Master of Divinity (MDiv)

graduate in front of church

Master of Divinity

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is a professional degree for those preparing for careers in ministry and church leadership, social services and a variety of chaplaincy settings. It is available in a residential, in-person format with the majority of classes on campus in Atlanta or, beginning Fall 2023, a hybrid format with the majority of classes online.

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

Beginning in Fall 2023*, Candler’s MDiv program will cultivate student capacities to:

  • Demonstrate critical knowledge of and communicate effectively about significant Christian texts, traditions, theologies and practices.
  • Engage critically and creatively with a diverse church and world, with particular attention to ethnic, racial, cultural, religious, theological and gender differences.
  • Articulate an understanding of their religious identity and cultivate ongoing practices of spiritual growth that promote health and well-being.
  • Reflect upon, reimagine and exercise practices of leadership and ministry to address pressing issues in the church and world.
  • Develop and practice skills for forming and sustaining communities of learning,mutual support, and collaboration across difference.

*Outcomes for students who began the program prior to Fall 2023 can be found in the Candler Catalog and Handbook

For students entering in Fall 2023 or after*

Credit Hours
The 72-credit-hour curriculum is structured to be completed in three or four years of study. The maximum length of time allowed to complete the program is six years.

GPA Requirements
2.0 on a 4.0 scale

Curricular Requirements
Students enrolling in the Master of Divinity program must complete 24 three-hour courses including: two first-year courses, four courses in biblical studies, two courses in historical studies, two courses in systematic theology, one course in Christian ethics, one course in religion and society, one course in world religions, three courses in practical theology/arts of ministry, four courses in contextual education, and four courses that count as electives.  At least one of the 24 courses must be focused on issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and/or global contexts.

Advising and Assessment
Students participate in a first semester advising group and are required to complete advising each semester. In the final year of the degree, students are required to compile a portfolio and review their progress in their studies at Candler and to discuss vocational plans with an academic advisor.

Read more about the MDiv degree requirements.

*Degree requirements for students who began the program prior to Fall 2023 can be found in the Candler Catalog and Handbook.

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 distinctive 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 in the Contextual Education section of the website.

The selection of an optional concentration allows students to give their degree focus and depth in an area that is of particular interest to them. Students may choose from the following concentrations:

  • Catholic Studies
  • Chaplaincy
  • Formation and Witness
  • Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation
  • Leadership in Church and Community
  • Religion and Race
  • Scripture and Interpretation
  • Society and Personality
  • Theology and the Arts
  • Theology and Ethics
  • Traditions of the Church
  • World Christianity

Learn more about how to select a concentration.

Candler offers the following certificates in conjunction with a Candler degree. Non-degree/special students are not eligible to participate in the certificate programs.

Baptist Studies
Prepares students for ordination in Baptist churches.

Black Church Studies
A theoretical and practical exploration of the black church tradition and its role in contemporary society.

Episcopal and Anglican Studies
Prepares students for ministry in the Episcopal Church or another church in the Anglican Communion.

Faith and Health
An interdisciplinary study of health and health promotion practices as they intersect with various religious or spiritual traditions.

Human Rights (Emory Graduate Certificate)
Combines the resources of Emory University with the applied programs of our professional partners, including CARE USA, The Carter Center, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, for an interdisciplinary approach to human rights scholarship and training.

Religious Education Ministries
Equips students for ministries related to teaching and learning in faith communities, schools, and the wider society.

Women’s Studies in Theology and Ministry
In-depth study of the impact of gender on church and society and specific focus on issues relevant to women in theology and ministry.

Learn more about the certificates.

Master of Divinity/Master of Business Administration (MDiv/MBA)
For individuals interested in church administration, including investment management for church development, private wealth management and/or estate planning.

Master of Divinity/Master's in Development Practice (MDiv/MDP)
Teaches those working in sustainable development how to better apply their theological convictions or engage religious communities with greater openness; and religious leaders from developing countries how to address social and economic issues as part of a holistic approach to ministry.

Master of Divinity/Juris Doctor (MDiv/JD)
For individuals interested in combining academic and practical training in both law in theology.

Master of Divinity/Master of Public Health (MDiv/MPH)
Prepares students who are interested in using an understanding of religion and theology in public health care practice.

Master of Divinity/Master of Science in Social Work (MDiv/MSW)
For those considering the role of faith and religious institutions in community health and development, the care of individuals in poverty and crisis, response to systemic and institutional injustice, and issues of social transformation.

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"The biggest thing I've gained at Candler is the ability to connect all the dots, to make sense of how all the things I'm learning fit together. Whether it's the Old and New Testaments, or different traditions and theologians, it's like filling in the missing parts of a treasure map."
-Karen Slappey, MDiv '15