community Dinner (to be held before the Bulls game - optional)
$12 per person
$12 per person
*For more information about parking, please see the "Housing, Meals, and Parking" section.
Late registrants will be charged a processing fee.
There are times when it is necessary for a student to cancel their enrollment in Course of Study, but any student failing to cancel registration for Course of Study courses by June 15, 2018 (two weeks prior to the start of the program) will not be refunded their tuition fees. Registration fees are non-refundable.
Housing, Meals, and Parking
Students attending the Summer Course of Study School have several on-campus and off-campus housing options. 2018 details are coming soon.
On-campus meals are available in the Divinity Café, Duke University cafeterias, the Duke Medical Center cafeterias, 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.
Handicapped Parking: Handicapped parking on campus requires special arrangements with Duke University, as well as a state permit. Please indicate your needs when you register and contact Barbara Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
On-campus Parking: Because availability of campus parking is always subject to change, students are encouraged to utilize hotel shuttles, Duke campus buses, and explore carpooling options with peers to share the cost of transportation and parking.
Upon registration, students may purchase parking permits in the Green Zone or Blue Zone, both of which will allow access to remote lots that require a minimum of a 20-minute walk to the Divinity School. Campus buses may be available to reduce the commute distance from these lots - please contact our office if you have questions about this. The Bryan Center Visitor Parking Garage is the closest and most expensive option, and spaces are first-come, first-served.
Forms & General Information
Policies and Forms
- 2017-2018 Program Guidelines (pdf)
- Writing Guidelines (pdf)
- Inclusive Language Policy (pdf)
- Medical Information Form (pdf): Please submit at Orientation.
- Housing Information Sheet (pdf) -- 2018 information coming soon
- On-Campus Housing Tips/What to Bring (pdf) -- 2018 information coming soon
Please see the Duke Campus Map.
Fully enrolled students will have online access to the Divinity School Library prior to arrival on campus. During the sessions, the Divinity School Library is available for use by Course of Study students. The hours can be found on their website at Duke Divinity Library.
Students, while on campus, will have access to free wireless internet. Access to the internet is also available on the DukeVisitor network, which is available throughout campus.
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 assigned a temporary Duke University network account upon completion of their enrollment. This account provides access to the Duke University network both through on-site computer clusters and for remote system access.
During your summer stay, all correspondence should be addressed to:
Your Name C/O Course of Study
Duke Divinity School
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708-0966
Mail will be delivered daily to individual student mailboxes located in the Student Lounge. General mail services are NOT available at the campus post office in the Bryan University Center. Students are asked NOT to forward mail through the U.S. Postal Service from their home address to the Course of Study. Students are encouraged to make arrangements for someone to collect their mail at their home and forward only those items that need immediate attention.
The Divinity Bookshop
The Duke Divinity Bookshop is the preferred provider of textbooks for the Course of Study program.
The most convenient and accessible health care for Course of Study students is the Duke University Medical Center, located on the Duke campus. Duke University Medical Center provides a wide variety of health care services, ranging from basic primary care to highly specialized treatments. All students are asked to complete the medical information form (pdf) as part of the registration process (please submit at Orientation). Students with ongoing medical concerns are encouraged to bring pertinent medical records and prescriptions with them if they need medical care during the Course of Study. Please note that Course of Study students are unable to use the Student Health Clinic.
Opportunities Outside the Classrom
Worship services will be conducted every day beginning at 10:10 a.m. in Goodson Chapel. Students are invited to share their musical gifts in coordination with worship leaders. The worship leaders and preachers are chosen from students and faculty to represent the diversity of our community.
Many fellowship opportunities are scheduled during the course of the summer session. Periodic activities scheduled during the afternoons or evenings provide opportunities for students and their families to spend time as a community.
Student officers and class representatives are elected annually. They work with the director and school staff to help maintain the excellent opportunities for fellowship and learning at the school.
Annual Community Luncheon and Board of Advisors Meeting
On Thursday, July 19, 2018, representatives from our constituent annual conferences will visit. There is a community luncheon and an opportunity for students to meet with their conference representative(s).
Closing Convocation -- more details coming soon
A special service of worship will be held in Duke Chapel to close the school and to recognize those students who are completing their fifth year or advanced studies. Immediately after the service a reception for all students and families is held in the Divinity Café. All Course of Study students completing their studies in 2017-18 are invited to participate. Please contact the director to confirm your participation and completion of course requirements.
Students are expected to attend all 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 Board of Higher Education and Ministry, a student missing more than 20 percent of any one course shall not receive a grade for the course. If you find you must miss a class, please be courteous to your instructors by notifying the instructor and class representative of your absence and arranging to share notes with one of your classmates.
Conduct of Students
The Course of Study expects and will require of all its students continuing loyal 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 life appropriate to Christian faith and to the dignity of their calling.
Grades are assigned by faculty following completion of all coursework. Grades range from “A” to “F, including + and - . A “D” is considered a passing grade.
Official transcripts for Course of Study work are available through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry; contact the GBHEM Course of Study Registrar email@example.com or call (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 signing their application to the Course of Study program, students indicate their willingness to abide by all policies outlined in these program guidelines.
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 may 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.
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.
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.
No form of harassment is acceptable at Duke University. It is inconsistent with the University's commitments to excellence and respect for all individuals. Duke University is also committed to the free and vigorous discussion of ideas and issues, which the University believes will be protected by this policy.
Duke Divinity School
059 Langford Bldg.
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708
Duke Course of Study Staff
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.