If you are interested in pursuing a degree in divinity, you have probably asked yourself at one time or another if the investment in time and resources is worth it. After all, a standard divinity degree - the MDiv - takes at least three years to complete, sometimes more. Still, most students who earn the degree believe the time spent is well worth it.
For starters, a degree in divinity is actually quite versatile. One studies the Bible, history, theology, philosophy, psychology, education, and a slew of other subjects. This wide range of courses provides a solid foundation for graduate-level study in many fields, not just theology.
The versatility of divinity degrees regarding possible career choices is another reason for their popularity. Of course, divinity students often pursue church-oriented vocations, such as pastoral ministry and Christian education. However, divinity degrees also provide preparation for chaplaincy, counseling, advocacy, administration, and numerous other career choices.
Regardless of the type of seminary or divinity school one attends - conservative, liberal, non-denominational, mainline - one of the most important skills any divinity student must nurture is that of critical thinking and critical writing on a variety of subjects. At least in theory, divinity students should learn how to balance the strengths and weaknesses of an argument, a skill that is valuable in a variety of areas, not just pastoral ministry or theology.
To be sure, most students who attend seminary or divinity school do so in order to prepare for professional ministry in the church. While earning a divinity degree is certainly not required to serve the church (I'm pretty sure none of the apostles had an MDiv), not only can it help you hone your skills for seminary, many denominations and even independent churches require ministers to have seminary training.
Having a well-educated clergy certainly has a plentitude of benefits. The Christian faith has a rich history and tradition, one that has a complex relationship to surrounding cultures. Being able to understand and articulate how Christianity developed and grew can be very helpful in teaching one's congregation as well as others about the basic tenets of the faith.
And to perhaps state the obvious, learning how to read, interpret, teach the Bible in all of its simple yet complex truths is a benefit to any minister. Learning the history of Biblical interpretation as well as skills such as language study and hermeneutics is vital for learning and teaching the wide range of Biblical texts.
In short, a degree in divinity is indeed a worthwhile pursuit, one that should be carefully considered for any potential minister or student of theology.