Our Doctor of Ministry program is designed to be taken in an uninterrupted sequence of experience over three years, with a few exceptions. Each year includes two continuous weeks of intensive in-person residency and one major project. To complete the final thesis- project, doctoral defense, and graduation ceremony typically adds a fourth year to the degree.
About six months before each residency, extensive reading and preparation are assigned by the track mentor. Participants should plan to devote 12 hours per week in preparation for the residency.
Each year’s two-week residency consists of two one-week courses. The courses are designed sequentially for the participant to acquire increasing competency in his/her selected area of concentration, both in terms of conceptual understanding and praxis, from one year to the next. A principal focus of each residency is the participant’s own preparation, as well as the track mentor’s approval of a proposal for a major ministry project to be carried out in the ensuing year.
Following each of the first and second residencies, participants will complete a project that relates their D. Min. coursework with their place of ministry. The project mentor will inform the participant about expectations for content, necessary components and matters of form. Proposals for projects and nominations for on-site evaluators must be completed during the residency. Then projects are carried out during the four to six months following the residency. The final project report must be submitted to the project mentor no later than the beginning of the next residency. Both the on-site evaluator and the project mentor evaluate the project.
In order to establish a framework of goals for the program that is unique to the participant’s own life and ministry, the participant writes a Personal Learning Covenant. This helps the participant “to deepen (his/her) basic knowledge and skill in ministry with increasing professional, intellectual and spiritual integrity” (Standards of the Association of Theological Schools). These goals are proposed during the first residency, in final form by the second residency, and carried out during the entire D. Min. program.
During the second residency session, the participant will have a qualifying oral exam with his/her track mentor that focuses upon progress to date in his/her own learning, including course work, project work, and the participant’s stated goals in the Personal Learning Covenant (relating to individual goals, family goals, and ministry goals).
Upon the participant’s successful completion of the Qualifying Oral Exam, he/she is admitted to Candidacy Status. Candidacy Status means that the participant has demonstrated a purpose and plan for completing the degree and that he/she is formally eligible to receive the D.Min. degree upon completion of the remaining requirements.
The participant’s own thesis-project is the culmination of previous learning in the program and a demonstration of his/her ability to engage in a lifetime of ministry as a scholar-practitioner in the given area of the participant’s specialization. In addition to the mentor, the participant will be assigned a reader. These together form the thesis committee and they guide the participant through the process, approving each aspect of the thesis-project from the initial proposal through to the final draft. The final requirement for degree completion is the participant’s sustaining a successful defense of the completed thesis-project in an oral examination with the mentor and the reader.
Year One – Admission
Year One – First Residency
Year One – Up to Second Residency
Year Two – Second Residency
Year Two – Up to Third Residency
Year Three – Third Residency
Year Three – Up to Graduation
|Credits||Degree Component||Hours (Campus & Additional)|
|5||Residency I: Intro 1||30 Hrs (1 wk) + 170 Hrs|
|5||Residency I: Intro 2||+ 30 Hrs (1 wk) + 170 Hrs|
|—||Personal Learning Covenant||—|
|5||Project 1||— + 200 Hrs|
|5||Residency II: Intermediate 1||30 Hrs (1 wk) + 170 Hrs|
|5||Residency I: Intermediate 2||30 Hrs (1 wk) + 170 Hrs|
|—||Candidacy Oral Exam||—|
|5||Project 2||— + 200 Hrs|
|5||Residency III: Advanced 1||30 Hrs (1 wk) + 170 Hrs|
|5||Residency III: Advanced 2||30 Hrs (1 wk) + 170 Hrs|
|6||Thesis – Project||— + 240 Hrs|
Total: 46 Hours Credit
“Because my mentor loved me enough to hold me to a high standard, I now have the makings of a future book and a tool I will continue developing and using throughout my ministry. Four years later, the gifts of God in me have again become a roaring, crackling fire—I am more compassionate, more reflective, more Biblically robust in my thinking, more creative in my leadership than I ever have been before. This whole experience has fanned into flame the gift of God within me, and that flame is warming my heart and the hearts of the people I am privileged to serve and for that I am truly grateful.”
—David Gustavson (’23 DMin)