Master of Divinity

Engage within a learning community that models the demographic diversity that reflects the future of religious leadership, and communal and congregational life, in the United States.

Be cultivated in an educational context where faculty and students find themselves in an amazing array of conversations – in classrooms and hallways, around bi-weekly community meal tables, in co-curricular gatherings, and in internships – about a wide range of contemporary realities.

School of Divinity faculty members Kevin Jung lectures during a course session

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree stands at the center of the School of Divinity’s degree offerings. The program prepares students from diverse ministry experiences and theological perspectives for religious leadership. The program encourages students to explore the rich histories and traditions of Christianity, to understand the changing social and religious landscape of our times, and to gain awareness and practical experience of the issues facing churches in their local and global contexts. Through their studies in the MDiv curriculum, students will connect their knowledge of a full range of theological and ministry disciplines with what they encounter in ministry settings and in the world. Through imaginative courses and community engagement, students are challenged to become religious leaders committed to justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.

The Master of Divinity degree is an 78-credit hour program designed to be completed in three years of full-time, residential study. Interested in part-time study? Students may pursue the MDiv degree with permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean of Admissions. The maximum length of time allowed to complete the program is six years. Any financial aid awarded will be prorated.

The Wake Forest Difference

Like other programs, our Master of Divinity program includes foundational courses in the study of the Bible, pastoral care, theology, church history, ethics, and spirituality, but we are innovating our approach with imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement. What does this mean for you?

Asking generation-defining questions like, how can faith leaders be equipped to foster racial reconciliation and social justice in the midst of increased cultural and economic divides? or how can religious leaders encourage faith formation and meaningful community amid an increasing disconnect with the church?, an MDiv from Wake Forest will position you as an informed leader to respond effectively.

Learning Goals

  •  A knowledge of Christian scripture, history, and theology that is substantial and relevant for ministry;
  • Evidence of sustained reflection on and participation in spiritual nurturing, both individual and communal;
  • Development of skills, gifts, and arts of ministry appropriate for leadership in local congregations and other settings.

What Sets Our MDiv Apart

Art of Ministry

Through the Art of Ministry program, students have the opportunity to be deeply involved in discovering their ministerial identity, practicing ministry, and theological reflection.

  • Ministerial Identity: More than a job or a career, ministry is a vocation in which persons respond to a call to participate with others in God’s project of justice, reconciliation, and compassion. To respond to the call of ministry is not simply to learn particular skills and practices. It is a larger undertaking, in which a person cultivates an identity as a minister, becoming, in Barbara Brown Taylor’s words, “God’s person in the world.”
  • Ministerial Practice: Through a wide variety of practices, ministers empower communities to respond to God’s activity in their midst. The practices of pastoral care open up spaces in which persons can experience wholeness and healing in the presence of God. Students directly engage ministry centered around homelessness and poverty, child welfare, LGBTQ advocacy, chaplaincy, palliative care, community supported agriculture, anti-racism, community organizing, refugee resettlement, anti-human trafficking, disability accommodation and advocacy for victims of sexual assault.
  • Theological Reflection: Ministers are the resident theologians in the communities they lead. They do this work skillfully when they interpret experience through the lenses of Scripture, theological traditions and framings, pastoral care, and the liturgical arts. Art of Ministry is one place in the curriculum in which students are asked to bring their learning from all of these theological disciplines into conversation with ministry experience.

Responsive to Changing Patterns of Religious Life

One of the School of Divinity’s guiding principles is to:

  • Encourage global perspectives: Through theological reflection, critical inquiry, and ministry formation, the School of Divinity encourages students to explore diverse religious, cultural, and ethnic perspectives within both national and international contexts.

To accomplish this aim, the School highlights in its curriculum each year courses that include a travel component. Each of these courses meets our curriculum’s cross-cultural context area requirement. In past years, students have traveled with faculty, students from other professional schools, and community members to Appalachia, Nicaragua, Egypt, and Israel.

