Denominational Studies

The School of Divinity is committed to educating persons who are pursuing ministry within a wide array of Christian denominations and traditions. “Denominational Studies” in the School of Divinity are designed to support students as they explore professional affiliations and prepare for ordination within particular denominational and congregational entities.

Because the School of Divinity is not an ordaining body, the most important role of the school’s denominational studies emphasis is to support students as they cultivate diverse denominational and congregational connections. As a first step in exploring denominational affiliations, students are encouraged to consult with appropriate denominational representatives to learn about opportunities for service and, where appropriate, requirements for ordination. Students are encouraged to consult with denominational advisors and representatives as they choose settings for second-year required internships as these intern- ships give students opportunities to explore denominational ministry in congregations or agencies.

Courses specific to some denominations are taught regularly at the School of Divinity by denominational leaders. These courses are designed to introduce students to denominational theologies and polities and to assist students with preparation for denominational ordination exams.

Some of the regularly offered courses include:

  • HIS 682: A History of the Baptists
  • MIN 641: Congregational Leadership, Presbyterian Polity and Reformed Theology
  • MIN 647: Episcopal Church Studies: Sacramental Theology and Liturgics
  • MIN 649: Episcopal Church Studies: Seven Canonical Areas for General Ordination Exams
  • MIN 695: United Church of Christ Polity & History
  • MIN 790: History and Polity of the Christian Church: Disciples of Christ
  • MIN 790: African Methodist Episcopal Zion Polity, History, and Theology
  • MIN 790: African American Baptist Life
  • A student may also request that the Academic Dean explore course offerings specific to his or her denominational affiliation.

Episcopal Studies

The School of Divinity has developed a curriculum for Episcopal students that is receiving recognition from Episcopal bishops in the Southeast. With the establishment of a 12-hour concentration in Episcopal Studies, the Bishops are now open to considering School of Divinity graduates who complete the concentration for ordination. Until now, School of Divinity graduates seeking to be ordained within The Episcopal Church have been required to take an additional year of study at another institution. The Episcopal Studies concentration is directed by The Rt. Rev. Dr. Porter Taylor, retired Bishop of of the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina and Visiting Professor of Episcopal Studies.

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Moravian Studies

The city of Winston-Salem, NC is shaped by its Moravian heritage and a rich on-going Moravian presence.  While enrolled at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, students seeking candidacy for ordination in the Moravian Church may earn the twelve-credit Certificate in Moravian Studies online through Moravian Theological Seminary, as well as complete internships at local Moravian churches.

The Certificate in Moravian Studies is offered as a possible alternative to a year of residential study at Moravian Seminary in partial fulfillment of requirements for ordination.  Interested students should first contact the Provincial Elders’ Conference (PEC) regarding this possibility.  If approved, The School of Divinity and Moravian Seminary will work with the PEC to advise interested students.  Tuition assistance for the Certificate is available through the PEC.

All courses must meet ATS requirements for transfer credit to apply toward the WFU M.Div. degree.  Additional eligible courses from Moravian Seminary, beyond the Certificate in Moravian Studies, may be accepted for transfer with a written recommendation from the PEC that these courses are required preparation for ordination in the Moravian Church.  Contact: PEC office.

Other Resources for Denominational Studies

Other opportunities for preparation for ministry within particular denominations include independent study, clinical pastoral education, and the third year integrative project (Art of Ministry III). Many denominational seminaries also offer courses required for ordination online, which students may take for transfer credit with the approval of the Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee.

Institution Denominational Classes Website
Disciples of Christ Occasionally offered online by the denomination
United Church of Christ Occasionally offered locally or online by the denomination
United Methodist Church Occasionally offered online by the denomination
Drew University United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity
Garrett-Evangelical  Theological Seminary United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity
Claremont School of Theology
Wesley Seminary Polity of the United Methodist Church
Episcopal Divinity School Episcopal History, Polity, Canon Law
Fuller Theological Seminary Anglican Theology, Spirituality, Liturgy, Pastoral Theology, Ministry, and Ethics
Candler School of Theology
Iliff School of Theology UMC Mission of Church in the World
Chicago Theological Seminary History and Polity of the UCC


Denominational Ordination Processes