Master of Divinity

Serve the Kingdom of God

Lead as a Christian minister and scholar. The Gardner-Webb Master of Divinity balances practical knowledge, spiritual formation and theological understanding to help you make an impact for Christ. 

While our program is Baptist in origin and commitment, Gardner-Webb divinity professors equip, nurture, encourage, and support you to serve in a variety of Christian ministries. Our faculty have led and continue to lead in church and missions work, offering you first-hand experience in biblical teaching. Our small classes, both on-campus, online, and in hybrid formats, offer a close knit environment of faithful believers. This helps you form meaningful relationships with professors and peers that support your walk with Jesus. 

During your program, you will study and reflect the data, meaning, and implications of Christian faith, while thoughtfully and critically assessing church history and theology. You’ll also undergo spiritual formation personally, socially, and vocationally to understand your gifts and your future in ministry.


What You’ll Learn

Your classes and hands-on learning experiences will help you:

  • Uncover your personal gifts, talents, and abilities, and how those relate to ministry
  • Identify the facts, histories, principles, philosophies, and current discussions in each of the following disciplines: biblical studies, biblical languages, Christian and Baptist history, hermeneutics, homiletics, ethics, philosophy of religion, missiology, evangelism, worship, pastoral ministry, teaching, church administration, church policy and denominational organization, psychology, counseling, anthropology, and sociology
  • Interpret how multi-faceted ministry can meet the needs of church and society
  • Commit to personal growth and development and improve interpersonal skills
  • Develop a lifestyle of healthy ministry and continuing educational experiences for effective Christian ministry
  • Develop expertise in leadership skills, organizational principles, and conflict management
  • Write and speak with clarity and persuasion

Available Programs

Master of Divinity

Beyond the 51-hour core, you will choose one of six concentrations each requiring an additional 27 hours: Pastoral Studies, Biblical Studies, and Congregational Health through Formation: Christian Education, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Missiology, or Intercultural Studies.

Biblical Studies

Emphasize the study and the teaching of Scripture in a ministry setting and/or prepare for graduate research programs. This concentration also allows you to pursue advanced study in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Theological German, Old Testament studies, and New Testament studies. 

Congregational Health through Formation: Christian Education

Acquire an overview of age-group work, tools in designing a church’s curriculum, and principles in organizing a church for mission and ministry. This concentration prepares you to serve as a Minister of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation in a local congregation or in other locations of pastoral ministry. 

Intercultural Studies

Become an agent of change in the face of the 21st Century religious pluralism, cultural relativism, urbanization, global diaspora, and globalization. You’ll develop your knowledge and skills for intercultural engagements in North America and overseas using the paradigm of change. 


Learn the biblical, historical, theological and practical issues that missionaries face in the 21st Century. This concentration offers specialized training so you can serve in a variety of mission-related ministries. It also addresses both religious and cultural pluralism to equip you for a variety of cross-cultural situations. 

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Lead in the pastoral role of the minister as counselor and caregiver, whether in a parish setting or in an institutional setting. With both study of theory and supervised clinical practice, the concentration helps you if you are considering or already engaged in pastoral care and counseling ministry. 

Pastoral Studies

Deepen your understanding of the realistic elements of ministry. This concentration further equips you in learning advanced biblical languages, advanced historical/theological concepts, and practical aspects of ministry in a local church setting. This concentration may help you become a pastor, prepare for doctoral studies or take on teaching roles in a higher education setting.

Additional information, including descriptions of specific concentrations and their corresponding credit hours, is available in the Academic Catalog.


What You’ll Do

Wherever God calls you in ministry, our program will prepare you for your path. Our program emphasizes supporting the local community, with our graduates leading faith-based roles in area churches, hospitals, and businesses. Our professors and advisors will also help you meet requirements for advanced doctoral studies.

You’ll be able to pursue the following roles, both in the state of North Carolina and in a global setting:

  • Pastor
  • Associate Pastor
  • Student Minister
  • Children’s Minister
  • Advanced Theological Studies
  • Military/Hospital Chaplain
  • Missionary
  • Christian Counselor

Additional Opportunities

International Experiences

You will have at least three opportunities for international ministry experience, typically taking place in Israel, Greece, or Turkey. Our program also goes on a cross-cultural ministry experience trip in Cuba.

Faculty Mentor

You’ll pair with a School of Divinity faculty member who will serve as your advisor and guide you through your graduate studies. We have an open-door policy so that we can encourage you in your academic, personal, and spiritual life. 

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