Applying to the Master of Divinity Program

All applicants to the Master of Divinity program must have earned a baccalaureate degree from a member institution of the Association of Universities and Colleges or an institution accredited by a United States agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and possess at least a 2.80 GPA on a 4.00 point scale. A well-rounded liberal arts degree is the best preparation for the MDiv degree program. Prior coursework in religious studies, while not required, is certainly appropriate preparation.

Applicants should show evidence of personal integrity, spiritual and emotional maturity, qualities associated with effective leadership, strong communication skills, creativity and personal initiative, and intellectual discernment. As a University-based graduate school, the School of Divinity seeks students who will constructively engage the diversity of the University, with openness to learning from persons of other religious traditions and from those who hold divergent values and commitments.

Applicants are selected on the basis of academic potential for graduate-level work, genuine promise for ministry, a clearly articulated commitment to Christian vocation, and evidence that the applicant will benefit from as well as enhance theological education at Wake Forest University.

Graduate theological education and vocational formation require a substantial commitment of one’s time and energy. The MDiv program is designed with the assumption that students will be enrolled full-time. Individuals interested in limited enrollment should consult with the Office of Admissions before applying to the program.  

Applicants should complete the online application process at https://divinity.wfu.edu/apply. In addition to the application, candidates must supply the following supporting documents:

  1. official academic transcripts from prior educational institutions attended. This includes any work done at a community or technical college, study abroad, or any other school at which the applicant has taken coursework. Those whose undergraduate studies are in process need to have an official transcript of work completed to date sent to the admissions office directly from the institution. Additionally, applicants must submit a final transcript documenting the completion of their degree.
  2. three letters of recommendation: the requirement includes providing at least two academic references. Applicants are encouraged to provide a pastoral recommendation. Those who have been out of school for five or more years may provide professional recommendations from an employer or community leader that speak to the applicant’s character.
  3. the admissions essay: additional information can be found on the online application and at https://divinity.wfu.edu/admissions/apply-now/application-materials/.
  4. a well-organized resume that provides a brief summary of the applicant’s educational background, job experience, vocational aspirations, leadership goals and accomplishments, professional affiliations, honors and awards, extracurricular activities, skills, personal qualities, and interests and hobbies.
  5. an application fee of $75. The application fee can be paid using a credit or debit card on the online application, or by submitting a check or money order, made payable to Wake Forest University, to the Office of Admissions. The School of Divinity also offers application fee waivers based on qualified program participation. If the applicant has participated in one of the programs below within the last two years, s/he may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Applicants must contact their director/coordinator to request a letter verifying participation in the program and the dates of participation. The letter should be sent to the Office of Admissions in a sealed envelope with the back flap initialed by the authorizing official. AmeriCorps, Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, Bonner Scholars/Leaders, Careers Opportunity Research/ NIHM (COR/NIHM), currently enrolled School of Divinity students, currently serving in the U.S. Military, Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT), Leadership Alliance Summer Research Early Identification Program, Ronald McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellows Program, National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP), National College Advising Corps (NCAC), Organization of American States (OAS), Peace Corps, Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), Teach for America

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required. Once an application is complete, the file is reviewed. One of the following decisions will be made: full admission, provisional admission, probationary admission, wait list, or decline of admission.  

A limited number of students (no more than 10% of the entering class) may be admitted on academic probation at the discretion of the admissions committee. Students admitted on probation must achieve a minimal GPA of 2.5 in the School of Divinity. They will be expected to make use of the Writing Center and other academic resources. The performance of students admitted on academic probation will be reviewed after their first semester to determine whether they should continue on probation.

International Students

International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with the application for admission. Proficiency in written and oral English is required for enrollment in an academic program. The TOEFL must have been taken during the past five years. A TOEFL score of 600 paper-based, 250 computer-based, or 95 internet-based are the minimums required with a minimum score of 20 or higher in each of the four sub-areas. The TOEFL is administered at test centers throughout the world at different times during the year. Information on how to register and where to take the test is available at ets.org/toefl. If an applicant successfully graduated from an accredited college or university in the United States, a TOEFL waiver can be requested. A decision regarding the waiver will not be made until an application for admission has been completed.

