Master of Divinity
How many credit hours and what courses must I take?
You need to take 81 credit hours of coursework, including foundational and upper level courses in the following areas:
- Biblical Interpretation (BI)
- Church History (CH)
- Congregational Life & Ministry (CM)
- Christian Ethics (ES)
- Practice in Ministry & Mission (MM)
- Pastoral Care & Counseling (PC)
- Preaching & Worship (PW)
- Religion & the Arts (RA)
- Systematic Theology (ST)
- World Religions/Ecumenics (WR)
What if I want to earn another degree along with the M.Div.?
- take a minimum of 111 semester hours and
- complete both degree program requirements.
The Master of Divinity degree will help you fulfill the requirements to become ordained within most Mainline Christian denominations.
Wesley’s M.Div. will help you prepare if you are called:
- To pastor a church,
- Serve as a chaplain, or
- Do ministry beyond the local church.
How long will it take me to finish the M.Div.?
Most students can finish with a minimum of:
- 3 years of full-time study or
- Within 7 years from the date of admission.
We encourage you to follow one of the 3-, 4-, or 5-year plans outlined in the catalog.
What courses am I required to take?
Within the first 24 credit hours, you need to take:
- Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (6 credit hours) BI-101 and -102
- Introduction to the New Testament (6 credit hours) BI-171 and -172
- The Church in History (6 credit hours) CH-101 and -102
- Spiritual Formation for the Practice of Ministry (3 credit hours) MM-101 and -102
- Foundations of Christian Worship (2 credit hours) PW-101
After the first 24 credit hours:
- Systematic Theology (6 credit hours) ST-305 and ST-306
- Christian Ethics (3 credit hours) Any 300-level ES course
- Practice in Ministry and Mission: Contextual Education (4 credit hours)
- Preaching & Worship Distribution Requirement (4 credit hours) Take two 300-level PW courses
- Practice in Ministry and Mission: Intercultural Immersion (2 credit hours) MM-350
At any other time during your attendance (check for prerequisites):
- Foundations of Preaching (2 credit hours) PW-125
- Practices of Leadership in Ministry/Church Administration (4 credit hours) Any combination of 100-level and 300-level CM courses
- Pastoral Care and Counseling (3 credit hours) PC-101 or PC-111
- Religion and the Arts (2 credit hours) Any 100-level RA course
- The Church in an Interreligious World (2 credit hours) Various courses as listed in each semester's course schedule
- Consortium Course (2 or 3 credit hours) – You must take at least one course in person, on-site at one of the other member seminaries of the Washington Theological Consortium prior to your last semester. Consortium courses can also be counted towards either a distribution requirement or the Church in the Interreligious World requirement with the approval of departmental faculty.
- Philosophy – If you haven’t had an undergraduate philosophy course (graded "B-" or above), you must complete ST-180 Philosophy for Theology, ST-181 Philosophical Backgrounds, or an equivalent before you may register for the Systematic Theology or Christian Ethics requirements.
Will I have time to take elective courses?
Yes! Any additional credit hours beyond required courses are electives. You may use these to:
- Sample a range of curricular offerings.
- Concentrate your electives within a certain specialization such as Urban Ministry, Missional Church, Emerging Ministry, or Theology & the Arts.
- Satisfy your denomination’s ordination requirements
Before you choose electives, we suggest you:
- Peruse our elective options in the catalog.
- Request an advisor in a discipline to help guide you, especially if you are considering further graduate study.
- Review your ordination requirements.
Wesley offers many ways for you to customize your M. Div. to meet your ministerial and educational goals.
Open to current Wesley Master-degree students, who would like to earn a specialization in this area. Learn more here.
The African American Church Studies (AACS) specialization was developed to prepare students to address the issues and challenges of leadership in African American contexts and communities through exposure to social, historical, and theological nuances of African American religious culture.
The arts specialization has been developed to explore the relationship between art and faith and develop skills for using art in worship and other areas of Christian life. Learn more about the Theology and the Arts certificate and arts courses here.
Missional Church Specialization
This specialization allows you to concentrate your electives in a particular mission field.
Learn more about the Missional Church specialization and the Missional Fellows program here.
Urban Ministry Specialization
The Urban Ministry specialization equips leaders with skills that shape effective approaches in community engagement, social-entrepreneurship and ministry in metropolitan areas with transitioning communities.
Learn more about the Urban Fellows and Urban Ministry Specialization here.
The Public Theology specialization allows students to examine the relationship between Christian community and the pluralistic, complex world it inhabits.
Learn more about the Public Theology/Faith and Public Life program here.
If I am a United Methodist student who wants to be ordained, are there any special classes I need to take?
If you plan to be ordained as an elder or deacon in The United Methodist Church (not Wesley) requires you to take the following courses:
- History and Doctrine in Methodist Traditions (4 credit hours) ST-463 and -464
- Polity of the United Methodist Church (2 credit hours) CM-251
- Evangelism (2 or 3 credit hours) CM-270 or other courses as offered
Students have a block of elective hours, 25 credit hours (MDiv) and 30 credit hours (MTS), which they can shape into another area of study with the guidance of your academic advisor.
Possible areas of study include but are not limited to:
-Pastoral Counseling or Chaplaincy
-Preaching & Worship