Students in class

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.



Reduce This!



Graduate in as little as three years



Intensives are on-campus (with exceptions for COVID-19)





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, Kevin Vanhoozer, Dan Doriani, Zachary Eswine, Todd Wilson, Scott Manestch, and more
  • Program direction and personal mentoring by Dr. Steve Mathewson—a professor of pastoral theology, author, and lead pastor



See a list of courses

Required D.Min. Courses:
DM701 Effecting Gospel-Centered Transformation 3
DM702 Research Design and Methodology 3
DM791 D.Min. Dissertation 6+
Electives: 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. 

The cohorts currently running are:

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. 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. Intensives are typically held in-person at our Portland campus, though a temporary shift has been made to holding these online following Western’s Covid-19 response protocols. (Decisions about how future intensives will be held are being made on a semester-by-semester basis.)

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.

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 our Asst. Director of the DMin Program, John Kwak at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..