The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) provides advanced training in biblically and theologically oriented ministry to those involved in vocational ministry.
The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program provides leaders with training in the biblical rationale, sociological strategy, and practical implementation of ministry through group-based cohorts or individualized study.
Generally, you need three years of ministry experience and an MDiv or equivalent degree to begin your Doctor of Ministry (DMin).
The Doctor of Ministry program admits men and women who show evidence that they (1) are born again; (2) are of proven Christian character; (3) are endowed with appropriate spiritual gifts; and (4) adhere to the following doctrines: the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the spiritual lostness of the human race, the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ.
In addition, the following prerequisites apply to DMin applicants.
- normally have at least three years of vocational or bivocational Christian ministry experience since receiving their first graduate theological degree
- give evidence of growth and competence in ministerial skills and leadership
- be involved in an ongoing ministry (including lay ministry)
- have an academic record that demonstrates superior ability and shows promise of success in doctoral studies; and
- hold an accredited Master of Divinity (MDiv) or Master of Theology (ThM) degree, or a Master of Arts (MA) degree plus leveling courses as necessary to provide MDiv equivalence. Prerequisite degrees and/or equivalence must include:
- a minimum of 80 semester hours of credit and
- three semesters of Greek and two semesters of Hebrew. (If a student has only two semesters of Greek, he or she may take ID7201 Computer Tools for Biblical Exegesis in lieu of the third semester of Greek. For selected DTS master’s degrees the student needs only ID7201 Computer Tools for Biblical Exegesis in lieu of Greek and Hebrew.)
Credits needed to meet MDiv equivalence requirements must cover the breadth and scope of Dallas Theological Seminary’s curriculum and commitment to Scripture as prescribed by the DMin Office and the Registrar’s Office. Courses required for MDiv equivalence may be earned at DTS, its extension sites, through external studies programs, or other accredited institutions. For more information on MDiv equivalence, please contact the Doctor of Ministry Office or the Registrar’s Office.
Applicants must supply the requisite written admission materials and must have a personal or phone interview with members of the faculty. Prospective DMin students may apply for admission at any time. The deadline for the summer session is February 15 and for the winter seminar, August 15. Further details on admission requirements and procedures are available from the Admissions Office.
Transfer of Credit
Transfer of credit for the DMin may not exceed 10 credit hours. Doctoral-level
credit completed at another accredited institution may be applied toward the DMin degree if those hours constitute equivalent work. Normally only courses taken after receiving an MA, MDiv, ThM, STM, or equivalent degree can be credited toward the DMin degree.
The training and courses completed in the Basic and Advanced Chaplaincy programs of the US Army or equivalent training and courses completed as a chaplain in other branches of the US Military may be transferred for up to 10 hours of credit toward a DMin degree at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Requests for transfer of credit should be directed to the director of DMin studies. Plans to take other courses for transfer credit must be approved by the DMin committee prior to taking the course.
The DMin program requires 27 semester hours of course work (which includes from 21 to 24 hours of prescribed and elective courses and from 3 to 6 hours of independent study courses), plus a 3-hour applied research project related to the student’s ministry. The program normally requires at least four years of study.
Normally, three prescribed courses must be taken by all DMin students: DM7101 The Ministry Leader, DM7102 Applied Research Project Development Seminar, and DM7103 The Applied Research Project. Some cohorts fuse the leadership and/or research components into the selected cohort. In addition, students normally complete at least one independent study course, DM7901 Independent Study. Course descriptions for these and other DMin courses may be found in the Course Descriptions section of the catalog.
All courses are six months in length, but include only one or two week residence on the main campus. During the pre-resident months, students read and interact with course material. After the course meets for the resident week, students complete an assignment that is appropriate to their ministry. DTS alumni are allowed to audit the resident portion of a course as space permits. Registration for summer DMin courses must be completed by March 15, and registration for winter DMin courses must be completed by September 15. Electives in the various areas of concentration are listed in the “Course Description” section of the catalog.
All work leading to the Doctor of Ministry degree must be completed in no less than three and no more than six years from the time of matriculation. A minimal grade of B- must be received in every course credited toward graduation and also on the applied research project.
