An education at Duke Divinity School includes spiritual and ministerial formation, which provides both vocational training grounded in the teachings of Jesus and the real-world experience you need to be an innovative leader in the church and the world.

Our approach to formation is holistic, seeking to nurture the spiritual, physical, emotional, professional, and community life of students. We walk alongside students as they discern their calling, seek vocational clarity, and understand their denominational identity. We listen prayerfully to spiritual concerns while offering support and resources. In addition, we promote regular participation in corporate worship.

Formational Programs

First-year students meet in small spiritual formation groups led by local pastors to reflect theologically on the nature of Christian discipleship, share concerns, and pray together. Advanced spiritual formation groups are also available for students in some certificate programs.

For students interested in lay or ordained ministry, we offer ministerial formation programs, including Commissioning and Full Connection seminars, Mentoring for Ministry programs, and denominational houses of study that provide opportunities to discern vocational calling, learn from experienced ministers, strengthen leadership skills, practice spiritual reflection, and gain practical knowledge.

In addition, many of our initiatives support student formation:

Rebekah Ralph at UMC

Real-World Experience in Ministry

Paid Internships

We build paid field education internships into our three-year residential M.Div. program, so students receive practical experience and training as a complement to work done in the classroom.

Worship service

Nourishing a Life of Prayer and Discipleship

Worship Life

Services of preaching, music, Eucharist, and prayer are at the center of our community life as we gather for corporate worship eleven times each week during the academic year. 

Friendship House

Residential Ministerial Formation

Friendship House is a residential ministerial formation program in which Duke Divinity School students and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live together in community. Three students share a four-bedroom apartment with one person with a disability. The program offers a unique opportunity to grow into one’s calling authentically, with integrity and deep faithfulness.