Why This Program?

The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) 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. The degree, which combines intensive on-campus sessions with live online learning, offers Christian leaders the flexibility they need to earn a doctorate without leaving their positions.

The D.Min. 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.

Our students flourish with small cohort sizes, a hybrid learning environment, and spiritual formation mentors. Engagement with distinguished faculty, an emphasis on generating innovative research-based theses, and a commitment to leadership in service to the church make the Duke Divinity School D.Min. an excellent choice.

Study With Distinguished Faculty

Full-Time Faculty Teach Courses

A defining feature of the D.Min. program is immersion in world-class theological inquiry with a strong divinity school faculty, whose members are 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 distance learning sessions. Faculty also serve in mentorship roles as thesis supervisors. Faculty who teach in the D.Min. include Gregory Jones, Lauren Winner, Stephen Chapman, Susan Eastman, Ellen Davis, Will Willimon, David Goatley, and Curtis Freeman.

Craft a Thesis Worthy of Publication

Add to the Scholarly Conversation

The culmination of the course of study is a major research project. With access to our world-class faculty, research resources, and the interdisciplinary connections of a top tier research university, Duke Divinity D.Min. students contribute thoughtful and meaningful work. Seven of our D.Min. theses have been published, such as Ken Evers-Hood’s Irrational Jesus and Jeff Seaton’s Who’s Minding the Story?

Study at a Large Research Institution

Collaboration Across Departments

Harold Dorrell Briscoe, D.Min. '17, talks about the advantages of studying at a large research university and how the collaborative atmosphere at Duke contributed to his education.

The D.Min. 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.

Program Overview

Curriculum

The D.Min. curriculum is offered in a hybrid residency format, which requires students to be on campus at Duke five times over the course of two years for week-long residential seminars. The residencies are each 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. Some tools help students work on their own time; others require students to meet online at specific times for engagement with professors and their class.

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.

View a sample course schedule (pdf)

The intensive residency components typically occur at the following times:

  • August: 3rd week of August
  • January: 2nd week in January
  • May: end of the 3rd week of May to the beginning of the 4th week of May

The two years of coursework lead to the development of an independent research project. This is not simply an addendum to the coursework, but rather 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 within a major research university.

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. View descriptions of recent thesis topics (pdf). The thesis takes one to two years to complete.

Graduation Requirements

The Doctor of Ministry is normally completed in three years. Requirements for graduation are:

  • 5 terms of coursework and at least one term of research to be completed within 2 years, for a total of 6 terms
  • 1 year of writing and research
  • Thesis
  • Student portfolio

Hybrid Format

Flexibility Without Sacrificing Holistic Learning

The hybrid learning environment offers D.Min. students the best of both worlds. Five one-week intensive residential sessions scheduled over the course of two years take place at Duke Divinity School’s campus in Durham, N.C. Students also participate in online learning that includes scheduled online classes (using Zoom) and self-paced learning. In this way, students are able to remain in ministry leadership while also engaging in rigorous scholarship.

Affording Duke

An education from Duke Divinity School is worth your investment and you do not have to figure out the finances alone.

All D.Min. students receive funding.

Duke Divinity School is investing in you, too. It is an investment in your education, the church, and our shared future. All D.Min. students receive scholarship support from Duke Divinity School that will cover 25% of tuition, and there is no separate application needed in order to be considered. Many other internal and external scholarships, as well as federal financial aid in the form loans, make it possible for students to afford Duke Divinity. FAFSA should be completed for external aid. More information can be found in our Financial Aid section

Resources

We’re available to answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at admissions@div.duke.edu or (919) 660-3436. The resources below will also help you learn more about our programs.