To meet requirements for entry into the United States for study, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to meet the expected costs of their educational program. Applicants must provide documentary evidence of their financial resources before visa documents can be issued. United States laws and regulations restrict the opportunity for international students to be employed. Students may be allowed to work off campus only under special circumstances. Many spouses and dependents of international students are not allowed to be employed while in the United States.

International students and their dependents residing in the United States are required to purchase or provide proof of health insurance. Wake Forest University requires that all students registered on a full-time basis be covered by a health insurance policy that meets certain coverage criteria defined by the university. Students have the option of either purchasing coverage through the university plan (Student Blue) or waiving this coverage by proving that they are currently covered by a health insurance policy that meets or exceeds the established criteria. For detailed information as it pertains to the Student Blue plan or the waiver process, please visit the web site at http://sip.studentlife.wfu.edu/.

Transfer Students

The prospective transfer student (a student who began his or her graduate theological education at a school other than Wake Forest University School of Divinity) may apply for admission in the normal manner and, additionally, write a letter stating the reasons for transferring and provide a letter of good standing from the theological school from which transfer is being made. Transfer credit is awarded through the Office of Academic Affairs at the recommendation of the faculty committee on curriculum and academic policy. Transfer credit will only be given for courses in which the student earned a grade of B- or higher and a student may not transfer more than 24 hours of credit into the Master of Divinity program. Transfer credit is not normally given for courses taken more than eight years before entrance into the School of Divinity or for courses that have been utilized or will be utilized for another degree program. Prospective transfer students should review the entire policy on transfer of academic credit on page 47 of the Bulletin.

Admissions Visit

All applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the School of Divinity, to observe a class, meet faculty and staff, and tour Wake Forest University’s Reynolda Campus. The School of Divinity offers several opportunities throughout the year that allow prospective students to experience and learn about the school. Individual campus visits can be arranged through the Office of Admissions or online at https://divinity.wfu.edu/admissions/visit-campus/.

Admission to the School of Divinity

Initial offers of admission will be sent out upon review of the completed application. Preference for merit-based scholarships is given to those MDiv students whose applications are complete by January 15. Approved applicants will continue to be admitted on a rolling schedule until the class is full.

Approved applicants are required to reply to an offer of admission by submitting a $150 nonrefundable admission deposit on or before the date specified in their acceptance letters. Upon matriculation, the $150 deposit is used to open the student’s financial account and is subtracted from the first semester fees.

Joint Degree Programs

Applicants interested in joint degree programs must apply separately to both the School of Divinity and the appropriate graduate or professional program of interest. The School of Divinity has joint degree programs in Bioethics (MDiv/MA), Education (MDiv/MA), Counseling (MDiv/MA), Law (JD/MDiv), Sustainability (MDiv/MA), and MDiv/MA in Management Dual Degree Pathway. Review the Programs of Study section of the Bulletin for requirements, program structures, and procedures related to joint programs. Acceptance into one of the programs does not guarantee acceptance into the other.

MDiv/MA in Bioethics

Admissions

Admission to the joint degree program is a two-tiered process. Interested students must apply separately to the School of Divinity and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and be accepted for admission by both schools. These applications do not need to be simultaneous, but students should indicate on each application their desire to be considered for the joint degree program. Alternatively, students may submit a separate application to enroll in the joint degree program if already admitted to either School. Applications will be reviewed separately by each program’s admissions committee. Typically, students make application to the joint degree program by the time they complete one semester in either School. A joint admissions committee composed of members from both Schools will make final admissions decisions. The joint committee will also oversee and review admissions policies for the joint degree. The Graduate Record Exam is typically required for application to the bioethics program, but can be waived under certain circumstances (http://bioethics.wfu.edu).

