Explore VDS Education
As an ecumenical, university-based divinity school committed to the faith that brought the church into being, we believe that Vanderbilt is a place to ask big questions, grow intellectually and spiritually, and prepare for diverse ministry and professional vocations.
Vanderbilt Divinity School offers the following degrees (click on the degrees to learn more about them):
- Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
- Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)
- Master of Theology (Th.M.)
- Doctor of Ministry in Integrative Chaplaincy (D.Min.)
- Auditors and Non-Degree Students
For inquiries regarding the M.A. and Ph.D. admission and financial aid, follow this link.
Dual Degree programs
VDS offers dual degree programs with:
- Vanderbilt Law School (MDiv/JD, MTS/JD)
- School of Medicine (MDiv/MD, MTS/MD)
- School of Nursing (MDiv/MSN, MTS/MSN)
- Owen Graduate School of Management (MDiv/MBA, MTS/MBA)
- Peabody College of Education (MDiv/M.Ed., MTS/M.Ed.)
For details on the dual degree programs, visit the Divinity School catalog.
Divinity students can take classes in all 10 of Vanderbilt's colleges and schools as well as the School of Theology at Sewanee: The University of the South. If you're looking for a flexible, interdisciplinary program, this is the right place for you.
Curious about what our graduates do?
Ready to take the next step?
- Request information.
- Begin an application online.
- Explore financial aid options and how to fund your degree.
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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 that vocation is not a prerequisite to admission. Students with prior first theological degrees are not considered for admission to the M.Div. and M.T.S. programs.
The vocation of ministry in all faith traditions is to interpret and represent faith and to explore ways by which that faith can be embodied in the lives of individuals, faith communities, and society at large. Our graduates follow a variety of vocational paths inside and outside the Christian church.
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. The minister is a theologian, and as such draws on the full range of critical studies and reflection in their 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 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.
Complete Course Descriptions [Will be updated soon]
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 with prior first theological degrees are not considered for admission to the M.Div. and M.T.S. programs.
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.
The Master of Theology degree is a 30 credit hour program of advanced theological study beyond the M.Div., M.T.S., or equivalent first theological degree. The ThM deepens the theological foundations for a student’s current vocational and ministerial practice in a particular area or prepares a student further for study at the doctoral level in a specific area/discipline.
The Master of Theology degree provides students the opportunity to develop meaningful research questions and rigorous research methods in order to explore, analyze, and ultimately formulate constructive insights in a particular area of advanced theological study.
Th.M. students at Vanderbilt may complete their course of study through one of two tracks:
Accelerated Plan of Study
Normally completed within one or two academic years.
Normally completed within five years.
Tuition scholarships available:
30% tuition scholarship for domestic students
40% tuition scholarship for international students.
Tuition scholarship available:
30% tuition scholarship