The Divinity School began in 1875, following the 1873 founding of the University. It was established as the Biblical Department of Vanderbilt University and from its opening until May 1914 was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Since that date it has carried on its work as an ecumenical theological school under direction of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust.
In 1915, by Board of Trust action, the Biblical Department became the Divinity School, with its own dean and faculty. For more than a century the school has graduated many hundreds of men and women who have carried on their ministries in all parts of this country and throughout the world.
A new phase in the history of the Divinity School began in September 1966 with the moving of the Graduate School of Theology of Oberlin College to Vanderbilt. The growth of the faculty and the increase in financial resources resulting from this merger have made possible a broadening and strengthening of the school's academic programs and greater opportunities for service.
The history of Vanderbilt Divinity School is recounted in a collected volume edited by Professor Emeritus and church historian Dale Johnson, Vanderbilt Divinity School: Education, Contest, and Change .