The Doctor of Ministry degree provides the opportunity for advanced study in the areas of vocational and leadership formation and community building. Integrating theological reflection and ministerial practice with these areas of study, Christian leaders build their theological knowledge and gain skills to effectively engage in ministerial work in contexts of change and transition.
The goals of the degree are to (1) seek vocational depth and direction; (2) gain theological knowledge and understanding of vocational and leadership identity in tandem with developing skills for relevant practices of ministry that build communities in context; and (3) acquire knowledge, critical insights and skills to exercise leadership grounded in Christian vocation in contexts of transition and change within the Church and the community.
The D.Min. curriculum follows a cohort system for students. Cohorts will progress through 24 credit hours of courses that integrate the areas of Christian vocation, leadership, and community building. Students then work independently in the final six credit hours, preparing for and completing the writing project that brings the course work to bear on a specific practice of ministry.
- Students will demonstrate expertise in the theology of vocation, leadership and community building in the context of ministry.
- Students will demonstrate superior ministerial skills in adaptive leadership and community building.
- Students will integrate practice based on sound theological and contextual analysis.
- Students will demonstrate professional integrity and ongoing growth.
Requirements for Admission
The professional nature of the D.Min. requires that students have leadership responsibilities in their ministry setting. Application deadline is March 18 for June admission to a cohort. Applicants wishing to enter the D.Min. program must have:
- An accredited master’s degree (or its educational equivalent) in an area related to one’s ministry setting or vocational calling with demonstrated academic excellence, as attested by official transcripts.
- Significant ministerial experience that enables the applicant to engage as a ministry peer with other students in this advanced professional doctorate, as attested by two references.
- The ability to interpret scripture and the theological tradition of one’s ministry context thoughtfully, the capacity to understand and adapt one’s ministry to the cultural context, a basic self-understanding of one’s ministerial identity and vocational calling, and a readiness to engage in ongoing personal and spiritual formation for one’s ministry, as reflected in a short essay addressing vocation, leadership, and community building. The essay should include (a) a statement of objectives in pursuing the D.Min. degree, and (b) the anticipated contribution of the writing project to the applicant’s vocation, understanding of leadership and commitment to community building.
International applicants who hold a religious worker visa (R-1) may be considered for admission. International applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English with a minimum score of 600 paper-based or 250 computer-based TOEFL score. NOTE: No Perkins funded financial aid is available to international students. See D.Min. Financial Information for requirements for international students.
Because the Doctor of Ministry is a degree given in the context of ministry, generally no transfer credit is accepted.
Requirements for Graduation
The D.Min program requires 30 credit hours including the completion of a writing project.
A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.000 is required for graduation.
The D.Min. degree is a 3 year program. Under extraordinary circumstances, a student may petition for a one year leave of absence. The director may approve a one year leave of absence, but such a leave is not guaranteed. During the writing of the thesis, a student may petition for an additional year to complete the thesis. The director may approve an additional year to complete the thesis, but such an extension is not guaranteed.
The course requirements, by term, are as follows:
First term, June
- DM 9370 – The Person and Role of a Leader in Ministry
- DM 9380 – Vocation, Leadership and Community
Second term, January
- DM 9369 – Leadership and Vocation in Church and Community: A Theological/Historical Exploration
- DM 9379 – Models of Leadership, Social Institutions and Community Engagement
Third term, June
- DM 9359 – Vocation, Leadership and the Bible in Contexts
- DM 9350 – Ecclesiology, Community and Models of Leadership
Fourth term, January
- DM 9309 – Integrative Seminar and Strategic Planning in Contexts of Change and Transitions
- DM 9347 – Contextual Analysis
Fifth term, June
- DM 9390 – Directed Study
- DM 9394 – Thesis Seminar
During the fifth term of academic course work, the final 6 credits of the total 30 credits, students are required to complete the following courses: DM 9390 – Directed Study and DM 9394 – Thesis Seminar. Both of these courses serve the purpose of preparing the students to embark in the writing of a research thesis. The completion and approval of the writing project/thesis signals the recognition of a professional doctorate in Christian ministry in the field of vocation, leadership and community building.
The writing project/thesis combines research, a comprehensive evaluation and integration of course work, and a written doctoral-level project that addresses both the nature and dynamics of vocation and leadership in the practice of ministry, including application for communities and churches in transition and change. It also evaluates the capacity of the student’s own ministries for building and sustaining communities and churches using substantive biblical and theological reflection, and applying competencies in contextual analysis, adaptive leadership skills and strategic planning.
The writing project/thesis is a research thesis of 120-150 pages, double-spaced, 12 point font with appropriate research notes, bibliography, and appendices (if needed) that integrates an area of the student’s interest with the areas in the curriculum, namely, vocation, leadership and community building. The writing project/thesis offers an analysis of the explicit and implicit theological underpinnings of models of vocation, leadership and community building in differing contexts of ministry, employing a range of theological disciplines and other relevant disciplines. It also argues for the most theologically integrated and effective approach to ministry in particular circumstances.
With the supervision of an adviser and the critical assessment of a second reader, the writing project/thesis fulfills the professional requirement of a contextual and academic degree grounded in practical theology that contributes to the life and mission of Christian communities in contexts.