Distance Education Program

Curriculum | Course Requirements3 and 4 Year Paradigms | Academic Schedule | Projected Costs | FAQsApply

The University of Dubuque has offered a fully accredited distance Master of Divinity degree since 2007. This degree program allows you to take the majority of classes from home.

The curriculum and faculty for the online MDiv. are the same as those in our residential program. Interaction with instructors and other students occurs through email, discussion boards, telephone, and video-conferencing. Small classes encourage an intimate and productive learning environment.

The first fall semester begins in August, with orientation and a two-week residential intensive in Dubuque. This gives new students an opportunity to meet and interact with classmates and the professors who are responsible for your education. The friendships you’ll develop while taking your courses will last for years and your instruction will prepare you for a lifetime of service. Each year you will return to Dubuque for a two-week August intensive.

Class size is limited. If you’re interested in this program please contact UDTS Admission at 1.800.369.UDTS to explore your call.

MDiv. Curriculum

The Master of Divinity curriculum integrates theological studies with the practice of ministry to prepare faithful and effective pastors. Students are required to successfully complete core courses in the three divisions of the seminary curriculum: Biblical, History/Theology, and Ministry, as well as Integrative and Field Education courses. A cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 is required for graduation.

The Distance MDiv. curriculum fulfills the same set of curricular goals as our residential program:

  • Preach the Word of God with faithfulness and clarity.
  • Lead worship and administer the sacraments with theological integrity and to the glory of God.
  • Engage contemporary theological and ethical issues with insight and humility.
  • Evangelize the world with faithfulness and contextual sensitivity.
  • Educate and equip individuals and congregations to live and minister joyfully and faithfully as part of their own denomination and the ecumenical church.
  • Provide pastoral care for individuals and congregations in daily life and moments of transition and crisis.
  • Lead and nurture congregations to promote peace and justice in the public arena and encourage the witness and service of the church in mission to the world.
  • Integrate theology and practice in all areas of life and ministry.

In this, the seminary seeks to advance the great ends of the church: "the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; the maintenance of divine worship; the preservation of the truth; the promotion of social righteousness, and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world." (P.C.(U.S.A.) Book of Order)

Course Requirements

The Master of Divinity curriculum roots Christian leaders in the Scriptures, tradition, and practices of the church with an overarching focus on building missional communities that form fervent disciples. Students in the Master of Divinity program are required to complete 75 credit hours. A cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 is required for graduation. In addition, MDiv. students are required to successfully complete core courses in the three divisions of the seminary curriculum, Bible, History/Theology and Ministry, as well as S.P.M. and Integrative courses. These include:


Bible (12) plus 3:
God’s Word: The Old Testament (3)
God’s Word: The New Testament (3)
Interpreting the Old Testament: OT Exegesis (3)
Interpreting the New Testament: NT Exegesis (3)
Bible elective (3)

History/Theology (12):
The Growth of the Church: Early and Medieval Church History (3)
Renewal, Expansion, Fragmentation: Reformation and Modern Church History (3)
What Christians Believe: Christian Doctrine I (3)
What Christians Believe: Christian Doctrine II (3)

Ministry (12):
Nurturing Wholeness in Christ: Caregiving (3)
Proclaiming the Word (3)
Making Disciples (3)
Leading Worship (3)

Field Education (6):
Pastoral Leadership (1)
Leadership Ethics (1)
Christian Leadership in Context (1) 
SPM Congregational Internship (1)
SPM Entrepreneurial Internship (1)
SPM Internship (1)

Integrative (12):
God’s Redemptive Mission (4)
Gospel in Context (3)
Starting Missional Communities (2)
Disciple Formation (2)
Theological and Biblical Research Methods (1) (req. for distance)

21 or more credits (3 of which must be Bible)

Maximum semester credit load: 16
Full time for Financial Aid: 9

A student may propose alternative methods of demonstrating completion of the objectives of some core courses, such as passing a proficiency examination in a given subject, or successfully completing courses with similar content offered by other seminaries. All such alternative proposals must be approved in advance by the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the faculty. Once matriculated, a student must take all core courses at UDTS. Core courses may not be fulfilled through tutorials.

Distance MDiv Program 3 and 4 Year Paradigms

The distance MDiv programs can be earned in either three or four years, by coming to the Dubuque campus for only two weeks a year. These fully-accredited degrees are offered as an approved exception to the ATS Degree Program Standard A, section A.3.1.3 and Standard B, section B.3.1.3.

Distance MDiv 3 year Paradigm
Distance MDiv 4 year Paradigm

Our Distance MDiv. Programs combine the convenience of online courses with the community of residential intensives. The following schedule shows the dates and duration for the online and residential sections. Note that the schedule includes pre- and post-load work for all students during the intensives. The schedule is subject to change.

*Academic Schedule

*Schedule is subject to change.

Application Deadline is June 30.

Projected Costs for Distance MDiv. Program
(Subject to change)

Application Fee: $30 non-refundable
submitted with application
Enrollment Confirmation Fee: $100 nonrefundable fee, applied to account upon matriculation
payable within two weeks of acceptance into the program
Student Activity and Parking Fee:  $165 per semester
due July 27 and Dec. 17

$575 per credit hour

  • August Intensive and Fall semester
    due July 27
  • January Intensive and Spring semester
    due December 17

Intensive Sessions Room: Approximately $800 per intensive 
Books and Supplies:  estimated at $1000 per year
Health Insurance:  Students are required to supply proof of health insurance coverage.
Payment Options

We do take credit cards!
Call Student Accounts at 563.589.3208 directly to make a payment by phone.
Current students may also pay on http://my.dbq.edu.

Checks payable to: 
University of Dubuque 
Attn: Student Accounts
2000 University Avenue 
Dubuque, IA 52001

Financial Aid:
Distance students are eligible for federal student loans. Stafford Loans are need-based loans insured by the federal government and allow repayment to begin after graduation. Students who are seeking federal loans must complete a FAFSA, available online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Our FAFSA code is 001891. FAFSA applications are due July 1.

Students are encouraged to speak with their church and judicatory to determine if other financial support is available.