The Doctor of Ministry degree (revised Fall 2021) is an advanced, terminal degree program for experienced clergy, religious, lay ecclesial ministers, and others on formal ministry. The program of studies focuses on pastoral theology and its application in the ministry context. The Doctor of Ministry degree program prepares people more deeply for religious leadership and pastoral administration in congregations and other settings. (ATS 5.6)
Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology established five institutional outcomes: Christian Discipleship, Formation, Theological Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration that over arch all degree programs. These outcomes define the reflective identity, and vocation as a seminary, and are linked to specific programmatic goals for the Doctor of Ministry Degree program.
A Master’s Degree from an accredited university in theology or a ministry-related area which includes studies in systematic theology, Scripture, historical studies, liturgical-sacramental theology, and pastoral theology.
Additional post-graduate courses in any of the above areas of theology or in a ministry-related field; e.g. lay ecclesial ministry, Catholic education, chaplaincy, etc. Applicants may be required to take additional graduate theology courses as prerequisite to assure sufficiently broad theological background to engage in doctoral studies and the pastoral project.
Official transcripts of all academic work that validates a “B” (3.0) cumulative GPA. Saint Mary Seminary has the right and responsibility to determine if it will accept credits completed at other accredited graduate institutions for admission to the Doctor of Ministry program. Credits must directly relate to theology or a ministry field, have been earned within 10 years of the application to the Doctor of Ministry program, and awarded a minimum of “B” (3.0) grade.
The applicant must have completed at least three years of full-time formal ministry in a Catholic parish, school, or institution. Preferably, the applicant should have demonstrated leadership skills and experience. The applicant must currently be assigned to a place of ministry that can serve as a field context throughout the duration of the Doctor of Ministry program.
Letters of Recommendation: (At least two of the following)
Memo of Understanding
The applicant also presents a memo of understanding that informs co-workers of one’s intentions to pursue doctoral studies.
Theological Reflection Writing Sample
The applicant presents a theological reflection of 1000-2000 words which briefly presents the applicant’s purpose, interest, and motivation to engage in advanced professional doctoral studies. Specifically:
Academic Research Writing Sample
The applicant submits a research paper from previous academic work at the graduate level. which includes research citations and bibliography, preferably using Turabian (Chicago Style).
For students who apply to the Doctor of Ministry degree program ten or more years after their MA degree, an alternate writing sample will be substituted for the research paper.
Application and Interview – In addition to the above materials, the applicant completes a four-part application packet that includes all graduate transcripts, biographical information, and synopsis of ministry involvement. Upon receipt of all the above materials, along with the letters of recommendation and theological reflection, a personal interview is scheduled with the members of the Admissions Committee which assesses the applicant’s suitability and readiness for the Doctor of Ministry degree program. The Admissions Committee may accept or decline the application for the program; or the committee may determine that additional course work in theology or more experience in ministry is required for admission.
Saint Mary Seminary serves as a center for advanced theological education. The Doctor of Ministry program is a 30-credit degree program in pastoral theology with a focus on advanced competency in pastoral administration, comprised of the following four areas: (cf. ATS 5.3)
The Doctor of Ministry degree program is intended to be completed in three academic years (six semesters, 30 credits). Students attend class on campus on Wednesday afternoons for the first three semesters. (Total: 12 credits.) A project forum is held three times a semester as a cohort to discuss research techniques and design, to develop the theological and bibliographic foundations of the doctoral project, and to create a strategic plan that provides the momentum for the completion of the Doctor of Ministry program.
Following the completion of the academic courses, students work with their advisor and the director of the Project Forum to develop the project. Theological research and writing credits (8 credits) are designed to direct the student during this student-directed phase of the program.
The student implements a research design in their place of ministry. This supervised ministry experience is designed to provide the context for both research, leadership, and theological integration. (4 credits)
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.
The Project Forum assists students in developing a solid Doctor of Ministry project. Students will meet three 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.
All Doctor of Ministry research projects (and in some cases, Master of Arts projects) must be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology has entered into an agreement with John Carroll University to conduct this compliance review. The IRB assists in a review of Doctor of Ministry or Master of Arts Project proposals along with surveys or instruments that will be used for specific research on human subjects. The John Carroll University IRB will issue a review of the project and forward it to the Academic Dean of Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology. The IRB process must be completed prior to the student’s scheduled prospectus symposium.
The primary goal of Institutional Review is to protect the rights and welfare of human subjects when they participate in surveys, interviews, or focus groups that result in systematized, generalizable knowledge intended for but not limited to publication or other public dissemination. The protocol for Institutional Review is based on federal regulation and Christian ethics, as well as informed consent.
The purpose of an informed consent is to help investigators protect research participants by informing them about the nature of the research, including the procedures to be followed and any associated risks or benefits to participation. In compliance with federal regulations, the IRB carefully reviews informed consent documents.
Project Review is generally required for the following:
The Doctor of Ministry project forum director will guide students through the IRB review process. Further information regarding IRB policies, procedures, and sample forms may be found at http://sites.jcu.edu/research/pages/irb/
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. Students who fail to maintain a 3.0 G.P.A. or who earn a grade of “F” in a course are subject to dismissal from the Doctor of Ministry program.
Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology reserves the right to require the withdrawal of any student at any time who fails to give satisfactory evidence of academic ability, earnestness of purpose, or active cooperation in all the requirements for acceptable scholarship in the Doctor of Ministry program.
The Final Phase: The Doctor of Ministry Project (ATS 5.4)
Once the student has completed the required course work, he/she maps out a prospectus of the project with individual faculty mentors who direct student through the final phases of the doctoral project.
Upon the successful completion of the colloquium and the submission of the completed manuscript, the doctoral candidate is eligible to participate in the Commencement ceremony, held on the first Thursday of May. At this time the Doctor of Ministry Degree (DMin) is conferred.
Course Design for Fall 2022 Cohort
Focus: Pastoral Administration
Core Courses – 12 Credits
PAS 905 Theological Reflection on Ministry (2)
SC 910 Pastoral Strategies in the Letters of Paul (2)
PAS 960 Pastoral Implications of the New Evangelization (2)
LIT 980 Ritual Mysticism and Conversion (2)
TH 935 Augustine and the Theology of Love (2)
TH 937 Catholics, Science, and the Moral Life (2)
Research and Writing Classes 8 credits
PAS 959 Studying Congregations: Methods and Research (2)
PAS 980 Review of Theological Literature (2)
PAS 982 Theological Writing (2)
PAS 984 Thesis Project Research (2)
FE 910 Focused Field Experience 3 credits
Pastoral Project 2-2 4 credits
Project Forum (Years I, II, III) 3 credits
Degree Completion Total 30 credits
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. See https://www.stmarysem.edu/payments/ for current details.
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.
Please contact the Registrar to discuss your interest in this Doctor of Ministry Degree Program.