Beeson Divinity School strives to prepare God-called men and women for faithful ministry in the church of Jesus Christ. We seek to accomplish this mission in keeping with the following convictions.
We believe strongly that a community-oriented, full-time and personal environment offers the best opportunity to train for such ministry. We believe the Bible is God’s Word written and therefore fully trustworthy and able to teach us how to know our Lord and serve his people. We believe the truths expressed in historic confessions of the faith, such as the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and significant denominational confessions. We believe that Jesus Christ alone saves from the penalty, power and presence of sin. We believe that ministers in the church of Jesus Christ, too, should proclaim and live by these convictions.
Given these convictions we require M.Div. students to follow a balanced, integrated curriculum for their preparation as Christian ministers. We also mentor students in the classroom, in small groups, and individually so that, together, we learn and live “the faith once for all delivered to the saints.”
As a Presbyterian, studying theology at an evangelical, interdenominational seminary allows me to fully embrace the theology and practice of my church tradition while also continually reminding me that the kingdom of God is bigger than my own tradition. I have therefore become a better Presbyterian and a better ecumenist at the same time.Dylan Evans, M.Div. student
One thing that was very important for me was to find a seminary committed to Scripture and to the foundational beliefs of the Christian church throughout its history. At Beeson, the confessions in the historic Apostles' Creed unite our community across denominational lines, and a commitment to the gospel truth is taught and lived out daily, from our courses to community worship to our fellowship and life together.
Anna Russell, M.Div. student
The Master of Divinity is the flagship degree of Beeson Divinity School. It combines academic and practical training to prepare students for full-time ministry. This degree offers a balanced curriculum of biblical studies, history and doctrine, spiritual formation and ministry leadership development. The M.Div. consists of 87 hours and typically requires three and a half to four years to complete.
Graduates of this program will be:
- Able interpreters and expositors of the Scriptures, who use sound hermeneutical methodology to teach the Bible to others faithfully and clearly.
- Well-grounded in the doctrines of historic Christian orthodoxy, who articulate orthodox doctrinal convictions in denominational context.
- Growing in love for God and neighbor and in Christlike character, relating to others with respect and charity, engaging consistently in practices of Christian spirituality, and demonstrating Christlike character in ministry leadership roles.
- Well-equipped to share the gospel, both locally and globally, in biblically faithful and culturally appropriate ways.
- Faithful and competent ministers, who feed and lead God's people well.
At Beeson we strive for academic excellence to the glory of Jesus Christ. Above all things, we want to form men and women of God who will love and serve his church. We do this by teaching a classical, academically rigorous and ministry-focused curriculum. The Master of Divinity (87 credits) requires all students to follow a structured, sequenced curriculum of biblical languages and biblical theology, church history and doctrine, spiritual formation and missions, pastoral theology and preaching. Through this program you will learn to serve God’s people by studying and preaching the Bible, integrate the history and theology of the church throughout the centuries, and serve in local and cross-cultural ministry settings. Because we value face-to-face theological education in community, we expect all M.Div. students to follow this curriculum as full-time students.
30 Credit Hours
Beeson retains the evangelical conviction that Holy Scripture norms theology, life and ministry. Thus, students take courses in Old and New Testament Theology as well as four courses each in Greek and Hebrew.
Historical and Doctrinal Studies
21 Credit Hours
Unique in theological education, Beeson teaches theology and church history together in an integrated four-course sequence. Students learn key doctrines such as Scripture, Christology, Pneumatology, justification, creation, and anthropology as they unfold and develop in the history of the Christian church.
Spiritual Formation, Ministry Theory and Practice Studies
24 Credit Hours
At Beeson we believe that theological education should result in transformation, not only the transfer of information. We also believe that all theology must result in ministry for the church in the world to the glory of God. Thus, students take required courses in spiritual formation, pastoral care and counseling, evangelism, missions and preaching. Every M.Div. student also completes a year-long ministry practicum in a local church setting, as well as a cross-cultural ministry practicum.
12 Credit Hours
Students may take four courses in any of the three areas above to hone their preparation for ministry and complete the degree.
