Duke Divinity School (Map)
(919) 613.5326

The Course of Study 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.

Pastoral leaders from other denominations and lay persons may register and take classes in the Course of Study program.

Duke Divinity School cooperates with the General Board to offer the Course of Study program each summer (see Summer Course of Study) 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 and additional details in a printable format, please see the 2018-2019 Program Guidelines (pdf)

Dates & Deadlines

2019-2020 Weekend Course of Study

Session I - Residential Weekend, September 13-14, 2019

Session II - Residential Weekend, November 1-2, 2019

Session III - Residential Weekend, January 10-11, 2020

Session IV - Residential Weekend, March 6-7, 2020

Additional information, course schedule, and registration will be coming this Spring.

2018-2019 Weekend Hybrid Course of Study

Basic Course of Study Schedule

Basic Course Schedule (pdf) - Session I - IV

Current Basic Residential Weekend Schedule

Friday  Saturday
1:00pm to 2:00pm – Check-in 8:00am to 8:20am – Morning prayer
2:00pm to 5:00pm – Class period 1 8:30am to 11:30am – Class period 3
5:00pm to 5:45pm – Dinner/Break 11:30am to 12:15pm – Lunch/Break
5:45pm to 8:45pm – Class period 2 12:15pm to 3:15pm – Class period 4
8:50pm to 9:10pm – Evening prayer Contact Hours: 6
Contact Hours: 6  
4 hours pre-course (2 in each of the 2 pre-residential weeks)
4 hours post-course (2 in each of the 2 post-residential weeks)
= 20 Total Contact Hours

Advanced Course of Study Schedules

Advanced Old Testament Course Schedule (pdf) - January 2019 Session III only

Course Description for Advanced Old Testament: 1 & 2 Kings

This exegesis seminar introduces the literary content and interpretive issues characteristic of the book(s) of 1–2 Kings. Students will grow in their ability to read the biblical text closely and will learn to identify ways in which its theological horizon takes shape through unique vocabulary and literary style. Special attention will be given to the overarching (and hotly debated!), “kerygma” of Kings. Does the book recount a long history of decline, resulting in ultimate catastrophe with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, or does it hold out hope for redemption and perhaps even convey a “messianic” expectation for the future? What did the Gospel writers see in the book of Kings, and how did they associate its content with Jesus’s character and ministry? How, for Christian readers, might the book of Kings continue to “preach” in the twenty-first century? The residential component of this advanced COS course will take place over two weekends (Jan. 11–12 and 18-19); the online component will include reading, lectures, and written work to be completed during the weeks preceding, between, and subsequent to the two residential sessions.

Advanced Evangelism and Discipleship Course Schedule (pdf) - March 2019 Session IV only

Please note:  This course will be offered again in July at Summer COS.

Course Description for Advanced Evangelism and Discipleship in the Wesleyan Tradition

This course explores the ministry of evangelism and making disciples of Jesus Christ from the perspective of the Wesleyan tradition and its holistic spirituality, combining works of piety and works of mercy. By examining the way in which the early Methodists discovered, learned, and practiced the Christian faith and how the Methodists Societies functioned as disciple-making communities, students will learn and apply these principles of accountable discipleship to their own ministry and the church’s mission today. The residential component of this advanced COS course will take place over one 3-day weekend (March 22-24), which will include an immersion experience on March 24; the online component will include reading, lectures, and written work to be completed during the weeks preceding, between, and subsequent to the residential weekend.

About Basic and Advanced Course of Study

Basic Course of Study

Effective September 2018, Duke Divinity School will offer the Weekend Course of Study in a hybrid format in the months of September, November, January, and March. Students may enroll in one course each session. The hybrid format requires students to complete four hours of online coursework prior to a residential weekend and an additional four hours of online coursework following the residential weekend. The residential weekend will occur over a two-day period, Friday through Saturday. Please reference the schedule linked above.

Advanced Course of Study

During the transition, we are offering Advanced COS courses in January, March, and July 2019. See course schedule links above for advanced courses being offered in Weekend COS in January and March. Information on courses offered in Summer COS in July will be forthcoming on the Summer COS webpage.

