The Doctor of Ministry Degree Program


Program Overview & Requirements

The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program is an advanced professional degree intended for persons engaged in substantial vocational Christian leadership service, such as pastors, chaplains, educators, missionaries, and leaders in parachurch ministries. Its design is to increase effectiveness in seminary-trained leaders who have already demonstrated significant competence in their respective spheres of ministry. The program aims to:

  • Significantly heighten and enhance the scholarly and experiential knowledge of the ministry leader.
  • Considerably refine and supplement the advanced skills of the ministry leader.
  • Meaningfully prompt and deepen the mature character of the ministry leader.

Program Emphases

Students may complete their studies in as few as eight semesters, with a minimum of 30 credit hours required as a minimum for graduation. In addition to six credit hours of dissertation coursework, the program requires two core courses: PTS 710 (to be taken within the first three classes of the program) and PTS 712. The student is required to select six additional courses from the following areas of concentration:

Christ-Centered Preaching

These courses are designed to furnish pastors and leaders with greater skill in the science and art of sermon preparation and delivery. Particular attention is given to discovering the Christocentric emphasis of the entire Bible, its redemptive intention for the people of God, and the unique empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Pastoral Leadership

These courses are designed to furnish pastors and leaders with an increased capacity to shepherd a congregation with the gospel over an extended season of ministry. Fresh consideration is given to pastoral care, church discipline, effective evangelism, leadership training, God-centered worship, contemporary theological challenges, and church planting.

Gospel Spirituality

These courses are designed to furnish pastors and leaders with an enhanced commitment to their own spiritual and theological formation. In a manner uniquely influenced by the gospel, specific attention is directed at developing intimacy with God, peers, parishioners, and family members.

Program Outcomes

Upon completing the program, the student will be able to:

  • Display an advanced understanding of the Bible as interpreted through the hermeneutic of the gospel;
  • Display a corresponding application of the gospel to such ministry expressions as preaching, leadership, and spiritual formation;
  • Display the capacity to evaluate past and present expressions of pastoral ministry in diverse contexts when set against the contact of the gospel;
  • Display for publication a doctoral-level dissertation that makes a new and essential contribution to the field of pastoral ministry as informed by the gospel.

Program Schedule

Doctor of Ministry courses are offered throughout the year. Courses encompass four month enrollment periods, with a week-long intensive seminar scheduled approximately in the middle of the course. Pre-seminar preparation and post-seminar projects are part of each course, and are completed by the student over the enrollment period. Specific dates for courses are available from the D.Min. Office.

Sample Elective D.Min. Courses:
PTS 752E Grace and Discipline: The Relationship of God's Grace and the Practice of the Spiritual Disciplines in Christian Growth Jerry Bridges
PTS 732J Preaching and Pastoralia R. Kent Hughes
PTS 732M Doctrinal Preaching: The Holy Spirit and Preaching Robert Smith, Jr.
PTS 732N Christ-Centered Preaching Bryan Chapell
PTS 732O Preaching Through the Epistles of John D. A. Carson
PTS 732P Preaching the Gospel from the Old Testament Ray Ortlund, Jr.
PTS 738B Friendly Fire: Theological Issues That Are Dividing Evangelicals Bruce Ware
PTS 740 Jesus - Centered Pastoral Leadership Zack Eswine
PTS 752O Gospel-Driven Spirituality Scotty Smith
PTS 780 Individualized Study (course designed by the student and program director)

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the D.Min. program assume a high level of achievement in biblical, theological, and ministerial areas through previous academic studies and ministry experience. 

In addition to the Seminary’s general requirements for admission, the applicant to the Doctor of Ministry program shall hold a three-year Master of Divinity degree or its educational equivalent from an institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada. A cumulative grade point of 3.0 (on a 4.0 point scale) is required. Admission to The Doctor of Ministry program requires an ATS accredited M.Div. or its equivalent. This means that the applicant's Master's degree has a minimum of 72 semester credit hours, which needs to includes at least 12 credit hours of pastoral ministry related courses and 12 credit hours of study in the original languages (Greek and Hebrew). If an applicant does not meet these requirements he/she may contact the Doctor of Ministry office regarding "leveling work" in order to meet the admission requirements. If the applicant has not received formal seminary education in the area of Hebrew and Greek, but has received training via some other source, he/she may petition to take a competency exam that demonstrates the applicant's ability to do competent exegesis. The applicant will need to coordinate this with the Doctor of Ministry office.

