For those called to a career in ministry, a divinity degree -- usually a Master's of Divinity (MDiv) -- is the required education path. There are more than institutions in the U.S. offering programs in ministry. Most are private, not-for-profit colleges. Some are denominational while others are sectarian. These programs prepare students for ministry and leadership positions not only in churches, but in a wide range of social and service organizations.

Liberty University

The Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia, offers several options for divinity degrees, including both residential and online formats and an accelerated track. Students can choose from a range of cognates such as biblical studies, military chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, theology or worship. The program focuses on biblical leadership principles and approaches with an intense study of scripture. Students are prepared for a variety of pastoral roles.

Harvard University

The Harvard Divinity School at Harvard University offers a Master of Divinity program. The nonsectarian Massachusetts school’s student body is a diverse representation of more than 30 religious traditions. Students are required to complete 24 courses, field education and a senior seminar. The full-time 3-year program prepares individuals for ordination or lay ministry and leadership in a variety of religious or non-religious institutions.

St. John’s University

Rooted in the Catholic faith, the Master of Divinity program at St. John’s University in New York is designed to prepare students for professional ministry within the church. The program is set up in three phases. The first year serves as an introduction to the pastoral field and graduate studies. The second phase delves into the Catholic faith. The third phase ensures focuses on the guidelines of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Loyola University Chicago

The Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago offers a Master of Divinity program aimed at preparing individuals for non-ordained religious leadership positions in church and society. The full-time program can be completed in three to four years. A part-time option is also available. The program focuses on faith formation, reflective critical understanding and ministerial practice.

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