Instructor standing behind a pulpit in the chapel at ECS

Preparing for or already in ministry? Strengthen your service with this practical ministry program.

This three-year, 90-credit hour degree provides a breadth of education in all the areas of theological learning with a special focus on the practice of pastoral ministry. The MDiv is considered the standard program of ministerial education and is formally required for ordination by many churches. Whether serving in international missions, a rural church, an urban counseling center, a megachurch, or as a military or hospital chaplain, campus minister, college professor, or in any other venue, your ministry will be strengthened by a MDiv.


Although the standard MDiv program is recommended for most students preparing for ministerial service, 10 special options are available as well.

  • M.DIV. IN NEW TESTAMENT The MDiv with a concentration in New Testament is traditionally pursued by those planning further graduate studies in the field of New Testament. The New Testament area offers advanced study of the writings of the New Testament, their language, social-historical background, literary features, and theology. Courses in this area give attention to the Judaic and Graeco-Roman matrix of these writings, their religious teachings within their original contexts, and their theological unity and variety. Exegesis of the text provides a foundation for the larger task of theological interpretation of the New Testament as Sacred Scripture. Courses in the Area emphasize the importance of both understanding and appreciating the use of these documents throughout the history of the church and reading them afresh as Spirit-filled writings that continue to shape the Christian life corporately and individually.

  • M.DIV. IN OLD TESTAMENT The MDiv with a concentration in Old Testament is traditionally pursued by those planning further graduate studies in the field of Old Testament. The Old Testament area offers advanced study of the books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, including their text and language, social-historical background, literary character, and theology. The Deuterocanonical/ Apocryphal books, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other important Jewish writings of the Second Temple period are also studied. Courses give attention to the ancient Near Eastern and later Hellenistic settings of the biblical books, their religious ideas and teachings within their original contexts, and their theological significance for Christian faith. Exegesis is emphasized as the foundation for the larger task of theological interpretation of the Hebrew Bible as Christian Sacred Scripture. Accordingly, courses in Hebrew language and in exegesis are central, and courses in Aramaic, Ugaritic, and Akkadian are offered on a cyclical basis to complement the Old Testament area’s curriculum.

  • M.DIV. IN CHURCH HISTORY The MDiv with a concentration in Church History is traditionally pursued by those planning further graduate studies in the field of church history. Church history is the study of the formation of Christian identity and ecclesial life in the light of the apostolic witness of the New Testament and the shaping influences of twenty centuries of history. It embraces both the story of the Christian faith as it has taken root in diverse historical and cultural settings and the actual development of the corporate life of the Church in both its particular and global manifestations. Thus church history is by nature a contextual and ecumenical theological discipline, with the constructive task of evaluating critically the Church’s ongoing quest to embody Jesus Christ in the world through its community, its ministry, its theology, its worship and sacraments, and its spirituality and ethics.

  • M.DIV. IN HISTORICAL THEOLOGY The MDiv with a concentration in Historical Theology is traditionally pursued by those planning further graduate studies in historical theology. Electives for this concentration can be courses in either Christian Theology or Church History. The Area of Christian Theology and the Area of Church history are dedicated to the study of theology as central to Christian tradition while deeply engaging its historical and cultural contexts and implications for contemporary Christian life.

  • M.DIV. IN CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY The MDiv with a concentration in Christian Theology is traditionally pursued by those planning further graduate studies in the field of Christian theology. The Area of Christian Theology is most concerned with contemporary Christian theology as a discipline that attends to all aspects of Christian life under the triune God. The area draws upon the rich theological resources of the Christian tradition across cultures to respond to life’s persistent questions and spiritual conditions in ways that aspire to salvation, hope, and justice in the world. All disciplines of human understanding may be brought to bear on its questions.

  • M.DIV. IN CHRISTIAN CARE AND COUNSELING The MDiv in Christian Care and Counseling prepares you for counseling positions within the church and many civil contexts including, but not limited to: hospital and military chaplaincy; marriage, family, substance abuse, and grief counseling; campus or prison ministries; and a variety of other positions.

  • M.DIV. IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES The MDiv with a concentration in Christian Ministries allows you to prepare for a variety of ministry positions by providing educational opportunities in each of the ministry concentrations. The curriculum emphasizes the Christian Ministries area by redistributing one elective from each of the other five areas of study to give the student 15 additional hours of study in the areas of Christian Care and Counseling, Church Administration, Preaching, Christian Spiritual Formation, World Missions or Christian Worship.

  • M.DIV. IN CHRISTIAN WORLD MISSION The MDiv in World Mission is designed to provide you special preparation for participating in the mission of the church to the world, especially in a cross-cultural environment.

  • M.DIV. IN CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL FORMATION The MDiv in Christian Spiritual Formation offers you a professional course of study that is strongly grounded in the Bible and theology, contemporary knowledge of human development, and the history and practice of Christian spirituality.

Accelerated BA+MDiv Plan

Highly motivated students interested in pursuing seminary after college can save a year of classes and tuition by completing both a bachelor’s degree from Milligan University and a Master of Divinity (MDiv) from Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan in just six years.

Students on this path complete the following 30 hours of coursework at the seminary (with the exception of Greek) during their final two years as undergraduates:

  • Elementary and Intermediate Greek (12 hrs) — already required for BA, typically taken in year two and three
  • Elementary Hebrew (6 hrs)
  • Old Testament Introduction (6 hrs)
  • New Testament Introduction (6 hrs)


  • Take M.Div. courses in your junior and senior year, allowing you to complete the M.Div. in two additional years, saving time and money
  • Secure your spot early in the M.Div. program
  • Get a faster start on further studies or your ministry


  1. MILLIGAN UNDERGRAD: Be a Milligan undergraduate, with a major in the Bible area
  2. PARTICIPATION FORM: Complete and Submit (to the GPS Office) the Participation form for the Accelerated plan, which requires approval signatures from both your undergraduate advisor and Dr. Phil Kenneson
    • Request endorsement from your faculty advisor
    • Meet with Dr. Phil Kenneson for approval to declare the Accelerated Plan as early as your sophomore year*
  3. COURSEWORK: Take the designated seminary coursework during your junior and senior years
  4. APPLYBy NOV 15 of senior year

*Approval to declare the M.Div. accelerated plan is not a guarantee of your admission to the M.Div. program.

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