Additional information on DMin policies and procedures is given in the Doctor of Ministry Handbook.
Admission to Candidacy
Students may be admitted to candidacy for the DMin degree by action of the faculty only after these requirements have been met: (1) completion of all residence requirements leading to the degree; (2) the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 21 semester hours of coursework; (3) evidence of proven Christian character; (4) effectiveness in Christian ministry; and (5) adherence to the following doctrines: the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the spiritual lostness of the human race, the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ.
Students applying to candidacy for the DMin degree must also provide a written letter of reference from the local church or organization where the student is serving, endorsing the student’s ministry as well as a personal reference from another source.
Students must be admitted to candidacy before they can register for DM7103 The Applied Research Project. Six of the 9 hours that remain for completion of the degree can be taken concurrently with DM7103 (3 hours).
Applied Research Project Requirements
The applied research project is the student’s major research project in the degree program. It must be directly related to his or her ministry and must make a significant contribution to the field of professional ministry as well as to the student’s personal life. The project normally should deal with some aspect of communication, administration, nurture, leadership, or Christian education. The length is to be appropriate for the subject as judged by the student’s advisers.
If the applied research project is not completed within the first year after enrolling in DM7103, then the student will be required to register for DM7105 Applied Research Continuation each summer and winter term until project completion.
Details on the procedures and deadlines for the topic approval, proposal, and first and final drafts of the applied research project are available in the Doctor of Ministry Office as well as in the DMin Handbook.
Candidates for the DMin degree must have completed 27 semester hours of course work and the 3-hour applied research project along with any other requirements that may have been assigned. The completion of minimum requirements does not automatically qualify a student for the degree. The candidate must evidence to the satisfaction of the faculty proven Christian character, ability and acceptability in Christian ministry, and adherence to the following doctrines: the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the spiritual lostness of the human race, the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ.
Diplomas will not be awarded, transcripts issued, or placement assistance provided unless all financial obligations to the Seminary and/or the student loan program are current.
Cohort groups move through a select part of the program together, enjoying a community experience with fellow learners and mentor scholars.
Advanced Academic Ministry (Individualized, Cohort)
This cohort-based emphasis provides advanced training unique to academic ministry leadership. The major focus of this program includes teaching in Christian institutions, administration in Christian education, curriculum design, creativity, and current issues in teaching and education.
Church Health, Leadership, and Multiplication (Individualized, Cohort)
This emphasis provides advanced training in the practice of biblically and theologically oriented ministry for church pastors and church planters. It focuses on an evaluation of problems, programs and/or procedures unique to church leaders through case-study methodology, with special attention given to church, leadership development and ministry multiplication.
Pastors of Large Churches (Individualized, Cohort)
This emphasis provides advanced training in the practice of biblically and theologically oriented ministry for pastors serving in large churches. It is designed to support and promote pastoral leadership development through the evaluation of problems, programs and/or procedures unique to pastors of large churches. Attention is given to leadership development and case-study research method.
Multicultural Ministry (Individualized, Cohort)
This cohort-based emphasis provides advanced training in the practice of biblically and theologically oriented ministry for multicultural church leaders serving the local church and parachurch organizations. This cohort program is designed to help ministry leaders through a study of the principles, leadership issues, challenges and opportunities uniquely confronting multicultural church leaders with a goal of helping students take their ministry to next level. Attention is given to leadership development and case-study research method. This cohort is hosted at the Dallas Seminary, Houston Extension Campus.
Rural and Small-Town Pastors (Individualized, Cohort)
This emphasis provides advanced training for pastors who are ministering in town and country areas throughout the United States and Canada. It will involve biblical, theological, and practical study to bring enhanced, contextualized training and tools for pastoral effectiveness, recognizing the unique challenges that face rural and small-town pastors.
Women in Ministry (Individualized, Cohort)
This emphasis provides advanced training in the practice of biblically and theologically oriented ministry for women in ministry. It is designed to support and promote the complementary role of men and women in ministry.
