Students in the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program experience firsthand the Duke Divinity School difference. Our program engages pastors and leaders of other Christian institutions in rigorous and imaginative theological reflection as they continue to serve in their current ministerial roles. Our small cohort size, hybrid learning environment, mentoring and engagement with distinguished faculty, and emphasis on generating innovative research-based theses in service to the church set us apart as leaders in theological education.
Community of Scholar-Practitioners
Each year, the D.Min. program welcomes a small but diverse cohort of 15-20 students from a variety of backgrounds, including pastors, leaders in church-related institutions or in Christian higher education, and other professionals seeking advanced theological training.
The D.Min. curriculum is offered in a hybrid residency format, which requires students to be on campus five times over the course of two years for week-long residential seminars. The residencies are followed by eight weeks of group interaction and structured distance learning during which students regularly engage with one another and with faculty, facilitated by both synchronous and asynchronous online tools. Assignments require students both to engage the church’s scriptures and traditions and to integrate them with the ecclesial practices that are part of their daily life. This work is not done in isolation but as part of a conversation with the community of peer scholar-practitioners formed during the residential intensives and sustained through online communication.
Each cohort is assigned a cohort mentor, who guides spiritual formation and offers other forms of support to students throughout the program. Students and cohort mentors participate in community worship and meet daily during the residencies. Cohort mentors are available throughout the program to serve as a resource for students.
Forming Leaders in the Christian Tradition
The DMin curriculum seeks to integrate practical ministerial experience with structured theological reflection. Study of the church’s scriptures and traditions is paired with study of contemporary leadership theory and practice, encouraging deeper understanding of the sources, nature and character of authentic Christian leadership and enhancing the critical skills of persons engaged in the direction of congregations or church-related institutions.
Mentoring and engagement with world-class faculty
A defining feature of the D.Min. program is immersion in world-class theological inquiry with one of the strongest divinity school faculties, comprised of persons engaged in scholarship as well as service to their respective Christian traditions. Our full-time faculty teach courses during the residencies and continue to engage on a weekly basis with students during the eight-week distance learning sessions. Faculty also serve in mentorship roles as thesis supervisors during the writing of the D.Min. thesis.
Innovative research in service to the church
The two years of coursework lead to the development of an independent research project. This is not simply an addendum to the coursework, a final box to check or hurdle to clear, but rather is the centerpiece and high point of the D.Min. experience, the time when students work most closely with faculty to produce a unique and important piece of written work. This distinctive emphasis on the thesis arises from the program’s context with a major research university. The thesis takes one to two years to complete. Students develop innovative research agendas in close consultation with a faculty supervisor, agendas that engage them in disciplined theological reflection while remaining in their ministry contexts. The goal is the production of a substantial—and ideally, publishable—piece of writing that makes a significant contribution to the Church. Students are encouraged to consider where their passions and abilities align, where they would like to develop expertise, and where they think they might make a strategic and lasting contribution.
The range of potential thesis topics is nearly limitless, but the goal is focused: write something of value to the Church and its ministries. Descriptions of several recent thesis topics can be found here.
The Duke Divinity D.Min. is an outstanding value.
- Tuition is required for only 2 years. (The third year includes only a continuation fee of approximately $650.)
- 25% automatic tuition scholarship is provided for all admitted D.Min. students. (At present, that means a reduction of over $5,500 from the published tuition rate.)
- A high level of engagement with faculty. Professors teach in the D.Min. as part of their normal work load, not as an add-on responsibility, and they interact with students for a period of months, not simply during the on-campus intensive. Moreover, students have a faculty supervisor throughout the writing of the thesis, not just a faculty reader assigned to review the completed text.
- At least five years in full-time ministry
- Minimum GPA of 3.3 in a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), or comparable master’s degrees from an ATS-accredited school prior to the intended date of enrollment
At the Intersection of Theory and Practice
“Pastors work at the intersection of abstract theory and concrete realities. The D. Min. enabled me to integrate strong theological reflection with 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