The Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

ECLS DMin Brochure Cover

As a professional degree, the general purpose of the LTSP DMin program is to provide ministers greater competence and effectiveness on the practice of ministry for which thorough biblical, historical, theological understanding and functional theory are of prime importance.

Based on the LTSP Mission Statement and ATS DMin Standards, LTSP DMin candidates are assessed with respect to the following four program goals:

  1. To formulate a comprehensive and critical understandings of theological disciplines in the context of the practice of ministry in which theory and practice inform and enhance each other (ATS 2);
  2. To develop mature and effective skills and competencies in relation to the disciplines of the chosen Focus Area (ATS 1 & 3);
  3. To foster sensitivities and mature leadership in response to diverse contexts in light of the student’s spiritual, denominational, professional values (ATS 5 & 6);
  4. To contribute to the understanding and practice of ministry through the completion of a doctoral-level project in ministry (ATS 4). 
2012 DMin Colloquium 1
June 2012 DMin Colloquium 1 Group

2012 DMin Colloquium 2
June 2012 DMin Colloquium 2 Group
click a photo to view high resolution version


With the above program goals in mind, LTSP expects that graduates of the DMin program will have the following Learning Outcomes, which are based upon the LTSP Mission Statement:

Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia seeks to educate and form public leaders who are committed to developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith for engagement in the world.

1    Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ 

1.1  Demonstrate an advanced level knowledge of biblical, historic and theological disciplines 
1.2  Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the nature and purpose of ministry through study of a particular ministerial discipline/focus

1.3  Demonstrate the ability to articulate the faith that is appropriate to a particular ministerial context

2        Educating and Forming

2.1  Demonstrate the ability to integrate theory and practice within ministry
2.2  Demonstrate appropriate research skills for pastoral analysis of ministerial context
2.3  Demonstrate competence of particular ministerial skills (through a written Project in Ministry) 

3        Developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith

3.1  Demonstrate the ability to teach and preach the faith in a particular ministerial context
3.2  Demonstrate sensitivities and mature leadership to nurture individual faith gifts and graces and healthy communities (congregations, agencies) in public life
3.3  Demonstrate mature personal, ethical and professional reflection, growth and conduct

4        Engaging the world 
4.1  Demonstrate ability to engage with public issues in light of the common good 
4.2  Demonstrate awareness and sensitivities to diverse cultural contexts of ministry

4.3  Demonstrate an ability to integrate global, cross-cultural, ecumenical and interfaith realities

These Learning Outcomes are assessed on the following rubrics for the DMin program at LTSP.


The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is an advanced professional degree that is designed to enhance the practice of ministry.  Admission requires

  1. The completion of the first professional or theology degree—MDiv, or its educational equivalent--at a fully accredited graduate school;
  2. Normally, graduation with a grade-point average of 3.0 (B) or better in the first theological degree
  3. A minimum of three years of experience in the professional ministry of the church following receipt of the MDiv degree (or its educational equivalent),
  4. Normally, the completion of a Bachelors degree or its equivalent from a fully accredited college or university.

Qualified applicants may be pastors, ministers, chaplains, directors of ministries or members of religious orders within formally recognized ministry settings, parish or non-parish.


The DMin program is constituted by a) establishment of the Student Learning Goals, b) two colloquia, to be taken at the beginning and near the end of the program; (c) eight courses; (d) a mid-point Student Candidacy Review; and (e) an independent Project in Ministry, which the candidate devotes intensive study to some task or issue in his/her ministry. To be in good standing, a student must maintain an overall grade-point average of not less than 3.0. 


The Student Learning Goals will be a unique document specifying the student’s own goals and expectations and designating the kinds of courses that will move the student toward those goals and objectives.  Individual programs will vary according to specific needs and competencies, projects of study, the context of the candidate's ministry, and the educational resources available to the candidate.  Students will be assessed against their own learning goals at the Student Candidacy Review.

Students will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate and articulate growth in the practice of ministry as set out in their own Student Learning Goals in light of the LTSP DMin Program Goals.
After successful completion of the first for courses and before the submission of the Project in Ministry Proposal, the Advisor and student will review and assess the learning goals and outcomes with respect to the LTSP Doctor of Ministry Program, and make recommendations to the LTSP Faculty with regard to candidacy for the degree according to the following procedures:

  1. Review of the Student Learning Goals, assessing the student with respect to:
  • the ability to integrate comprehensive and critical understandings of theological disciplines in the context of the practice of ministry in which theory and practice inform and enhance each other (DMin Program Goal 1);
  • the development of specific effective skills and competencies in relation to the chosen Focus Area (DMin Program Goal 2);
  • the commitment to developing sensitivities and mature leadership in response to diversity in light of the student’s spiritual, denominational, professional values in his/her own ministerial context (DMin Program Goal 3). 
  • Evaluation of course grades of the prospective candidate in at least four course units of instruction with a minimum GPA of 3.0, exclusive of transfer credit or advanced standing (indirect assessment of DMin Program Goal 1 and 2).
  • The successful completion of an On-Site visit by the advisor (or appropriately designated evaluator) to evaluate the student’s performance, integration of learning, and assist the advisor in gauging the student’s ministerial context.


The duration of the program will vary with each candidate, depending on the scope of the candidate's professional responsibilities and the pace of progress toward the stated goals of the program.  However, the program shall be completed in no less than three years and no more than six.  Under specific circumstances, students may petition for a leave of absence (for two years maximum, renewed annually), or for an extension to their program after the sixth year.  Such petitions must be submitted in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies. In no case will extensions be granted beyond ten years from the onset of studies. 


The DMin student must choose a focus within a field of ministry or an area of concentration:

Biblical Studies, Black Church Studies, Christian Education,
Church Administration, Church & Society, Evangelism, 
Interfaith Studies, Metropolitan Ministry, Military Chaplaincy,
Pastoral Care, Preaching, Spirituality, Worship

At least two of the eight courses and the final project must pertain to the focus area. The program also allows for special foci that may include resources beyond the LTSP Faculty.


As many as three of the eight courses required may be satisfied by transfer credit.  Credit for up to two courses may be given by "advanced standing," a category of credit awarded by the Faculty upon recommendation of the student's Advisor.  However, the total of transfer credit and "advanced standing" cannot exceed three courses.  Transfer credit will represent academic work completed for credit at another accredited institution; "advanced standing" may be based on structured study without formal academic credit, usually augmented by a document of critical reflection. Up to four courses completed at the other seminaries of the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries, however will be accepted for transfer credit.  (View the Cluster DMin brochure)


LTSP offers U.S. Military Chaplains (active and reserve) flexible opportunities to pursue their DMin while engaged in service. (We have a number of military chaplains from several branches of the Service currently active in the program.) See the "LTSP DMin U.S. Military Prospectus" for further information.

LTSP has a Department of Defense (DoD) Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) to participate in the DoD Tuition Assistance (TA) Program.

Learn more about becoming a student at LTSP |
Request more information | Visit LTSP |

Download the DMin Manual (pdf)

Download the DMin Learning Contract (pdf)

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Learn more here.

Writing Status Declaration Form (pdf)89.57 KB
overview_of_the_dmin_student_candidacy_review.pdf78.02 KB
dmin_student_learning_goals.doc53 KB
on-site_visit_report_form.doc46.5 KB
guidelines_for_on-site_visit.pdf89.78 KB
dmin_project_panel_review.doc55.5 KB
DMin Manual 2013.pdf397.45 KB
writing_status_declaration_form.pdf89.58 KB
ltsp_dmin_mdiv_equivalency_chart.pdf414.83 KB