Master of Divinity : MDIV

Program Type

Masters Degree


108 Hours


3-4 Years

Our flagship degree, the Master of Divinity (MDiv) is a comprehensive degree program designed to prepare students for service in ministry by providing a broad foundational knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, Theology, Church History, and Christian Ethics while integrating ministry practice. It is ideal for pastoral leadership and chaplaincy and required by many denominations for ordination.

Delivery: On Campus or Distance

The MDiv is available either on campus or distance education through a combination of interactive live-streaming and mentored learning in context. The core and specialization classes are delivered to students around the world via our state-of-the-art, interactive live-streaming technology. With Northern’s smart classroom technology, you can interact with the professor and other students no matter where you live, earning a seminary degree without leaving your church and community.

Mentored Learning in Context

Northern believes the best way to learn ministry leadership is in a ministry context. In the MDiv program, students study and practice the skills of effective ministry leadership under the supervision of a faculty mentor and a ministry mentor. The program allows each student’s learning journey to be personalized to address the particular needs of the student and their ministry context. For the ministry portion of the MDiv, students must have a ministry internship placement. Northern can support you in identifying a church and ministry mentor.

Church-Based Training Programs

Northern Seminary partners with churches to train and equip their emerging leaders. We believe the best way to learn ministry leadership is in a ministry context. Our new MDiv program is available to students through interactive live-streaming classes and mentored learning in context. Students study and practice the skills of effective ministry leadership under the supervision of a faculty mentor at Northern and a pastoral mentor on site.

The curriculum is adaptable in these ways:

  • Northern can customize a program for a group of students in your church or ministry context.
  • Northern can wrap around your existing church-based training program so that students can earn a Masters degree.
  • Through mentored guidance, each student’s learning journey can be personalized to address their particular ministry goals and context.

Click here to learn more about church-based training partnerships and how we can develop a program that meets your church’s particular needs.


The program includes 24 courses + 12 ministry learning modules spread over three quarters per year and (for students with a specialization) an annual intensive course.

3-Year Schedule: 2-3 classes/quarter | 4 ministry skills courses/year
4-Year Schedule: 2 classes/quarter | 3 ministry skills courses/year

Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is offered to Mdiv student and/or future chaplains who want clinical hours for their work. Learn more about the 2023 – 2024 ACPE Extended Unit at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL.

Tuition and Scholarships

Students may apply for scholarships awarded by need and merit. Learn more >

Requirements for Completion

The Master of Divinity program requires 108 quarter hours (the equivalent of 72 semester hours).

Specializations / Electives

The Master of Divinity contains 15-21 hours for electives or a specialization. Specializations include:

  • New Testament (featuring Scot McKnight and Nijay Gupta)
  • Theology & Mission (featuring David Fitch)
  • Christian Community Development (featuring “Coach” Wayne Gordon)
  • Urban Leadership (featuring Gerald Dew and Marshall Hatch)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Women & Theology (featuring Lynn Cohick)
  • Theology (featuring Beth Felker Jones)

Click here for an updated Progress Report to help you to stay on track.


Christian Heritage (8 courses/24 quarter hours)

Choose 2 out of 3 courses — OT 307, 308, WT 307 :

  • OT 307 Pentateuch, Poetry, and Wisdom Books – 3
  • OT 308 Historical Books and the Prophets – 3
  • WT 307 Women in the OT – 3

Choose 2 out of 3 courses — NT 307, 308, WT 308:

  • NT 307 Gospels and Acts – 3
  • NT 308 New Testament Letters and Revelation – 3
  • WT 308 Women in the NT – 3

Choose 2 out of 3 courses — TH 301, 302, WT 309:

  • TH 301 Christian Theology I – 3
  • TH 302 Christian Theology II – 3
  • WT 309 Theology and Gender – 3

Choose 1 out of 3 courses — CH 301, 302, WT 311:

  • CH 301 Early/Medieval Christianity – 3
  • CH 302 Reformation/Modern Christianity – 3
  • WT 311 Women in the Early Church – 3

Choose 1 of 2 courses — WT 310 or CT 324:

  • WT 310 Women of Color in the Church – 3
  • CT 324 Introduction to the Black Church – 3

Cultural Context (6-12 hours)

  • Cultural Exegesis & Ethnography – 3
  • Race, Poverty, Justice, Reconciliation – 3
  • World Religions & Cultures – 3
  • Cultural Immersion Experience – 3

Specialization or Electives (15-21 hours)

Choose from a specialization or electives in: New Testament, Theology and Mission, Christian Community Development, Worship, Urban Leadership, Women & Theology, Theology, or CPE. 

Formation & Ministry Skills (12 Courses, 36 hours)

  • Formation for Ministry: Disciplines – 3
  • Formation for Ministry: Character – 3
  • Leadership: People – 3
  • Leadership: Projects – 3
  • Ministry Administration – 3
  • Preaching & Communication – 3
  • Mission: Evangelism – 3
  • Mission: Community Engagement – 3
  • Discipleship – 3
  • Generational Ministry – 3
  • Pastoral Care & Counseling – 3
  • Worship – 3


Check out our most common questions:

When does the next academic term begin? 

Northern Seminary does not run on a traditional semester calendar. Classes begin every 10 weeks. Open enrollment allows you to register throughout the year.

Are the classes virtual or in-person?

Northern classes are primarily virtual but include several in-person sessions per year.  

What are the costs for the program?

You can find tuition information here. You can also contact Josh Carney at 630.620.2188 or at

How do I apply for financial aid?

You can apply for financial aid by filling out this application.

Are there scholarships available?

You can find scholarship information here.

Can I sit in on a class to get a feel for the program? 

Call and or email Greg Armstrong at 630-620-2175 or for upcoming Taste of Northern events, which allow potential students to sit in on several of our current classes.

Who do I contact for more information?

Reach out to Greg Armstrong, Director of Enrollment, at  

Student Stories

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