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Wake Forest University School of Divinity

Logo of Wake Forest University School of Divinity

Joined in April 2007

About Us

Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a graduate, professional school that is Christian by tradition, Baptist in heritage, and ecumenical in outlook. Consistent with Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence and in the spirit of the University motto, Pro Humanitate, the School of Divinity prepares leaders informed by a theological understanding of vocation. Through imaginative courses and diverse programs of community engagement, students are equipped to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree cultivates new voices alongside a rich theological heritage, recognizing there is no single pathway to ministry. The result? A leader who is better equipped to utilize the sources of the past for thinking about issues facing humanity in the present. Our innovative Ministry Studies curriculum explores practices suited to vocations in a variety of changing ministry contexts. With area requirements that focus on Race and Class, Gender and Sexuality, Religious Pluralism, and Science, Health, and Ecological Well-Being, the School of Divinity cultivates a community of learners that is responsive to changing patterns of religious life in North America and the increasing needs of its communities. Additionally, our Art of Ministry program gives students the opportunity to discover their ministerial identity, engage ministry through a wide variety of practices, and reflect theologically on your experiences and learnings as a Master of Divinity student. Optional concentrations are available that allow students to explore, in greater depths, areas of particular interest in religious leadership in food, health, and ecology. Students can choose one focus or a general focus across all three areas. A certificate in Sustainability is also offered in partnership with the Wake Forest University Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES). As a Top 30 National University-related divinity school, Master of Divinity students can take courses in interdisciplinary topics to further their own personal interests and ministerial identity.

In addition to the MDiv, the School of Divinity offers several joint degrees with other schools and programs from the University, including:

  • The MDiv/Master of Arts in Counseling is offered for students interested in pursuing vocations at the intersection of religious leadership and counseling. This joint program will guide students into practicing effective and ethical counseling while engaging in the compassionate service of humanity to foster the wellness of people everywhere.
  • The MDiv/Juris Doctor (JD) prepares students for vocations in ethics and law to meet the needs of a changing legal profession through a program that models engagement and professionalism through academic excellence and a thorough commitment to service. Students interested in nonprofits or public policy will benefit from such a program.
  • The MDiv/MA in Education promotes interdisciplinary conversation between theological education and public education for leaders who seek to meet the challenges of diverse pK12 learning environments in 21st century classrooms by providing rich foundations in content and pedagogy.
  • The MDiv/Master of Arts in Bioethics facilitates an interdisciplinary conversation between theology and bioethics, addressing ethical, social, and policy issues of importance for biotechnology, healthcare, biomedical research, and public health.
  • The MDiv/MA in Sustainability acknowledges the growing demand for professionals in religious leadership venues who have the knowledge and skills to lead communities in responding to critical ecological and social issues. 
  • The MDiv/MA in Management Dual-Degree Pathway targets students interested in ministry and religious leadership, and in gaining business knowledge and expertise needed to turn passion into a meaningful profession as leaders at humanitarian agencies, church and para-church organizations, or in the marketplace. 

Financial Aid

The School of Divinity believes in a complete investment approach that demonstrates a commitment to making sure a student’s pursuit of theological education does not leave them with significant debt. That’s why 100% of students who enroll in our Master of Divinity program receive a scholarship.

While our scholarships are merit-based and range from one-third tuition to full tuition plus a stipend (of up to $7,500), our 100% commitment to students honors high academic achievement and outstanding promise for ministry, service, and social justice work. Scholarships are awarded to full-time degree-seeking students and are usually renewable for up to three years (six semesters) based on continued academic success and maintaining a minimum GPA.

​In addition to scholarships, the School of Divinity offers Student Academic Conference Grants for students to engage in areas of interest that can supplement their theological education or vocational passions.  Support is provided toward registration, travel, and lodging to assist students in making various conference opportunities affordable. Our Financial Well-Being for Pastoral Leaders program provides formational and educational programming that aids in shaping the habits and skills of pastoral leaders to engage finances responsibly, for themselves and the communities they serve.

