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Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

A ministry of lasting influence demands an intense focus on a message with eternal significance—the transformational gospel of Jesus Christ. This conviction defines the emphasis of the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program, a course of study aimed at achieving the most advanced degree in pastoral training.




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Graduate in as little as three years



Each cohort contains a mix of on-campus and online courses



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What Sets Our Doctor of Ministry Apart?

  • Cohort-based program structure to simplify satisfaction of program requirements and foster student camaraderie
  • Several cohort track options focused in core pastoral disciplines
  • Internationally recognized faculty with extensive ministry experience, like Bryan Chapell, Ronald Allen, Dan Doriani, Zachary Eswine, Todd Wilson, Scott Manestch, and more
  • Cohorts that have a mix of on-campus and online courses (Throughout the entire program, students will only need to come to campus three times, enabling in-person camaraderie to be built while minimizing travel and lodging expenses during one's program. Applies to cohorts launched in 2023 onward.)
  • Program direction and personal mentoring by Dr. Steve Mathewson—a professor of pastoral theology, author, and lead pastor



Course List

Required D.Min. Courses:
DM701 Effecting Gospel-Centered Transformation 3
DM702 Research Design and Methodology 3
DM791 D.Min. Dissertation 6+
Cohort-specific Courses: 18 credits
Total: 30+ credits

Cohort Structure and Options

Western's DMin is a cohort-based program, meaning that groups of students apply for and are accepted into pre-set sequences of courses all centered around a specific area of focus. Students in a given cohort will journey through that sequence together, helping to foster a sense of camaraderie, relationship, and shared experience. 

All cohorts involve completing a sequence of seven 3-credit courses, each involving a four-day intensive seminar somewhere in the middle of the 14–15 week course (usually around week 9 or 10). In addition there is a Research Design and Methodology course which helps prepare you for your eventual dissertation work to conclude the program. This is typically broken into three separate, one day, 1-credit sessions that are appended to a few of your intensives. Certain course intensives are held at our Portland campus while others are delivered remotely by web conference.

Students who apply and are accepted for a cohort that has already begun will join the cohort's next course and make up missed courses at a later time.

Open Cohorts (accepting new applications)

  • 2023 Faith, Reason, and the Christian Worldview

    This cohort will start Fall 2023 and is open to new applicants. Initial applications will ideally be submitted by Aug. 20, 2023. But we will continue to consider incoming applications through May 31, 2024, just prior to the start of the third class in the cohort. Also, note that this is a hybrid cohort, with three classes being delivered in person and the rest by way of web conference.

    Courses and Instructors

    Download Schedule & Instructor Bios

    CourseInstructorIntensive Dates
    C.S. Lewis and Friends on Making Mere Disciples in a Post-Christian Age Dr. Dwain Tissell Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2023
    Effecting Gospel-Centered Transformation Dr. Steve Mathewson and Dr. John Kwak March 11-14, 2024*
    Contemporary Issues in Christian Ethics Dr. Scott Rae July 15-18, 2024*
    Old Testament Ethical Challenges Dr. Paul Copan Nov. 4-7, 2024*
    The Latest on God and the Problem of Evil and Suffering Dr. R. Douglas Geivett July 7-10, 2025
    The Resurrection of Jesus: A Historical, Theological, and Philosophical Defense Dr. Ben Shaw Nov. 3-6, 2025*
    Pastoral Challenges in Church and Society (tentative) Dr. John Kwak March 9-12, 2026
    Research Design and Methodology Matthew Thiesen and Dr. John Kwak Nov. 8, 2024* | Nov. 7, 2025* | March 13, 2026

    *web conference

  • 2024 Transformational Preaching

    This cohort will start Spring 2024 and is open to new applicants. Please submit applications by Oct. 15, 2023. Also, note that this is a hybrid cohort, with three classes being delivered in person and the rest by way of web conference.

    Courses and Instructors

    Download Schedule & Instructor Bios

    CourseInstructorIntensive Dates
    Effecting Gospel-Centered Transformation Dr. Steve Mathewson and Dr. John Kwak March 11-14, 2024*
    Preaching Galatians Dr. Dane Ortlund July 15-18, 2024
    Preaching the Psalms Dr. Ronald Allen Nov. 4-7, 2024*
    Preaching the Book of Revelation Dr. David Mathewson July 7-10, 2025
    Preaching and Application Dr. Zack Eswine Nov. 3-6, 2025*
    Preaching 1 and 2 Samuel Dr. Steve Mathewson July 6-9, 2026
    Preaching and Spiritual Formation Dr. Darryl Dash Nov. 9-12, 2026*
    Research Design and Methodology Matthew Thiesen and Dr. John Kwak Nov. 8, 2024* | Nov. 7, 2025* | Nov. 13, 2026*

    *web conference

Closed Cohorts (not accepting applications)

Accessible Scheduling

We recognize the desire our students have to balance life and ministry alongside a doctoral program. Our goal is to help set our doctoral students up for success by providing a cohort-based program. One of the benefits of a cohort-based program is that all of your courses will be scheduled in advance, allowing you to effectively plan around the dates you will be in Portland for class.

A Practical, Publishable Dissertation

Your dissertation won't sit on a shelf in Western's library. Rather, you'll produce a practical and scholarly product that speaks to the field of pastoral ministry, will be a blessing to your fellow pastors, and is worthy of and appropriate for publication. 

Lifelong Learning

We want to invest in your ongoing, lifelong education. That's why every DMin graduate can audit one course per academic year, for free. With experienced and impactful ministry veterans teaching in our classrooms, there will never be a shortage of opportunities for further growth. 

Ministry Training That Keeps Debt Down

Ministry work can bring limited financial reward. That's why we encourage wise financial stewardship as you pay for school. It might surprise you to learn that a minority of our students utilize loans, with most choosing instead to pay out of pocket, with scholarships, or via a monthly payment plan. Look into your options for financial aid

Admission Requirements

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree is an advanced professional doctorate that builds on an accredited master’s degree in a ministry-related area and upon significant ministry experience. In terms of the prerequisite educational requirements for admission to the DMin degree program, applicants possessing the MDiv degree from an institution that is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools, and who complete that program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, are ordinarily considered strong candidates for DMin studies.

Those who apply to the DMin degree program without an accredited MDiv degree may be admitted, provided they satisfactorily demonstrate:

  1. The ability to thoughtfully interpret Scripture and the theological tradition of their ministry context,
  2. The capacity to understand and adapt their ministry to its cultural context,
  3. A basic self-understanding of their ministerial identity and vocational calling,
  4. A readiness to engage in ongoing personal and spiritual formation for their ministry,
  5. An accredited master’s degree (or educational equivalent) in an area related to their ministry setting or vocational calling, and
  6. Significant ministerial experience that enables them to engage as a ministry peer with other students in this advanced professional doctoral program.

Western Seminary assesses an applicant’s readiness for admission to the DMin program through such means as a formal application, analysis of academic and vocational experience, input from personal references, evaluation of writing samples, and oral interviews (when needed). In some cases where satisfaction of the above criteria based on initial application materials is unclear, an applicant may be asked to provide samples of past coursework materials and/or supplemental short essays explaining how the applicant believes certain criteria are satisfied.

For more general information about applying to Western, please visit our Application page. For further questions about the DMin program, please contact Cole Atkinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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