Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Overview of the Program

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) program fosters students’ understanding of church and ministry in the contemporary world, and students’ ability to work meaningfully and creatively in a vocation of religious leadership. The program increases students’ knowledge and strengthens their ability to integrate their understanding of the various disciplines of theology and ministry with their experience of the church and the world.

Degree Requirements »

Aims of the Program

Through their study for a Master of Divinity degree, students will gain:

The master of divinity degree is an 84 hour program and is structured to be completed in three or four years of full-time study; the maximum length of time allowed to complete the program is six years.

Curricular Requirements

Students enrolling in the Master of Divinity program must complete specifically required courses such as the Interpretation of the Old Testament course sequence, Interpretation of the New Testament course sequence, Introduction to the History of Christian Thought course sequence, Systematic Theology, Christian Ethics, and Introduction to Preaching.

In addition to these specific courses, students will have additional requirements to fulfill in World Religions, Introductory Arts of Ministry, Sociology of Religion or Religion and Personality, and Theology or Ethics. Students must also enroll in a course designated to fulfill the Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Contextual Education Elective requirements.

Contextual Education

Candler's Contextual Education Program for Master of Divinity (MDiv) students sets the standard. It’s comprehensive. It’s intentional. We even wrote the book on it! After visiting 17 peer seminaries, our Con Ed Directors published Equipping the Saints: Best Practices in Contextual Theological Education.

At Candler, our Con Ed Program marries thought and action by integrating rigorous coursework, supervised field experience and pastor-led reflection groups. Many seminaries require a placement in either social ministry settings or church settings. Candler requires both. First-year MDiv students spend four hours a week serving in clinical or social ministry settings, and second-year students practice ministry in ecclesial settings for eight hours a week.

The result? Our students gain an unequalled depth and breadth of practical experience to assist in vocational discernment and spiritual development—so they’re prepared to serve no matter where God leads.

Contextual Education combines academic instruction with opportunities for formation in ministry and leadership in churches, social service agencies, hospitals and other clinical and ecclesial settings. Candler’s unique commitment to contextual theology and theological education is formalized through the four-semester sequence, Contextual Education I and Contextual Education II, required for all MDiv students.

Find lists of work sites, student thoughts about their experiences, and much more at the ConEd section of the website.

First Year Experience

Candler’s Master of Divinity Program is uniquely characterized by the First Year Experience. Within the first year, students will be involved in a number of settings, both academic and contextual, that will provide a basic orientation for their time at Candler and for the profession of ministry.

First year students will participate in First Year Advising Groups that will assist in orienting them to their academic studies and to life at Candler. Students will enroll in Common Courses in Old Testament and Early Christian Thought.  Finally, first year students will enroll in Contextual Education I, which is composed of placement and work at a local site, reflection groups and enrollment in a contextualized Introductory Arts of Ministry course that connects academic instruction to practice at the Contextual Education site.


The selection of an optional concentration will allow students to give their degree focus and depth beyond introductory level courses in an area that is of particular interest to the student. Students may choose their concentration at the end of their first year in the Master of Divinity program. Course work for the selected concentration begins during the second year in the program. Concentrations are 12-15 hours in length and may require prerequisites.

Specifc information on concentrations can be found in the MDiv Concentration Guide