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.
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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 2014-2024, employment of clergy workers was expected to increase 6%. Furthermore, as of May 2015, data from the BLS shows the median wage for clergy workers was $44,250.
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.