Tuition and Fees

During five semesters of the program, students pay full-time divinity school tuition and are eligible for divinity school financial aid. For at least two additional semesters, students are enrolled in the bioethics program through the Graduate School and pay Graduate School tuition. School of Divinity financial aid is not available to students during these two semesters. A limited amount of aid may be available through the bioethics program.

MDiv/MA in Counseling

Admissions

Applicants to the MDiv/MA in Counseling joint degree program must be accepted for admission by both the Department of Counseling and by the School of Divinity. Applicants are required to submit a separate application to each school by January 15. Applications for the Counseling Program are submitted through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at http://graduate.wfu.edu. Applications for the School of Divinity are submitted directly to the School of Divinity at https://divinity.wfu.edu.

Admissions decisions for the degree in counseling are based on consideration of a combination of criteria: college grade-point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, recommendations, professional commitment, work or volunteer experience in the human services field, and suitability for the profession. Candidates for the counseling program are not required to have a specific undergraduate major or minor. Applicants being considered for admission are required to have a personal interview with program faculty. The successful completion of a criminal background check may be required as a condition of acceptance.

Campus Interviews

Based on the material contained in their application, an applicant may be invited to campus for personal interviews with the admissions committees in both Counseling and in Divinity. These interviews are typically scheduled for late February/early March. If invited, applicants must arrange to appear in person even if they have previously visited one or both departments. Divinity and Counseling will work together to coordinate the dates and timing of the interviews.  

After the interview phase, a joint admissions committee composed of members from both schools will make the final selection. Unsuccessful applicants to the joint degree program have the option of applying to the School of Divinity by July 25 but would have to wait until January of the following year to apply for admission to the Department of Counseling or to reapply to the joint degree program.

Financial Assistance

During the Counseling degree portion of the program, accepted students will be awarded partial tuition scholarships that cover about 80% of the cost from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for the two years they are enrolled in the Department of Counseling portion of the program. Each student also receives a reconditioned laptop computer.

MDiv/MA in Education

Admissions

Candidates for the joint degree must apply both to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Divinity, following the admissions requirements of the respective programs, and be accepted to each program in order to pursue a joint degree. A joint committee consisting of faculty and staff both from the School of Divinity and the Department of Education will make final determinations about an applicant’s suitability for the joint degree.

Tuition and Fees

During the seven semesters and two summers of the program, students pay full-time divinity school tuition and are eligible for divinity school financial aid only during the semesters in which the student is enrolled in the divinity school.

Financial Assistance

During the Education portion of the joint degree program, partial scholarships are available typically covering approximately 80% of tuition in the graduate school during the full regular terms (Fall/Spring) and full tuition scholarships are available for the summer.

MDiv/MA in Management Dual Degree Pathway

Admissions

Candidates for the dual degree pathway must apply both to the School of Business and the School of Divinity, following the admissions requirements of the respective programs, and be accepted to each program. Each school will make final determinations about an applicant’s suitability for the dual degree pathway. These applications do not need to be simultaneous, but students should indicate on the School of Divinity application their desire to be considered for the program. Alternatively, students may submit a separate application to enroll in the dual degree pathway if already admitted to either School.

Tuition and Fees

Students admitted to the Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Management (MAM) dual degree pathway will pay tuition during their enrollment in each respective school (ordinarily School of Business tuition and financial aid during their time in the MAM program and School of Divinity tuition and financial aid during the MDiv).

Financial Assistance

During the Management degree portion of the program, accepted students are considered for scholarship awards based on a student’s demonstrated leadership ability, prior internships or employment, extra-curricular activities, standardized test scores, final cumulative GPA, and other evidence indicative of academic success as a Master of Arts in Management student. Scholarship amounts and criteria will be reviewed and adjusted annually.

MDiv/MA in Sustainability

Admissions

Candidates for the joint degree must apply both to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Divinity, following the admissions requirements of the respective programs, and be accepted to each program in order to pursue a joint degree. A joint committee consisting of faculty and staff both from the School of Divinity and Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability will make final determinations about an applicant’s suitability for the joint degree. These applications do not need to be simultaneous, but students should indicate on each application their desire to be considered for the joint degree program. Alternatively, students may submit a separate application to enroll in the joint degree program if already admitted to either School.

