The D.Min. degree is a professional doctorate that has been a mainstay of theological education for decades, providing the opportunity for post-M.Div. education to pastors and other Christian leaders. The D.Min. at Duke Divinity School does not require full-time residence and will provide the opportunity for church leaders and other Christian professionals to pursue intensive advanced study while remaining employed on a full-time basis in their vocational settings. Generally, the degree serves people who have earned the M.Div. degree, are ordained, and are currently serving as associate or senior pastors, or as executives of church-related or other Christian institutions.
The D.Min. offers theological education on Scripture, engagement with the living Christian tradition, and attention to and reflection on contemporary contexts in order to provide formation for leaders of faithful Christian ministries. Because the degree is designed to promote rigorous and imaginative reflection on the practice of ministry and to enhance the critical skills of persons engaged in the leadership of congregations or church-related institutions, a central feature of the degree is its integration of practical ministerial experience with structured theological reflection.
The D.Min. degree is structured on a cohort model that organizes learning around short-term (generally one-week) intensive residential seminars in conjunction with ongoing group interaction facilitated by online tools. Each residential seminar will be followed by a period of structured distance learning during which students will engage one another and faculty on a weekly basis. The structured character of the distance learning includes assignments that require students both to integrate course material with the ecclesial practices that are part of their daily work, and to do so in conversation with the community of peers formed during the residential intensives and sustained through online communication. The five terms of coursework span approximately two academic years. D.Min. study concludes with a period of independent research and writing, normally one year in length, culminating in the production of a substantial written thesis.
The Divinity School’s D.Min. class will matriculate in August of each year. Tuition scholarships of 25% each year are offered to every admitted student. Further details about the application process and tuition are available through the Admissions Office.
Ordinarily, applicants for the degree will be required to:
- hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- hold an M.Div. degree or its equivalent from an ATS accredited institution
- have spent at least five years in full-time ministry
- have earned a grade average of at least B+ (3.3 on 4.0 scale) in their master’s program
- submit two letters of reference from people capable of assessing the applicant’s intellectual and academic ability, and two letters of reference (one from an ecclesial official and one from a lay person) that address the applicant’s performance in his or her current position of ministry
- submit two essays, one (two pages) describing their goals in undertaking doctoral study, including an indication of your proposed focus, and another (maximum 15 pages) that is a sample of their academic writing (e.g., an article, term paper, etc.)
- if a non-native speaker, earn a cumulative score of 108 on the TOEFL iBT with a minimum of 27 scored in each subtest, or a 610 on the TOEFL PBT with a minimum score of 6 on the TWE. The TOEFL iBT is the preferred English proficiency test. International applicants may request a waiver to the TOEFL requirement if they have completed an undergraduate degree and/or the M.Div. degree at an accredited college, university, or seminary in the United States.
Because this degree operates on an alternative pedagogical model that blends short residential intensives with web-based distance learning, the terms do not follow the regular academic calendar.
Rather, the terms are designed around two factors:
- the liturgical calendar of the church, since many of the students will be fully employed pastors subject to the special demands of certain seasons—for example, Christmas and Easter
- open times in the current academic calendar (thus ensuring no space conflicts, and, especially in the period of transition to the new degree, maximizing the potential for regular rank faculty involvement)
With two courses per term, five terms spanning two academic years will be required to complete the course requirements. This is followed by a period of research and writing, normally lasting one year.
Introducing the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
“Pastors work at the intersection ofabstract theory and concrete realities. The D. Min. enabled me to integrate strong theological reflectionwith my own discipleship and pastoral practices. At Duke, D. Min. students will engage in sound scholarship and spiritual formation within a community of mutual support and accountability.”
— Bishop (Ret.) Kenneth L. Carder, Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr. Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry