McAfee School of Theology Student

The Master of Divinity is a 90 hour degree. Most students complete it in three years with full-time year-round study. The M.Div. is the classic gold standard for practicing ordained ministers and is often necessary for pursuing doctoral studies. There are 7 tracks to help you specialize your ministry focus as well as 3 dual degree options: M.Div./ M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.Div./M.B.A., and M.Div./M.S. Organizational Leadership (Nonprofit Concentration).


McAfee School of Theology Student

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is a 48 hour program that can be completed in two years either in residence or online.* The M.A.C.M. is ideal for bi-vocational and part-time ministers, ministers with undergraduate ministerial education, lay leaders, and professionals from other disciplines seeking to broaden their competencies. The M.A.C.M. does not prepare students to enter the Ph.D., Th.D., or D.Min. Most denominations require an M.Div. for ordination.

*Online program now enrolling for Fall 2016 pending approval.


McAfee School of Theology Student

The Doctor of Ministry Degree Program is a 33 hour program. Ministers considering the D.Min. program at McAfee should be prepared to spend a minimum of three and a half to four years to complete the program. Students remain in their fields of service for the entire program, coming to McAfee for classes and focused collegial interaction, for individual study at the library, or to engage in consultation with the student's faculty supervisor.

Admissions Staff

Our admissions staff understands the importance of being servant leaders. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what they strive to do -- serve. So if you have questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas, or just need to talk about vocational options, know we are here to help. To speak with one of them directly, follow the links below:

Nikki Carroll Hardeman
Director of Admissions,

Kate Riney
Associate Director of Admissions,


Applicants for admission to the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University are required to have a regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a liberal arts core or proof of an equivalent degree from a foreign university. Admission will be based on your total profile (undergraduate GPA, personal information you supply, letters of recommendation, interview, and background check). A minimum grade point average of 2.75 overall and 3.0 in your major is normally required. Ultimate approval of admission to the M.Div. or M.A.C.M. program is given by the Dean. 

For individuals who do not currently possess a bachelor's degree, but who want to obtain a graduate theological education, Mercer offers pre-theology education through the College of Liberal Arts in Macon and through Penfield College in Atlanta. For more information about these programs, contact Mercer's Office of Undergraduate Admission.

M.Div./M.A. Application Process

Application Deadlines:
Fall Scholarship Deadline: February 1
Fall Admissions Deadline: June 1
Spring Scholarship Deadline: October 1
Spring Admissions Deadline: November 15

We are glad you are interested in applying to McAfee. Below are the requirements for applying. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. 

  1. Biographical Information
  2. $50.00 application fee
  3. Four Typed Essays - (Questions are in the application)
  4. Three Letters of Recommendation
    1. Pastor
    2. Church Leader
    3. Professor / Supervisor
  5. Letter of Support from local ministry (for Online M.A. applicants only)*
  6. Official Transcripts from all higher educational institutions previously attended
  7. Background check* - Background check to be filed online at Certified Background, or call 1-888-666-7788 for more information. The package cost is $33.50, which must be ordered and purchased directly online by the applicant. The admissions office will supply the appropriate step-by-step directions on how to complete the background check. Please download instructions to order your background check and have it sent to the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University.
  8. Admissions Interview - the interview is the most important part of the application process. Application, essays, and background check must be submitted prior to the interview. We will be in touch with you about setting up a time and place. 

*The Online M.A.C.M. is a cohort based distance learning program that requires students to secure a ministry context where they can complete their field hours. Admission is competitive and limited to working professionals who are unable to complete a theological studies program in residence.

*In order to fulfill contracts with our seminary partners, McAfee School of Theology now requires that all McAfee applications undergo a criminal background check. Admission into McAfee is pending receipt of a background check report from Applicants are responsible for ordering and purchasing their own background check directly online. 

  • Each applicant must authorize McAfee School of Theology to obtain a background check in order to satisfy the admission requirements.
  • The only exclusion to the background check will be special exceptions made for International Students who are in the process of obtaining, or have obtained the F-1 visa. This exception is monitored by the Admissions Office, which has the right to administer the exemption as necessary. 
  • Failure to undergo the background check will result in exclusion from admission consideration. If criminal behavior is detected in the background check, the student may not be admitted to McAfee School of Theology. Students may appeal the decision and will have he opportunity to present information to dispute the background check. 

Nondiscrimination Policy

Mercer University is committed to providing equal educational programs or activities, and equal employment opportunities to all qualified students, employees, and applicants without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, age, or religion, as a matter of University policy and as required by applicable state and federal laws, including Title IX. Inquiries concerning this policy may be directed to the Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources Office, 1501 Mercer University Drive, Macon, Georgia 31207, phone 478-301-2788 or contact, or in cases of Title IX concerns, these concerns may be referred to the Office of Civil Rights.

Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Is there an admissions deadline?

Yes. The application deadline for Fall priority admissions and scholarship consideration is February 1. 

We expect to receive all applications by July 1 from students wishing to begin in the Fall. Students who do not make the deadline may be considered, however, it is likely that students will "roll" to the following Spring semester start date. Students seeking a Spring start must apply before November 15. Please see the financial information page for additional deadlines concerning merit-based scholarships.

What does it cost to attend McAfee?

Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology is a private school with very affordable tuition. Students pay between $390 and $410 per credit hour and this rate is reduced from $910 per credit hour due to generous contributions from supporting churches and organizations. Many students receive additional tuition discounts from their state and national denominations.

