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Pursuing another Masters degree-Duke Divinity


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Hello everyone,

I recently stumble upon this forum and it has been a tremendous blessing toward my discernment process. I wanted to see if anyone here has had a similar situation with their education, and to also assess my strengths as a candidate for Duke’s Divinity school.

I recently graduated with my Masters in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Central Florida. Here are my overall stats:

GPA: 3.9

Skills: Grant writing, extensive research/clinical experience with couples,families, and addictions

Research interests: Military chaplaincy, spiritual formation, pastoral counseling

I found that although I love the counseling field, I wish to pursue counseling from a more ministerial perspective and believe that theological preparation in the form of a M Div would assist with that calling. I am currently pursuing ordination in the UMC and pray that I will be a certified candidate before the spring. Here are my questions:

1) How would admissions feel about my recent graduate degree? Would it be strength to my application?

2) How does Duke view military chaplaincy? I aim to apply to the Air Force Chaplain Candidacy program concurrently.

3) Any insight regarding the emphasis Duke’s M Div has regarding pastoral care and spiritual formation?

Thank you everyone for your input!

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You're a very competitive candidate for Duke Divinity, so no worries there. I think admissions would love the fact that you have another master's degree in anything really. Chaplains and those in ministry work with individuals who suffer from mental disorders all the time, so it will be seen as a strong plus.

While they do not have a particular focus on military chaplaincy here (as in, no certificates, no programs, etc) they may have classes on occasion that pertain to that area specifically. Besides this, you will find a supportive community here with individuals heading into all forms of ministry, military chaplaincy included. Even if you can't find courses like "Introduction to Military Chaplaincy" (which I'm not saying you won't, I'm just not aware of any) you will find that all of the courses pertain directly to any form of ministry.

Duke's MDiv has a few limited electives (electives that focus on a particular area, such as pastoral care or spiritual formation) where you take one or two courses in those areas, as well as 10 free electives that you can focus in any direction you like. Therefore, you could use all of those electives and focus on pastoral care and spiritual formation. The classes in both areas are ample here. Take the time to skim through the courses being offered this coming semester to see here for yourself!

Just make sure you get strong references and write a good Statement of Purpose, and I'm confident you will be a competitive candidate.

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