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What Makes an MDiv at Evangelical Unique?

We offer a fully-online MDiv degree that is accredited by ATS, the premier theological accrediting body in the country. Our “broadly evangelical” philosophy attracts students from over 30 denominations– creating a unique and stimulating learning environment. You will love the faculty at Evangelical

8 Quick Facts About Our Program:

What Should You Do Next?

26 Questions You Should Be Asking:

Will I be ordained when I complete my MDiv?

Yes, you will be ordainable, but that is linked to whether you journeyed through the academic process with an ordaining institution/denomination. If not, you may have to do some additional credits in their doctrine or polity– but, to get straight to the question, just about any 78+ credit MDiv safely prepares you for ordination.

Do I choose a track or concentration with my MDiv degree?

Concentrations are often linked to how the student utilizes the “electives” portion of their degree’s curriculum offerings. So yes, it’s good to study at a school where you can have a concentration, but at the end of the day, you are getting an MDiv degree and not one that has a concentration listed on the diploma– but you can always show that on your résumé or C.V.

Can I get an MDiv without a bachelor’s degree?

In certain cases, yes. For instance, the lead accreditor in the area of theological studies, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), allows a professional degree program to have 15% of its total students enrolled without a previous bachelor’s degree. Those spots tend to be competitive, so ministry experience helps your application. Be careful about pursuing this type of opportunity with unaccredited schools who allow more than the above-mentioned 15%, because your degree may not be as respected when you go to apply for a ministry vocation.

Should I choose an MDiv program based on my denomination?

Yes, particularly if you are seeking ordination. Always check with your denomination as to whether they have specific schools at which they want you to study– but if not, try to pick a school that is broad in the number of denominations it welcomes– since it makes for a richer learning environment. Also, and it may go without saying, theological perspectives differ from school to school (Calvinist, Arminian, etc) and that should be a consideration if you are hoping to land with a denomination or church network that has a very specific leaning, in that regard.

What are the best MDiv programs?

The best MDiv programs are those that have talked with Church leadership and know what they are looking for in their future ministry candidates. Ask if the school you are considering has done that, and what they have found out– and how it influenced the curriculum. At the end of the day, an MDiv is not simply a theology and bible degree, it is a practical ministry degree and therefore schools should have very specific administrative and executive leadership skills in which they are training–beyond the traditional theological aspects of the degree.

A second aspect to consider when it comes to “best” MDiv degrees is accessibility. Has the school successful merged quality content with convenient delivery. Most MDiv students are busy with vocation and/or family realities– so a school should master the tension between delivery and content. It can be done– so look for online education, for instance, that finds a way to weave in direct contact with the instructor….it can be done!

Are there MDiv programs for chaplain candidates?

Yes, there are MDiv programs that allow for a specific concentration in chaplaincy (institutional or military). It’s important to note that many chaplaincy employers like their candidates to have studied in face-face, or at the very least, synchronous online education, so make sure you know the requirements of the field you hope to work within. (Want to know more about the difference between on-ground, hybrid, online, synchronous and asynchronous education at Evangelical? Click here to watch a video we made.)

Do I need to know/study Greek or Hebrew to get an MDiv?

Yes, more than likely. The MDiv is a professional degree (meaning it’s trying to provide specific skills) and doing biblical exegesis in the original languages is one of the skills that is largely unique to the MDiv degree, and is something that is looked for in church settings (particularly among those doing pulpit-ministry)To be direct, if an institution is offering an MDiv degree with no languages (or making them optional) you need to be cautious about.

How many credits is a typical MDiv program?

Oh, my, that has become a broad range over recent years. We know of MDiv degrees ranging from 72-120 credits, with the average being closer to 80ish credit hours. As you can imagine, the longer MDiv degrees are often linked to particular denominations which are seeking extensive history, doctrine, and polity coursework. Make sure to check with your ordination body (if you have one) on their preferred length.

How long does it take to complete an MDiv?

Three years at a minimum, and likely longer if you are not going full time. Most top-tier accreditors will not accept credits older than 10 years, toward a degree…. so ten years is often the maximum amount of time. A good rule of thumb is to imagine it taking between 4-6 years, for a part-time student.

How much does an MDiv cost?

It can range from $500-750 per credit, depending on the institution. Let me be direct here, so brace yourself …. if it is a 78 credit program at $625 per credit, that comes to $48,750. Keep in mind that many institutions have already underwritten that cost per credit and also offer scholarships, to further help with that expense (not to mention that many ordaining bodies kick some funding in, as well). Here’s a video we made about 7 ways to pay for your seminary education.

How much can I expect to a make with an MDiv degree?

How much you can earn with an MDiv degree varies from organization to organization or church body to church body. A graduate can expect to find a competitive (sustainable) salary offering, although in many church contexts, that includes non-financial benefits like housing or housing allowances. Since the MDiv has been offered for generations, there is a track record of market forces showing that the degree provides sustainable employment and is an affordable one.

Do you need an MDiv to go into ministry?

No, or else the apostle Peter would not qualify. Joking aside, no, you don’t need it for many ministry callings. Certain organizations do require one, however, and that is because they have witnessed the long term effectiveness of ministers/staff who have gained both the theological and biblical knowledge, as well as the practical ministry skills that an MDiv offers. It is best to check with your ordaining body (or sponsoring organization) when determining what degree to pursue. For instance, we’ve seen some willing to accept something like a Master of Arts in Ministry (36 credits) for certain ministry roles, often as a stepping stone to future MDiv studies. But make sure the school has designed those two degree to work well together and to easily allow you to move from the shorter (MAMin) to the longer (MDiv). 

