How Do I Get a Doctor of Ministry Degree?

Lainie Petersen

Before you can be accepted into a doctor of ministry degree program, you will typically need to complete a master of divinity (M.Div.) program and have several years experience in some type of ministry career. Schools that offer the doctor of ministry degree each set their own admissions requirements, but many will require you to have at least three years of full-time ministry experience, either in a church or in a chaplaincy setting, before they will consider your applications. Once enrolled in a doctor of ministry program, you will typically be expected to complete academic coursework and then a major project or doctoral dissertation. The length of time that it will take you to complete your degree depends on the program that you enroll in. In some cases, you will not be expected to live on campus or leave your current ministry job to attend school. Instead, you will participate in on-campus intensives or online classes.

Doctors of ministry may focus on interacting with non-Christian populations in the mission field.
Doctors of ministry may focus on interacting with non-Christian populations in the mission field.

When you submit applications to doctor of ministry programs, you will typically be required to provide each school with a personal statement as to your ministry vocation as well as your plans for your degree project or dissertation. You will also usually be required to provide transcripts in the schools that you attended in the past as well as information about your ministry career. Most schools will want you to submit letters of recommendation from supervisors, colleagues, and former professors.

The amount of coursework that you will have to take as part of your doctor of ministry program will vary by school as well as the country where you live. In the United States, you may be expected to take between one and two years of coursework, whereas students in the United Kingdom may be required to complete two years of classes. You may also be required to meet with a cohort group consisting of fellow students and an adviser or professor who can provide support and feedback as you complete your studies and your degree.

Once you complete your coursework, you can begin working on your dissertation or final ministry project. This process can take a year or more to complete, and you will likely be working closely with your academic adviser during this time. After you submit your dissertation or project to your adviser, you may have to make revisions before your school accepts it and awards you your doctor of ministry degree.

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