What Are Some Well-Known Divinity Schools in the U.S.?

If you are interested in working within the ministry or becoming a scholar of theology, earning a graduate degree from a research-oriented divinity school can be an intellectually enriching experience. Learn about some of the best-known schools with divinity programs and what each school offers in terms of programs. Schools offering Chaplaincy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Constitutes a Top Divinity School?

The best divinity schools are typically associated with larger research institutions and provide degree options that can prepare you for work within the ministry or for academic positions. You should have the opportunity to become acquainted with a range of theological denominations and gain valuable perspective on the historical evolution and contemporary nature of religion. You can look for schools where faculty are represented in secondary literature and engaged in a range of research topics.

What Are Three Universities With Well-Known Divinity Schools?

Duke University in Durham, NC

Duke University, originated in 1838, was ranked 20th best university worldwide by Times Higher Education in 2015. The Duke Divinity School was the university's first graduate professional school, founded in 1926. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church and representing a range of theological perspectives, Duke Divinity School attracts students from over thirty different Christian denominations.

Duke supports an internationally recognized theological faculty, who rigorously guide students to critically interpret the church's theological systems, the Bible and both contemporary and historical religious practice. In addition to two dual-degree programs, Duke Divinity School offers three graduate-professional degrees, two academic master's degrees and two doctoral programs with the following titles:

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Arts in Christian Practice
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Arts in Christian Studies
  • Master of Theology
  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Theology

The University of Chicago in Illinois

The University of Chicago was ranked fourth on U.S. News & World Report's list of National Universities in 2015. The University of Chicago Divinity School is the largest single institutional educator of faculty members in theology departments, religious studies programs and theological seminaries. Chicago also can prepare students for ministry careers through their Master of Divinity program. Students can cultivate a broad-based religious education by studying topics in areas such as the history of Christianity, Judaism and religions; Islamic studies; philosophy of religions; religion and literature; and religious ethics. Chicago offers the following degrees:

  • Master of Arts in Divinity
  • Master of Arts in Religious Studies
  • Master of Divinity
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Divinity

Yale University in New Haven, CT

Yale was ranked the third best university in the nation in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report. Yale Divinity School has a longstanding tradition concerning the scholarly treatment of Christian traditions within a multifaith context; the school is nonsectarian and interdenominational. Their distinguished faculty represent a variety of world religions in addition to popular Christian traditions, and students from a large number of denominations attend the school.

The Divinity School prepares students for service inside ordained and lay ecclesial ministries or for work within academic religious studies departments and theological schools. Among their degree programs is a Master of Arts in Religion with twelve specializations, including Asian religions, the Bible, Second Temple Judaism, religion in the African Diaspora, Ethics, history of Christianity, liturgical studies, philosophical theology, religions and the arts, theology and women's studies. Here is a list of degrees offered:

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Arts in Religion
  • Master of Arts in Religion (concentrated programs)
  • Master of Sacred Theology

Ten Top Divinity Schools

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocation
Harvard UniversityGraduate, PrivateBoston, MA
University of Notre DameGraduate, PrivateNotre Dame, IN
Boston UniversityGraduate, PrivateBoston, MA
Liberty UniversityGraduate, PrivateLynchburg, VA
Regent UniversityGraduate, PrivateVirginia Beach, VA
Wake Forest UniversityGraduate, PrivateWinston-Salem, NC
Emory UniversityGraduate, PrivateAtlanta, GA
Claremont School of TheologyGraduate, PrivateClaremont, CA
Sacred Heart Seminary & School of TheologyGraduate, PrivateHales Corners, WI
Cairn UniversityGraduate, PrivateLanghorne, PA

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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