The Master of Divinity program requires the completion of approximately 90 post-graduate credits in theological studies and usually takes 3 to 4 years to finish. Students examine the bible and have the opportunity to gain the skills necessary for leading a congregation. They also study the various aspects of sermon preparation. Specialization options include worship, missionary work, family ministries, pastoral counseling. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and meet a minimum GPA requirement. Undergraduate credits in philosophy and Graduate Records Examination (GRE) scores may also be needed.
Programs are available for students seeking a Catholic perspective, as well as those attracted to a nondenominational approach. Opportunities for further study exist at the doctoral level.
Master of Divinity
The M.Div. program prepares students for religious leadership and ministry roles within their community. While some programs are non-denominational, most concentrate on a particular faith. Typically, students enrolled in a Roman Catholic divinity program usually learn Latin, while those in Protestant seminaries typically study Hebrew and Greek. Furthermore, divinity students participate in a professional work experience, complete a master's thesis and examine subjects such as:
- Church historical foundations
- Church laws
- Old Testament
- New Testament
- Biblical passage interpretations
- Sermon preparation
Graduates of a M.Div. program could go on to find opportunities in such areas as congregational leadership, youth ministries or church missions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), from 2018-2028, employment of clergy workers is expected to increase 6%. Furthermore, as of May 2018, data from the BLS shows the median wage for clergy workers was $48,990.
Continuing Education Information
A M.Div. program could be considered a terminal degree; however, some graduates may decide to pursue advanced training in the field. Individuals interested in a higher-level professional degree could pursue a Doctor of Ministry, which is designed for working pastors and other clergy. A Doctor of Practical Theology is another option, which could be sought by working ministers but is also open to others who may have a desire to gain theological perspective. Additionally, there are non-ministerial advanced degrees, such as the Ph.D. in Religious Studies or the Doctor of Theology.
Individuals who aspire to be a part of religious clergy can pursue a master's degree in divinity. Class subjects will include biblical interpretation and sermon preparation.