Advanced Expository Preaching (Individualized, Cohort)
This cohort-based emphasis provides advanced training in the art and discipline of expository preaching as practiced in a church context. The courses will also address leading from the pulpit, long-range sermon planning, and preaching the major biblical genres with accuracy and creativity. This cohort-based program will further provide advanced study in audience analysis, variety in sermon structures, mentoring in homiletics and preaching to the post-modern generation. Key aspects of this cohort specialty are peer group interactive learning and individual mentoring in homiletics.
Executive and Associate Pastors (Individualized, Cohort)
This emphasis provides advanced training in the practice of biblically and theologically oriented ministry for executive and associate pastors serving in the local church. This training specialty supports and promotes pastoral leadership development through the evaluation of problems, programs, and/or procedures unique to executive and associate church leaders. Attention is given to leadership development and case-study research methodology.
Ministry Leadership in International Contexts (Individualized)
This emphasis provides advanced training in the practice of biblically and theologically oriented ministry for those ministering in various international regions. This cohort focuses on pastoral and parachurch leadership issues, challenges, and opportunities unique to particular global ministry contexts (e.g., Brazil, Israel).
Marriage and Family Ministry (Individualized, Cohort)
This emphasis explores biblical and theological foundations, cutting edge programs, and ministry education strategies. Certification in the use of research based tools for marriage and family educators will be included. A major focus will be to design sustainable context specific Marriage and Family Ministries particularly in the church.
Spiritual Formation (Individualized, Cohort)
This cohort-based emphasis provides advanced training in Christian spiritual formation for ministry practitioners. Special attention will be given to the theology and history of Christian spirituality, personal and corporate practices of spiritual formation, and the process of providing spiritual nurture and guidance to others. This cohort-based program will further provide advanced study on such topics related to the history and practice of soul care, spiritual direction, and spiritual formation in small groups.
Pastoral Senior Care and Counseling Cohort
This emphasis provides advanced equipping of pastors and chaplains for pastoral ministry to aging populations in local church and parachurch organizations. This cohort will include biblical, theological and practical study to help the student design and implement effective and sustainable senior care ministries in the local church and senior living communities to meet the actual needs of senior adults and their families.
Stories from our community
Our DMin graduates serve in churches and ministries of every tribe, nation, and tongue.
Dr. Todd Phillips’ Goal to Provide Clean Drinking Water to Liberia
Brian Lam Leads Cross-cultural Church in Houston
Prison Chaplain Lettie Watkins Brings Hope to Inmates
The Doctor of Ministry degree program is designed to provide advanced training in the practice of biblically and theologically oriented ministry to those actively involved in vocational or bivocational ministry. The program concentrates on developing expertise in the biblical rationale, sociological strategy, and practical implementation of ministry.
The Doctor of Ministry degree is the highest professional degree for those engaged in local church and parachurch ministries, world missions, and similar ministries. (The PhD degree, by comparison, purposes primarily to equip students to engage in scholarly research and teaching.) The DMin program is offered “in ministry” rather than “in residence,” as it assumes students will remain in ministry throughout the program and does not require them to relocate to Dallas. It normally requires a minimum of three years of meaningful ministry experience. Each course assumes this ministry experience and endeavors to integrate learning with the student’s present context of ministry as well as future goals.
One of the most inviting features of the DMin at DTS is that the curriculum is designed with a high degree of flexibility. Of the 27 hours of course work required for the degree, only six hours are prescribed so that students may tailor their programs to their own ministry goals. Three additional hours are granted for the student’s applied research project, which the student reports in the dissertation.
To enable students to:
- evaluate their own personal, spiritual, and professional development;
- assess and construct biblical ministries in a variety of contemporary contexts;
- conduct biblically and theologically integrated professional applied research within their chosen field of study;
- manifest a maturing and Spirit-filled character;
- enhance identified ministerial skills such as preaching, leadership, administration, counseling, spiritual formation, educational programming, and communication;
- communicate God’s Word effectively through preaching, teaching, writing or other media; and
- contribute to the practice of ministry for greater local church and parachurch effectiveness.