Social Justice

The motto of Wake Forest University is Pro Humanitate, which we believe captures the heart of theological education. The School of Divinity’s mission is to educate students who will be leaders for justice, reconciliation, and compassion in church and community, who will make a difference for humanity, for the world.

One particular area of interest and investment is around religious leadership and food, health, and ecology. Public health leaders and institutions and religious leaders and institutions share much history and at least one goal: the well-being of humans and the communities in which they live, work, and play. Religious leaders today become more effective when they cultivate a holistic view of wellness and learn strategies for helping faith communities embody this view in worship, education, mission, and other programs. The School of Divinity offers concentrated studies within the curriculum that provides students the opportunity to explore the implications for and intersections of religious leadership with foodways, the health of the public, and ecology.  Courses offered include: Culinary Culture in Black Religious Experience, Tree of Life: Christianity, Climate Change, and Ecological Vocation, Environmental Law and Policy, and many others.

Field education placement opportunities through the Art of Ministry Program allow students to pair theories they learn and explore in the classroom with practical application, as they seek to become excellent practitioners of ministry.  The following are examples of placement sites which focus on these three areas of concern:

  • A Rocha is an international Christian organization which, inspired by God’s love, engages in scientific research, environmental education, community-based conservation projects and sustainable agriculture.
  • Forsyth Community Food Consortium is a community-driven development organization that was established as the central implementation recommended by our regional food system assessment (Forsyth County’s Community food System: A Foundation to Grow (2013)) to (1) serve as a convener, catalyst, and resource center for our regional food system, (2) oversee the implementation of the 23 other recommendations the report proposed, and to (3) continue to evolve the vision and practices of a local food system that is economically, socially, and environmentally equitable and sustainable.
  • Partners in Health and Wholeness is a program of the North Carolina Council of Churches, designed to bridge issues of faith and health together. In order to live out the example of Jesus Christ, the program seeks to provide people of faith with the tools necessary to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.
  • Boulton Food Pantry Project is a a new food pantry project between three congregations in our community and one local elementary school. A School of Divinity Board of Visitor member generously provided funding that allowed the partner congregations to upfit a food pantry space at one of the partner congregations and to support a part-time position for a School of Divinity student to serve as a coordinator for the food pantry. The School of Divinity is working to support this project in a number of ways, drawing on the assets identified above. In the coming year, we hope to convene a meeting of several faith community and school partners that have developed food pantry projects in our city to better describe the crisis of food insecurity facing local families and to identify best practices in administering these projects and building relationships with food pantry guests.

There are other opportunities for students to engage with these issues in both formal and informal ways.  We understand that well-being is about much more than physical health. It’s a delicate balancing act that leaves us best able to cope with adversity, build rewarding relationships, and live with a sense of purpose as individuals and within communities.  The School of Divinity specifically offers several clubs and organizations whose focus is the exploration of meaning in these areas, such as Amazing Grace (creative expression through movement), Commonplace (emphasis on ecological justice and sustainable practices), and the Physical Wellness Club (sponsors opportunities to be active, stay healthy, and build community).  The University offers Thrive, a campus-wide initiative that seeks to provide students with the skills, knowledge, and perspective to maintain a healthy, balanced life – wherever life takes them - by focusing on eight core dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual.

Engaging the World

The School of Divinity is a learning community that prepares students to engage their minds and hearts in classrooms and community engagement opportunities that are connected to faith communities and the world. We recognize there is no single pathway to ministry, and religious leaders today become more effective when they cultivate a holistic view of well-being and learn strategies for helping faith communities embody this view in worship, community building, Christian education, outreach, and other programs.

Our Art of Ministry program attends to three related sources of ministry wisdom: ministerial identity, ministry practice, and theological reflection. In 2017-2018, student internship placements are 61% in congregations, 23% in nonprofits/social justice ministries, and 16% in chaplaincy. Students have the opportunity to be deeply involved in ministries addressing poverty, child welfare, LGBTQ advocacy, chaplaincy, palliative care, community supported agriculture, racial justice work, community organizing, refugee resettlement, prisoner re-entry, disability accommodation, and advocacy for victims of sexual assault. Through these experiences they gain practical experience and learn valuable skills.

