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Primarily Online Master of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell

The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) is the school's flagship degree program.  The purpose of the degree is to prepare women and men for leadership in the worldwide church by educating them in the three overarching classical disciplines of theological training: biblical studies (including biblical languages and exegesis), Christian thought (including theology and historical perspective), and practical theology (including ministry skills development and mentored ministry training).

If you feel called to vocational ministry, to nurturing and growing churches locally and internationally, taking the Bible seriously through intensive study, and sharing the Word of God faithfully, the Primarily Online M.Div. is designed for you. With several concentration options (Pastoral Ministry, Ministry Practitioner, Pastoral Care & Counseling, Christian Leadership and select denominational concentrations) and through a wide array of courses, this comprehensive degree will give you the skills and foundation that you need for effective ministry in a variety of settings.

Quick Facts
  • 91 credit hours
  • Several concentration options
  • 3 years full-time; up to 10 years part-time
  • Can be completed primarily online through Digital Live, online, and web-enhanced courses.
  • Can be completed with as few as 1 campus visit per year.

Typical Student

As the primary degree for ministry preparation, the Master of Divinity generally draws students desiring to enter full-time vocational ministry. The student body is made up of a diverse group of women and men from a myriad of different backgrounds, cultures, denominations, and phases of life. Because of its flexibility and diversity, the M.Div. is also a great option for students still exploring their call.

Potential Careers

The Master of Divinity can open the door to a number of different career and ministry paths.  Our students have graduated seminary and have become:

  • Pastors
  • Church Planters
  • Chaplains
  • Missionaries
  • Teachers/Professors
  • Parachurch Leaders
  • Marketplace Leaders

Program Concentrations and Requirements

Students in the Master of Divinity program can choose from several program concentrations.  Click the links below to read their respective descriptions.

Pastoral Ministry Concentration 

The Pastoral Ministry concentration serves those who envision entering into formal vocational/professional ministry settings.  In addition to rigorous training in biblical studies (including biblical languages and exegesis), Christian thought (including theology and historical perspective), students have the opportunity to learn the essentials of pastoral ministry including, but not limited to, training in leadership, administration, and preaching that will help them in congregational leadership, church-planting, or other ministerial vocations.

Students desiring to pursue ordination after graduating from seminary should check with their ordaining body for educational requirements.

Biblical Studies Requirements (39 Credit Hours)

  • Old Testament Survey
  • Hebrew I
  • Hebrew II
  • Interpreting the Old Testament
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Historical Narrative
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Prophets or Poetry
  • New Testament Survey
  • Greek I
  • Greek II
  • Interpreting the New Testament
  • Greek Exegesis in Gospels or Acts
  • Greek Exegesis in Epistles or Revelation
  • Biblical Theology Seminary (Capstone) 

Christian Thought Requirements (25 Credit Hours)

  • Introduction to Theological Research
  • The Church to the Reformation
  • The Church Since the Reformation
  • Theology Survey I
  • Theology Survey II
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Ethics Elective
  • World Missions/Evangelism Elective

Pastoral Ministry Concentration Requirements (27 Credit Hours)

  • Spiritual Formation for Ministry
  • Foundations for Leadership
  • Preaching: Principles & Practices
  • Healthy Relationships in Ministry
  • Choose TWO: Preaching Elective, Christian Worship, Discipleship & Disciple-Making, Church & Non-Profit Administration
  • Ministry Elective
  • Mentored Ministry Rotations (3)
  • Pastoral Ministry (Capstone)
Ministry Practitioner Concentration

The Ministry Practitioner concentration serves those who have diverse or specialized ministry callings, or those who desire to strengthen their knowledge and skills within their church or ministry context.  In addition to rigorous training in biblical studies (including biblical languages and exegesis), Christian thought (including theology and historical perspective), students learn the essentials of ministry such as leadership, formation, and teaching that help them in para-church, lay leadership, missions, teaching, and other ministry contexts.

