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If you want to study advanced education in religion and theology, a good choice is to earn a master’s degree in divinity.
Divinity studies is an aspect of religious studies that integrates many subjects: religion, literature, Christianity, history, philosophy, evangelism, geography and even psychology. Students are also usually trained in practical subjects, including counseling individuals and couples, church finance and accounting principles, and how to build a congregation.
Many programs will require you to complete a research thesis or dissertation, and you may have to do community service or an internship to receive your degree. The majority of divinity programs are associated with a certain faith, such as Judaism or certain sects of Christianity.
Some of the possible positions you could have with a degree in divinity studies include:
- Fundraiser: These workers handle the organization of events and campaigns to raise funds and various other donations for many types of organizations. They could design promotional materials and boost awareness of a company’s or organization’s goals, work and financial needs. They must assure that campaigns and events that are used to raise money are as effective as possible. Many professionals who earn a degree in divinity studies may choose to enter the fundraising field for a nonprofit or religious organization.
- Minister: A clergy member who is usually the head representative and pastor of a Christian church. He or she will usually be responsible for administering the sacraments. They also will provide members with spiritual guidance based upon Christian principles. Some in this religious profession may also be referred to as a priest, bishop or deacon. Most ministers will be responsible for doing weddings, funerals, baptisms and weekly sermons. This role also has duties regarding the operations of the church, the church grounds and building, and accounting and financing.
- Mental health counselor: Some religious and divinity minded professionals may earn their divinity degree in combination with a counseling degree so that they can work with individuals and couples to provide mental and emotional health counseling from a Christian or other religious perspective. They will listen to their clients and will ask questions so that they have a better understanding of problems. They will then help them to develop strategies based upon Biblical principles to improve their lives.
Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Divinity?
People earn a master’s degree in divinity often because they want to combine their career path with a religious theme or foundation.
Earning this degree will allow you enjoy many different career paths, depending upon your interests. The most common path is to become an ordained minister in one of many denominations. That is the most likely outcome for those who earn their Master of Divinity.
For those who have outstanding business and organizational skills, you may want to think about a career in church management or administration. This career would require you to manage and coordinate large events and activities that relate to your church.
Others may choose a career in fundraising for a nonprofit or religious organization. Others may want to have a career in a missionary organization or disaster ministry around the world.
Your divinity degree also could be useful to get a good career as a counselor or public relations professional.
Most students find that earning a divinity degree is a good choice if they wish to pursue a career path that is based upon fundamental religious and/or Christian principles and ethics.
To be admitted into a divinity school at the master’s or Ph.D. level, you will need to meet the following standards:
- 0 GPA or higher
- Bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts, ideally with courses in theology or religious studies
- Three recommendations
- Volunteer and/or missionary experience
Curriculum and Courses
Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity offers a Master of Divinity that is intended to prepare you for a long and fruitful career in Christian ministry within a church or parachurch organization.
This program will offer you a deep knowledge of biblical based leadership principles and methods. You also will have a deep study of Scripture and Christian principles. Coursework will have a strong emphasis on the values, knowledge and skills that are needed to serve in many areas of the church, including pastor.
This program is a good fit for a military student who wants to obtain a position as a chaplain.
You can choose from these concentrations and specializations:
- Community Chaplaincy
- Healthcare Chaplaincy
- Military Chaplaincy
- Biblical Studies
- Christian Apologetics
- Church History
Required courses include the following:
- Introduction to Apologetics
- History of Christianity
- History of Baptists
- Discipleship Ministries
- Beginning Greek
- Spiritual Formation
- Beginning Greek II
- Contemporary Evangelism
- Greek Syntax
- Global Studies Survey
- Beginning Hebrew
- Preparation of the Sermon
- Hebrew Syntax
- Theology of Pastoral Ministry
- New Testament Orientation
- New Testament Orientation II
Some of the job titles that you may have with a master’s degree in divinity include:
- Church administrator
- Charity director
Job and Salary Outlook
- Fundraiser — The job outlook for fundraisers is good, with 9% increase in job demand by 2024. This is faster than average for all jobs. Employment growth will be driven by the need for many sorts of nonprofit organizations who are needed to collect donations and raise funds for various charities. You could find that some church and religious could have higher job demand in some parts of the country. The median salary in this field is $52,000 per year, with religious groups earning a median of $51,000 per year.
- Mental Health Counselor — Job growth in the mental health counseling field will increase by 19% by 2024, which is much faster than average. Demand is driven by more people having access to health insurance, and more people want to solve their mental health problems, once their physical needs are taken care of. Those with a religious background also could find many mental health counseling opportunities. The median salary is $49,000 per year.
- Minister — Job demand for ministers always will depend upon the part of the country you choose to live in. Usually areas of the US where there are more churches and religious people will have a greater need for ministers and pastors. The median salary in this field according to Salary.com is $91,000 per year.
Scholarships and Grants
- Duke Divinity School: This is a leading divinity school in the US, and there are a high number of scholarships available in many denominations: Baptist, Christian, Catholic, Episcopal, United Methodist and more.
- Harvard Divinity School: While the tuition at Harvard is high, you can enjoy the benefits of tremendous financial support to make this divinity program much more affordable. There are dozens of scholarships available for highly qualified students.
- Duke Divinity School Archives and Resources: This leading center of religious study publishes and shares many learning resources to help all audiences to increase their reflection on the Christian faith.
- Divinity Students Association at the University of Chicago: If you choose to attend this divinity school, you should consider joining this student association. This organization makes valuable contributions to the many aspects of life at this divinity school – professional, academic and social. This organization is strongly committed to bringing a real sense of community to all divinity students.