Master of Divinity Equivalency Process

Admission to a Doctor of Ministry program requires a Master of Divinity degree, or its educational equivalent from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 (B) average. Students with an MA may be admitted through our MDiv Equivalency process. Students admitted through equivalency will normally have to take additional Master’s-level classes, but can start their program with provisional admission.

Northern offers Master’s level distance courses through interactive live-streaming (Northern Live) that can be used to make up deficiencies.

Northern Seminary uses the following template to determine whether an applicant who has not earned an accredited MDiv degree meets the minimum number of masters- level courses and hours to qualify for MDiv equivalency.

  • A MDiv Equivalency Assessment will be considered for those students who have earned a two-year, theologically-oriented degree equivalent to a minimum of 52 semester hours or 78 quarter hours from an accredited institution.
  • There is a $100 MDiv Equivalency Assessment Fee. Before an MDiv Equivalency Assessment will be completed, the following must be submitted: DMin Application, Application Fee, Official Transcripts, and MDiv Equivalency Assessment Fee.
  • After the Seminary completes the assessment, if it is determined that the student is more than 12 semester hours or 18 quarter hours deficient, those hours must be completed prior to being reconsidered for admission.
  • After being admitted, students who need to complete courses toward MDiv Equivalency will be required to enroll in classes for graded credit from an accredited institution to complete the balance of course work. Northern offers several distance classes via interactive live-streaming which can be used to make up the deficiencies. (View the course list here. Most classes are live-streamed except DM, IS, and SM.)
  • Grades for courses taken toward Equivalency must be recorded before the student is permitted to register for the final Doctor of Ministry course, Thesis Design.
  • Many Masters-level courses that students may need to take for equivalency will be available through Northern’s on-campus, weekend, intensive, and online course options. However, students may take courses at any accredited institution.

Click here for the Master of Divinity Equivalency Worksheet

How to Apply for MDiv Equivalency

All applicants to the DMin program who do not have a Master of Divinity degree will need to have an MDiv Equivalency Assessment completed. The process is as follows:

  1. Submit DMin Application (excluding academic essay) and Application Fee.
  2. Submit the official transcript for a two-year, theologically-oriented degree with a minimum of 52 semester or 78 quarter hours from an accredited institution.
  3. Submit official transcripts for any other graduate-level course work in addition to that degree.
  4. Submit the $100 MDiv Equivalency Assessment Fee (found on the ‘Apply’ page).

Following the submission of all of the above, an MDiv Equivalency Articulation will be completed, and the results will be communicated to you by the Office of Admissions.

Appeal Process
If you believe an error has been made in your Equivalency Articulation, you may submit an appeal by sending a letter of formal appeal to the Doctor of Ministry Office. The letter should include four sections:

  • State the specific category in which you are appealing the assessment (Biblical Studies, Church History, Christian Thought, Ministry Studies, or Electives).
  • Note what decision in that category you would like to appeal.
  • Offer a concise rationale for the specific appeal.
  • Attach syllabi (and/or other documentation as applicable) for each specific course in which you are appealing the decisions(s) reflected in the assessment.

For more information on issues related to MDiv equivalency as an admission requirement for the DMin degree please contact the Office of Admissions at (630)620-2108 or

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