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How Do I Get a Bachelor of Divinity Degree?

A divinity degree may require students study Greek, since the New Testament was originally written in the language.
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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2014
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If you want to become a member of the clergy, you may be wondering if you should get a Bachelor of Divinity degree. Before enrolling in this type of degree program, however, you should understand that in the US, this degree has been replaced by the Master of Divinity degree. Should you opt to enroll in a Master of Divinity degree program, you will likely need to take a range of classes and write a thesis. In some European countries, the Bachelor of Divinity degree remains the standard academic qualification for aspiring clergy members. If you wish to get a Bachelor of Divinity degree in one of these countries, you will generally need to complete a curriculum similar to that of a Master of Divinity program in the US.

While the Bachelor of Divinity was once the standard minimum degree for those who wish to join the clergy in the US, as of the early 21st century, the Master of Divinity has become standard. In fact, no accredited US educational institution offers a Bachelor of Divinity degree any longer. This shift is largely an issue of semantics, as the level of work involved in completing the now-defunct bachelor’s degree in divinity was believed to exceed that required by bachelor’s degrees in other subjects.

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Should you choose to enroll in a Bachelor of Divinity program in the US, you should be aware that your degree will not be accredited, and consequently, you may not be eligible to join the clergy when you complete your studies. If you opt to enroll in a master’s program instead, you will likely need to take a number of classes covering subjects like Bible study, religious philosophy, and languages like Hebrew and Greek, as well as courses which prepare you to minister to a congregation. Depending on the requirements of your program, you may also be required to complete a written thesis. Most Master of Divinity programs take around three years to complete.

In European countries like England and Scotland, the Bachelor of Divinity remains the dominant professional degree for aspiring clergy members. Despite the fact that it is labeled a bachelor’s degree, however, this degree is typically closer to a master’s degree in both rigorousness and duration. Some educational institutions in these countries even require those applying to their Bachelor of Divinity program to hold an undergraduate degree in another subject. Once admitted to one of these programs, your curriculum will generally be fairly comparable to that of an American Master of Divinity program.

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