Centering on the study of religious theology — with full intent to train and guide those looking toward a career in the pastoral profession — the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree is the most common academic degree offered by North American seminaries and divinity schools. It is widely considered to be the first professional degree of the pastoral profession, replacing a Bachelor of Divinity on that front at most seminaries and universities nationwide. The varying nature of most religious organizations and followings themselves is precisely the reason most M.Div. degrees vary by type of study and institution.
Career Outlook & Salaries with This Degree
For a large number of religious denominations, including many Christian sects, the Master of Divinity is a standard expectation for those with aspirations of becoming priests or pastors, or ascending into other leadership opportunities. Typically, most pastors in the United States will find themselves earning anywhere between $70,000 and $98,000, with approximately $85,000 serving as the mean for such a calling.
Job Responsibilities with This Degree
Pastors and other religious denominational leaders are the most typical candidates for a Master of Divinity, but those seeking careers as pastoral counselors or theological researches also might find use.
Course Requirements and Prerequisites for Earning This Degree
In a vast majority of United States M.Div. programs, students will apply coursework in philosophy, theology, church history and church growth to their program of study, with many programs also focusing on liturgical studies, Latin, Hebrew, and evangelism — with specific offerings usually a product of the type of divinity study at hand. While a bachelor’s degree is, at present time, still a requirement for admission to most graduate divinity programs, it should be noted that typical Master of Divinity programs are significantly longer and more thorough than most other master’s degree programs. Requiring between 70 and approximately 106 credit hours, most M.Div. programs, even those at the low end of the spectrum, require nearly double the credit hours — traditionally 36 to 48 — of other master’s programs.