All students take at least one Cross-Cultural Connections course, which incorporate travel to various regions and countries in order to help students understand pressing issues and concerns in more tangible ways. Students have traveled with faculty to Appalachia to engage rural communities, Arizona to learn more about immigration and food insecurity, Israel and Egypt to engage interfaith challenges, Nicaragua to study community health practices, and Washington, D.C. to engage different forms of Christian public witness in American public and political life.


A number of student groups actively seek ways to engage the world beyond Wake Forest. They invite speakers and organize community events in order to highlight broader concerns and encourage challenging conversations. Akoni is a student group for students of African heritage that seeks to address the social, religious and political needs and concerns of the students and the black community. We also have a student-run chapter of the Beatitudes Society, which develops and sustains a national network of emerging Christian leaders who advocate for justice, compassion, and peace, and reclaim a Christianity that welcomes all people. Another student group, Kaleidoscope, serves as a safe and welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and allied students, faculty, and staff from all cultural, socio-economic, ethnic, and ecumenical backgrounds.


The School’s newest program, The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership, partners with faith communities, nonprofit agencies, and other organizations to advance the mission and goals of our community partners and, in doing so, to create learning opportunities for our students. The Collaborative houses existing programming, like the Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program, and offers new opportunities. It is a founding partner of The Foundry House, an intentional Christian community at Crossnore School & Children’s Home in Winston-Salem offering young adults from varying backgrounds and life experiences the opportunity to create a residential community that exemplifies the love of Jesus Christ; is held together through intentional practices of corporate prayer, fellowship, and relational care; and advances Kingdom work of justice, reconciliation, and compassion through shared service projects.  It’s Practitioners-in-Residence program represents collaborative learning and invites ministry practitioners to join the School of Divinity community for a residential experience to teach, lead community worship, convene a public event around their area of interest, guest lecture in courses, and meet with students to discuss their work. In 2017-2018 the program welcomed Harry Pickens, world-renowned jazz pianist and leadership coach, to explore connections between creativity, contemplative practices, and leadership formation; Rev. Anna Woofenden, founder and co-host of the Food and Faith Podcast and founding pastor of the Garden Church in San Pedro, California, to aid in re-imagining church by sharing her passions around spirituality, justice, food, the earth, beauty, compassion, and community; and Rev. Dr. Heber Brown III, founding director of Orita’s Cross Freedom School and the Black Church Food Security Network, to share ways he sees systemic problems needing systemic solutions.

Environmental Stewardship

The School of Divinity continues to increase its efforts to promote environmental stewardship and sustainability in a number of ways. Our student group CommonPlace coordinates organic compost collection at the School of Divinity's weekly community lunches. Every other week, one of these community lunches features a "plant-forward" menu that uses locally sourced ingredients to provide nutritious and more sustainable meals. The School of Divinity works closely with the University’s Office of Sustainability to identify and implement more ecologically sustainable practices throughout the school. This past year, the school adopted the practice of purchasing only 100% recycled paper for all of its printers and copiers. The Office of Admissions also implemented a paperless admissions process.

The School’s Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program invites speakers to campus and hosts retreats each year that bring together faith and community leaders working at the intersection of food, health, and sustainability. The program also coordinates its annual Re:Generate Fellowship, a gathering of young faith leaders working at the intersections of food, sustainability, and community flourishing.

The School of Divinity offers concentrations in these areas within its MDiv curriculum for students who want to focus more specifically on integrating food justice, community health, and environmental stewardship with faithful leadership in congregations, nonprofits, and other ministries. The school has also been intentional about incorporating these focal areas into the overall curriculum and into community worship.

Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a graduate, professional school that is Christian by tradition, Baptist in heritage, and ecumenical in outlook. Consistent with Wake Forest’s commitment to academic excellence and in the spirit…


  • PO Box 7719
    Wake Forest University
    Winston-Salem, NC 27109

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