What kind of financial aid is available for divinity students?

All of our students receive financial assistance. This ranges from the tuition grant described above to full-tuition scholarships plus living expenses. McAfee hosts two scholarship events in the Fall and Spring. We also assist students in applying for private organization scholarships, grants, and federal programs.

More information can be found on our Financial Aid web page.

What kinds of things do students go on to do after graduation?

McAfee has an excellent academic reputation. Our graduates are working in churches, colleges, seminaries, non-profit organizations, and missions. They serve in every church position imaginable. We have students working on Ph.D.s in top tier programs around the world and serving as chaplains in hospice, hospitals, and the U.S. armed forces. We have dedicated staff helping students transition from seminary life to their professional ministerial career.

Does McAfee have a denominational affiliation?

Yes, we are a Baptist seminary and a graduate program of the oldest Baptist university in Georgia. We also hold associations with many different Baptist organizations and churches. Our accreditation is under the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship denominational title.  You can also read more about our mission and founding principles. About seventy-five percent of our students are affiliated with 15 different Baptist denominations. We also have students representing twenty-one additional denominations such as Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, AME, CME, Anglican, Nazarene, Church of God, COGIC, and Episcopalian.

Where do people live while attending seminary?

We have on-campus housing and many students also live off campus. There are apartments within walking distance and several within just a mile or two. During spring and summer our admissions office will assist you in connecting with other students as roommates.

Read more about on-campus housing possibilities

Read about off-campus housing possibilities

What if I don’t have a religion or Christianity undergraduate degree?

As long as you have a bachelor’s degree with a “liberal arts core” from a regionally accredited college or university you will be fine.

What if I have a religion or Christianity undergraduate degree?

Students with previous academic training in religion may seek advanced placement standing.

What is advanced placement?

Our desire is to create a curriculum that enhances and deepens the knowledge-base you've established in undergrad. Our curriculum is set-up with Foundation Courses - Prescribed Electives and Free Electives. If you have a B or better in at least two undergraduate courses that fit with any of our Foundation courses, the Associate Dean will review your transcript and will allow you to attempt to place out of a foundational course. In some cases (Biblical languages), you have to actually take a test. In others, (OT, NT, etc.) you may submit a syllabus for that class. 

  • You do not receive seminary credit for these courses, but you get to replace a Foundations course with an additional prescribed elective.
  • Each person that approaches advanced placement is unique. We will work specifically with you and examine your transcripts and allow you to test out of as many classes as makes sense to you and your educational hopes.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The Master of Divinity is a 90 hour degree. Most students complete it in three years. The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is 48 hours and can be completed in two years. Students have up to 8 years to complete the M.Div. and 6 years to complete the M.A.C.M.

What's the difference between the 90 hour degree and the 48 hour master's programs?

The M.Div. is the classic gold standard for practicing ordained ministers, the M.A.C.M. is ideal for bi-vocational and part-time ministers, ministers with undergraduate ministerial education, lay leaders, and professionals from other disciplines seeking to broaden their competencies. The M.A.C.M. does not prepare students to enter the Ph.D., Th.D., or D.Min. Also, most denominations require an M.Div. for ordination. Because the M.A.C.M. consists of fewer hours, it is less expensive, overall. Students enrolled in the M.A.C.M. can transfer credits to the M.Div. if they decide before graduating they would like to earn the M.Div. degree.

What kinds of jobs are available for students while at McAfee?

One of the advantages of being in Atlanta is the number of places to work. Students work in area churches, on campus, coffee houses, restaurants, etc. We assist in placing students in church related jobs.

Are you located in downtown Atlanta?

No, we are about nine miles northeast of downtown. Our campus is just inside interstate 285 where it crosses Interstate 85. Surrounded on three sides by protected woodlands, the Mercer Atlanta campus is a quiet place to study and live.

Does McAfee offer online or correspondence courses?

We are committed to providing the highest quality of education possible. Personal interaction with fellow students and faculty are a large part of our educational process. While we do offer courses online, the community you form on campus will help to support you the rest of your ministerial career.

Can you finish the degree online?

Our Master of Arts in Christian Ministry offers a fully online cohort program, and our Doctor of Ministry program is mainly distance learning, however our Master of Divinity program requires most classes to be taken in residence.

What about taking classes at other schools?

We may consider transfer credit (only B’s or better, within the time limits, and up to 21 hours for the M.Div. and 14 hours for the M.A.C.M.) from other seminaries that are both regionally and (for the theological core) ATS accredited. After admission, the Associate Dean reviews your official transcripts to determine which classes transfer. While at McAfee, you may cross-register and take elective classes at our consortium member schools: Columbia Theological Seminary, Candler School of Theology, and the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC).

What is the difference between a “Seminary” and a “School of Theology?"

Generally speaking they are the same thing. We usually refer to a stand alone school as a “seminary” and a school associated with a university as a “divinity school" or "school of theology." In both cases, students are considered “seminary” students.

What are the other student like at McAfee?

Our student body is evenly divided between males and females. In addition to our denominational diversity, we are an ethnically diverse learning community with African American, Hispanic, Asian, and international students making up over fifty percent of the student body. Students come from evangelical and mainline protestant backgrounds and embody a heightened sense of social justice and a holistic view of evangelism and mission. 


If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us:

Office of Admissions
McAfee School of Theology
Mercer University
3001 Mercer University Drive
Atlanta, GA 30341-4115

(678) 547-6474
Fax: (678) 547-6478