M.Div./MATS Scholarships, Tuition & Fees
Beeson offers a very competitive and affordable tuition to students. When compared with peer institutions, tuition and fees for the Beeson M.Div. are 14.7% less. Average tuition at 10 peer institutions* in 2019-20 was $18,507, compared with $15,790 at Beeson Divinity School.Tuition for the 2020-21 academic year is $8,001 per semester.
Full-time enrollment is 9-12 credit hours (M.Div.) and 9-13 credit hours (M.A.T.S.). The tuition rate for students taking fewer than 9 credit hours is $761 per credit hour. Students taking more than 12 credit hours (M.Div.) or 13 credit hours (M.A.T.S.) are charged $761 for each credit hour above those limits.
*Peer institutions include: Asbury Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary, Denver Seminary, Duke Divinity School, Fuller Theological Seminary, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Tuition data derived from 2019-20 Annual Data Table, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.
All Full-time Students Receive a Scholarship
Due to the generosity of Ralph Waldo Beeson and many benefactors after him, Beeson offers scholarship assistance to every full-time student. There are two tiers of scholarship available.
Tier One Scholarships
Tier One scholarships cover 65-100% of tuition for students in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program. The scholarships in this tier include the Timothy George Scholarship for Excellence (max 100% tuition) and the Dean’s Scholarship (max 85% tuition). Qualifications for a Tier One scholarship include the following:
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or above (on a 4.0 scale)
- Strong Christian character and ministry leadership potential, demonstrated in previous roles of service in church and/or community
- Expressed commitment to enter vocational Christian service upon graduation
- Candidacy for the Timothy George Scholarship is reserved for persons preparing to serve in pastoral roles in a congregational context
Applicants wishing to be considered for a Tier One scholarship must:
- Complete all application requirements for admission to the M.Div. degree program by February 1 (for admission to the following fall semester) or October 1 (for admission to the following spring semester).
Please note that this application deadline date differs from the standard application deadline date for fall admission.
- Write and submit an essay on the Apostles' Creed (also due by February 1 or October 1). See essay guidelines in the application portal.
The admission and scholarship committee will review all applications. Finalists for Tier One scholarships will be invited to participate in Beeson's Scholarship Day activities, including a personal interview with members of the admission and scholarship committee. The committee will then select Tier One scholarship recipients.
Tier Two Scholarships
Tier Two Scholarships cover 30-45% of tuition. The scholarships in this tier include the John Wesley Beeson Scholarship ($7000/year) and the Ralph Waldo Beeson Scholarship ($5000/year).
Incoming students to Beeson’s Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theological Studies programs who complete the application requirements by the general tuition deadline and who do not receive a tier one scholarship will receive one of these scholarships. For fall applicants, this deadline is March 15 prior to the term of admission. For spring applicants, the deadline is October 1 prior to the term of admission.
Based on a student’s application, the admission committee may also award the following scholarships to supplement* the tier one and tier two scholarships described above.
The General James M. Hutchens Military Chaplain Scholarship is awarded to one or two recipients annually who are committed to pursuing a career in the active-duty military as an officer and military chaplain. This scholarship provides 75% tuition coverage.
*The Hutchens Military Chaplain scholarship replaces the tiered scholarship amount.
The Day-Sanders Scholarship is named for the mother and grandmother of retired Beeson professor, Dr. Norflete Day. This scholarship is awarded to one or more female students who demonstrate financial need.
The Antonio Smith Scholarship is named for the son of Dr. Robert Smith Jr., the Charles T. Carter Baptist Chair of Divinity and professor of Christian preaching at Beeson Divinity School. This scholarship is awarded to one African-American student annually who has demonstrated financial need.
The Gary Fenton Scholarship is named for Dr. Gary D. Fenton, retired pastor of Dawson Baptist Church in Birmingham and senior advancement officer of Beeson. This scholarship is awarded annually to one or more students who demonstrate academic excellence and a calling to ministry in the local church.
The Patricia Outlaw Scholarship is named for retired Beeson professor Dr. Patricia Outlaw. This scholarship is awarded to one African-American student annually who is engaged in full-time pulpit ministry.
