What Can I Do with a Master of Divinity?

August 25, 2023

Since 1929 Westminster Theological Seminary’s MDiv program has existed to train specialists in the Bible. The MDiv has facilitated this task for over 90 years with very little deviation from its core theological distinctives. No matter what your ministerial prospects are, Westminster’s MDiv will prepare you as it is one of the most robust and rigorous theological master’s programs in the world. It also serves as an unparalleled springboard into post-graduate theological education. What follows is an overview of the particular skills that the program fosters as well as some of the various ministry opportunities that would be available to you as a graduate. The differences between the MDiv and other master’s programs as well as the distinctions between the MDiv concentrations will also be covered.

Skills of MDiv Graduates

The MDiv program is built to foster an expertise in the key areas of theological study. Your studies will focus on the Old and New Testament, systematic theology, church history, apologetics, and pastoral theology. As a student in this program you will be equipped to translate and understand Greek and Hebrew, which serve as prerequisites for all subsequent coursework. This ensures that you will have the skills required to exegete the Scriptures in their original languages. You will also develop familiarity with the system of doctrine found in the Westminster Standards. The end result will be the development of the skills necessary to understand and apply these truths to the particular context of your area of ministry. Most importantly, love for God and his people will be fostered, that you might grow as a faithful shepherd of God’s church.

Ministry Opportunities with a Master of Divinity

Ministering in a broken and fallen world requires Spirit motivated care and Christ-centered theological insight. No matter what form your ministry takes, the MDiv will provide you with the tools necessary to minister the glorious Gospel of God’s Son to those who suffer the harsh realities of a sin-stained world.

Pastoral Ministry

The Westminster MDiv program was started with the goal of training men for pastoral ministry. In that sense, the MDiv is most suitable for those who desire to become pastors. Westminster’s MDiv will thus equip you with the knowledge and preparation needed to undergo the ordination process and other ecclesiastical requirements for ministry in most Reformed and Presbyterian church denominations.

Christian Counseling

The MDiv’s required Biblical Counseling courses will equip you for potential ministry at a parachurch Christian counseling center or as part of a counseling staff at a local church.

Missionary Work

The MDiv has historically seen many graduates pursue missions, with graduates serving all over the globe. Whether you are seeking to be sent to a foreign land to promote the Gospel or desire to be trained by Westminster to minister in your homeland, the MDiv is the best program for preparing for full-time missions.

Campus Ministry

Our alumni serve in ordained campus ministries such as Reformed University Fellowship, as well as parachurch campus ministries like Cru, InterVarsity, and YoungLife.


Westminster graduates may also pursue the field of Christian education either at the university level after post-graduate education, or at the primary and secondary level directly after their MDiv.

Military Chaplaincy

The MDiv is also a great option for those who are desiring to engage in military chaplaincy.

Difference Between Pastoral Fellows and General Ministry

The MDiv has two distinct tracts to choose from: the Pastoral Fellows and the General Ministry track. The General Ministries track can be taken in both on-campus and online formats, whereas the Pastoral Fellows is only available on campus. While the Pastoral Fellows program and General Ministry track possess much of the same coursework, the key difference is that the Pastoral Fellows coursework is completed over the course of three years, culminating in a one year pastoral residency. Additionally, the Pastoral Fellows requires four preaching courses with up to 18 opportunities to preach in class whereas the General Ministry track is more flexible, allowing for eight electives compared to the Pastoral Fellows, which requires two. Additionally, the Pastoral Fellows track is reserved only for men. Women are encouraged to enroll in the General Ministry program.

Further Postgraduate Studies in Theology

The MDiv program serves as a remarkable stepping stone towards post-graduate doctoral programs. In order to pursue a PhD at Westminster or elsewhere, students are typically required to have undergone a theological master’s program with 74 credits or higher and with three semesters of Greek and Hebrew. Yet many theological master’s programs do not meet those requirements. Additionally, the profound rigor of the MDiv program prepares students for their advanced study exceptionally well. While Westminster offers its own advantageous PhD opportunities, many WTS MDiv students have gone on to PhD programs at renowned seminaries and universities with many of our alumni teaching across the globe.

What is the Difference Between the MDiv and MAR?

When directly comparing the MDiv vs MAR programs, the MAR and the MDiv share much of the same coursework but the MAR is focused on positioning students for post-graduate theological education. Thus, it is a more streamlined degree program with an academic focus. The primary difference between them is that while they share the same theological, biblical, and historical coursework, the MAR forgoes the Pastoral Theology coursework of the MDiv. In this way, the MAR is as preparatory for post-graduate advanced degree coursework as the MDiv, but provides that preparation in a more affordable and expeditious manner. Both of these programs can be distinguished from the MATS, which serves to equip students who are seeking part-time or non-vocational ministry, in that their credit requirements are more demanding, and therefore are able to provide deeper insight into certain topics due to their comparative length.

What Can You Do with a MDiv Degree?

The MDiv has been designed to prepare pastors and other leaders in full-time vocational ministry for nearly a century. Prepared for a lifetime of faithful ministry, our alumni exegete and communicate the Word of God in a number of ministerial contexts as experts in the Bible. Though the program is rigorous, robust, and challenging, there is no better theological education for full-time ministry. You should prepare to be stretched spiritually and intellectually. The task of vocational ministry is a difficult one, and as such so ought to be the preparation for said ministry. If you are keen to undertake such theological studies and would like to hear more about the MDiv Pastoral Fellows or the MDiv General Ministry Track we encourage you to reach out to our Admissions team and to apply now.

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