Master of Divinity Online (MDiv): What You Need to Know

Date Published

January 28, 2023

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Published by Annie Mas-Smith

If you’re looking to earn a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, an online MDiv could be a convenient option to continue your learning without leaving home.

At Calvin Theological Seminary, our online MDiv is a hybrid program, offering remote learning for the majority of your study, and only requiring one on-campus intensive in Grand Rapids, Michigan, per semester.

Online MDiv vs. On Campus: Major Differences


Class Structure


Online learning for Calvin’s MDiv program allows you the guidelines of weekly deadlines within a semester structure, without having to change your schedule to be at class at a certain time. Many students feel like it’s the best of both worlds—the accountability to keep them working toward their goals at a steady pace, and the flexibility to do their coursework at the time of day that is most convenient for them.

Onsite Intensives


Calvin’s remote MDiv program facilitates face-to-face opportunities with semi-annual intensives. Twice a year, in March and October, students spend a week on campus to share a time of learning and fellowship together. These fall and spring weeks are highlights for many students as they can participate in course discussion, community worship, and meal time with the classmates they normally connect with online. Each year’s specific dates for MDiv intensives can be found in our academic calendar.

What Do In-Person and Online MDiv Programs Have in Common?

Consider the benefits of earning your Calvin MDiv, either remotely or in person:


  • Course requirements: MDiv course requirements are consistent between the two formats. This is important because some students choose to complete part of their education in person and part of their education through hybrid learning. This consistency in coursework allows them to switch their learning format seamlessly at the semester mark or whenever needed.
  • Program length: The MDiv program can usually be completed in four years or less, in either format. (Some students may choose in-person learning to complete their degree in as few as three years.)
  • Dedicated faculty: Both delivery formats are taught by the world-class Christian faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary.
  • Vocational mentorship: MDiv students meet regularly with a vocational mentor and can do so in person or virtually. Our network of alumni, church partners, and friends extends around the globe so we can usually match you with a mentor near your area, if desired.
  • Community learning: Students grow through interaction and group discussion. Whether this is facilitated digitally or in person, you will be formed and stretched by considering and learning from the perspectives of others.
  • Ministry placement: All MDiv students are placed at a church or other ministry in their field of interest and calling. This can be done in a student’s local area, with remote students serving within their home communities. If a student is already serving in a ministry, he or she may choose to complete the contextual learning requirement through a current position.
  • Accreditation: Both program formats are accredited through the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).
  • Career opportunities: Both program formats richly prepare students for pastoral positions and other ministry opportunities.


Benefits of Getting Your Master of Divinity Online

Consider the benefits of choosing an online MDiv, such as:

  • Affordability: Online MDivs can sometimes be less expensive due to not having to factor in living costs.
  • Convenience: The convenience of online MDivs appeals to people who may already be in ministry, have other jobs, or have other responsibilities, like childcare or elder care.
  • Flexibility: Online MDivs usually offer more flexible scheduling options than in-person MDivs.
  • Accessibility: An online MDiv may benefit those who would not be able to move to Grand Rapids for an education.


How to Choose a Seminary for Your Online MDiv Degree


Find an Accredited Online MDiv Program


Accreditation is still necessary and important, even for online degrees. Consider an accredited program that will richly invest in you as a student.


Look for Community Learning Opportunities


Some online MDiv degrees can be isolating, but strong ones will know how to foster community even over great distances.


Consider Your Preferences


Some students need the flexibility of logging in for class at their preferred time of day, while others need the regular structure of deadlines to keep them moving toward their educational goals. Calvin offers both with your daily tasks accessible at any hour—day or night—building up to larger weekly and semester goals to keep you on track.


The History of Calvin Seminary’s Online MDiv


Since 1876, Calvin Theological Seminary has offered a rich pastoral and ministry training program in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since the fall of 2012, the seminary has been offering an innovative distance learning option to MDiv students.

The distance MDiv program was designed to offer sound Reformed theological preparation for ministry while students stay rooted in their current context. Immediately after announcing its development, the seminary received inquiries from interested students, demonstrating the need for a program like this—known for theological excellence more than geographical location.


Innovating to Enhance your Experience


Central to Calvin’s online MDiv program since its inception has been the use of a hybrid format, bringing together high-quality pedagogical tools with face-to-face sessions that foster community and discussion.


Online MDiv Financial Aid


While some online graduate programs offer little to no financial aid, Calvin has long been committed to making theological education—including online theological education—affordable to students through grants and scholarships.


Questions About Getting Your Master of Divinity Online?


You don’t have to wait to start earning your Master of Divinity online. Your Calvin Seminary application starts with just a few steps:


Visit Calvin Theological Seminary’s Campus

We can’t wait to host you on campus! Schedule your visit today, or, if you need more time to find a date that works for you, please request information so we can continue the conversation about supporting your calling!