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 their 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 at least three courses from each academic department of the Seminary, and fulfilling six primary components:
Foundation Courses (20 credits)
Departmental Gateways, Introductions, or Foundations in the following areas (18 credits):
- Biblical Studies: Orientation to Old Testament and Exegesis, Orientation to New Testament and Exegesis
- History and Ecumenics: World Christian History I, World Christian History II
- Theology: Doing Christian Theology
- Practical Theology: A Gateway Course in either Education and Formation or Pastoral Care
Speech Communication in Ministry I and II (2 credits)
Additional Department Courses (20 credits)
- One elective course in Biblical Studies
- One elective course in History and Ecumenics
- Two elective courses in Theology
- Preaching and Applied Exegesis
- One elective Practical Theology Gateway Course in remaining area of Education and Formation or Pastoral Care
- Intercultural Communication
- Digital Media Studies in Ministry
Core Commitment Courses (15 credits)
One course from each of the following categories:
- A Life Together course
- A Theological Imagination course
- A course designated as fulfilling the Christian Leadership: Church, Religion, and Society core commitment
- A course designated as fulfilling the Renewal of Creation, Self, and Communities core commitment
- A course designated as fulfilling the Spiritual Practices of the Faith core commitment
Field Education (4.5 credits) and Second-Year Discernment Process (.5 credits)
General Elective Courses (18+ credits)
The number of general elective credits may be higher if the student takes courses that count for more than one requirement. A course can fulfill no more than two curricular requirements.
Alternative Context Requirement
The Alternative Context Requirement seeks to provide ministry experience, skills, and competence in cross-cultural contexts. Most students would meet this requirement through a travel course. Alternative ways to fulfill it could be through international field education, a local field education placement in a location significantly different from one’s own, or certain classes with a high degree of context immersion. The Alternative Context Requirement seeks to immerse students in cross-cultural experiences, engage them in careful listening and learning from local communities, and encourage significant theological reflection on both.
To view a sample degree design with no denominational requirements, click here. To view a sample degree design for students seeking ordination in the PC (USA), click here.
Students take an Introduction to Field Education and Vocational Discernment course during their first year (.5 credit for the year). Students then engage in two field education placements: one typically during the fall and spring of their second year (two credits) and a second typically during the summer preceding or following the second year (two credits). Field education placements range from local to international locations.
Learn more about field education.
Concentrations invite students to focus on study and fellowship in a subject area of their choosing. Concentrations are led by a faculty member and consist of at least nine credits of academic work.
Concentrations invite students to focus their study and fellowship around questions of heightened concern for Christian ministry in contemporary contexts, or a denominational identity. From race and gender to environmental stewardship, justice, and peace, such concentrations organize and mark a student’s committed study while providing space for fellowship among faculty and students particularly concerned with these critical questions for ministry today.
The following concentrations are available:
- Black Church Studies
- Christian-Jewish Studies
- Lutheran Studies
- Theology, Ecology, and Faith Formation
- Theology, Women, and Gender
Joint MDiv and MSW Program in Ministry and Social Work
A joint program leading to the Master of Divinity degree from Princeton 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.