What is a master of divinity degree?

The MDiv degree is the most common graduate degree for people pursuing a calling in ministry. According to the major accreditor (the Association of Theological Schools), the purpose of the MDiv degree is “to prepare persons for ordained ministry and for general pastoral and religious leadership responsibilities in congregations and other settings.”

What does it mean for a master of divinity program to be accredited?

In order to be accredited by a major accrediting body such as ATS, an MDiv program must be able to demonstrate that a system of educational assessment is in place to ensure that learning outcomes across a range of disciplines are being delivered to graduating students. Every MDiv program that is accredited by ATS must cover four key areas of study: religious heritage, cultural context, spiritual formation, and capacity for public leadership.

How to choose the right MDiv program for me?

Choosing an MDiv degree is based on your goals. If you are seeking a denominational or supporting institutional ordination, then first start with learning their requirements surrounding and MDiv. Next, think about your own theological perspective, and where that can be honed (and challenged). Theological schools are typically up-front about their theological underpinnings, and can offer specialized study (where you are looking at one specific perspective) or broader conversations (where there are numerous streams of the church sharing perspectives). Lastly, think about accessibility. Does its methods of delivery match your current life rhythm? This helps to make sure that you are able to finish what you start. So think of it this way– does your community have something to say about where you study, what type of content enriches your learning, and what delivery methods do you need for your life? 

How can I pay for my MDiv degree?

There are at least 7 ways to pay for your MDiv degree that we discuss in detail in this video. They include: FAFSA, tuition reimbursement from your employer, denominational / church funding, national clearinghouses of financial opportunities, personal loans, institutional grants / scholarships, and school payment plans.

Are there scholarships available for an MDiv degree?

Yes, there are scholarships available at Evangelical Seminary, as with most graduate level theological schools. They can be academically based scholarships, as well as denominational or type- of-ministry (therapist, pastor, chaplain) scholarships.

What does a typical MDiv curriculum look like?

Most MDiv degrees will include Bible, languages, historical, theological, missional, and practical ministry studies along with elective courses which might be used to pursue a particular concentration. The number of credits vary for each of those areas, with some schools requiring , for instance, twelve credits in Bible and none credits in theology, or vice versa. Those requirements are different from school to school. For a full outline of the courses included in our 78-credit MDiv degree at Evangelical, see our program curriculum page.

What subjects will I learn while getting my MDiv?

Most MDiv degrees will include courses in biblical, historical, theological, missional, and practical ministry studies along with elective courses which might be used to pursue a particular concentration.

What are the prerequisites for a Master of Divinity program?

You should have an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited undergraduate institution. The degree concentration for that degree can vary broadly, and you do not need a specific ministry-base bachelor degree to be considered for MDiv studies.

What makes an MDiv degree unique from other theological degrees?

The Master of Divinity degree is unique due to its emphasis on the study of the Bible in the original languages, and the number of practical ministry degrees. Because of the practical ministry coursework, the degree is considered a professional degree versus an academic degree– which typically lacks professional-skills coursework (i.e. homiletics, hermeneutics, leadership courses, etc).

What can you do with a master of divinity degree?

A Master of Divinity (MDiv) is considered the top-tier ministry preparation degree- so in that regard, there isn’t much you can’t do with it in ministry (congregational or nonprofit) settings. If you apply a particular concentration, as well, it makes the degree all the more versatile.

What is the difference between a master of divinity and a master of theology?

The MDiv is considered a professional degree and involves practical ministry coursework (preaching, hermeneutics, leadership studies, etc.), and therefore, more credit hours to complete. Master of Theology or a Master of Religion degrees are considered academic degrees and involve no practical skills/ministry training, and are typically less credits to complete. Keep in mind that some denominations and church networks are looking for professional ministry skill training, and therefore prefer congregational leaders to have Master of Divinity degrees.

What is the difference between a master of divinity and a master of ministry?

Both the MDiv and the Master of Ministry are considered professional degrees, since they involve professional skills training. What makes the MDiv unique is the number of ministry courses that are involved and the deeper study of the Bible (and its languages), theology, and history.

Can I get my MDiv fully online?

Yes, the MDiv degree at Evangelical Seminary is ATS-accredited and can be completed completely online from anywhere in the world. Students taking a course online have the option of a synchronous or asynchronous delivery format. With synchronous online, students are watching the class live as it is happening and are able to participate through internet connection with the discussions that are taking place live in the classroom. With an asynchronous online format, students are watching a recording of the class lecture and discussion after the class has taken place (or some other pre-recorded lecture). The student then interacts with the faculty and other students through online discussion boards.

How effective is online seminary education?

The effectiveness of online education varies from person to person and will depend on your own personal comfort with that kind of learning environment. Major accrediting bodies, such as ATS, which were initially hesitant to offer accreditation to online degrees, are now considering online and onground to be equally valid classroom formats. This comes after evaluating the effectiveness of such programs over time and watching as institutions evolved to apply much of the best of face-to-face learning with the flexibility and unique advantages offered by technology. Some churches/institutions still require a certain portion of your education to be completed face-to-face, but this is continually changing in the direction of accepting all formats as long as they maintain the desired level of accreditation. It’s best to check with the place you expect to find employment if they have any of their own requirements.

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