D.Min. Program Design

The Doctor of Ministry degree is designed to enhance the practice of Christian ministry for individuals who hold the Master of Divinity degree and who have engaged in the practice of Christian ministry. Students in the program are expected to develop an advanced understanding of the nature and purposes of ministry, enhanced competencies in pastoral analysis and ministerial skills, the integration of these dimensions into the theologically reflective practice of ministry, new knowledge about the practice of ministry, and continued growth in spiritual maturity.

Tracks of Study

Beeson Divinity School offers four tracks of study within the Doctor of Ministry Studies program:

  • Specialization in Christian Preaching
  • Specialization in Spiritual Leadership
  • Specialization in Pastoral Theology/Pastoral Care
  • General Studies Track

Students are admitted to each of these four tracks annually and each track begins in July.

Specialization in Christian Preaching

The Specialization in Christian Preaching is reserved for those ministers who are in a weekly preaching ministry, who desire to enhance their ability to effectively proclaim the biblical witness in a life-changing way. To that end, the coursework is designed to:

  • Equip you to serve more effectively as a pastor-theologian;
  • Increase your skills in biblical exegesis, and the responsible interpretation of text and context;
  • Improve your use of various preaching strategies;
  • Enable you to integrate your preaching ministry with other ministry responsibilities.

Seminars are led by outstanding Christian preachers and homileticians, who are gifted at relating both the theory and the practice of proclamation. Field-based assignments help D.Min. students to begin making immediate application of classroom learning. The ministry praxis for those in this track of study must substantially employ one's preaching ministry in an effort to bring about needed change in some aspect of the church's life and work. Members of the Beeson preaching faculty -- Dr. Robert Smith, Jr., Dr. Douglas Webster and Dr. Charles T. Carter -- give faithful guidance to D.Min. students in this track of study.

Specialization in Spiritual Leadership

In keeping with the overall objectives of the Beeson Doctor of Ministry Studies Program, the Specialization in Spiritual Leadership seeks to:

  • Equip you to serve more effectively as a pastor-theologian;
  • Enlarge your understanding of and capacity for servant leadership;
  • Train you to be strategic in the practice of spiritual leadership within an organizational setting;
  • Help you to plan for nurturing your own spiritual life and that of the people in your ministry setting.

Leadership is a widely discussed topic both inside and outside of Christian circles today. Spiritual leadership, however, is a distinctive brand, often turning upside down the perspectives, principles, and methods of leadership of other sorts. This track of study is rooted in the belief that the person of the leader -- who he or she is in relationship to God and neighbor, and how that is lived out in humble Christian service -- is at the heart of spiritual leadership. Methods and techniques come and go; only love remains. Jesus' teachings and example vividly illustrate the power of love to bring about change in a godly direction. Seminars, field-based assignments, and the climactic ministry praxis all serve to inform, reform, and transform the Christian minister for faithful spiritual leadership. Regular contributors to such an effort include Dr. Lyle Dorsett, Dr. Mark DeVine, and Dr. Tim McCoy.

Specialization in Pastoral Theology/Pastoral Care

The specialization in Pastoral Theology/Pastoral Care is designed for pastors, chaplains, and other ministers who are interested in sharpening their pastoral care skills and integrating their care of souls with spiritual formation. The coursework is designed to:
  • Provide a strong theological foundation for practicing and evaluating pastoral care
  • Increase your skills for diagnosing and addressing marriage and family issues
  • Improve your overall counseling skills
  • Facilitate a deeper integration of “soul care” and spiritual formation
Pastors, chaplains, and other Christian leaders are called upon to provide theologically-based, spiritually informed care for individuals and families. Seminars are designed to address the theory and practice of such pastoral care. Experienced pastoral counselors and pastoral theologians will lead students in these areas. Regular Beeson faculty members and gifted adjuncts will be utilized to teach these seminars.

General Studies Track

Doctor of Ministry studies within the General Studies Track seeks to accomplish those objectives as stated above, while offering the minister a variety of ministry study options and the flexibility to focus his or her learning in the most helpful way. Persons admitted to this track will begin their studies in the same foundational seminar as those in other tracks. Following this, they have the opportunity to choose their seminars from among those offered in the areas of preaching, leadership, and other areas of ministry study. Please see the "Sample Sequence of Study" for an example of how such a program of study might be structured.

