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.

Two rows of faculty sitting in robes in Duke Chapel during a graduation ceremony

Ordained United Methodist Faculty

A Community of Scholars

Our faculty is widely regarded as one of the world’s best, and we have the strongest faculty you’ll find anywhere in Methodist history, doctrine, and polity. Students are advised and taught by the people who wrote the texts used in classes at seminaries everywhere. Students seeking ordination are advised by Methodist faculty, who are in most cases also ordained clergy. That means advisors will understand the ordination process and share their students' commitment to the life of the church.


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

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 770 — Forming Disciples in Wesleyan Tradition
  • PARISH 780 — The Missional Church and Evangelism
  • LTS 760 — Christian Worship

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

  • 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, Methodism, and Ecumenism
  • XTIANTHE 854 — Contemporary Methodist Theology
  • PARISH 801 — Evangelism and Leadership
  • CHURMIN 705 — Advanced Spiritual Formation: Wesleyan Discipleship Group