Online Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degrees are typically offered through Christian colleges and universities and theological seminaries. Depending on the offering university, these programs typically take about 4-5 years to complete. When applying for admission, prospective students may need to submit testing fees and recommendation letters.
Programs may be taught by the same faculty members as their on-campus counterparts. Some programs include a few in-person experiences in addition to the online curriculum. These experiences often include supervised ministry experience and retreats.
At the beginning of an online Master of Divinity degree program, students are grounded in the textual basis of theology and basic ministry duties through such courses as the following:
- Introduction to Counseling
- Congregational Studies
- New Testament
- Old Testament
- Spiritual Formation
- Studies in Prophets
- Biblical Hebrew
- New Testament Greek
In the final years, the program provides more advanced divinity courses such as the following:
- Theology and Worship
- Missional Church
- Leading Christian Communities
- Intercultural Immersion
Online students may have the option to attend 'intensives,' or retreats. Intensives are mid-semester, two-week periods of on-campus learning offered solely for the distance education students to engage with professors and classmates. Additionally, some programs may integrate a supervised ministry experience.
To be eligible for admission, prospective students may be evaluated for online-learning aptitude. Any experience in ministry is generally held in high regard, and in some cases may qualify the student to acquire transferable credits. Many universities require written essays, application fees or letters of recommendation with the admissions application.
Online Learning Details
Online divinity students are typically expected to study and engage in online course exercises for 15-20 hours each week. Online Master of Divinity programs offer collaboration opportunities between peers and instructors through the use of chat rooms, conference calls and discussion boards. Many universities that offer online education invest in advanced course management systems that automatically grade assignments, offer assessments, create groups and allow students to store their course files online.
Online divinity master's degree programs afford students the opportunity to study theology and ministry at an advanced level. In addition to distance learning courses from qualified faculty, students can complete on-campus retreats and ministry training initiatives to enhance their experience.