Our 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. Combining short on-campus residential seminars with distance learning, this program offers Christian leaders the flexibility they need to earn a doctorate without leaving their positions.

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 make our D.Min. program an excellent choice for Christian leaders looking to advance their theological training.

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.

Outstanding Value

Affordable Doctoral Education

The Duke D.Min. is an excellent value, with tuition required for only two years (the third year includes only a continuation fee of approximately $650). All admitted students also receive a 25% tuition scholarship, saving more than $5,500 per year.

Study at a Large Research Institution

Collaboration Across Departments

Harold Dorrell Briscoe, D.Min. 18, 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.


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: end of the 1st week of August to the beginning of the 3rd week of August
•    January: 1st 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.

Leadership in the Christian Tradition

Cohort Model

The D.Min. degree is structured on a cohort model. The Leadership in the Christian Tradition cohort is designed to pursue rigorous and imaginative reflection on Christian leadership through the study of Scripture, church history, and contemporary theology, as well as engagement with the fields of leadership and management studies. Generally, the degree serves people who have earned the M.Div. degree (or its equivalent), are ordained, and are currently serving as associate or senior pastors, or as executives of church-related or other Christian institutions.

Application Information

Duke Divinity School accepts applications beginning in late August and concluding with the final deadline in March. For admission, we require at least five years in full-time ministry and a 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.

Application Deadlines

  • Early deadline: November 1
  • Priority deadline:  January 15
  • Final deadline:  April 15
Application Checklist

1. Create an account

We will begin accepting fall 2020 applications in late August 2019 and will update this section when the application reopens. In the meantime, please join our mailing list if you have not already. The process for submitting an application will be largely unchanged for next year. Learn more about that process below. If you have additional questions, please reach out to our office via email: admissions@div.duke.edu.

2. Work on your application form

The system requires you to submit information in 3 sections in order to complete your application. The first step is to answer all required questions and to submit the application form.

Please upload .pdf documents

3. Add your recommender information

  • Four (4) letters of recommendation are required: 2 academic, 2 church.

Please ask your recommenders to upload .pdf files.

All applicants will be asked to provide recommenders' contact information as part of the online application. After you enter your recommender's information, the system will automatically send an email request to your recommender. The email will contain instructions guiding your recommender through the process of submitting a recommendation via our secure form.

4. Pay the fee and submit your application

A $55 non-refundable application fee is collected by credit card when you submit the online application. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible to ensure that you have adequate time to upload all required supplemental materials by the final program deadline.

5. Submit required supplemental documents by deadline

Supplemental materials such as unofficial transcripts, essays, resume, and any writing samples can only be uploaded once your application and fee are submitted.

  • Unofficial Transcripts
    • All applicants must have, at minimum, an unofficial copy of their transcript from the college or university that granted or will grant their bachelor’s level degree. D.Min. applicants must, at minimum, additionally supply an unofficial copy of their transcript from the seminary or divinity school that granted or will grant their master’s level degree. Additional coursework or degree information from previous colleges, universities, graduate schools, study abroad institutions, and seminaries may also be uploaded as part of the application. Transcripts may be submitted regardless of when you attended, how many hours you earned, or whether you earned a degree or not.
    • Transcripts must be uploaded as part of your online application. Do not send paper or electronic copies directly to us. 
    • All students who are admitted and matriculate at Duke Divinity School must submit final transcripts showing that the minimally required degree has been granted before enrollment.
    • The file limit size is 2.5 MB, so please compress files that are over this size.  
    • Submit .pdf files only
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    You will upload your resume as part of the online application process. The resume should provide an overview of your life and experiences — educational background, work experience, church or vocational preparation, leadership roles, professional affiliations, honors and awards, community service, skills, and interests and hobbies.
  • Recommendations
    • Four (4) letters of recommendation are required: 2 academic, 2 church.
    • NOTE: Three recommenders can be added immediately to your application. The fourth recommender's information will need to be entered once you submit your application form.
    • All applicants will be asked to provide recommenders' contact information as part of the online application. After you enter your recommender's information, the system will automatically send an email request to your recommender. The email will contain instructions guiding your recommender through the process of submitting a recommendation via our secure form.
    • Please ask your recommenders to upload .pdf files.
  • Statement of Purpose
    A two-page essay describing your goals in undertaking doctoral study, including an indication of your proposed focus.
  • Writing Sample
    Submit one academic writing sample such as an article or term/course paper of no more than 15 pages in length.

Applications must be complete in order to be considered by the Admissions Committee. All supporting documents (e.g., transcripts and reference letters not submitted online) must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on the stated deadline date. If the application deadline date falls on a weekend, all applications and supporting documents must be received in the Admissions Office by 5:00 p.m. EST on the Monday after the deadline date.

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


We’re available to answer any questions you might have. Please contact us at admissions@div.duke.edu or (919) 660-3436 or toll-free: (888) GO-2-DUKE. The resources below will also help you learn more about our programs.