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Doctor of Divinity

Learn about the Doctor of Divinity degree and other religious study doctorate programs. Explore coursework, areas of concentration, online education options and career opportunities.

Can I Earn a Doctor of Divinity?

In the United States, a Doctor of Divinity (D.Div.) is an honorary degree and cannot be earned through an academic program. Some colleges allow you to apply for the honorary degree if you prove you have a bachelor's degree and enough experience in ministry. These degrees are often conferred to selected recipients annually.

Degree Type Honorary degree
Specializations Ministry, theology
Common Courses Greek, Hebrew, prophetic scriptures, biblical chronology, literary criticism
Online Availability Traditional classroom, fully online, and hybrid programs are available
Median Salary (2018) $71,890 (for all postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers)*
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 10% growth (for all postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Doctorate Degrees in Religion Can I Earn?

Many universities offer doctorate degrees in spiritual fields, such as the Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) and the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.). Each program offers specific and individual teaching in significantly different vocations. In a doctoral program in theology, you focus primarily on Biblical studies, preparing for ministry, Bible instruction or seminary teaching. In a D.Min. program, you'll learn the roles and responsibilities to become a pastor of a church, parish or community.

What Will I Study?

In a Th.D. program, you'll focus primarily on strengthening your research, translation and writing skills. Mastering Hebrew and Greek texts and engaging in intensive studies of old and new testament books are incorporated into several courses and research projects. Some common areas of study include:

  • The history of Biblical writings and historical translations
  • Prophetic scriptures and psalms
  • Literary criticism and negative theology
  • World teachings of the Bible
  • Hebrew, Greek and Arabic languages
  • Biblical chronology

The dominant skills taught in a D.Min. program include leadership, outreach and communication. You'll develop critical-thinking abilities to help you take present-day problems and relate them to Biblical teachings. Some schools offer concentrations of ministerial programs, such as pastoral care, preaching, missionary work and ministry. Course topics may include:

  • Outreach and leadership
  • Conflict management
  • Ethical leadership
  • Christian mentoring
  • Biblical narratives and teaching
  • Cultural and gender-related ministries

Can I Earn These Degrees Online?

Online Th.D. programs are less common than Doctor of Ministry degree programs. Many seminaries and Christian colleges offer these degrees through online formats. The elimination of time or location constraints and flexible scheduling are a few of the benefits to earning your degree through an online program. Some schools may require that you attend some on-campus courses, though the majority of your studies can be completed online.