Rev. Shonda Jones, Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Services
Phone: (336) 758-5121
Thomas P. Benza, Associate Director of Financial Aid
Rev. Dr. Gail R. O’Day, Dean and Professor of New Testament and Preaching
Wake Forest’s Focus On
Responding to Community and Global Needs
In response to growing concerns about food-related challenges, Wake Forest Divinity School has founded the Food, Faith, and Leadership Initiative. Fred Bahnson has been named director of the program, which will work to education degree seeking students as well as local pastors in congregations in the issues of food access, quality, and production. Read more here. Interested in Fred Bahnson’s take? Check out his book here.
Sending the Best
In March 2013, the Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Affairs’ director, Melissa Rogers, was named as the Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House (read the news release here.)
Preparing to Lead Communities
The Wake Forest University Institute for Pubic Engagement is focused on connecting the University’s academic work with community engagement. This allows divinity students to work with the rest of the university in a variety of ways. Read more here.
Through student groups like The Beatitudes Society, Akoni, and Kaleidoscope, Wake Forest Students are invited to engage on an off campus in the uplift of people and the health and peace of communities.
In the Words of a Student
“The School of Divinity at Wake Forest University has been a place for me to explore my passion in the area of food and faith. It is such a broad topic and I have been introduced to and challenged by ideas that range from the way we grow our food, treat our animals, and protect our resources to food access, nutrition, and community food projects. Constructing a theology that considers food from farms to tables has been incredibly life giving. I have been able to tailor internships and independent studies to my particular interests and have found and overwhelming amount of support for the work I am doing from faculty, staff, and my fellow students. Everyone has the right to eat good, clean food that was grown in a way that restores the earth, WakeDiv has helped me find my place in that work.”
The Wake Forest University School of Divinity is a young and dynamic theological institution. The School of Divinity combines the academic resources of a top 25 national university with the teaching focus of a small college to create a unique learning environment. Currently 121 students are enrolled in the Master of Divinity program. Keeping with the University’s motto of Pro Humanitate, the school of divinity’s mission is, “to equip students to be agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion in Christian churches and other ministries.”
The School of Divinity takes seriously the reality of today’s global context and seeks to mirror that diversity within the student body and its programs. To meet the needs of an evolving church and world, the School of Divinity offers an ecumenical environment where students and faculty engage contemporary religious life with intentionality.
Wake Forest University School of Divinity has a generous financial aid program. Awards are made to degree-seeking students based upon merit and need. A typical financial aid package includes scholarships or grants, federal student loans, and federal work-study employment.
Granted to candidates who demonstrate in their application high academic achievement and outstanding promise for ministry. These scholarships are awarded only to full-time students enrolled in degree programs. Awards are renewable for three years and range from 33% of tuition to full tuition plus a stipend. All candidates for admission are considered for these awards.
The school’s top awards are:
- The Samuel and Sarah Wait Graduate Fellowship in Theology and Ministry is the most selective and comprehensive award available at Wake. Two Wait fellowships are awarded each year to students demonstrating promise for ministry and excellent academic standing. In addition to covering the cost of tuition, the Wait Fellowship offers a $10,000 living stipend.
- The Frances and Charles R. Council Award provides full tuition and a $5,000 annual stipend for candidates who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and show financial need.
- The Jeanette Wallace Hyde Award provides full tuition and a $5,000 stipend for candidates who demonstrate exceptional promise in religious leadership and strong academic ability.
Need-based financial aid is granted by the Office of Financial Aid of Wake Forest University. This includes state and federal loans, grants, and work-study. All students who are U.S. citizens and wish to be considered for scholarships and other financial aid must complete the FAFSA form.
Federal Work Study
Positions are available in the School of Divinity for qualified students. Students may earn up to $2,000/year.
Non-Institutional Aid & Denominational Support
Students may find helpful resources through their own denominational bodies for financial assistance. Many mainline denominations offer sizable scholarships and study grants. Students may also contact home congregations to seek further support. A list of resources is available online.
There are numerous other scholarships available for students attending Wake Forest. Students are encouraged to seek outside funding.
Master of Divinity (MDiv)
A professional degree for those preparing for ministry in diverse congregational, non-profit, and other religious leadership settings. Unique to Wake is the Art of Ministry Program. Art of Ministry is a three-year curricular sequence that promotes ministry formation through the integration of on-site praxis and classroom-based learning.
The School of Divinity offers concentrated studies within the MDiv degree:
- through the Well-Being and Religious Leadership Program with curricular concentrations in food and faith, and faith and health of the public; and
- in partnership with the Department of Education the school offers a concentration designed to enable students who already hold teaching certificates to qualify for a North Carolina Master’s level certification.