The Mark Gignilliat Scholarship is named for Beeson Old Testament and Hebrew professor, Dr. Mark Gignilliat. This scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates academic excellence.
The Mathews-Thielman Scholarship is named for the two longest tenured professors at Beeson: Dr. Ken Mathews, professor of Old Testament, and Dr. Frank Thielman, professor of New Testament and Presbyterian Chair of Divinity. This scholarship is awarded to a student who demonstrates academic excellence.
University fee per semester is $320. Univeristy fee for a Jan or summer term is $200. Vehicle registration fee per semester is $30.
Following the acceptance of a student, Beeson asks for a non-refundable $200 deposit as confirmation of your intention to enroll for the coming semester. The deposit will be applied toward your student account upon enrollment.
Current and prospective divinity students are highly encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their eligibility for need-based aid programs such as federal work-study jobs and federal student loans.
Processing time for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is up to four weeks. The FAFSA report is necessary for all student loan programs available through Samford University.
If you have questions, please contact Theresa Kanute at 205-726-2905.
Certificate of Anglican Studies (CAS)
The Certificate of Anglican Studies program helps students deepen in the knowledge of Anglican history and doctrine, worship, spirituality, and practice, as preparation for life and ministry in the Anglican Church. This certificate is awarded with the successful completion of the Master of Divinity degree. Master of Divinity students who intend to pursue ordination in an Anglican communion may wish to complete requirements for the certificate of Anglican studies. Students pursuing the certificate must:
- Complete two elective courses: Anglican History and Doctrine* and Anglican Worship and Sacraments**
- Complete the Supervised Ministry Practicum (DVML 701 & 702) in an Anglican ministry context
- Attend regularly (at least nine times per semester) morning prayer services offered at Beeson or at a local Anglican congregation
- Attend regularly (at least nine times per semester) evensong services (and the training beforehand) offered at Beeson or at a local Anglican congregation
- Demonstrate mastery of the core competencies for ministry leadership, based on evaluations conducted by professors and mentors in the Anglican Institute
In addition to these requirements, students are also encouraged to participate fully in other Anglican Institute program opportunities, such as monthly Anglican lunches, monthly Anglican theology nights, and lectures and sermons by visiting Anglican scholars and dignitaries.
* For students pursuing the certificate in Anglican studies, Anglican History and Doctrine satisfies the required M.Div. course, DVET 701 Doctrine and Ethics.
** For students pursuing the certificate in Anglican studies, Anglican Worship and Sacraments satisfies the required M.Div. course, DVHD 606 Ecclesiology and Worship.
While students in the past have completed the M.A.T.S or the M.Div. and continued to the mission field, others have wanted more intentional training in cross-cultural ministry. For this reason we offer a missions certificate for students pursuing the M.Div. In addition to an excellent academic grounding in biblical and theological studies, missions certificate students will take 3 missions courses and 2 practicums. In concert, the classroom and field courses will provide a rich training ground for students pursuing a call to cross-cultural mission.
"Introduction to Christian Missions" is part of the required core curriculum. Dr. David Parks, the director of the Global Center and overseer of the missions certificate, teaches this foundational course which provides a biblical, cultural, and strategic overview of God's global mission to all tongues, tribes, and nations.
The other two missions courses fulfill 6 of the 12 elective credits for the M.Div. and will be taught by expert missions scholars. "Contemporary Issues and Strategies in Missions" will be taught by guest missions scholars. The second course, “World Religions,” introduces the classic texts in five of the major world religions and compares and contrasts these beliefs with the Triune God of the Bible. This course explores contextualization and Christian witness in a multi-religious world.
All M.Div. students must complete a two-week cross-cultural immersion experience overseen by the Global Center. Students earning a mission certificate must complete a minimum six-week cross-cultural immersion experience. Beeson has partners both in the U.S. and around the world with mentors who will oversee the students. Ministry partners are in such places as the Czech Republic, Liberia, Malaysia, Ecuador, Mexico, the Middle East, and Brooklyn.
Missions certificate students will complete their Supervised Ministry Practicum in a ministry that is both cross-cultural and evangelistic in nature. It is a one-year training experience in the Birmingham area designed to provide real world training for missions.
