Typically, the Master of Divinity degree is designed to prepare one for a career as an ordained minister while the Master of Theology degree is a post-Master of Divinity degree that aims to prepare you to become a teacher or scholar in the field. As such, there are key differences between these two degrees in terms of program length and degree requirements. In this article, we will explore Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degree programs separately, expanding on coursework and degree requirements as well as admittance requirements for both program types.
The Master of Divinity Degree vs the Master of Theology Degree
Master of Divinity Degree Programs
Master of Divinity degree programs generally aim to prepare students to become ministers, preachers, or leaders in the field of ministry. Usually, Master of Divinity degree programs are designed to be completed in about 3 years of study with both on-campus and online formats offered, depending on the specific school. Although coursework will vary by individual Master of Divinity degree program, you can expect to take classes on the Old and New Testament, classes that give you a basis for the Greek and Hebrew languages, classes on Christian ethics, philosophy, and theology, and classes on Christian ministry and preaching.
Some Master of Divinity degree programs could also offer specializations, such as biblical studies, pastoral counseling, or young adult ministry, among some examples. These programs might also require a supervised ministry experience or apprenticeship that allows you to put your theological education into real-world practice. A thesis is sometimes an optional requirement, as well.
Master of Theology Degree Programs
Master of Theology degree programs are for those who have already earned a Master of Divinity degree and want to continue their studies in order to become a teacher or to prepare for a PhD program. Usually, these programs take about 1 year to complete. Master of Theology degree programs are also research-heavy with required coursework on research methodology and theory. Generally, you also choose a concentration, which could possibly be in ethics, biblical studies, or religious history. Most, if not all, Master of Theology degree programs also require a thesis or a major paper component.
Common Entrance Requirements
Master of Divinity degree programs usually require that you have earned a bachelor's degree before applying, and you must submit transcripts and an application. These programs also require a series of essays (or a single essay) that address your personal history, your faith, and why you want to pursue an education in ministry, as well as letters of recommendation. Master of Theology programs require that you have earned the Master of Divinity degree or an equivalent theological degree. Some Master of Theology programs may also require that you have studied Hebrew and Greek.
While Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degree programs share a similar theological area of study, the main difference is that the Master of Divinity degree prepares you for a career as a minister or preacher, and the Master of Theology prepares you for an academic career. Both degree programs require coursework on a range of theological subjects, but the Master of Theology degree requires a thesis, while the Master of Divinity makes the thesis optional and requires a real-world ministry experience.