Biblical Studies Requirements (39 Credit Hours)

  • Old Testament Survey
  • Hebrew I
  • Hebrew II
  • Interpreting the Old Testament
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Historical Narrative
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Prophets or Poetry
  • New Testament Survey
  • Greek I
  • Greek II
  • Interpreting the New Testament
  • Greek Exegesis in Gospels or Acts
  • Greek Exegesis in Epistles or Revelation
  • Biblical Theology Seminary (Capstone) 

Christian Thought Requirements (25 Credit Hours)

  • Introduction to Theological Research
  • The Church to the Reformation
  • The Church Since the Reformation
  • Theology Survey I
  • Theology Survey II
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Ethics Elective
  • World Missions/Evangelism Elective

Ministry Practitioner Concentration Requirements (27 Credit Hours)

  • Spiritual Formation for Ministry
  • Foundations for Leadership
  • The Teacher & the Teaching Task
  • Healthy Relationships in Ministry
  • Discipleship & Disciple-Making
  • Ministry Elective
  • Ministry Elective
  • Mentored Ministry Rotations (3)
  • Readiness for Ministry (Capstone)
Christian Leadership Concentration

The Christian Leadership concentration serves those who envision themselves in leadership contexts whether in the church, para-church, non-profit, marketplace, or other contexts.  In addition to rigorous training in biblical studies (including biblical languages and exegesis), Christian thought (including theology and historical perspective), students learn the essentials of teambuilding, conflict management, personal development, and communications.

Biblical Studies Requirements (39 Credit Hours)

  • Old Testament Survey
  • Hebrew I
  • Hebrew II
  • Interpreting the Old Testament
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Historical Narrative
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Prophets or Poetry
  • New Testament Survey
  • Greek I
  • Greek II
  • Interpreting the New Testament
  • Greek Exegesis in Gospels or Acts
  • Greek Exegesis in Epistles or Revelation
  • Biblical Theology Seminary (Capstone) 

Christian Thought Requirements (25 Credit Hours)

  • Introduction to Theological Research
  • The Church to the Reformation
  • The Church Since the Reformation
  • Theology Survey I
  • Theology Survey II
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Ethics Elective
  • World Missions/Evangelism Elective

Christian Leadership Concentration Requirements (27 Credit Hours)

  • Spiritual Formation for Ministry
  • Foundations for Leadership
  • The Person of the Christian Leader
  • Managing Conflict
  • The Christian Leader as Communicator or Preaching: Principles & Practices
  • Church & Non-Profit Management
  • Biblical Theology of Leadership
  • Internship Rotations (3)
  • Christian Leadership Project
Pastoral Care and Counseling Concentration

The Pastoral Care & Counseling concentration serves those who envision providing pastoral care in both formal and informal ministry settings.  In addition to rigorous training in biblical studies (including biblical languages and exegesis), Christian thought (including theology and historical perspective), students develop skills necessary to provide short-term pastoral care services, as well as how to create networks of support and referral. 

Students interested in pursuing chaplaincy opportunities should check with related agencies to determine educational requirements.

This program is not designed to prepare an individual for a professional career in clinical counseling.  (Students wishing to prepare for state licensure should consider applying to our Master of Arts in Christian Counseling program).

Biblical Studies Requirements (39 Credit Hours)

  • Old Testament Survey
  • Hebrew I
  • Hebrew II
  • Interpreting the Old Testament
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Historical Narrative
  • Hebrew Exegesis in Prophets or Poetry
  • New Testament Survey
  • Greek I
  • Greek II
  • Interpreting the New Testament
  • Greek Exegesis in Gospels or Acts
  • Greek Exegesis in Epistles or Revelation
  • Biblical Theology Seminary (Capstone) 

Christian Thought Requirements (25 Credit Hours)

  • Introduction to Theological Research
  • The Church to the Reformation
  • The Church Since the Reformation
  • Theology Survey I
  • Theology Survey II
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Christian Thought Elective
  • Ethics Elective
  • World Missions/Evangelism Elective

Pastoral Care & Counseling Concentration Requirements (27 Credit Hours)

  • Spiritual Formation for Ministry
  • Foundations for Leadership
  • Preaching: Principles & Practices or The Teacher & the Teaching Task
  • Healthy Relationships in Ministry
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Counseling/Ministry Elective
  • Counseling/Ministry Elective
  • Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Pastoral Ministry (Capstone)
Denominational Concentrations

Gordon-Conwell also offers concentrations for certain denominations and denomination groupings.  Students desiring to pursue ordination after graduating from seminary should check with their ordaining body for educational requirements.

