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    Harding University
  Sep 23, 2023
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
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2019-2020 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Master of Divinity

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Purpose: The M.Div. is the degree of choice for those entering preaching ministry. It lays a solid foundation for a lifetime of ministry practice through a focus on spiritual growth, research tools and methodology, and practical concepts and skills..

Emphasis: This degree provides opportunities and encouragement for personal spiritual growth, an understanding of Scripture and theology, an introduction to historical and cultural contexts of churches, and both understanding of and supervised experience in major aspects of ministry. The M.Div. is also the basic degree required by most schools of religion and seminaries for admission to Ph.D. or Th.D. programs.

Intended Degree Outcomes:  M.Div. graduates will:

  • Demonstrate advanced skills in the interpretation of scripture.
  • Demonstrate the skills required for theological reflection. 
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of Christianity and the Stone-Campbell Movement in particular.   
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate the scriptures and theological tradition with diverse contemporary cultural contexts. 
  • Demonstrate a commitment to personal spiritual formation
  • Demonstrate the skills associated with providing ministerial leadership for churches and communities.


Time Frame: The degree requires a minimum of three academic years of full-time work or its equivalent.

Residency: At least 9 hours must be taken on the Harding School of Theology campus. One of the on-campus courses must be BMIN 5990 , which is taken within the first nine hours. It will include a retreat at the end of each intensive course. In semesters where the course is available only on a weekly basis the retreat will be near the end of the term. The other two required on-campus courses will be chosen by the student in consultation with their advisor.


Undergraduate GPA: A student whose undergraduate grade point average is between 2.25 and 2.50 may be admitted on probation for the M.Div. program. Probation will be removed upon successfully completing 18 semester hours of graduate courses with a grade average of 2.50.

Advanced Standing: Harding School of Theology may grant up to 18 hours of advanced standing by examination from the faculty over undergraduate coursework: 6 hours for Greek, 6 hours for Hebrew, and up to 6 hours from electives or BOLD 5001 BNEW 5201 , BDOC 5400 , BHIS 5640 , BNEW 5201 , BOLD 5001 , HOML 5810  or HOML 5830 .

Transfer Credit: Subject to approval of the Admissions Committee, a maximum of 39 hours of comparable work may be transferred from another institution. As many as half the hours from a master’s degree (that is, up to 24 hours from our M.A. or M.A.C.M. degrees) may be applied toward the M.Div.

Language Requirements: One year of Greek and one year of Hebrew at the undergraduate level with a grade of C or better are required, or the student may take one year of Greek and/or Hebrew as part of the degree. One graduate-level reading course of three semester hours is also required.

Testing: Psychological, career and other types of testing are sometimes used for guidance purposes.


See the Course Descriptions  for core requirements and exceptions.

I. Nondepartmental: (3 hours)

II. Biblical Division: (30 hours)

III. Theological Division: (15 hours)

Recommended sequence: Take 5601  and 5602  before taking 5400  or 5450 .

V. Electives (9 hours)

One textual course and two general electives. Students may also choose an “honors” track consisting of (1) a thesis and one elective, or (2) a guided research paper and two electives.

Additional Requirements

Level of Scholarship: An average scholarship level of 2.50 is required for the M.Div. Courses in which a grade of C has been received may be repeated, and only the second grade will count. Courses in which a grade of B has been received may not be repeated. Courses in which a grade of D or F is made will not be counted toward the degree but will be used in figuring the GPA unless repeated. No course may be repeated more than once without permission of the professor.

Thesis: A thesis is optional. If the student elects to write a thesis, he/she will be given six hours of credit for it upon completion. Procedures and requirements for theses are stated in the Student Handbook.

Chaplaincy Candidates: Students who intend to enter ministry as a chaplain should consult with ministry faculty about practicum and CPE requirements.

Degree Candidacy: The student should apply for candidacy to the degree during November of the academic year in which he/she hopes to graduate. The student is responsible for notifying the associate dean if, after applying, he or she is unable to complete graduation requirements.

English Bible Exam: All students in all master’s degree plans must pass a comprehensive English Bible exam within their first semester. Students who fail must take the corresponding survey(s), BOLD 5000  and/or BNEW 5200 .

Probation: After completion of 12 semester hours and thereafter, students with grades below a 2.50 average will be placed on academic probation. To remove probation, a student must achieve a 2.50 overall average during the next 18 hours of study.

Statute of Limitation: All degree requirements must be completed within a 10-year period from time of entry into the program. No credit more than 10 years old may be counted toward the degree requirements. If one goes beyond the 10-year time limit, one may obtain a time extension of one year for each additional three-hour course successfully completed in the area of area of study with approval of his or her advisor.

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