Master of Divinity
The Master of Divinity degree program is designed to prepare students for a wide range of Christian ministry and provides the solid foundation needed for ordination. It is also excellent preparation for a hospital or military chaplaincy, a cross-cultural pastoral ministry, global mission, social services work, youth ministry, or further graduate study and teaching.
This program, required by many denominations for ordination, is offered at the New Brunswick campus through day and night classes and at the St. John’s (Queens NYC) campus through night classes.
Education for ministry is not a matter of simply accumulating certain knowledge and skills. It is the beginning of a process of personal transformation whereby the student appropriates the knowledge and skills pertinent to ministry in a way that shapes the student’s self-understanding and life within the church and the world. At NBTS, the integration of scholarship with actual experience and practice of ministry are essential components of a theological education.
The course of study for the M.Div. falls into three major categories. The first consists of the core academic courses, grouped into three fields: Biblical Studies; Historical, Theological and Ethical Studies; and Ministry Studies. The second consists of the experience and practice of ministry in which the student will engage, through a student’s Field Education placements and also in the various aspects of life in the seminary community. The third category includes those courses which seek to integrate the academic and practical experience. The Interdisciplinary Integrative courses constitute this category.
NY & NJ
Day & Evening
45 days prior to term start
M.Div. Curriculum Overview
Biblical Studies – 15 credits
Historical, Theological, Ethical Studies – 15 credits
Ministry Studies – 15 credits
Interdisciplinary Integrative- 15 credits
Electives & Field Education – 21-24 credits
The application deadline for a term is two months before the first day of classes. Applications received after the deadline will be considered for admission in the following semester. The applicant must:
- Hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with an academic record indicating scholarly ability, including an undergraduate grade point average of 2.5 or higher (on a 4.0 scale).
- Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work pursued to date are required *
- Three letters of recommendation, one of which must be a recommendation from the applicant’s pastor
- Complete a statement of purpose following the instructions on the application
- Complete Application Form with $50 non- refundable application fee
- Submit background check form and $25 processing fee
- Provide Photo ID (state issued drivers license, state identification card, or Passport) to verify identity.
*In exceptional cases, a student with a lower GPA, but with noteworthy qualifications, may be admitted provisionally. Achievement of a seminary GPA of 2.5 removes the provisional status. Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work pursued to date are required. Applicants completing undergraduate study are accepted on the basis of a partial transcript, but a transcript showing a baccalaureate degree must be provided prior to matriculation.
In addition to the admissions procedures mentioned, applicants who seek to enter the US to pursue a degree program at NBTS must:
- Submit transcripts of undergraduate degree programs*, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose written in English
- Demonstrate their proficiency in English (see English Proficiency Requirements)
- Apply to the US Government for an F-1 non-immigrant student entry visa
*The Admissions Committee recommends that all transcripts that originate from an institution outside the United States or Canada be sent to a professional transcript service for a course-by-course evaluation.
For any other questions involving international student admission please contact our international students admissions counseling office at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Non-Traditional Master of Divinity Students
Under exceptional circumstances, a student without a baccalaureate degree may be admitted to the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program as a non-traditional student.
Realizing that each non-traditional student has different credentials, please contact the Admissions office for information, transcript review, and aid in selecting the needed college courses. Contacting the office early in the process will allow the student to make the best choices for success in his or her seminary career. During this time before your admission to NBTS in addition to completing these college courses, we strongly recommend you be in contact with the ordaining body within your church and/or denomination about the possibility of ordination without a college degree.
Admission Requirements for Non-Traditional Students
- All of the requirements for the Master of Divinity application process and:
- Be at least of 40 years of age;
- Have demonstrated distinguished service to the church and show a sense of vocation and commitment to professional ministry;
- Prepared for the M.Div. program by completing four college courses with a grade of “B” or better at an accredited college or university. These courses must cover these areas:
- English composition
- History or Philosophy
- Behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, or anthropology),
- Literature (recommended: survey course [i.e. World, American, or African-American Literature] or diversity course).
Students in this program cannot exceed 15% of the student population. Because of this requirement, there is often a waiting time for students desiring admission into the program. An admissions deposit will be required to place a student on the waiting list and the list is administered on a first-come basis.
Admission to the non-traditional program does not guarantee you are eligible for ordination within your church. It is very important to be in contact with your church’s ordaining body before you begin seminary work.
Fitness for Ministry and Ordination
As an institution affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, New Brunswick Theological Seminary provides educational programs which meet the denomination’s requirements for ordination. It does so through the core curriculum of required courses and by providing courses and field education placements directly related to the Reformed Church.
The Seminary acts on behalf of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America not only in providing education for ministry, but also by evaluating students to determine their suitability for ordination to the denomination’s ministry of Word and Sacrament. Testimony to a student’s readiness for ministry is given through a Certificate of Fitness for Ministry, recommended by the Faculty and granted by the Board of Trustees. A classis is not permitted to ordain a candidate for ministry who has not been granted this Certificate. Application for the Certificate of Fitness must be made 15 months before the intended date of graduation.
Although no Certificate of Fitness for Ministry is granted to students from other churches, since the M.Div. is a professional degree, the Faculty evaluates all candidates to determine suitability for ministerial leadership in the church. The Faculty will not recommend that an M.Div. degree be granted to a student who, although academically qualified, does not exhibit the moral, spiritual and personal qualities requisite for ministry. The ordination requirements of the student’s church may also be taken into consideration in decisions concerning the awarding of the M.Div. degree.
An M.Div. student who has maintained a GPA of 3.0 or better through his or her first 64 credits of academic work may petition the Faculty through the Academic Affairs Committee to be allowed to write an Honors Thesis under the supervision of a member of the Faculty. Six (6) credit hours will be granted the student who successfully completes this research and writing project.