Another guiding principle is to:

  • Embody hospitality: The School of Divinity seeks to cultivate a community of learners that celebrates diverse religious, racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, and sexual identities and that fosters accessibility for all its members.

Our curriculum contains area requirements that reflect changing 21st-century patterns of religious life. Students can choose from a variety of graduate level courses offered in the School of Divinity and in other schools and departments of the University that meet the requirements of the four additional areas: Race and Class, Gender and Sexuality, Religious Pluralism, and Science, Health, and Ecological Well-Being.

Teacher-Scholar Ideal

The teacher-scholar model is more than an idea. Wake Forest is one of only two Top 30 National Universities in which faculty — not graduate assistants — teach all full-credit academic courses. The student-faculty ratio at the School of Divinity is 7 to 1. What you think matters; what you feel matters; what you do matters, and it matters to more than just yourself. Our faculty are invested in you.

Plan of Study and Requirements

Want to know more about courses? You can view past course schedules and new course descriptions on our Academic Resources page. Selected course descriptions are also available in the the Academic Bulletin.

  • Biblical Studies (15 credit hours)
    Course ID Course Name Hours
    Bible Courses: 12 hours
    BIB 521 Old Testament Interpretation I 3 hours
    BIB 522 Old Testament Interpretation II 3 hours
    BIB 541 Introduction to New Testament 3 hours
    Choose one of the following:
    BIB 542 Interpreting New Testament Letters 3 hours
    BIB 543 Interpreting New Testament Gospels 3 hours
    Biblical Studies Elective 3 hours
  • Historical and Theological Studies (15 credit hours)
    Course ID Course Name Hours
    HIS 501 History of Christianity I 3 hours
    HIS 502 History of Christianity II 3 hours
    Theology: 6 hours
    THS 501 Christian Theology 3 hours
    Theology elective 3 hours
    Ethics: 3 hours
    THS 521 Foundation of Christian Ethics 3 hours
    or
    THS 522 History of Theological Ethics 3 hours
  • Ministerial Studies (20 credit hours)
    Course ID Course Name Hours
    Art of Ministry
    MIN 501 Art of Ministry I 2 hours
    MIN 542A, B Internship (part-time) 0 hours
    MIN 602A, B Internship Reflection 3 hours
    Options for second internship:
    MIN 542A, B Internship (part-time) 0 hours
    MIN 602A Internship Reflection 1.5 hours
    or
    MIN 541 Summer Internship Reflection 1.5 hours
    MIN 543 Internship (full-time) 0 hours
    MIN 705 Third Year Capstone 1.5 hours
    Proclamation*: 3 hours
    Relational Care*: 3 hours
    Community Building*: 3 hours
    Formation*: 3 hours
    *Satisfied by courses specified each semester
  • Area Requirements

    Area requirements enable emerging religious leaders to respond to changing patterns of religious life. Each semester courses from across the curriculum are designated to meet area requirements on the course schedule. Students can choose from a variety of graduate level courses offered in the School of Divinity and in other schools and departments of the University that meet the requirements of the five areas:

    Cross-Cultural Connections (CC)

    • Students will travel outside of the Piedmont or the student’s home region in order to connect with the religious, social, ecological, and spiritual environment of a particular place.

    Gender and Sexuality (GS)

    • Students will attend to the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, and other constructs, and explore the impact of these identities on Christian practices.

    Race and Class (RC)

    • Students will critically examine human histories, institutions, organizations, and practices conditioning experiences of race and economic well-being.

    Religious Pluralism (RP)

    • Students will engage diverse voices within other religious traditions and reflect on the theological implications of religious pluralism.

    Science, Health, and Ecological Well-Being (SE)

    • Students will explore holistic and interdependent conceptions of flourishing through attending to the intersections of ecology, sustainability, and creaturely interdependence.

    Students may apply one independent study course toward requirements 1-4. Some three-credit courses may fulfill more than one area. No more than two one-credit courses may count toward these requirements.

  • General Electives (28 credit hours)

    For the remaining 28 hours of the degree program, students may choose from a broad selection of courses in the School of Divinity or from approved courses from the University.