The Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition is charged with supervising and enriching our academic offerings as well as our educational outreach programs, which are designed for United Methodists and others.

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 (¶ 315) 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 159 — Early Methodism: History, Theology and Polity
  • Parish 160 — Twentieth-Century Methodism: History, Theology and Polity
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.

  • Parish 180 — The Missional Church and Evangelism
  • LtS 78 — Introduction to 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 178 — 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 184 — Preaching in the Wesleyan Theological Tradition
Other Offerings in Methodist and Wesleyan Studies
  • ChurHst 260 — Life and Times of the Wesleys
  • HistTheo 302 — Theology of John Wesley
  • AmXtian 203 — Studies in American Methodism
  • AmXtian/LtS 268 — Worship in the Wesleyan Tradition
  • XtianThe 256 — John Wesley in Controversial and Ecumenical Theology
  • Parish 148 — Making Disciples in the Wesleyan Tradition *
  • Parish 210 — Evangelism and Leadership
  • LtS 208 — Hymns of Charles Wesley
  • Theo 220 — The Wesleys as Theological Mentors
Educational Outreach

Duke Divinity School offers a wide variety of educational outreach programs. The Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition provides input and support for these offerings, which have a significant focus on the United Methodist and related Wesleyan traditions.

Summer Wesley Seminar
The center sponsors a four-week Summer Wesley Seminar as part of our program to promote research, writing, and publication in the field of Wesleyan studies. This seminar supports the work of scholars who are engaged in serious study of the Wesleyan heritage by making available the research resources of Duke University and by bringing together participants for conversation and study.

Convocation & Pastors’ School
The annual Divinity School Convocation & Pastors’ School is a cooperative endeavor with the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences of the United Methodist Church. Working with its Board of Managers from the annual conferences, each year it brings together ministers and laity for several days of lectures, sermons and course intensives, along with multiple venues for alumni/ae reunions and opportunities for shared meals and social interaction.

Mentoring for Ministry
Each year during the Fall Term, Duke Divinity School offers a United Methodist Full Connection Seminar as well as a Commissioning Workshop for United Methodist students and those considering entering the ordination process. The United Methodist Full Connection Seminar is designed for students considering entry or those in the early stages of entering the ordination process in their respective denominations. The commissioning workshop is designed specifically for United Methodist students who are writing their ordination examinations and preparing for oral interviews with their Board of Ordained Ministry.

Leadership Education at Duke Divinity
Leadership Education at Duke Divinity participates in the cultivation of thriving communities that are signs, foretastes, and instruments of the reign of God. It address a yearning for greater strength and vitality among Christian institutions and for greater faithfulness and effectiveness in the leadership and management of those institutions.

Clergy Health Initiative
The Clergy Health Initiative is a joint program of the Duke Divinity School, The Duke Endowment, and the two North Carolina Methodist Conferences. With emphasis on The Wesleyan Way of Life in the 21st Century, its purpose is to improve the physical, mental and spiritual health of United Methodist clergy.

Thriving Rural Communities
The Thriving Rural Communities initiative is an effort on the part of Duke Divinity School, the Duke Endowment, and the United Methodist Annual Conferences of North Carolina to celebrate, resource, and strengthen lay and clergy leadership in our faith communities in Carolina rural settings. The culture of rural congregations has distinctive sets of needs and opportunities for doing God’s work in the world that the programs of this Initiative are distinctively crafted to serve.