Master of Divinity

CD March

The Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) is the professional degree for theological schools and seminaries. Its purpose is to prepare persons for ordained ministry and for general pastoral and religious leadership in congregations and other settings. The M.Div. is structured to give students the foundational tools for ministry, whatever that ministry might ultimately be.

McAfee M.Div. Student Learning Outcomes

FROM ATS:  A.3.1.1 Religious Heritage:  The program shall provide structured opportunity to develop a comprehensive and discriminating understanding of the religious heritage.

Outcome:  Graduates will possess skills to interpret and communicate the biblical narrative, the Church’s tradition, and Christian theological models.


FROM ATS:  A.3.1.2 Cultural Context:  The program shall provide opportunity to develop an understanding of the cultural realities and structures within which the Church lives and carries out its mission.

Outcome:  Graduates will interpret and construct appropriate responses to the cultural norms and the impact of cultural change on ministerial contexts.


FROM ATS:  A.3.1.3 Personal and Spiritual Formation:  The program shall provide opportunities through which the student may grow in personal faith, emotional maturity, moral integrity, and public witness. Ministerial preparation includes concern with the development of capacities --- intellectual and affective, individual and corporate, ecclesial and public --- that are requisite to a life of pastoral leadership.

Outcome:  Graduates will demonstrate patterns of behaving and believing that enrich the ethical and spiritual life of a minister.


FROM ATS:  A.3.1.4 Capacity for Ministerial and Public Leadership:  The program shall provide theological reflection on and education for the practice of ministry. These activities should cultivate the capacity for leadership in both ecclesial and public contexts.

Outcome:  Graduates will be proficient in contemporary theories and practices of leadership, worship, homiletics, pastoral care, and human development.


There are 7 tracks to help you specialize your ministry focus as well as 3 combined degree options.

Track Options

Dual Degree Options

Total M.Div. hours: 90

Required Courses: 45 hrs

Students are required to take the specific, required classes below. Students with a background in theology and/or biblical studies may be able to replace a foundational course with a more advanced elective in that area.


Spiritual Formation

3 hrs

Biblical Language

3 hrs
Foundations in Old Testament

3 hrs

Foundations in New Testament 3 hrs
Foundations in Church History 3 hrs
Foundations in Theology 3 hrs
Ethics 3 hrs
Preaching 3 hrs
Faith Development 3 hrs

Baptist Heritage.
*Non-Baptist students may take a polity course in their own denomination.

3 hrs
Missional Theology 3 hrs
Pastoral Care 3 hrs
Worship 3 hrs
Leadership 3 hrs
Capstone 3 hrs

Prescribed Electives: 18 hrs

Students are required to take courses in prescribed, particular areas (listed below), but may choose from a wide range of options.

Spirituality 3 hrs
Old Testament 3 hrs
New Testament 3 hrs
Church History 3 hrs
Theology 3 hrs
*Contextual Ministry 3 hrs

*Pastoral Care Track and M.Div./M.S. Clinical Mental Health Counseling students must satisfy this requirement with CPE; Global Christianity Track students must satisfy this requirement with a global placement.

Free Electives:  12 hrs

Students are able to choose from a wide range of electives.

Track Electives: 15 hrs

Students will be able to enroll in a variety of coursework. Students will choose courses based on their area of interest and their need for strengthening particular ministry skills. The student's faculty advisor will provide guidance and approval for all track electives.  Please refer to specific Track or Dual degree Templates for more detailed information.




2017 Fall Priority Admissions & Scholarship Deadline is January 15, 2017.*

2017 Fall Final Application Deadline is July 1, 2017.

2018 Spring Admissions & Scholarship Deadline is October 1, 2017.

2018 Spring Final Application Deadline is November 15, 2017.


* While admission is rolling, scholarships are limited. However, there may be remaining funding after the priority deadline some years. In this event, eligible applicants who submit their full application after the priority deadline are offered scholarships on a first come basis.


Masters 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. Doctoral applicants are required to have a regionally accredited M.Div. or equivalent. Admission will be based on your total application (GPA, personal information you supply including resume, essays, letters of recommendation, interview, test scores, and background check). Ultimate approval of admission 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.

