Duke Divinity School
(919) 613.5326

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 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 Program Guidelines (pdf).

We have a new office and mailing address! Please contact us at Duke Divinity School, 059 Langford Bldg. Duke Box #90968, Durham, NC 27708.

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.

Dates & Deadlines


Duke Course of Study has a new procedure that replaces the old application approval form process. You no longer need two signatures from your DS and BOM before your registration for Course of Study is complete. Instead, we have given two discount codes (one for basic COS and one for advanced COS) to your conference representative. You will enter one of these codes on the COS registration site to get access to the discounted tuition rate of $150 for the basic COS and $200 for advanced. Conference representatives will only give the code to UM-licensed local pastors who are under appointment and approved to attend Course of Study. Those interested in attending the Course of Study program who are not UM-licensed local pastors under appointment are welcome to register to attend classes at the full cost.

Basic Course of Study
Basic classes meet for three consecutive weekends (Friday 7:00-10:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m.-noon) at the Divinity School. Students complete one course in each weekend session. Completing all four weekend sessions is equivalent to one year of study.

Session 1         September 9-10, 16-17, and 23-24, 2016
Session 2         November 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19, 2016
Session 3         January 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21, 2017
Session 4         March 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, 2017

Advanced Course of Study

Advanced Course of Study classes meet over four weekends (Friday 7:00-10:00 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m.-noon) at the Divinity School. 

Session 1         Sept. 9-10, Sept. 16-17, Nov. 4-5, and Nov. 11-12, 2016
Session 2         Jan. 13-14, Jan. 20-21 (New Dates), March 3-4, and March 10-11, 2017

Enrollment Deadlines

Program Session Application Deadline
Basic Session 1 August 12, 2016
  Session 2 October 7, 2016
  Session 3 December 9, 2016
  Session 4 February 3, 2017
Advanced Session 1 August 12, 2016
  Session 2 December 9, 2016

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.


Course Offerings and Pre-Class Preparation

Advance preparation is required of all students. Each course has a textbook list and pre-work that, when available, can be accessed by clicking the course name below. Course of Study at Duke Divinity has provided writing guidelines (pdf) to assist students in completion of their assignments using best academic practices. We ask that you take particular note of the sections on plagiarism and asking for help. Students with learning disabilities should contact the director to discuss appropriate accommodations.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Duke Divinity Bookstore.

PRE-WORK: Course of Study book lists and pre-work will be emailed to registered students on a rolling basis with the first mailing to begin about 5-6 weeks prior to the start of each session, and weekly thereafter until the registration deadline.

Session 1 Courses

  • WCOS 121: Bible I: Introduction
  • WCOS 223: Worship and Sacraments
  • WCOS 423: Mission
  • MS: Advanced Mission (updated)

Session 2 Courses

  • WCOS 122: Theological Heritage I: Introduction
  • WCOS 222: Theological Heritage II
  • WCOS 424: Ethics

Session 3 Courses

  • WCOS 124: Transformative Leadership
  • WCOS 221: Bible II: Torah and Israel's History
  • WCOS 422: Theological Heritage IV: Wesleyan Movement 
  • UMP: Advanced UM Polity (Updated; see new dates above)

Session 4 Courses

  • WCOS 123: Formation & Discipleship
  • WCOS 224: Administration and Polity
  • WCOS 421: Bible IV: Prophets, Psalms, and Wisdom Literature 

Application & Enrollment


Enrollment deadlines have now passed for our 2016-2017 sessions.

Register for Session 1 September WCOS (Closed Aug. 12, 2016)

Register for Session 2 November WCOS (Closed Oct. 7, 2016)

Register for Session 3 January WCOS (Closed Dec. 9, 2016)

Register for Session 4 March WCOS (Closed Feb. 3, 2017)

Tuition and Fees

New this year: There is no longer a pay later option for enrollment: all fees are due at the time of enrollment. Each WCOS session has a separate enrollment site.

Weekend Sessions

Application fee (non-refundable): $50 per class
Tuition for basic classes: $150 per class
Tuition for advanced classes: $200 per class

A hold will be placed upon your enrollment until all enrollment materials have been received. 

Tuition and financial aid vary according to program enrollment. The information listed on this website 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 staff. 

Financial Aid
Students may be eligible for funds from their conference Board of Ordained Ministry to cover non-tuition expenses. In order to receive an annual conference scholarship, students must be in touch with their local pastor registrar. Conferences will issue financial aid awards directly to the students.

Cancellation 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 to the Course of Study office and to the district superintendent and Board of Ministry representative. As has been the longstanding policy of the Divinity School, there are no refunds given for registration fees.

Returned Check Policy
Should a student’s payment be returned because of insufficient funds, an additional fee of $15 will be assessed.

Accommodations & Meals


Accommodations for Weekend Course of Study program participants are not arranged through the Course of Study office; participants are responsible for making their hotel reservations directly with the hotel of their choice. Contact information and special rates for two local hotels are listed below.

When making your hotel reservations, please be sure to state you are with the Duke Divinity School Course of Study program.

Millennium: Hotel Durham
2800 Campus Walk Avenue, Durham, NC 27705
(919) 383-8575

Staybridge Suites: Durham-Chapel Hill-RTP
3704 Mount Moriah Road, Durham, NC 27707
(800) 225-1237   

Students are responsible for their meals while at Weekend Course of Study.

General Information & Policies

Weekend COS Schedule (pdf)
Course of Study Program Guidelines (pdf)

Attendance Policy
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% 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 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 signing their application to the Course of Study school, students indicate their willingness to abide by all policies outlined in these program guidelines.

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 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.

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.

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.