Methodist House provides opportunities for United Methodist and other Pan-Methodist students (AME, AMEZ, CME, Nazarene, Free Methodist, and Wesleyan) to gather for fellowship and formation. The house hosts worship, seminars, social events, and other Methodist enrichment events that help support students who are pursuing ordination or ministry in other forms.

Preparing for the Ordination Process

As one of only 13 recognized UMC seminaries, Duke Divinity offers abundant resources to provide a rich theological education as well as preparation for ordination as an elder or a deacon in the United Methodist Church.

Academic Programs

Our classes in United Methodist and Wesleyan studies at Duke Divinity School help United Methodist students fulfill requirements for ordination and provide all students with the opportunity for study in Wesleyan traditions.

Academic Advising for United Methodist Students

Duke Divinity School assigns incoming United Methodist students to United Methodist faculty advisors. This helps ensure that these students will be fully aware of disciplinary and other requirements for ordination. We have also developed specific United Methodist versions of our curricular paradigms (see the Divinity Bulletin) that include these required courses. Students are advised to check with their Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry to learn requirements specific to their conference beyond those defined in the Book of Discipline.

UMC Studies Course Requirements for Ordination

The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church (¶ 324) mandates that all seeking ordination in the UMC take courses at the seminary level in “Old Testament; New Testament; theology; church history; mission of the church in the world; evangelism; worship/liturgy; and United Methodist doctrine, polity and history.” In United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity at Duke Divinity School, these three required topics are covered in an integrated two-semester series:

  • PARISH 707 or 777 — Wesleyan Foundations for Mission, Practice, and Belief
  • PARISH 708 or 778 — United Methodism: Mission, Practice, Belief
Other UMC Disciplinary Requirements for Ordination

The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church also requires that candidates for ordination in all conferences take coursework in Mission, Evangelism, and Worship. Several courses in the Duke Divinity School curriculum can meet these requirements, with the following designed specifically toward this end.

  • PARSIH 710 or 759 — Missio Ecclesiae: God’s Mission of Empowerment
  • PARISH 780 — The Missional Church and Evangelism
  • LTS 760 — Christian Worship
Distinctive Conference Requirements for Ordination

Some Annual Conferences of The United Methodist Church require academic areas of preparation for ordination beyond the requirements in the Book of Discipline. These are most typically in the areas of preaching, pastoral care, Christian Education and Clinical Pastoral Education. Some annual conferences require at least one course in Black Church Studies and/or Women’s Studies, for example:

  • PARISH 779 — Women and Evangelism

There are courses in the Duke Divinity School curriculum to meet all of these requirements. For conferences that require a second course in preaching, preference is given to:

  • PARISH 768 — Preaching in the Wesleyan Theological Tradition
Other Offerings in Methodist and Wesleyan Studies
  • CHURHST 809 — Life and Times of the Wesleys
  • HISTTHEO 950 — Theology of John Wesley
  • AMXTIAN 800 — Studies in American Methodism
  • AMXTIAN 804/LTS 805 — Worship in the Wesleyan Tradition
  • XTIANTHE 824 — John Wesley in Controversial and Ecumenical Theology
  • PARISH 770 — Forming Disciples in Wesleyan Tradition
  • PARISH 801 — Evangelism and Leadership
  • LTS 805 — Worship in the Wesleyan Tradition
  • CHURMIN 705 — Advanced Spiritual Formation: Wesleyan Discipleship Group

Spiritual Formation

Intentional spiritual formation is central to our commitment to helping students cultivate a life of worship, study, and service. All first-year M.Div. students are placed in small groups that meet weekly to share concerns and pray together. Students in these groups represent a variety of religious traditions, to ensure all students experience Christian practices of prayer and devotion other than their own. Students also have dedicated time away from studying to attend two weekend retreats.  

Lifelong Connections

At Duke, we have the largest group of students seeking Methodist ordination of any official United Methodist seminary. Journeying together, our students learn from each other and form connections both formal and informal that they will carry into ministry. Our graduates find they have a supportive community for work after graduation and a sounding board for all future endeavors. Our alumni are active at every level of the United Methodist Church, serving as pastors, deacons, superintendents, and bishops around the country and throughout the world. 

Commissioning Workshop

To get ready for the first official comprehensive review in the ordination process, Duke Divinity staff and faculty partner with clergy representatives from several United Methodist Annual Conferences in a daylong workshop to provide insight into the commissioning process. 

United Methodist Full Connection Seminar

Completion of the M.Div. is only one step in the ordination process, and our commitment to our students' success continues after graduation. This seminar is a theological workshop designed to help United Methodists seeking full connection prepare for their board interviews and written examinations. Participants are invited to join their colleagues in worship, study, and preparation for ordained ministry. 

Thriving Rural Communities

Rural congregations have distinctive needs and opportunities for doing God’s work. Our Thriving Rural Communities initiative—a joint effort by Duke Divinity School, The Duke Endowment, and the United Methodist Annual Conferences of North Carolina—develops programs that meet those needs by strengthening lay and clergy leadership in North Carolina rural settings.

Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition

The Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition provides curricular and extracurricular offerings in Methodist and Wesleyan Studies. Here, you’ll find educational outreach programs and access to outstanding research resources. These resources include a collection of rare books, archives, and general holdings on Wesleyan and Methodist topics. A special Summer Wesley Seminar enables participants to spend a month working in these collections and consulting with our faculty. The Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition is also charged with staffing, supervising, and enriching our offerings in Methodist and Wesleyan studies.

Methodist Student Organizations

Among the many student organizations available at  Duke Divinity, several are specifically oriented toward the concerns of UMC students. Deacons at Duke meets several times each semester to discuss common concerns and issues related to becoming a United Methodist deacon and the ordination track. African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Connection provides educational support, networking, spiritual well-being, and a sense of community for students who are members of the AME denomination.