Application Process

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. Resume - (Including Church Positions and Service, Secular Occupations, Community Involvement, Academic Honors, and Research, Civic, or Leadership Awards)
  3. Official Transcripts from all higher educational institutions previously attended
  4. Background check* - Background check to be filed online at Castle Branch, or call 1-888-666-7788 for more information. Please allow up to 2 weeks for us to receive the report. 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.
  5. $50.00 application fee
  6. Four Typed Essays - (Questions are in the application)
  7. Three Letters of Recommendation (one from each of the following:)
    1. Pastor
    2. Church Leader
    3. Professor / Supervisor
  8. Career Assessment & Declaration of Specialization (for D.Min. applicants only)
  9. Official MAT (preferred) or GRE Scores within the last 5 years (for D.Min. applicants only)
  10. Admissions Interviews - the interviews are 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. 

*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

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?

Our D.Min. program is mainly an independent or distance learning program which only requires 2-3 weeks in residence per year during the summer. Our Masters and Certificate programs offer some classes online. 

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 9 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

When is the deadline for applying?

Applications materials may be submitted at any time throughout the academic year. Applications must be received by November 15 each year to begin classes in January of the Spring semester. Applications must be received by May 1 to begin classes in the Summer semester, and by July 1 for beginning the Fall semester.

How much will it cost?

Tuition for the D.Min. program at McAfee will vary by small amounts from year to year. The 2015-2016 tuition for the entire 33 hour program is set at $11,550 ($390 per credit hour). An application fee of $50.00 (non-refundable) is required, and a thesis binding fee of a minimum of $120 will be required at the end of the program. Transportation, housing, meals, books, and materials are all additional expenses paid for by the candidates.

How long is the program?

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 one half years in pursuit of the degree. Completion of the program is normally in four years, unless a leave of absence for specified reasons is granted.

When may I begin the program?

Students may begin the program with the first unit of experiential learning (Ministry Coaching, Preaching Consultation, or Spiritual Practice), offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Seminars are offered in June/July each year, with the possibility of January offerings, depending on enrollment. 

How often will I need to be on campus?

Residency required on the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University Atlanta campus is limited to the three seminars (Monday through Friday for 2 weeks on campus) and a two week final project thesis workshop. Candidates are welcome to spend whatever additional time they wish for such purposes as library research, faculty consultation, preparation of workshop or final project thesis materials, and independent study. A final oral examination over your completed Project Thesis will require a trip to the campus.

How do I apply?

You may download the application here. Please address your application materials to:

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

What are the eligibility requirements?

The Doctor of Ministry Committee of the faculty grants admission to the Doctor of Ministry degree program. Decisions are based on the total profile of the applicant, including an analysis of the applicant’s writing ability, as seen in the admission essays; quality of recommendations; grade point averages of academic work; standardized test scores; and the nature and extent of the applicant’s ministry experience. No single area of deficiency will disqualify an applicant from admission.

What if I have a theology degree that is not a Master of Divinity degree?

All applicants must have the equivalency of the Master of Divinity from a a school fully accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (or a recognized international accrediting organization). Applicants with a two-year master's degree in theology or a related area may complete additional hours to achieve equivalency and may be admitted to the D.Min. with the condition that the equivalency be met before beginning enrollment in the D.Min. program.  Read the M.Div. Equivalency statement.

Where can I take the MAT?

When you receive an application to the D.Min. program you will notice that the Miller Analogies Test is required of all applicants. Several major universities and testing sites around the Southeast offer this test.Visit the Pearson MAT Homepage and select "Find a MAT Testing Center"

When you take the Miller Analogies Test, please make sure that you instruct the testing center to mail all test results to Mercer University's Atlanta Campus, McAfee School of Theology, Doctor of Ministry Degree Program.

Can I transfer credit from another D.Min. program?

The McAfee School of Theology Doctor of Ministry Program will consider transfer credit on a case-by-case basis, up to a maximum of 10 hours.

I have my M.Div. from McAfee School of Theology. Why should I also complete a D.Min. from McAfee?

There are many options available for D.Min. study. The quality of the program you desire and your specific goals in ministry should determine where you might study. Consider that many of the networks for future ministry are developed in a D.Min. program. We believe the McAfee program is of the highest quality and will enhance your calling for ministry wherever you may serve.

McAfee Admissions Team

Our admissions staff understands the importance of being servant leaders and seek to help guide students through the sometimes challenging admissions process. So if you have questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas, or just need to talk about vocational options, know we are here to help. We would love the opportunity to get to know you, answer your questions, and invite you to visit our beautiful campus located just 10 minutes north of downtown Atlanta. To speak with one of them directly, follow the links below:


Nikki Carroll Hardeman
Director of Admissions,

(678) 547-6357

Kate Riney
Associate Director of Admissions,

(678) 547-6451

Natalie King
Enrollment Associate,

(678) 547-6474