Master of Divinity

Master of Divinity (MDiv)

The three-year Master of Divinity program (MDiv) is the foundational professional degree for ministry. It is designed to prepare students for the diverse ministries of congregational leadership, for graduate study in theology and related disciplines, for various types of chaplaincy, for mission work at home and abroad, and for other forms of church vocation. The curriculum is rooted in a broad theological foundation while still allowing flexibility and independence for each particular student and his or her goals. Alongside classroom preparation there is required hands-on ministry experience. There is a minimum of one yearlong and one summer field education placement, one of which must be in a church. The student chooses these field education placements, so that their ministerial education can best fit their vocational call.


The Master of Divinity is a three-year program requiring the successful completion of 78 credits drawn from the four academic departments of the Seminary and a listing of breadth and general requirements.

Biblical Studies (12 credits)

  1. Courses OT2101 Orientation to Old Testament Studies, and NT2101 Introduction to the New Testament, which must be completed during the first year of work
  2. One course (three credits) in New Testament and one course (three credits) in Old Testament, one of which must be designated as “close reading of the text”

Although not required for the MDiv degree, students are encouraged to take Greek and/or Hebrew, and language-based exegesis courses. Exegesis courses are offered on two tracks, English-based and language-based.

History and Ecumenics (12 credits)

  1. Three credits in the area of Early and Medieval History
  2. Three credits in the area of Reformation History
  3. Three credits in the area of Modern European or American History
  4. Three credits in the area of World Christianity and the History of Religions, or Sociology of Religion

Theology (12 credits)

The student is required to take twelve credits, distributing the courses as follows:

  1. TH2100 Systematic Theology (three credits), to be taken in either the first or second semester of the junior year
  2. Two courses, six credits, in TH3000- or TH5000-level courses
  3. A course, minimum of three credits, in philosophy or Christian ethics

One course, three credits, in one of the above areas must focus on a major theologian or church doctrine.

Practical Theology (14 credits)

  1. Courses SC2101 and SC2102 Speech Communication in Ministry I and II (one credit each), which are to be completed in the junior year
  2. Course PR2100 Introduction to Preaching (three credits), which is to be completed in either the first or second semester of the middler year
  3. Three credits in the area of education and formation
  4. Three credits in the area of pastoral care and specialized ministries
  5. Three credits of distributive electives

Field Education (4 credits)

Two field education units, two credits each, are required. The first is usually done during the summer between the junior and middler years and is selected from either FE2101, FE 2121, or FE2110. The second is usually done over the entire middler year and is selected from either FE2102, FE 2122, FE2103, or FE2111. At least one of the course sites must be a local church.

Learn more about Field Education

Breadth Requirement

Two breadth requirements are fulfilled by designated courses that are elective courses or courses that meet departmental distribution requirements.

Two to three credits in Christian Responsibility in the Public Realm (course suffix “cr”) are required to fulfill this requirement. Students in the Master of Divinity degree program are required to take at least two credits in courses suffixed cr. Courses qualifying for this suffix normally express a range of ethical, social, or political issues that would be found in higher education courses focused on law, medicine, philosophy, public policy, social studies, business, and/or international affairs, and include study material relevant to these topics drawn from classical or contemporary Christian thinkers.

Christian Responses to Issues of Race and Ethnicity (“re” suffix). Two to three credit courses qualify for the “re” suffix that significantly address the racial and ethnic climate in the U.S.A. as designated by Departments or Religion and Society. The course must be taken in the first or second year of the MDiv degree program. The course may be taught by adjunct faculty or similar rank as approved by Departments or the Religion and Society Committee, and the Faculty.

Capstone Project (*Optional for MDIV students)

Students in the MDiv and Dual MDiv/MACEF programs may elect to complete a Capstone Project during their senior or final year. Courses designated as capstone courses have “capstone course” listed in the course description, following the credits. A capstone course may be a one, two, or three credit course.

A capstone project is a constructive work in which students demonstrate integration, particularly with an eye toward implications for some form of ministry. A capstone project should be “integrating” in at least one of the following four ways:

  1. Cross-disciplinary (across theological disciplines)
  2. Interdisciplinary (between theology and other human sciences, natural sciences, literature, the fine arts, or any other field usually considered to be outside the central purview of theological study)
  3. Intellectual-personal (assimilating frameworks gained from theological study, the student’s personal beliefs, social location and practices, or self-perception)
  4. Theory-practice (e.g. preaching, teaching, pastoral care, congregational leadership, congregational formation, hospital and military chaplaincy, non-profit ministries)

A capstone project is subject to the instructor’s approval and may take a variety of forms including but not limited to the following: an essay; a sermon or series of sermons; a lesson plan or unit of curriculum; a plan of response and action for a congregation or institution; a website/social media; a drama; a work of art; a dance production; or a video series posted on the Internet. The course catalogue will indicate courses that are eligible to meet this requirement.


Credits to graduate78
Average credits per year26
Average credits per semester13
Minimum full-time load12
Maximum credits per semester15
Maximum credits per year*30
Core Requirements54
Field Education4

* These maximum stipulations do not include summer courses. Including January term credits, students may take a maximum of 30 credits per year.

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Joint MDiv and MSW Program in Ministry and Social Work
A joint program leading to the Master of Divinity degree from the Seminary and the Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Social Work is available for students who expect to enter forms of ministry requiring competence both in the disciplines of theology and in those associated with social work. MDiv students interested in the joint program should inquire about the program early during their junior year and then apply in January of their middler year. In consultation with the registrar, the MDiv requirements are completed as usual in the first three years. Immediately following the granting of the MDiv degree, the student enters the summer session at the Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work with advanced standing and may complete all requirements for the MSW earlier than might otherwise be the case, ordinarily by the end of the fourth academic year.

Educating faithful Christian leaders.

Pastor at Franklin Lakes United Methodist Church, New Jersey

Alison VanBuskirk, Class of 2015

“My call as a pastor centers on shaping a community where people can connect and be real with each other and God.”