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Master of Divinity

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 congregations and other ministries.

Goals for the Master of Divinity Degree

  • A knowledge of Christian scripture, history, and theology that is substantial and relevant for pastoral 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.

The Master of Divinity degree is an 81 hour program designed to be completed in three years of full time, residential study. Students may also pursue the degree on a part time basis with permission of the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Associate Dean of Admissions. The maximum length of time allowed to complete the program is six years.

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.

Multicultural Contexts for Ministry

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

  • Encourage Global Perspectives: Through theological reflection, critical inquiry, and ministry formation, the divinity school 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 core “multicultural contexts” requirement. In past years, students have traveled with faculty and sometimes with other community members to Appalachia, New York, Nicaragua, Egypt, India and Israel.

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.


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 2014-2015 Bulletin (pps. 43-52).

Biblical Studies (15 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 (18 hours)
Course ID Course Name Hours
History: 6 hours
HIS 501 History of Christianity I 3 hours
HIS 502 History of Christianity II 3 hours
World Religions: 3 hours
Satisfied by courses offered each semester
in Divinity and Religion Department 
Theology: 6 hours
THS 501 Christian Theology 3 hours

Theology elective 3 hours
Ethics: 3 hours
THS 521 Foundation of Christian Ethics 3 hours
THS 522 History of Theological Ethics 3 hours
Ministerial Studies (21 hours)
Course ID Course Name Hours
Art of Ministry: 11 hours
MIN 501 Art of Ministry I 2 hours
MIN 601A Art of Ministry II 3 hours
MIN 601B Art of Ministry II 3 hours
Choose one:
MIN 701 Art of Min III: Senior Project  
MIN 702a,b Art of Min III: Internship  
Homiletics: 3 hours
MIN 551 Homiletics and Worship 3 hours
Pastoral Care: 3 hours
MIN 631 The Ministry of Pastoral Care 3 hours
Multicultural Contexts for Ministry: 3 hours
Choose one:
MIN 590, 591, 592, 593, 594
Spirituality: 1 hour
Satisfied by courses specified each semester
General Elective Courses (27 hours)

For the remaining 27 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.