Doctor of Ministry
Designed as a flexible program, the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is an advanced professional degree designed to enhance the practice of ministry. It presupposes both the completion of a first professional degree in theology and experience in a field of full-time ministry. It provides a discipline through which active pastors/ministers can reflect critically and further develop professional skills. It is normally undertaken as a part-time program. The candidate for this degree is expected to demonstrate achievement at a level significantly beyond the expectations of first-degree programs with respect to four goals:
- To develop an advanced understanding and integration of ministry in relation to theological disciplines;
- To formulate a comprehensive and critical understanding of ministry in which theory and practice inform and enhance each other;
- To develop skills and competencies and appropriate research methods that are required for pastoral leadership at the most mature and effective level;
- To contribute to the understanding and practice of ministry through the completion of a doctoral-level project in ministry.
LTSP Mission Statement and Expected Learning Outcomes for the Advanced Level DMin Program
With the above program goals in mind, LTSP expects that graduates of the Doctor of Ministry 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.
The DMin degree program expects the following learning outcomes from its graduates:
Centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ
- Demonstrate an advanced level knowledge of biblical, historic and theological disciplines
- Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the nature and purpose of ministry through study of a particular ministerial discipline/focus
- Demonstrate the ability to articulate the faith that is appropriate to a particular ministerial context
Educating and Forming
- Demonstrate the ability to integrate theory and practice within ministry
- Demonstrate appropriate research skills for pastoral analysis of ministerial context
- Demonstrate competence of particular ministerial skills (through a written Project in Ministry
Developing and nurturing individual believers and communities of faith
- Demonstrate the ability to teach and preach the faith in a particular ministerial context
- Demonstrate sensitivities and mature leadership to nurture individual faith gifts and graces and healthy communities (congregations, agencies) in public life
- Demonstrate mature personal, ethical and professional reflection, growth and conduct
Engaging the world
- Demonstrate ability to engage with public issues in light of the common good
- Demonstrate awareness and sensitivities to diverse cultural contexts of ministry
- Demonstrate an ability to integrate global, cross-cultural, ecumenical and interfaith realities
In addition to the standard application elements listed in the catalog, admission to the Doctor of Ministry degree program requires the following: Master of Divinity degree or another master’s degree in a theological discipline earned in a program that requires at least 90 semester hours or the equivalent. A cumulative grade-point average in the master’s level program of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. A minimum of three years in the professional ministry of the Church after receiving the MDiv degree or its equivalent.
In order to ensure that all students are capable of utilizing the enhanced technologies that are incorporated into many of the seminary’s courses, as well as to facilitate communications with students through email communications and course Web sites, it is a requirement of students matriculating at LTSP that they have regular access to appropriately equipped computers and that they utilize their LTSP email account.
The DMin program is constituted by a) two colloquia, to be taken at the beginning and near the end of the program; (b) eight courses; (c) the submission of candidacy documents to be maintained in a student’s portfolio; and (d) 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. A Learning Contract negotiated between the candidate and the seminary will help to map out a student’s progress. (An advisor, along with the Graduate Studies office, assists and directs the candidate in preparing the contract and fulfilling it.)
Transfer Credits and Advanced Standing
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 recomendation of the student’s DMin committee. 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)
A student’s participation in the program is provisional until the achievement of candidacy, which may be granted upon the completion of documents in the student’s portfolio as specified in the DMin Manual). Approval for candidacy is by the Faculty upon the recommendation of the student’s DMin committee.
Length of Program
Normally, participation in the DMin program is part-time only, given the requirement of concurrent full-time active ministry. Because of the program’s focus on growth in ministry, it is intended that students take sufficient time for self-assessment and reflection. Consequently, a minimum of three years and a maximum of six years are limitations for completing the program. Completed courses normally cease to be applicable to the degree after ten years.
Areas of Focus
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. A focus in Town and Country Ministry may include graduate course credits earned at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. The Center for Spirituality at Chestnut Hill College offers a variety of graduate courses in spirituality. Moravian Seminary and other graduate institutions in the Delaware Valley provide additional offerings in pastoral care.
DMin Military Chaplains
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 US Military DMin Chaplaincy Prospectus (pdf) for further information.