Originally an academic degree in religious studies, today the Doctor of Divinity is typically awarded as an honorary degree in the United States. Individuals can apply for such a degree or to be ordained as a practicing minister through online or brick-and-mortar degree-granting institutions, often with little effort and expense. These degrees and titles confer no academic standing but may allow one to perform religious ceremonies, such as weddings and readings.

Search online for a Doctor of Divinity degree-granting organization that reflects your spiritual beliefs. Dozens of these groups can be found online, including the Universal Life Church, the Saint Luke Evangelical School of Biblical Studies and Victory Bible College.

Many online Doctor of Divinity programs require you to first be ordained as a minister. Check you individual D.D. degree- granting agency. To become an ordained minister, visit an online church or organization such as the Universal Life Church.

Review the individual program's degree-granting requirements. These will typically include a thesis or dissertation on a religious subject of your choice, a statement of personal faith and beliefs, and a formal written application.

Complete the required assignments and email or snail mail your application package to the degree-granting organization. Most programs will require a tuition payment of a few hundred to several thousand dollars via check, credit card or PayPal.

Within a few weeks, you should receive your diploma and other Doctor of Divinity credentials.


Check your state's requirements and guidelines for religious programs. Some states, such Texas, may or may not recognize certain degree-granting organizations due to their reputation as degree mills. Check with your state's higher education council or board for more information.

Related Articles