Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Who should consider an MDiv?

The Master of Divinity program is recommended for students seeking a comprehensive preparation for Christian ministry. Persons in leadership roles which assume broad knowledge of the church’s faith, tradition and practice should consider this program. You will study the complete range of theological disciplines which include biblical, theological, historical, contextual, formational and practical ministry studies. In some denominations the Master of Divinity is required for ordination to the Christian ministry.

Inquire for more information, schedule a visit or apply today.

What is the curriculum?

81 semester hours completed in three or more years

Ministry tracks

Advisors and faculty will help guide students in the process of selecting a track. Students will choose electives based on ministry goals and potential ministry settings.

  • Primary Track of this curriculum emphasizes an acquaintance with Koine Greek and Biblical Hebrew. Students will take both the Elementary and Readings course in each language.
  • Alternate Track replaces the language requirements mentioned above with the courses Basics of Biblical Language, Interpreting the Biblical Text and an Old Testament and a New Testament book study.

Why EMS?

Formation Studies

An important part of our curriculum is our formation series. Your effectiveness in ministry is not only based on your knowledge of theology, the Bible and the practices of ministry, but also on your knowledge of yourself as a ministering person. Three year-long formation courses at EMS will help you explore your own faith practices, experiences and ministry.

  • In Formation in God’s Story, you will explore your own story and faith formation and how that interacts with God’s story.
  • In Formation in Ministry, you will explore your practice of ministry through a supervised field experience and small group and personal reflection.
  • In Formation in Missional Leadership, you will integrate your learning into a practical capstone project and study related to your intended ministry setting.

Supervised Field Education

Mentored ministry refers to a variety of experiential learning opportunities within the overall curriculum. Formation in Ministry I and II (3 credits each) and an additional mentored ministry experience (3 additional credits)are required. Students are encouraged to find internships in settings that will allow them to integrate classroom learning and practice leadership skills. An individual mentoring relationship is important in these settings. Students already in ministry in a congregation may use that congregation for their Formation in Ministry I and II field placement.

For students who want additional practical ministry experience Clinical Pastoral Education and other ministry internships are available. For more information see the Mentored Ministry Requirements

Cross-Cultural Competency

We believe seminary students are best equipped for ministry in our diverse world through interaction with people and cultures different from their own. All seminary students benefit from the cross-cultural study requirement. The experience may involved travel to another country or engagement with a culture significantly different from the students own culture in the United States. The seminary plans at least one cross-cultural trip every two years. Students with previous cross-cultural experience may meet the requirement by taking the Cross-Cultural Integration Seminar to reflect on their cross-cultural competency. Learn more about our philosophy and requirements for cross-cultural competency.

Formation courses (14 SH)

Year 1

  • Formation in God’s Story I (2 SH)
  • Formation in God’s Story II (2 SH)
    Year 2
  • Formation in Ministry I (3 SH)
  • Formation in Ministry II (3 SH)
    Year 3
  • Formation in Missional Leadership I (2 SH)
  • Formation in Missional Leadership II (2 SH)

Other required courses (27 SH)*

Old Testament: Text in Context (3 SH)
New Testament: Text in Context (3 SH)
Christian Tradition I (3 SH)
Christian Tradition II (3 SH)
Living Theology (3 SH)
Missio Dei in Cultural Context (3 SH)
Christian Ethics (3 SH)
SMCL elective (3 SH)
Cross-Cultural Church Experience (3 SH)

Biblical Languages/Studies (12 SH)

Primary Track

  • Elementary Hebrew (3 SH)
  • Hebrew Readings (3 SH)
  • Elementary Greek (3 SH)
  • Greek Readings (3 SH)

Alternate Track

  • Basics of Biblical Language (3 SH)
  • Interpreting the Biblical Text (3 SH)
  • Old Testament book study elective (3 SH)
  • New Testament book study elective (3 SH)

*Anabaptist-affiliated students must take an Anabaptist studies course; Pastoral Ministry track students must take a Denominational Polity course


Electives will be made up of courses in the seminary or another graduate program at EMU that fit the student’s anticipated ministry setting and track. For more specific suggestions see the descriptions of ministry tracks.

Read more about the mission, theological framework, educational philosophy , curricular framework and guiding principles of the curriculum at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.

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