Certificate of Wesleyan Studies
The Certificate of Wesleyan Studies program prepares a student for life and ministry in churches within the Wesleyan theological tradition. Attention is given to Wesleyan history and doctrine, worship, polity, spirituality, ministry and mission. M.Div. students who intend to pursue ordination in a Wesleyan denomination are strongly encouraged to complete the requirements for the certificate of Wesleyan studies, as these will satisfy educational requirements stipulated by several denominations.
The certificate is awarded with the successful completion of the M.Div. degree. Requirements for the certificate include:
- Wesleyan History & Doctrine (3 hours)*
- Wesleyan Polity, Ministry & Mission (3 hours)**
Total credit hours: 6
- Supervised Ministry Practicum (SMP) 1 and 2 (two 3-hour courses including a 35-week ministry practicum in a Wesleyan parish)
Credit hours: 6
Students pursuing the certificate of Wesleyan studies are also expected to participate fully in the meetings and events of the Wesley Fellowship at Beeson Divinity School. Under the care and direction of the Methodist Chair of Divinity, the Wesley Fellowship provides students with opportunities to grow in the Wesleyan way of holiness of heart and life by the gracious empowerments of the Holy Spirit. Monthly gatherings include participation in the practices of prayer, meditation on Scripture, mutual encouragement and accountability, learning and service. The Wesley Fellowship also includes occasional events that feature conversations with Wesleyan pastors, denominational leaders, scholars, missionaries and lay persons.
* This course satisfies the M.Div. required course, DVET 701 Doctrine and Ethics, for Wesleyan certificate-seeking students.
** This course satisfies the M.Div. required course, DVHD 606 Ecclesiology & Worship, for Wesleyan certificate-seeking students.
Joint Degree & Accelerated Pathway Programs
Joint-degree programs allow students to earn two degrees concurrently with fewer credit requirements than needed to earn the degrees separately. Joint-degree programs require separate admission applications to each of the respective schools. Students seeking to enter a joint-degree program must meet admission requirements for both schools participating in the joint program.
Beeson Divinity School's primary degree is the Master of Divinity, and our student body is small. As such, our course work offerings are limited. Classes are offered during the day only, Tuesday through Friday. The curriculum structure is integrative and requires incremental progress from one semester to the next. Joint degree students are encouraged to plan their course work well in advance to minimize scheduling or sequencing conflicts. To receive divinity school scholarships, joint degree students are expected to take a minimum of nine divinity credit hours per semester.
Master of Divinity and Juris Doctorate
When pursued concurrently the divinity school will apply 12 semester hours of elective credit for law school courses, and the law school will apply 15 semester hours of elective credits for divinity courses. This effectively reduces the total number of hours for the two degrees by 27. Pursued separately, the J.D. (90 hours) and the M.Div. (87 hours) would require a total of 177 semester hours. Pursued together, the total number of required semester hours is 150 and takes approximately six years to complete.
Master of Arts in Theological Studies and Juris Doctorate
When pursued concurrently, the divinity school will apply six semester hours of elective credit for law school courses, and the law school will apply 12 semester hours of elective credits for divinity courses. This effectively reduces the total number of hours for the two degrees by 18. Pursued separately, the J.D. (90 hours) and the MATS (37 hours) would require a total of 127 semester hours. Pursued together, the total number of required semester hours is 109 and takes approximately five years to complete.
Students must complete their first semester of law school before applying to the divinity school. Law students applying to the joint degree program must maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average.
For additional information, you may contact Pamela Nelson, Director of Student Services, Cumberland School of Law at 205-726-2222.
Master of Divinity and Master of Business Administration
When pursued concurrently, the divinity school will apply nine credits of business coursework to satisfy work required under the regular Master of Divinity curriculum and the business school will apply six credits of divinity coursework to satisfy work required under regular MBA curriculum. The net result is that students in this program are required to complete 30-39 credits of business coursework (depending upon prerequisites taken) and 78 credits of divinity coursework. Pursued together, the total number of required semester hours is 108-117 for this joint degree.
Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the MBA program to be in good standing.