Academic Requirements

The D.Min. degree program comprises three main components:

  • on-campus seminars
  • field-based assignments
  • ministry praxis and dissertation


The first component in the D.Min. degree program is a series of on-campus seminars. Students generally take the seminars in sequence, depending on the track in which the student is enrolled. Altogether, students are required to be on campus for a total of ten weeks, spread out over a period of just over two years. Seminars are offered in January and July, with the exception of the final, one-week, Ministry Praxis Proposal seminar. The Accelerated Program varies from the traditional format in that students are full-time residents on the campus of Beeson for a period of thirteen months. To view the schedule and descriptions of seminars, visit our Seminars page.

Field-based Assignments

Ministry-based learning lies at the heart of Beeson’s D.Min. program. The field supervision requirement affords opportunity for students to receive evaluation, instruction and encouragement from a competent and caring minister.

Students are required to complete three semesters (three credit hours) of field-based assignments under supervision. These normally begin during the student’s first semester in the program. A semester of field supervision involves the completion of field-based assignments--made by Beeson faculty--that are submitted to the student’s field supervisor (an experienced minister chosen by the director in consultation with the student) for review, in preparation for meetings with the student.

The field-based assignments are intended to help students integrate their learning from the seminars into the practice of ministry. This process facilitates students in their academic and spiritual development as they function in ministry.

Ministry Praxis and Dissertation

The third and final component of the D.Min. program is a ministry intervention praxis and dissertation on the praxis. Students at Beeson have carried out a wide variety of ministry praxes, including training church members to provide care for grieving persons, teaching church members about the history of the Christian church, training church members to practice spiritual disciplines, and creating structures to help new church members become involved in a church’s life.

Students are encouraged to begin to explore ideas and to consult with their field supervisors, faculty advisors, and the D.Min. director about ideas for a ministry praxis early in their D.Min. program. In choosing their ministry praxis, students should consider their own gifts and skills, as well as the needs of the people to whom they will minister.

The process for completing the ministry praxis is as follows:

  1. The student develops an idea for his or her ministry praxis.
  2. The student consults with his or her faculty advisor concerning his or her idea.
  3. The student secures the approval of the faculty advisor for the idea.
  4. The student enrolls in Research in Ministry, engaging in an intensive period of research in the proposed area of ministry, under the guidance of the faculty advisor.
  5. After taking the Praxis Proposal seminar, the student writes the proposal for the ministry praxis.
  6. The student secures the approval of the faculty committee for the proposal.
  7. The student secures approval for any research involving human subjects from the Institutional Review Board.
  8. The student carries out the ministry praxis.
  9. The student writes the dissertation on the ministry praxis.
  10. The student submits the dissertation to the D.Min. Office to have it read by an approved proofreader prior to submitting the dissertation to the faculty advisor.  All costs associated with the proofreader’s service are the responsibility of the student.
  11. The student submits the proofed dissertation to the faculty committee.
  12. The student is examined on the ministry praxis and dissertation.
  13. When the faculty committee gives its approval to the student's dissertation and examination, the student is awarded the D.Min. degree.

Program Duration

The Doctor of Ministry degree requires the completion of 42 credits in varied phases of learning. Degree requirements include ten weeks on campus for seminars with three semesters of field-based assignments. The D.Min. degree can be completed in just over three years, but no more than six years. The average duration of study is four years. Credit requirements are:

First year Two 2-week foundational seminars, 6 credits each
Two semesters of field supervision, 1 credit each
Second year One 2-week foundational seminar, 6 credits
One 2-week ministry studies seminar, 6 credits
One semester of field supervision, 1 credit
One semester of research in ministry, 3 credits
Third year One 1-week ministry studies seminars, 3 credits
Praxis Proposal Seminar (3 days), 3 credits

Following the completion of seminar requirements, a student must engage in an approved ministry research praxis and produce a written dissertation, 6 credits.