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Degree Overview: Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree

Majors Overview March 13, 2015

Get information about a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree program and its educational requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree Programs

Students enrolled in the M.Div. program complete about 90 credits of coursework in a duration of three to four years. Students delve into the Bible and gain the skills needed to lead a congregation.

Schools offer numerous concentration areas, including pastoral counseling, family ministries, missionary work, and worship. Schools offer programs for those who seek a Catholic approach, in addition to those that seek a Protestant perspective.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field, in addition to a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. Students may need to have completed undergraduate coursework in philosophy ranging between 18 and 24 credits. They may also have to submit personal recommendations and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.


Latin is typically learned by incoming students to a Roman Catholic divinity program. Hebrew and Greek are taught to those in Protestant seminaries. Additionally, there is an expectation to participate in a professional work experience, complete a master’s thesis, and examine subjects such as the following:

•New Testament
•Old Testament
•Church laws
•Church historical foundations
•Sermon preparation
•Biblical passage interpretations

Career Choices

Those who complete an M.Div. program can seek job opportunities in numerous areas, including:

•Church missions
•Congregational leadership
•Youth ministries

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 18% has been predicted for clergy workers over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, these professionals brought home average annual wages of $44,060 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Employers view an M.Div. program as a terminal degree; however, some of those that graduate from the program may seek continuing education by pursuing advanced training in the field. Individuals may complete a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program that would enable them to perform the roles of working pastors and other clergy.

They may also seek a Doctor of Practical Theology (D.P.T.), usually pursued by working ministers, but also attractive to others that wish to acquire theological perspective. Some may also seek other non-ministerial advanced degrees, such as the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) or the Ph.D. in Religious Studies.

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