Mentored Ministry

At the heart of the M.Div. program is the conviction that relevant ministry experience within real life contexts under the supervision of caring, seasoned mentors is the vital ingredient in shaping the next generation of faithful leaders for Christ. Toward that end, Online M.Div. students engage in three Mentored Ministry Rotations (MACM) in their local ministry/leadership contexts that help them apply what they are learning while at the same time gaining valuable practical ministry/leadership experience.

Online Programs Distinctives

Seminary is about shaping the head, heart, hands for kingdom service.  For most of theological education's history, this was only possible physically relocating in order to study.  With the advent of new tools and technologies, the seminary experience has not only been made accessible to students wherever they live, but is continually optimized to meet the changing needs of students and their respective callings.  Current distinctives include:

Flexible Digital Course Deliveries

Students have the option of completing their program primarily online through digital class formats including Digital Live, online, and web-enhanced, which are described below.

Digital Live – Digital Live courses are designed for students who desire to participate in the real-time seminary classroom anywhere in the world.  Students are able to engage live with their Professor and Learning Teams.  In between class sessions, students complete on-demand online coursework.

Semlink+  –  Semlink+ courses are designed for students who desire maximum schedule flexibility.  Under the active oversight of a Professor, students complete on-demand online coursework each week with strategic and scheduled real-time moments between the students and the Professor and other students throughout the course.

Web-Enhanced – Web-Enhanced courses are a blend between on-demand and real-time course formats and are typically only found in the M.Div. or Professional Degree Programs.  Students complete weekly on-demand online coursework, have scheduled live online meetings, but also come together for a 2.5 day Residency experience.

Low Residency Requirements

Students always have the option to take as many residential courses as they desire at any of Gordon-Conwell's four campuses.  With careful planning, students who wish to maximize program flexibility can complete select concentrations with as few as one five-day campus visit per year.*  Specific Residency requirements for each concentration are described below:

  • Pastoral Ministry Concentration: Can be completed with as few as one five-day campus visit per year.
  • Ministry Practitioner Concentration: Can be completed with as few as one five-day campus visit per year.
  • Christian Leadership Program: Can be completed with as few as one five-day campus visit per year.
  • Pastoral Care & Counseling Concentration: The number of campus visits depends upon which counseling/ministry electives taken.  The minimum number of campus visits for this program is currently four.
  • Denominational Concentrations (Anglican, EPC, Lutheran): Contact Charlotte Admissions at charlotteadmissions@gordonconwell.edu for current requirements.

*This is dependent upon taking two Web-Enhanced courses with back-to-back 2.5 day Residencies. 

Student Care and Support In addition to ongoing support from the program advisor, every student is assigned a Student Care Representative who walks along side the student throughout their seminary journey and provides coaching, prayer support, and assists the students with any questions that arise along the way.
Learning Teams and Tutor Support In all Digital Live and select other Semlink+ and web-enhanced courses, students will experience being a part of learning teams, who undertake carefully designed collaborative assignments and projects to meet the course's learning outcomes.  In addition, in select courses (particularly Greek and Hebrew), students have access to weekly tutoring. 
Digital Resources and Books Gordon-Conwell is a member of the Digital Theological Library, which provides free access for students to more than 160,000 ebooks, over 160 databases, over 20,000 journal titles, over 20,000,000 peer-reviewed, full-text articles, and more than 11,000 hours of counseling evideos.
Digital Tools for Collaborative and Global Engagement Gordon-Conwell continues to invest each year in new digital tools to enhance collaborative learning and global engagement.
Integrative Online Events

Every Fall and Spring, students attend one Klipowicz Integrative Event online or on campus.  Students can choose from the following:

  • Center for the Development of Evangelical Leadership Conference (every August)
  • Robert C. Cooley Center for the Study of Early Christianity Lecture (every October and January)
  • Alumni Forum (every March)

Learn More

Primarily Online Master of Divinity
Professional Primarily Online Degree Programs
Academic Primarily Online Degree Programs
Fully Online Certificate Program
Digital Class Formats and Experiences
Application Information
Financial Aid and Tuition
Student Life and Support

Next Steps

If you are ready to begin your seminary journey, we invite you to start an application today!

Need Guidance? We Can Help!

Is the Master of Divinity right for you?  Our caring Admissions staff is can help you discern.  Fill out an information request form or call us at (855) 211-2474.