The Masters of Divinity is the first professional degree of the pastoral profession in North America. It is the most common academic degree in seminaries and divinity schools. In many Christian denominations and in some other religions the degree is the standard prerequisite for ordination to the priesthood or pastorship or other appointment, ordination or licensing to professional ministry. At accredited seminaries in the United States this degree requires between 72 and 106 credit hours of study (72 being the minimum determined by academic accrediting agencies and 106 being on the upper end of certain schools that wish to ensure a broader study of the related disciplines).
The M.Div. is a significantly more extensive program than most taught (as opposed to research-based) master’s degrees. In the United States the degree usually consists on average of 90 semester hours, as opposed to the usual 36 or 48. Ordination in most mainline Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church thus requires seven or eight years of education past high school: the first four in undergraduate studies leading to a bachelor’s degree (which may or may not be in a related field) and then three or four years of seminary or divinity school education leading to the M.Div.
There are a number of criteria I have evaluated including: (1) orthodoxy and support for graduate students who want to think with the Church, (2) intellectual rigor, (3) commitment to students, and (4) financial aid.
Duke Divinity School
As the spiritual center of a great research university , Duke Divinity School is the embodiment of Duke University ’s motto: Eruditio et Religio — Knowledge and Faith. Founded in 1926 as the first of the university’s graduate professional schools, the Divinity School attracts students from across the nation and around the world. One of 13 seminaries founded and supported by the United Methodist Church, the school has from its beginnings been ecumenical in aspiration, teaching, and practice. With many diverse theological perspectives represented here, students find common ground through immersion in Scripture and the church’s tradition for addressing the challenges of faith in contemporary contexts.
Duke Divinity School has established itself as the leading United Methodist Church theological institution.
Notre Dame University
The Department of Theology and the Graduate School of the University of Notre Dame have offered a professional program in theological and ministerial studies since September 1968. Today, Notre Dame’s Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program is one of the premier ministry preparation programs in North America.
Notre Dame is THE premier Catholic Seminary in the United States, and one of the best in the world. Notre Dame has a high quality of education that set’s itself apart in terms of quality of education and standards.
The three-year Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree provides a strong theological and practical foundation to those preparing for the ordained priesthood or for full-time lay ecclesial ministry in the Catholic Church. It accomplishes this goal through an integrated core curriculum designed to ensure appropriate academic, ministerial, and spiritual formation. Since leadership in ministry today requires collaboration between women and men, religious and secular, ordained and lay, the M.Div. program at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (STM) promotes collaborative learning as an appropriate means of preparing for ministry in all its forms. Building upon the previous theological and pastoral experience of the student, the program fosters the desire for lifelong learning and development in and through ministry.
Boston College has established itself as one of the leading Catholic Seminaries in the United States. Their low student to teacher ratio, and high quality of education sets them apart from other seminaries. And their long standing tradition has helped make them one of the best in the US.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Trinity tells new students every semester that TEDS is “pan-evangelical”—we embrace all evangelicals, of every variation. Our unity in the gospel makes possible a commitment to a broad evangelicalism that welcomes voices from various denominational and theological traditions. We believe “evangelical” ought to be defined first and foremost in theological terms (rather than socio-political or cultural terms), which is why we emphasize gospel-centeredness and the authority and inerrancy of Scripture.
Because of it’s evangelical background Trinity has established itself as the leading Evangelical Divinity Program in the Nation. Seeding many graduates to evangelical churches through the country.
At Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary students have the opportunity to pursue the following degrees: M.A., M.A.R., M.Div., and Th.M., D. Min., and Ph.D. Degrees are focused on individual calling, with students given the skills needed to excel in multiple fields. LBTS students have the opportunity to study under some of the world’s leading evangelical professors, and resident students experience life at the world’s largest evangelical Christian University. While not required in all programs, students are also given various internship opportunities.
Liberty has established itself as one of the leading Online Seminaries in the nation, and it has a high standard of education, and excellence in teaching. While it is a Southern Baptist Seminary many other faith backgrounds have attended Liberty.
Grand Canyon University
While Grand Doesn’t offer a M.Div it has a variety of other graduate programs to prepare you for ministry including.
M.A. in Christian Studies: Christian Leadership
M.A. in Christian Studies: Pastoral Ministry
M.A. in Christian Studies: Urban Ministry
M.A. in Christian Studies: Youth Ministry
Grand Canyon has established itself as a Christian University that also prepares people for the working world and we are seeing more and more people who are become “Pastors” at the workplace, and in their own communities doing alternative ministry. I believe that is why Grand Canyon is succeeding in raising up lay ministry through these programs.