FAQs - Doctor of Ministry Program

Informing spiritual passions by…
Forming mentored learning communities, thereby…
Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.

Request more information

Leadership and Vision

What is the Doctor of Ministry Program?
The Doctor of Ministry is the highest degree offered for practitioners in Christ’s service. It is a professional degree designed for ministry leaders, to broaden understanding and deepen skills for ministry.

We describe the purpose of our program as, “to nurture passionate reflective practitioners.”

Who leads the program?
David Currie, M.Div., Ph.D., is the Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Gordon-Conwell. He works with a dedicated staff, who administrate the program, and a team of over 50 mentors, who teach the classes.
Does this degree qualify me to teach?
The D.Min. is a professional degree, focusing on the practice of ministry rather than on doing research for the academy. If you want to become more effective in your ministry, and maybe do a little part-time teaching, then it is a good fit.

While some of our graduates do end up teaching full-time in practical subjects, if your goal is to become a professor you should look for a Th.D. or Ph.D., with its emphasis on original research for the academy.

You might find this article, written by Dean Currie, where he talks about the difference between Doctor of Ministry and other doctoral studies helpful.

Admissions and Tuition

What are the admissions requirements?
To qualify for our Doctor of Ministry program, an applicant must meet three basic requirements.

  1. An applicant must have completed a Master of Divinity degree (or see below) from an ATS accredited program, carrying an overall 3.0 GPA.
  2. An applicant must have at least three years of post-graduation (or see below), full-time ministry experience prior to the planned start of their doctoral studies.
  3. An applicant must have a current ministry context where they can complete degree related ministry projects.

You can read more about the application process here.

Can I apply without an M.Div.?
Yes, through our M.Div. equivalency process. We look for three matters in each evaluation:

  1. What are the school and degree earned? A masters (or post-graduate) or higher degree, related to ministry, from an accredited institution lays the required foundation of each equivalency evaluation.
  2. How many credits has the student earned? From this foundation, equivalency requires coursework reaching a minimum of 72 semester hours, and distributed across three institutional divisions.
  3. How are courses distributed across ministry contexts? We look for a minimum of 18 hours each, in four institutional areas.
    • The Division of Biblical Studies: includes subjects like NT/OT studies, Biblical languages, surveys, and exegesis, and Ancient Near Eastern studies.
    • The Division of Christian Thought: includes subjects such as church history, personal and social ethics, theology, apologetics, and missions.
    • The Division of Practical Theology: includes studies in counseling, education, evangelism, leadership, ministry, preaching, worship, and so on.
    • Electives: fulfilled with additional courses from any/all divisions.

While not the same as an M.Div., equivalency can establish eligibility for our academic admissions requirement. Please contact us with any questions.

Can I apply with less years of ministry experience?
Applicants can submit a resume of ministry experience with their application to seek eligibility for this requirement, if they pursued their theological graduate degree after, or while being in, full time ministry.

Please share at least three previous years of ministry for every post year needed (3:1).

What about tuition, fees, and financial aid?
Tuition is established as one fee, covering the track cycle. Tuition does not increase year after year. More details on our “Tuition and Financing” page.

Tuition does not include the graduation fee or the cost of books, housing, travel, meals, and other fees incurred while pursuing the degree.

In the year following the final quarter, no additional tuition fees are assessed, as students are busy completing and defending their thesis-project. Beginning the next year, those who have not yet graduated are charged a smaller quarterly continuation fee.

What is the matriculation deposit?
Accepted applicants confirm their spot in the program by submitting a matriculation deposit, currently a flat $900 fee. This non-refundable fee is applied toward the first quarter of tuition.

Accepted applicants may matriculate through our “Acting on Admission” page.

Ministry Friendly

Can I earn this degree online?
Our low-residency format enables ministry leaders to pursue our degree without having to relocate or stop ministry. Students attend one, two-week long, residency each year, for three years.

Studies require time in your schedule for reading, attending residencies, and carrying out projects, but everything can be integrated back into your current setting. A detailed explanation of the structure is available online.

