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Master of Divinity Degree

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree program is designed to prepare persons for:

  • ordained ministry,
  • pastoral and religious leadership in local congregations and other faith-based settings, and
  • a variety of non-ordained religious leadership roles in the church and world.

Because of our social location as the graduate school of theology of a Historically Black College/University (HBCU), the MDiv curriculum uniquely sensitizes students to the relevance of the rich social, cultural, and religious history, heritage, and traditions of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora as a guiding motif for theological understanding and inquiry.

As a first theological degree, the MDiv seeks to provide a broad theological foundation with practical applications for ministry engagement as well as further study in a theological discipline. The Master of Divinity degree program is offered in a three-year full-time format as well as a five-year Extended Preparation Program format and requires 135 quarter hours of credit (30 courses). More information about the Extended Preparation Program format can be found here. (hot link) Students who transfer to STVU to complete an MDiv started elsewhere must complete at least 70 credit hours at STVU and fulfill all degree requirements for graduation.

Our academic year is comprised of four 10-week terms – Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Each course is worth five credit hours. Required and elective MDiv courses are offered during on weekdays, evenings, and on Saturdays. Select courses are offered in online, hybrid, one-week intensive, and year-long (fall registration only) formats.

Required and elective credits can be taken in the pattern of study that best fits students’ schedules, learning styles, and interests: in-person courses, online courses, hybrid courses, one-week intensive courses, directed study, independent study, and through service learning or experiential learning opportunities. More information on requirements and limitations for classroom and non-classroom alternatives can be found in the current academic catalog and program manual. Students should consult with their faculty advisor early in their program to discuss their educational goals and plan the best way to earn required elective credit that meets their interests and needs.

A very important part of the MDiv degree program is preparation of each individual for ministry. To that end, we require three (3) Formation for Ministry courses: PT555, PT556, PT557. These courses are not electives and they do not accumulate earned hours. They are offered on a “Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory” basis. Students should consult with their advisors and with the current academic catalog and program manual for further information on this important requirement.

The admission process varies among degree programs. For more information about enrolling in the Master of Divinity degree program, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (804) 257-5724 or via e-mail at STVUAdmissions@vuu.edu.

Admission Requirements

Program Design


Master of Arts in Christian Education

The Master of Arts in Christian Education (MACE) degree program is a two-year professional graduate degree focused in the area of educational ministry. The primary purpose of the MACE degree program is to equip persons for leadership in educational ministry in congregations and a broad range of other settings. The MACE degree program is also offered in a one-year course design for students who have completed the Master of Divinity degree.

The two-year MACE degree program requires the successful completion of 90 quarter hours of credit (18 courses). The one-year Master of Arts in Christian Education course design requires the successful completion of 45 quarter hours of credit (9 courses).

Our academic year is comprised of four 10-week terms – Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Each course is worth five credit hours. All required MACE courses are offered Friday evenings and Saturdays in the in-person classroom format. Select MACE courses are also offered in online and hybrid formats. Two required courses in the MACE degree program are year-long courses beginning in the Fall term and meeting approximately once per month from September through May. Registration for year-long courses is only open in the Fall term.

Required elective credits can be met in a variety of ways: in-person courses, online courses, hybrid courses, one-week intensive courses, directed study, independent study, and through service learning or experiential learning opportunities. Students should consult with their faculty advisor early in their program to discuss their educational goals and plan the best way to earn required elective credit that meets their interests and needs.

Students seeking to enter the two-year program must have an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and must demonstrate capacity for graduate study and evident fitness for ministry. Students seeking to enter the one-year program must have an earned Master of Divinity from an accredited institution. For more information about enrolling in the Master of Arts in Christian Education degree program, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (804) 257-5724 or via e-mail at STVUAdmissions@vuu.edu.

Admission Requirements

Program Design


Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work (MDiv/MSW)

In a cooperative arrangement with the School of Social Work of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), students can earn a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University and a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from VCU. This four-year graduate professional degree program is offered by VCU in cooperation with STVU.

The purpose MDiv-MSW dual degree program is to prepare students for service in occupations where social work and the ministry intersect; to enable social workers to perform and evaluate social work practices as they relate to biblical, theological, ethical, educational, and pastoral perspectives; and equip graduates for various forms of ministry in which clinical and administrative skills in social work are critical.

To participate in the program, a student must apply separately and be admitted to both the Master of Divinity program at STVU and to the Master of Social Work program at VCU. The student also pays tuitions separately to each school. This program requires four continuous years of study resulting in Master degrees in both divinity and Social Work. Permission for part-time study must be given by the dual degree advisor at VCU and the STVU dean or faculty advisor. All degree requirements must be completed within seven years of matriculation. Students can apply simultaneously to both schools and begin study at either institution following the approved curriculum plan. Or, a student may begin at either VCU or STVU and then apply for admission to the other school during the first year of study in accordance with application deadline dates.

For more information about enrolling in the Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work joint degree program, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (804) 257-5724 or via e-mail at STVUAdmissions@vuu.edu.


Master of Divinity/Master of Science in Patient Counseling (MDiv/MS)

The cooperative arrangement with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), students can earn a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University and a Master of Science degree in Patient Counseling from VCU. The graduate program in Patient Counseling is designed to assist an individual to work in the health field as one skilled in dealing with the whole person in the context of life’s crises and in a cooperative inter-professional team approach. It is offered to persons who have an existing identity in a helping or counseling profession.

The joint MDiv/MS program is particularly directed toward persons seeking professional certification as health care chaplains as well as clinical pastoral education supervisors. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) was conceived by Richard C. Cabor as a method of learning pastoral practice in a clinical setting under supervision. The concept was enlarged by Anton T. Boisen to include a case study method of theological inquiry-a study of “living human documents.” As CPE developed, other leaders opened the doors to the integration into pastoral practice of knowledge from medicine, psychology, and other behavioral sciences.

Separate applications for admission should be made to each institution. Those interested should contact both the School of Graduate Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1001 Grove Ave, Richmond, VA 23284 (804) 828-6916 or gradschool@vcu.edu and the STVU Admissions Office, 1500 North Lombardy Street, Richmond, VA 23220 (804) 257--5724 or STVUAdmissions@vuu.edu. Joint degree programs with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Social Work and Patient Counseling complement and enhance the M.Div. degree.

For more information about enrolling in the Master of Divinity/Master of Science in Patient Counseling degree program, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (804) 257-5724 or via e-mail at STVUAdmissions@vuu.edu.


Doctor of Ministry

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University School is a three-year professional doctoral program designed for active pastors and leaders of Christian institutions. The program requires the completion of 62-credit hours and incorporates four face-to-face on-campus residency requirements; four on-line courses; and a variety of learning settings which may include regional and international travel depending on chosen cohort specializations. Students are given 12 months advance notice of all required travel. Colloquiums are held for two consecutive weeks every January and July.

The STVU Doctor of Ministry program focuses on personal and cultural realism in ministry; therefore, the program is generally described as Ministry in Cultural Context. It recognizes the unique and special contributions that each cultural context provides for the church at large. Moreover, there is the recognition that persons are best prepared to serve the world when there is an awareness of the particularity of one’s own culture. The ultimate goal is to prepare the laity to understand and to embody their unique gifts as persons and groups, in order to share those gifts in a pluralistic society. Because the nature of the program relates so closely to the constituency of the church or ministry context, the applicant should be able to demonstrate the position of his or her engagement with the church/context for the period of the program.

For more information about enrolling in the Doctor of Ministry degree program, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at (804) 257-5724 or via e-mail at STVUAdmissions@vuu.edu.

Admission Requirements

Program Design

Doctor of Ministry Handbook