James Waddell

Director of the Masters Programs

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

While students come to ETS with a variety of professional and ministerial goals, many of our students hope to become ordained. And for many denominations, the Master of Divinity is the academic degree required for ordination. Be sure to check with your pastor and/or denominational board, but most denominations accept a Master of Divinity degree from ETS as a fulfillment of the academic portion of their ordination requirements.

The MDiv is designed to be completed in 3-4 years of full-time study (at least 2 courses per quarter), but many students complete it in 5-6 years on a part-time basis. The program balances academic learning with practical experience, all while seeking to help the student develop her or his spirituality and sense of calling. Students in this program find themselves strengthened academically, but also experience tremendous personal and spiritual growth.

If you feel led by God to prepare yourself for ordained ministry, this is an excellent goal to aspire to. Is it time for you to begin this life-transforming experience in the Master of Divinity program at ETS?

Application Information

Our recruitment team and admissions personnel are ready to assist you. To apply for the Master of Divinity Program, please prepare and submit the following:

  • On-line Application

  • A non-refundable application fee of $45.00 must be paid at the time of submitting the application. Your application will not be processed until payment has been received. 

  • A formally written “Statement of Purpose.” This paper will be used to assess your critical thinking, self-awareness, and writing skills. It does not have a minimum length, but should adequately represent what you will bring to your studies at ETS academically, theologically, and personally. 

  • Three signed letters of recommendation, one of which must be from your pastor or from another church leader. If you have a difficult time obtaining the letters of recommendation, please contact the admissions office. All recommendation letters must be submitted in a sealed envelope.

  • Official transcripts must be mailed directly from your undergraduate or graduate institution to ETS. Student-issued transcripts are not acceptable. All transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope. ​

An interview with the Program Director may be required based on an evaluation of your completed admission file. The final admission decision will be made by the Admissions Committee on a rolling basis.

Apply today to take the next step into your future.  We look forward to talking with you soon.


The degree requires 114 quarter credit hours (28.5 courses) to complete. The program consists of foundational courses in ethics, biblical studies, theology, pastoral care and counseling, worship, Christian education, church history, and preaching, along with spaces for elective courses based on the student’s individual interests.

In the middle of the program, students will enroll for a year-long ministry practicum course, which includes an internship with a congregation or other ministry setting.

While the program is rigorous, students emerge with a strong sense of calling, a rich understanding of the history of the church’s traditions and thought, and a strong sense of the connection between ministry and social justice. Graduates of the ETS Master of Divinity program are prepared to serve in Detroit or the wider community and to make a difference wherever they find themselves.











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Ecumenical Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools​ in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: MDiv, MA, MA in Pastoral Ministry, DMin.

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