For additional information, you may contact Elizabeth Gambrell, Associate Director of Academic Programs, Brock School of Business at 205-726-2040.
Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work
When pursued concurrently, the divinity school will apply 12 semester hours of elective credit for social work program courses and the social work program will apply six hours of elective credit for divinity courses. This effectively reduces the total number for the two degrees by 18. In addition to the ability to count core courses from one program for elective credit in the other, students in the M.Div.-MSW program are also eligible to complete internships for both programs simultaneously in a church or ministry setting. Internship sites must be approved by both programs and internship activities must meet the internal and accreditation requirements of each program. Pursued together, the total number of required semester hours is 129 for this joint degree.
Master of Divinity and Master of Music
When pursued simultaneously, the divinity school will apply nine credit hours of elective for music program courses toward divinity electives and the music school will accept two Supervised Ministry courses that are of Ministry leadership required M.Div. program courses. In total, there will be 78 divinity credit hours earned and 30 music credit hours earned for a total of 108 required semester hours for this joint degree.
To complete the degree a student enrolled in the M.Div. program must qualify for admission to the M.M. not later than the beginning of the third semester of work toward the M.Div. and must have an undergraduate degree in music.
For additional information, you may contact Dr. Joseph Hopkins, School of the Arts at 205-726-2778.
Master of Arts in Theological Studies and Master of Social Work
When pursued simultaneously, the divinity school will apply six semester hours of elective credit for social work program course and the social work program will grant six semester hours of elective credits for divinity courses. This effectively reduces the total number of hours for the two degrees by 12. Pursued together, the total number of required semester hours is 85 for this joint degree.
For additional information, you may contact Dr. Marian Carter, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Services, School of Public Health at 205-726-2611.
Pertinent to All Joint Degrees
- A student must apply for admission to each school separately through the regular process prescribed by the respective school.
- Separate GPAs are maintained respective of each school and degree earned.
- In order to qualify for divinity tuition scholarships during each fall and spring semester, a student must take at least nine divinity credits during the semester. Scholarships may be available from the other school as well.
- Once officially in the joint degree program, tuition will be charged separately per each program.
- Both degrees will be awarded at the same time, regardless of the fact that requirements for one degree may be completed prior to completion of another.
- Other school specific requirements may be required that are not noted on this overview.
Accelerated Bachelor of Arts to Master of Divinity
Beeson Divinity School, in cooperation with the Biblical and Religious Studies department in Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences and with the Christian Ministry department in Samford’s School of the Arts, offers exceptional students the opportunity to complete the bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree and the master of divinity (M.Div.) degree in a minimum of six years of full-time study rather than the typical minimum of seven years. This program of study is available only to students majoring in Biblical Studies, Religion, or Religion w/a Concentration in Ministry Leadership (in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences) and Christian Ministry (in the School of the Arts).
Students interested in the accelerated B.A. to M.Div. program should seek guidance from their advisor as early as possible in their undergraduate studies. The undergraduate program of study requires completion of all university core curriculum courses, all general education requirements, and all courses required for the undergraduate major (96-98 credit hours total). Upon completion of the first 64 credit hours of undergraduate studies (or one year prior to the term in which a student wishes to begin graduate theological studies), he or she must apply for admission to the M.Div. program at Beeson Divinity School. Offers of admission are extended to applicants who demonstrate exceptional personal and spiritual maturity, a clear call and commitment to vocational Christian ministry, and strong academic performance in their undergraduate studies. If accepted, a student must complete all remaining undergraduate coursework and participate in a co-curricular program of spiritual and vocational mentoring before beginning M.Div. studies at Beeson Divinity School.
View a sample program of study for the Accelerated B.A. - M.Div. Pathway Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Beeson grant Advanced Standing?
Students who have taken undergraduate courses that parallel or intersect with Divinity School courses may be granted Advanced Standing for those relevant courses. Students are not given credit for courses taken previously. Rather, they may take advanced courses in the specific areas in which they are granted Advanced Standing. For instance, a student who is given Advanced Standing for DVNT511 and DVNT 512 will be required to take six credits of electives in DVNT Greek exegesis courses.