Tuition and Fees

During the eight semesters of the programs, students pay full-time divinity school tuition and are eligible for divinity school financial aid only during the semesters in which the student is enrolled in the divinity school.

JD/MDiv

Admissions

Separate applications for admission must be made to the School of Law and the School of Divinity. The School of Law requires the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Once a student is admitted to each school’s degree programs, final approval for admittance to the accelerated, joint degree program is decided by a joint admissions committee.

Fifth Year

During the fifth year, students register in and pay tuition to the School of Divinity during one semester, subsequently registering in and paying tuition to the School of Law during the remaining semester. During the School of Divinity fifth year semester, students may take courses in the School of Divinity, courses cross-listed with the School of Law, or courses offered by other schools or departments of the University as approved by the School of Divinity. A similar process applies to the School of Law fifth-year semester.

Applying for Part-Time Enrollment

Part-time enrollment (degree seeking): Students admitted to the MDiv program may pursue the degree on a part-time basis with permission of the senior associate dean and the associate dean of academic affairs. Part-time students who are seeking a degree may be eligible for scholarship assistance in the fall and spring semesters. If eligible, students can receive aid for part-time study for up to four semesters. Part-time students are encouraged to move to full-time after four semesters. Students who take at least 4.5 credit hours may also be eligible for federal aid. Part-time students must complete the MDiv program within six years of matriculation. Students may appeal to the associate dean of academic affairs for an extension to the six-year rule, but financial aid is limited to six years of part-time study and three years of full-time study. Those who apply for this status should know that previous higher education loans may no longer be deferred if they drop below 9 credit hours per semester.

Exploratory, nondegree enrollment: Persons seeking to determine if divinity school is an appropriate option may apply for exploratory status. Exploratory student status is also a restricted category of admission for people who do not have need of a degree program and who desire access to graduate theological education for personal or professional enrichment. Courses are taken for credit. If approved, these students may take six credits per semester for one academic year. No financial aid is available for students in this category. Exploratory students who wish to enter the Master of Divinity program must complete the full admissions process. Courses taken during the exploratory process may be transferred into the Master of Divinity program.

Temporary enrollment: Students seeking credit to transfer to other degree programs may apply for temporary enrollment status. Temporary students may enroll in School of Divinity courses after completing admissions materials specified by the Office of Admissions. No financial aid is available.

Spring Semester Admissions

Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin their studies in the fall semester of the school year. This offers a more meaningful sense of continuity and cohort learning for all students who begin the program. The admissions committee gives priority to those applying for admission in the fall semester. Openings for admission in the spring semester are possible under special circumstances, but the number of spaces available may vary from year to year. Registration for spring semester begins November 2.

Deferment

Applicants admitted for fall semester may opt to defer for up to one year only. Beyond one year students must reapply for admission. Although not guaranteed, the School of Divinity will make every effort to award the same amount of scholarship monies agreed upon before the deferment.

Auditors

School of Divinity students, other Wake Forest students, and persons in the community may be admitted to select School of Divinity courses as auditors. A list of courses open to auditors is available in the Office of Academic Affairs or online at https://divinity.wfu.edu/continuing-education-and-programs/audit-a-course/. Applications for auditor status are accepted through the Office of Academic Affairs.

Students can elect to audit some courses rather than take them for a letter grade. Students can register for courses in the “audit” mode with approval of the course instructor and their faculty adviser. Each course instructor establishes guidelines for auditor participation. No course credit is earned for audited courses and audited courses do not count toward the overall degree requirements. Audited courses will appear on a student’s degree audit and official transcript. Students who want to audit courses outside of the School of Divinity must request permission from the school or department in which the course is offered. Students who want to change a course enrollment from grade mode to audit mode must do so on the first day of classes in any semester.