Degree Requirements

The program seeks to prepare religious leaders from a variety of faith communities to serve in diverse contexts, and who will continue to learn and grow in the lifelong practice of religious leadership.

The MDiv program requires registration for three full years of scholastic residence, with the completion of a minimum of 29 courses distributed across the Divinity School's areas of study. To acquire a broad foundational knowledge about religion, the program provides a sequence of studies that requires the student to (1) establish a breadth of competence in religious studies; (2) develop a thorough understanding of scriptural, historical, and theological foundations for ministry; and (3) integrate this classical program of learning with rigorous and reflective practice.


These requirements are most often completed during the first year of study:

  1. The masters-level introductory course, “Introduction to the Study of Religion.” (Some students may choose to substitute “Classical Theories of Religion.”)
  2. Theology in the Public Square 
  3. Coursework in the scripture and/or history of the student’s chosen tradition. 
  4. Introduction to Theology  or a comparable course in  philosophy or thought in the student’s chosen tradition 
  5. Participation in the weekly reflection seminar and field experience for first-year students, Introduction to Ministry Studies: Colloquium 
  6. Acquisition of basic skills in a relevant textual language such as Koine Greek,  Biblical Hebrew, Quranic Arabic, Sanskrit, or Tibetan,  followed by a course in scriptural or textual exegesis employing the language

These requirements are most often completed during the second year of study:

  1. The Arts of Ministry: a three quarter sequence including Ritual and Speaking, Spiritual Care and Counseling, and Community, Leadership, and Change
  2. Three quarters of field education in a community or practice, including successful completion of the practicum, Practice of Ministry, which meets weekly across the entire second year
  3. One course, selected in consultation with the instructor and the Director of Ministry Studies, for which the student submits a constructive  paper; to be completed before participation in the Senior Ministry Project seminar.

These requirements or equivalent courses in other traditions are most often completed during the third year of study:

  1. Completion of the Senior Ministry Project, including enrollment in the Senior Ministry Thesis Seminar which meets monthly across the academic year. The project consists of two parts: 
    1. A thirty-five page thesis
    2. The oral presentation of the project in an appropriate public forum that includes ministry students, members of the Committee on Ministry Studies, and wider audiences, as appropriate

These requirements may be completed at any time across the three years of M.Div. residence:

  1. At least two history courses in the student’s chosen tradition
  2. At least one course in a religious tradition other than the student’s own. 
  3. An additional unit of approved and supervised fieldwork.

Ministry courses are denoted in our online registration system with the letters CHRM. See current and upcoming courses at divinity.uchicago.edu/courses.