An applicant with a Master of Divinity degree from an unaccredited institution may seek admission by special review. A copy of the institution’s catalog, setting forth faculty credentials, curriculum, facilities and learning resources, shall be submitted at the time of application. Any additional documentation the applicant wishes to submit to assist the Committee in its decision is welcome. If the review is favorable, the student will be admitted on academic probation. The probationary status will be reviewed upon the satisfactory completion (3.0 average or greater) of two doctoral courses.

Doctoral applicants must provide evidence of significant achievement in ministry leadership. A minimum of three years of full-time ministry experience after the completion of the Master of Divinity degree is required. Current involvement in vocational ministry is required both for admission and for continuance in the program. Because the D.Min. is an in-service professional program, it is necessary for the doctoral student to remain active in significant pastoral ministry leadership throughout the program.

A set of admission materials must be completed and on file in the Admissions Office before action can be taken. These materials include an admission statement; experience statement (or professional vita); a statement of supportive endorsement from the church or agency with which the applicant serves; four professional and personal references; and official transcripts of all college, graduate-level, and seminary education. In addition, doctoral applicants must provide a sample of writing and research skills. This commonly takes the form of a seminary research paper, articles for publication or distribution, or materials produced for use in one’s ministry. The sample selected should reflect the applicant’s writing skills in form, style, and content. All application materials must be submitted by the application deadline stated on the Western Seminary D.Min. website, For a schedule of D.Min. courses and the registration dates, please contact the D.Min. office at 503.517.1824.

Transfer Credit

Upon approval by the Registrar, transfer of up to 6 hours credit is allowed toward the D.Min. program from graduate institutions accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, 3 hours of which may be Th.M. credit. Students must have earned a grade of B or better for a course to be considered for transfer and coursework must have completed no more than five years prior to matriculation to Western Seminary. Transfer of credit is not automatic. The student must show that the work to be transferred is relevant to the D.Min. program emphasis in church leadership, and was completed at a comparable advanced level. Requests for acceptance of credit from other seminaries should be made at the time of admission to the program. Later transfer will only be done by prior approval through the program director and Registrar’s Office. Transferability of credits earned at Western and transferred to another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the Registrar’s Office for information on eligibility of transfer credit and advanced standing.

Residence Requirements

Of the 30 credit hours required for the Doctor of Ministry program, a minimum of 24 credit hours must be completed through coursework completed at Western Seminary, with a minimum of 24 credit hours taken in resident study at Western Seminary’s Portland Campus. All work leading to the Doctor of Ministry must be completed within six years from the time of matriculation. Permission to extend the six year statute of limitation must be granted through submission of an academic petition. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree. All credits applied toward degree requirements must be earned within ten years of the awarding of the degree.

Degree Requirements

The D.Min. degree is conferred upon the attainment of pertinent personal and academic requirements. In addition to the general seminary requirements, degree candidates must (1) give evidence of a genuine Christian character, orthodox belief, and conduct consistent with a God-given call to a position of leadership; and (2) complete all components of the program, accumulating at least 30 hours of credit.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To maintain satisfactory academic progress, students must earn grades of B or higher and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. One grade of B- or below immediately places the doctoral student on Academic Warning. A second course with a grade of B- or below immediately places the doctoral student on Academic Probation and subject to review by the Doctoral Standards Committee for dismissal from the program.

A doctoral student may graduate with up to two grades of B-, as long as the cumulative GPA is above 3.0. A course receiving a grade below B- cannot be counted toward degree graduation.

Doctoral Standards Committee

If the Doctoral Standards Committee dismisses the student from the doctoral program, the student may appeal to the Doctoral Standards Committee for re-admission. The student must show that there were exceptional circumstances involved and provide evidence indicating that they can remove the grade point deficiency within one semester. Appeals for re-admission will be considered for the next semester.

Doctor of Ministry Curriculum Plan

Required D.Min. Courses:
PTS 710 Effecting Gospel-Centered Transformation 3
PTS 712 Research Design and Methodology 3
PTS 791 D.Min. Dissertation 6+
Electives: 18 credits
Total: 30+ credits

2016-2017 Academic Catalog