Registration Deadlines

Program Session Deadline
Basic Session I Monday, July 30, 2018
  Session II Friday, September 7, 2018
  Session III Friday, November 9, 2018
  Session IV Friday, January 11, 2019
Advanced Session III & Session IV same as above

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 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.

Pastoral leaders from other denominations and lay persons may register and take classes in the Course of Study program.


The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) 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 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 transcript(s) from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. For official transcript requests, please contact the GBHEM Course of Study Registrar at cosregistrar@gbhem.org or (615) 340-7416.

Courses, Booklists, and Pre-Class Preparation

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.

2018-2019 Booklists and Pre-Work

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. In addition, effective September 2018, each course will require eight hours of online learning, beginning with four hours of online coursework before the residential portion of the class, and concluding with four hours of online coursework after the residential portion of the class. Online work will include tasks like uploading documents, posting comments, watching videos, etc.

Please note: the advanced courses online and residential schedules are different than the basic courses. The schedules are linked above in the Dates & Deadlines section.

Information related to your courses including pre-work and required readings will be available in Sakai, an educational software platform. Information on how to access and log into Sakai will be sent to registered students following the individual session deadline dates shown above in the Dates & Deadlines section.


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

Online Library Research Links:

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.

In order to attend Course of Study, 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. Please contact your DS and LPR prior to or immediately following registration for courses to keep them informed about what courses you intend to take this year. This will help keep the approval process running smoothly. Duke COS staff will request the formal approvals, and any student not approved will be notified by us as soon as possible. Deadlines for registration are listed above in the Dates & Deadlines section.

Please note: You must provide your GBHEM PID number to register. If you do not know your 6-digit PID number, please email cosregistrar@gbhem.org at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) to obtain it.

Everyone who completes a registration form will receive a confirmation email. Please forward the confirmation email on 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 will choose the designated check box during the online registration process.

Enrollment is not complete until all registration requirements and fees have been received by the Course of Study office.


2018-2019 Registration

Register for Session 1 September WCOS - CLOSED

Register for Session 2 November WCOS - CLOSED

Register for Session 3 January WCOS - CLOSED

Register for Session 4 March WCOS - CLOSED

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and financial aid vary according to program enrollment.

UM Local Pastors

Registration fee (non-refundable): $75 per class (includes dinner Friday night and lunch Saturday)
Tuition for basic classes: $150 per class
Tuition for advanced classes: $200 per class

All Others

Registration fee (non-refundable): $75 per class (includes dinner Friday night and lunch Saturday)
Tuition for basic classes: $380 per class
Tuition for advanced classes: $430 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 Local Pastor Registrar. Conferences will issue financial aid awards directly to the students, as Duke does not accept these payments. 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 and to the district superintendent and 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 just 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 I – September

August 20, 2018

Session II – November

October 15, 2018

Session III – January

December 21, 2018

Session IV – March

February 25, 2019

Accommodations & Meals


2018-2019 Hotel Options

Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements. Course of Study program office has negotiated special Weekend COS rates at a couple of hotels for your convenience. These hotels offer free shuttle service to the Duke campus; we recommend this option to avoid additional fees for parking and the occasional challenges of parking on campus.

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

Millennium Hotel: Durham   
Details on pricing and booking (pdf)
2800 Campus Walk Avenue, Durham, NC 27705
(919) 383-8575

Staybridge Suites: Durham-Chapel Hill-RTP
Details on pricing and booking (pdf)
3704 Mount Moriah Road, Durham, NC 27707
(919) 401-9800 or (855) 914-1886

In the new hybrid program model, your registration fee includes dinner on Friday evening and lunch on Saturday afternoon.

General Information & Policies

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% of contact hours for 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 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 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 - . 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 end of each 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 on the application, 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, their Board of Ordained Ministry, and their 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
148 Langford Bldg.
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708

Duke Course of Study Staff

Barbara Campbell, Registrar & Student Services
Rhonda Parker, Interim 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.