Duke Divinity School
(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

2018-2019 Weekend Course of Study

Draft Schedule -- subject to change (pdf)

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 draft schedule linked above.

Advanced Course of Study

During the transition, we will not offer Advanced COS in September or November; we do plan to offer Advanced COS courses in January, March, and July 2019. More information with be forthcoming as soon as we have details to share.

Registration Deadlines

Program Session Deadline
Basic Session 1 Monday, July 30, 2018
  Session 2 Friday, August 31, 2018
  Session 3 Friday, November 9, 2018
  Session 4 Friday, January 4, 2019
Advanced Session 3 & Session 4 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 transcripts 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 asking for help.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Duke Divinity Bookshop.

2018-2019 Booklists and Pre-Work

Each course has made 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.

Detailed coursework information will be sent to registered students beginning mid-July, and weekly thereafter until the July 30 registration deadline.

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 provided below.

In order to attend Course of Study, UM local pastors under appointment must receive approval from both their district superintendent and their local pastor registrar after registering for courses. Any student not approved will be notified by Duke COS staff as soon as possible. Deadlines for registration are listed above in the Dates & Deadlines section.

Please note: You must provide your PID number to register. If you do not know your 6-digit PID number, please email cosregistrar@gbhem.org 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

Register for Session 2 November WCOS - Coming Soon

Register for Session 3 January WCOS - Coming Soon

Register for Session 4 March WCOS - Coming Soon

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 representativeThere 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 1 – September

August 17, 2018

Session 2 – November

October 12, 2018

Session 3 – January

December 21, 2018

Session 4 – March

February 22, 2019

Accommodations & Meals


2018-2019 detals are coming soon.

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 and take special note of hotel requests in the links below.

Millennium Hotel: Durham   
Details on pricing and booking deadlines for guaranteed availability and discounted rate (PDF) -- Coming Soon
2800 Campus Walk Avenue, Durham, NC 27705
(919) 383-8575

Staybridge Suites: Durham-Chapel Hill-RTP
Details on pricing and booking (PDF) -- Coming Soon
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.


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
059 Langford Bldg.
Duke Box #90968
Durham, NC 27708

Duke Course of Study Staff

Barbara Campbell, Staff Assistant
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.