Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program at Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology provides a generalist orientation in the various areas of pastoral ministry. The purpose of the Doctor of Ministry degree is to enhance the practice of ministry, hone competencies in pastoral analysis and ministerial skills, integrate these dimensions into the theological reflective practice of ministry, and acquire new knowledge about the practice of ministry, all of which lead to continued growth in spiritual maturity and ministerial competence.


Goals and Objectives

The program is designed to develop a minister’s understanding of the contexts of his or her ministries within the Christian community, and to help the minister situate his or her ministries within the total life of the Church.

The participants are given the opportunity not only to study various aspects of ministry but also to focus on a specific area of ministry and to develop in depth a particular ministerial project.

Doctor of Ministry Degree Program Goals Linked to Institutional Outcomes

Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology established five institutional outcomes: Christian Discipleship, Formation, Theological Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration that overarch all three degree programs. These outcomes define our reflective identity, and vocation as a seminary, and are linked to specific programmatic goals for the Doctor of Ministry degree program.


Any ordained minister, religious or layperson, who is engaged in full-time ministry for at least three years may apply for admission to the D.Min. program provided the following academic, professional and ecclesial requirements are met:

Academic: A Master of Divinity degree or its educational equivalent (72 graduate semester hours that include a master’s degree representing broad-based work in theology and biblical studies, and which includes the supervised practice of ministry and substantial ministerial leadership). Those possessing a Master of Divinity degree should have a “B” or (3.0) cumulative average. For applicants possessing Masters’ Degrees, a transcript assessment will determine what areas of theology may be required to achieve equivalency. Ordinarily, equivalency requires additional courses in the areas of Systematic Theology, Scripture, Pastoral Theology, History and Liturgical-Sacramental Theology. Saint Mary Seminary has the right and responsibility to determine if it will accept credits for work completed at other accredited graduate institutions.

Professional:  After completing a minimum of three years of full-time ministry, an applicant must currently be assigned to a place of ministry that can serve as a field context throughout the duration of the program.

Ecclesial: Applicants are to present a memo of understanding to co-workers stating their intentions to pursue doctoral studies. A letter of recommendation from one’s ecclesiastical superior is required.


Requirements (30 semester hours)

The degree requires the completion of 30 semester hours of academic course work along with successful participation in yearly Project Forums scheduled each semester.

Curriculum overview:

Six core area courses (12 hours)

Theological Research and Writing courses (12 hours)

D.Min. Project (6 hours)

Project Forums

Yearly evaluation and assessment

The core curriculum reflects the breadth of pastoral competencies necessary for contemporary ministry and provides possible areas for student concentration. In the first three semesters, students participate in two seminar courses each semester at the professional (ministerial) and doctoral (academic) level that integrate areas of Spirituality, Systematic Theology, Scripture, and Liturgy, with applications to ministerial leadership.

Electives (12 credit hours)

Elective courses generally include:

  • PAS 959 Studying Congregations, Methods,
  • and Research (2 credits)
  • PAS 980 Review of Theological Literature I
  • (2 credits)
  • PAS 981 Review of Theological Literature II
  • (2 credits)
  • PAS 982 Theological Writing I (2 credits)
  • PAS 983 Theological Writing II (4 credits)
  • PAS 9-400 Independent Study (2 credits) (if needed)
  • These courses are intended to assist the student in the preliminary theological or theoretical grounding of the project, as well as project design, methods of analysis, and evaluation techniques.
  • Students may take up to 6 credit hours of graduate course work in theology of a related field that may assist them in their project area.

Pastoral Project for the Doctor
of Ministry (6 credit hours)

  • PAS 990 and PAS 991 focus on completion of the written project with their faculty Mentor.

Pastoral Project Extension
(0 credit by semester)

In the first semester of the third year, the student and faculty mentor may determine that an extension will be necessary to complete the project. In this case, the student registers for PAS 992-a, -b, -c, or –d, as a continuance of the academic program, but without additional credit. The student must complete the project in no more than four additional semesters, i.e. three years after the prospectus has been approved.

Yearly Colleague Experiences

Program Orientations

There will be one orientation for Doctor of Ministry students prior to the first year after admission. This orientation at the beginning of the program defines the parameters and philosophy, and gives an overview of the Doctor of Ministry program.

Project Forum

The Project Forum assists students in developing a solid Doctor of Ministry project. Students will meet 3 times each semester as cohort groups. These forums discuss techniques in research design, help individual learners develop their theological and bibliographical foundations, hone computer skills, and create a strategic plan for the project’s implementation and evaluation.

Yearly assessment and evaluation

Students receive a letter grade at the end of each semester for each course. In addition, the faculty gives a qualitative summary of the students’ academic competencies demonstrated in the semester course work. At the close of the academic year, students should review their overall performance file with the Academic Dean. Students must maintain a “B” (3.0) average.

Communal Prayer

Students have an opportunity to attend liturgy with the Seminary community on Wednesday during the Fall and Spring semesters.


The Final Phase: The Doctor of Ministry Project

Students completing all of the required course work map out a prospectus of their project with individual faculty mentors who direct students through the final phases of their doctoral projects.

  • Candidacy Symposium

The official approval to implement the Doctor of Ministry Project is given at the conclusion of this symposium. Successful candidates will have synthesized the theological basis of their projects with an annotated bibliography and final research design. They will have received input from peers and direction from their faculty mentors. Students now prepare for project implementation, analysis and evaluation.

  • The Doctoral Project

Students demonstrate the integration of their doctoral work through a final project implemented from their ministerial context as field research. The project focus evaluates and improves an existing area of ministry or develops a new program based on a ministerial need.

  • Project Colloquium

The colloquium allows students to present their completed project to the learning community. The faculty advisor, readers and peers are able to support the candidate’s project and assess its overall contribution to the field of ministry.



Costs for the doctoral program are in keeping with generally accepted tuition and program fees for a degree on this level. Costs for the total program are calculated on six semesters. Tuition for summer seminars is included in the semester billing. Payment plans may be designed in consultation with the Academic Dean and Finance Office. Students are billed every semester with costs subject to change.

Those students needing more than the six semesters to complete the program are charged a continuation fee each additional semester in order to maintain active status in the program. Students may consult the Registrar for the current tuition schedule.


Qualified candidates are required to complete a four-part application that includes all graduate transcripts, biographical information, synopsis of ministerial involvement, supporting materials for the memo of understanding, and a letter of recommendation from one’s ecclesiastical superior or from an individual in the ministry setting who can attest to the candidates suitability for the Doctor of Ministry program.

In addition to these materials, a personal interview is scheduled with the Admissions Committee.

Deadline for submitting the application for the fall semester is July 1st.

For further information, please contact the Registrar [], or consult the current catalog on this website. Once eligibility for the Doctor of Ministry program is determined, the applicant will be given access to the Application packet below and will begin the formal admission process.

[Application materials in PDF]