Does Beeson prepare students for Ph.D. work?
The mission of Beeson Divinity School is to "prepare God-called persons to serve as ministers in the Church of Jesus Christ." Therefore, our curriculum includes both rigorous theological/language training and practical church ministry preparation courses. While an M. Div. from Beeson is more than adequate academic preparation to pursue a Ph.D., the program is not designed for students strictly interested in an academic career. That said, prospective students should also be aware that the faculty of Beeson Divinity School believes that the M.Div. prepares students for the Ph.D. in theological subjects better than the M.A.T.S for the following reasons:
- The M.Div. includes two full years of biblical languages, thus allowing graduates to teach in more than one biblical and linguistic content area.
- The M.Div. requires more history and doctrine courses, thereby equipping students for the broad swath of classes they will have to teach in Christian college or seminary.
- The M.Div. requires students to learn about counseling, which is a big part of seminary and college teaching and advising.
- The M.Div. requires students to learn about administration and how to apply administrative principles, thus preparing students to serve in the many administrative and committee capacities that occur in academic settings.
- The M.Div. requires preaching, which most teachers have to do to fulfill their calling as ministers of the gospel.
- The M.Div. requires students to have mentored experiences in ministry, thereby preparing students for the sort of accountability structures that are a major part of academic work.
- The M.Div. requires students to take a cross-cultural course that gives international experience in a monitored environment, thereby preparing students for the global context in which education occurs now.
- The M.Div. requires students to take electives that will fill out the basic content of their major field of interest.
Does Beeson offer online classes?
Beeson does not offer any online or distance learning. All classes are in the traditional classroom setting.
M.Div./MATS Application Process
October 1 - Spring General Admission and Tier One Scholarship Deadline
February 1 - Fall Tier One Scholarship Deadline
March 15 - Fall General Admission Deadline
All items on this checklist must be received by the application deadline. Further instruction is given on the online application.
- Completed online application
- Personal Faith and Vocation Essay*
- Academic Recommendation (to be completed by a college- or graduate-level instructor)
- Character Recommendation (to be completed by a pastor, church member, campus minister, mentor or employer who can speak to your Christian character and calling to ministry; cannot be a family member)
- Church Endorsement (to be completed by your senior pastor or church elder; cannot be a family member).
- Admission Interview:
Each applicant is responsible for scheduling an interview prior to the application deadline. It is recommended that your interview be completed on campus, but if this is not possible, interviews conducted by Zoom are acceptable. Schedule your interview through the application portal.
- Official transcript(s) from all undergraduate and (if applicable) graduate institutions previously attended. Please see the application portal for instructions about how to send the transcripts.
- $35 non-refundable fee (may be paid by credit card when submitting online application). The fee is waived for graduates of Samford University and students who come to a Preview Day or an official campus visit.
*Students applying for a tier one scholarship must also write an essay on the Apostles’ Creed and submit it by the scholarship deadline.
The application process for international students is unique and can seem complicated. It is our hope that this page will reduce this stress by taking you step by step through the process.
Prospective international students must complete and submit the following evaluations to the Beeson Divinity School Office of Admission before beginning the standard application process for admission.
- World Educational Service (Official course-by-course transcript of academic work sent through World Educational Services)
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Any applicant whose native language is not English must also submit a score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL. Students should arrange to take the TOEFL by visiting www.toefl.org or by writing to Educational Testing Service at P.O. Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08540.
Once the above material is completed, an international prospect may begin the standard application process by clicking on the "Apply Now" button below. Following an admission decision, the applicant will need to complete the Affidavit of Financial Support, including an official bank statement. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) requires proof of funds totaling approximately $30,000 (minus any scholarship assistance) in order for an I-20 to be processed, therefore it is recommended that funding is secured before the completion of the application process. Please contact Jennifer Beck if you have any questions.
*A note regarding student visas: The United States Information Agency's insurance regulations for J visa holders require international students and their dependents to have and maintain health insurance during residency in the United States. Proof of coverage is required before registering for classes. The law mandates that Samford University must deny student status to international students who do not continue to comply. Information about specific carriers, minimum coverages, and premium costs is available from Samford University Health Services.