Professional Degrees and Programs
Master of Divinity
The M.Div. degree is designed to be a three-year, 72 credit professional program when taken full-time. It is designed to prepare persons for the practice of ministry, although a definite commitment to the ministry is not prerequisite to admission.
The vocation of Christian ministry is to interpret and represent Christian faith and to explore ways by which that faith can be embodied in the lives of people, the churches, and society. The aim of the program is to begin a process of education focusing on understanding the Christian faith and its implications for human life.
The faculty believes that all courses in the curriculum should contribute to this aim: the study of backgrounds, origins, and traditions; reflection on problems of faith and on moral, ecclesiastical, and social issues in the contemporary situation; and consideration of occasions of ministry, such as worship, preaching, counseling, administration, education, and social reform. All of these studies and activities presuppose each other and relate to each other in essential ways. The minister is a theologian, and as such draws on the full range of critical studies and reflection in his or her varied activities.
The curriculum is structured to combine:
- A flexible foundation upon which students customize their degree program based on vocational interests and a variety of concentrations.
- For-credit immersion experiences that integrate learning and praxis through Theological Field Education.
- A capstone course and senior project organized around a question, theme, issue, or aspect of ministry, individually designed by the student in association with a faculty member and refined through peer and faculty feedback.
We are excited to announce our new areas of concentrations for the M.Div. degree.
Master of Theological Studies
The M.T.S. degree is designed to be a two-year, 48 credit hour program when taken full-time. It is intended for persons interested in pursuing graduate study across the several theological disciplines in the Divinity School. This program may serve as a foundation for later doctoral studies in religion, for diaconal or ordained ministries in certain denominations, for religious leadership in the non-profit sector, or as a vehicle for the enhancement of one’s own religious faith and understanding.
Students in the M.T.S. program select one of two curricular tracks:
1) A general plan of study , featuring a core foundation in theological studies (21 hours), a wide range of elective options (27 hours), and a MTS project/thesis or portfolio.
2) A concentration plan of study , in which student complete 9 hours of core coursework, a wide range of elective options (12-24 hours), one or more concentrations designed to prepare them for particular vocational paths (9-18 hours), and a MTS project or thesis (3 hours).
- Students may take up to 9 hours of graduate-level course work in other Vanderbilt University departments and may count these hours toward requirements for graduation. Such outside course work is subject to the rules that apply to transfer work.
It is possible that some students will enter upon their theological studies with previous work in one or more required curriculum subjects. Students may opt to waive individual courses, provided they have taken comparable course work in the area at the undergraduate level. They may opt to transfer courses (up to 12 hours), provided they have taken them at the graduate level at a school accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. Waivers and transfer work must be approved by the Associate Dean. If a waiver is granted, another course in the same subject area must be taken. Students should consult with their advisers about the matter.
We are excited to announce our new areas of concentrations for the M.T.S. degree.