Our Marriage and Family Counseling cohorts are an exception.

Where are the residencies?
Gordon-Conwell offers the Doctor of Ministry program at three campuses; Boston, MA, South Hamilton, MA, and Charlotte, NC. Soon, this will also include our Jacksonville, FL campus.

Some tracks include off-site visits and extensive field experiences, both within the USA and overseas. These visits may include additional transportation and accommodation costs.

Specifics are listed with each track on the start schedule.

When do I access my course materials?
Our team can officially enroll an accepted applicant once the matriculation fee is received. Then, further residency related materials, like the syllabus, are given to the new student!

Syllabi outline pre-residency reading requirements and assignments. Most syllabi are available six or more months in advance of the first residency, so early enrollees don’t have to wait very long. We encourage quick matriculation for quick access.

How much academic preparation would I do for each residency?
Each residency entails different preparation, usually doable in 8-10 hours a week for twelve weeks.

Listed in each syllabus, pre-residency assignments help students understand their field of study and get ready for the upcoming residency. Syllabi are only available to enrolled students, but a sample reading list is shared on most individual track pages.

You can expect assignments to include reading and prepared reflection, such as critical interaction with a book or a case study excerpted from your ministry experience, but never “busy work”.

Peer Learning

Do I stay with the same group all through the program?
Yes, that is a strength of the Gordon-Conwell experience. You study with a group of people, like yourself, who come from a wide variety of churches and denominations. You will develop strong bonds with some of your fellow students, and continue to have a network of valued friends in ministry long after graduation.
Can I study as an international student?
Yes! Gordon-Conwell takes seriously the task of providing quality education for international leaders serving the gospel in their own countries. Currently, our international students represent all 7 continents and over 11 countries including  Brazil, Canada, Germany, Haiti, India, the Marshall Islands, Jamaica, Nigeria, Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan.

International students return to their native countries between residencies.

TOEFL test scores are not required. Read more on our international student webpage.

Faculty Mentoring

Who teaches the residencies?
Each cohort mentor team includes Gordon-Conwell faculty, often paired with academically qualified leading practitioners and scholars from outside the faculty. Mentors share their lives as well as their knowledge, acting more as guides and colleagues than “professors”. Many of our graduates count this kind of relationship with seasoned Christian leaders as one of the most transformative aspects of the program.
What are the residencies like?
Each residency is an intensive two-week experience that generally meets five days each week, for about eight hours each days. A faculty mentor directs the “hands-on” learning of each residency. Other experts in their fields are invited as guests, to contribute information and insights.

Students must plan to participate each day, integrating readings, project experiences and reflections gathered throughout the year. We recommend reading the syllabus to note any special guests, assignments, outings, or activities.

Specialized Studies

What are your concentrations?
We have one Doctor of Ministry program but offer a wider selection of specialized “tracks” to help you dig deep to meet specific ministry needs and goals. Among the 25+ tracks offered in our Doctor of Ministry program, you may want to consider one of those listed here.

You can get more information on the program, or a specific track, by contacting our Admissions representative, Donna Mayhugh at [email protected] or  (617) 318-1662. You may also request more information or start an application here. We look forward to seeing how our Doctor of Ministry program can be a part of what God is doing in your life.

How can I tailor the studies to my goals?
Each student shapes a small project that applies learning to ministry skills, at the first and second residencies. While we give general guidelines, in consultation with your faculty-mentor you will tailor the project to your own needs.

Each project is then carried out, developing you as a stronger leader. Students use this as an opportunity to sharpen skills, test ideas, and build towards the final thesis-project.

Do I have to write a thesis?
Yes, the thesis-project is a degree requirement. Students complete a thesis, with a significant project component, focused on something they would like to accomplish. What you could do can be as wide as your imagination and as practical as your needs.

Some participants have designed courses that they have taught both in North America and overseas. Others have done projects that benefited their local congregations. A few have later used their final thesis-project to write a book.

Get Started Today