MDiv / Master of Arts in Counseling (MDiv/MAC)
offered for students interested in pursuing vocations that combine theological, ministerial and counseling skills. The degree takes four years to complete.
Juris Doctor/ MDiv Dual Degree (JD/MDiv)
A five-year program that prepares students for vocations in ethics and law. Students interested in nonprofits or public policy will benefit from such a program.
MDiv/Master of Arts in Bioethics (MDiv/MAB)
Facilitates an interdisciplinary conversation between theology and bioethics and to provide resources for students whose vocational aims require knowledge and/or competence in both disciplines. This dual degree can be completed in seven semesters.
The Multicultural Contexts for Ministry Requirement
All students are required to complete one course focused on specific ministries in diverse religious and regional contexts. The following courses have been offered in the past:
- New York City: This urban immersion course exposed students to many aspects of urban ministry. Classroom lectures and dialogue examined biblical and textual methodology for spiritual, congregational and servant ministry in the city, focusing on issues ranging from social justice to the development of nonprofit corporations. The urban immersion portion of this course was in New York City.
- Appalachia: Studies in rural church and community ministry through Appalachian Ministries Educational Resources Center (AMERC), Berea, Kentucky. Particular attention was given to traditional communities amid the changing face of the Appalachian region.
- Egypt: By traveling to the Arab Republic of Egypt, students directly experienced a vibrant Muslim society within which minority Christian communities practice their faith. The class explored numerous pagan, Christian, Muslim and (historically) Jewish places of worship in the greater Cairo area and in Egypt’s stunning archeological sites around Luxor.
Trips planned for 2013-2014 include Appalachia, New York City, Nicaragua, and South Africa.
In addition to offering a broad array of courses relating to mission, prophetic witness, congregational leadership, and social justice, the School of Divinity offers co-curricular programs designed to integrate classroom learning with practical experience. The following are a sampling of many courses that address the intersection of community and classroom:
Nicaragua: Global Health and Interdisciplinary Professional Development. Offered in conjunction with the University. The course includes travel to Nicaragua and provides professional and graduate students with a cross-disciplinary forum wherein they reflect on the professional ethical obligations of their discipline and the role of their profession in facilitating economic, social, and political development. Students consider the interrelated nature of development within the intersection of professional disciplines. Work groups will be organized to facilitate cross-disciplinary learning. Divinity students will complete several written assignments, attend pre- and post-travel seminars and/or class sessions. (Similar courses have been offered that focus on African and Indian culture and religion.)
Formational and Transformational Practices in Christian Education. Explores practices and theories of religious education that aim to form, renew and transform Christian faith in persons and communities. The interaction between faith and culture in congregations, schools, community agencies and public forums is investigated. Communities educate in the face of specific and often deeply rooted challenges to their identity and vocation. Specific and persistently threatening challenges that pervade U.S. culture addressed in this course are racism, sexism and materialistic consumerism.
Urban Ministry: Ministering to Urban Churches. Exposes students to aspects of spiritual, congregational and servant ministry in the city. A variety of topics explore issues ranging from scriptures to social justice to the development of nonprofit corporations. The course requires a pilgrimage to a regional urban ministry site.
Faith, Food Justice and Local Communities. Explores issues of food access, food justice and faith using insights and tools both from research sciences and theology. Designed to increase student awareness of the questions being posed by research scientists, theological educators, and faith communities. This course is offered in partnership with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Religion and the Civil Rights Struggle. Asses the ways in which faith communities, organizations, and individuals have fueled or been reinforced by African American protests and demands for equal rights. The class engages the complexity of religious voices within the American freedom struggle.
The School of Divinity is committed to promoting interdisciplinary studies that promote dialogue and learning through interaction with faculty and students in other schools and departments of the University. In addition, the School of Divinity also encourages global perspectives through theological reflection, critical inquiry, and ministry formation on diverse religious, cultural, and ethnic perspectives within both national and international contexts.
Equip religious leaders with the knowledge, skills and pastoral habits necessary to guide congregations and other faith-based organizations into creating more redemptive food systems. More information can be found at online.
Faculty and Administration Involvement
Fred Bahnson, Director of Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative
Christopher Copeland, Director of Leadership Development
James M. Dunn, Resident Professor of Christianity and Public Policy
Gary Gunderson, Professor of Faith and Health of the Public
Derek S. Hicks, Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture
Mark Jensen, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology
Michelle Voss Roberts, Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture
Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, NC, a culturally rich, mid-sized Southern city. Winston-Salem is located in heart of the Piedmont, with quick access to Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Situated on a stunning 340 acres, Wake is nestled into the city-scape and sits adjacent to historic Salem, NC, the center of Moravian life in the US. The School of Divinity is intentional in its engagement with the community—both the greater University community (through interdisciplinary commitments) and the diverse community that composes the triad area.