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Earning a doctorate is one of the most effective ways of proving your dedication and expertise in a particular field. A Doctor of Ministry degree program develops a student’s understanding of and desire to engage with the task as an academic field, research area, and analysis area.
While most students with a DMin degree pursue pastoral or ministry work, some use this degree to pursue a career that is research-focused or in other industries.
The majority of prospective students for doctoral programs are already working in the field, so they often don’t have the time or means to attend traditional on-campus programs. Fortunately, finding a graduate school that offers fully or partially online ministry programs is more accessible than before.
The desire of students who would not otherwise be able to fulfill their objective of acquiring a terminal degree due to their professional duties has contributed to the shift towards online programs for ministry.
Quick audio summary:
The Doctor of Ministry program is an academic program emphasizing abilities used in a working ministry environment, such as counseling, preaching, discipleship, and strategic leadership skills. Students pursuing an online doctor of ministry are committed to becoming ministry leaders and improving themselves and their congregation. They must be prepared to use current research to look for a workable solution to difficulties they have encountered from prior experience.
Did you know that, depending on the program and coursework, online DMin programs require students to complete on-campus residencies, face-to-face intensive courses, research projects, and travel abroad options?
When selecting an excellent online DMin program, know what to look for! These features, found in each doctorate program, were our criteria for picking the best options for you!
- Offered as a Doctor of Ministry program in a web-based or blended format, in which students attend some classes online and comply with other coursework requirements on-campus,
- Delivered through a top-rated Learning Management System wherein students can access their online DMin coursework conveniently, benefiting adult learners and professionals seeking to enrich their knowledge and boost their credentials,
- Taught by expert faculty and teaching personnel who are terminal degree holders and experienced professionals in the field of Ministry,
- Received approval from academic accrediting agencies that have and continue to set the standards of Ministry teaching at the doctorate level, both in the online or traditional teaching formats,
- Recognized by ministerial associations, as well as Christian organizations and groups, where Ministry as a vocation and profession is deemed relevant,
- Earns positive reviews from Online Doctor of Ministry students and alumni.
Want to know more about our online DMin ranking process? Check out our Methodology page here!
19 Best Online/Hybrid Doctor of Ministry (DMin) Programs
Boston University School of Theology
Boston University houses one of the top theological schools offering a hybrid Doctor of Ministry program. The online DMin program at BU is structured around Transformational Leadership to produce experts in ministry leadership and educate women and men of Christian ministry, facilitating personal and social transformation.
Students will be required to complete 30 credits of coursework to sharpen their ministry skills and knowledge, including four intensive seminars, four 4-credit cohort courses, and two directed study courses that can be completed in 3 to 5 years.
Applicants must have an MDiv degree from an accredited school recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or any Canadian-qualified assurance agency with a minimum GPA of 3.3. Students should register for the 800 or 900-level coursework — undergraduate and 700-level courses are non-transferable to the DMin program.
Upon acceptance to the program, each student will have a program advisor to help them select and navigate coursework broadly. During their second year of study, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs assigns students a faculty thesis advisor.
Additionally, BU’s School of Theology is one of the most popular graduate schools that operates an open and accepting degree program for the LGBTQ community.
Indiana Wesleyan University – Wesley Seminary
Indiana Wesleyan University – Marion offers an online Doctor of Ministry program that provides a dynamic curriculum with a rotating emphasis designed for a practicing ministry professional. The DMin program at IWU requires students to complete 32 credit hours that combine biblical studies, theology, church history, spiritual growth, and ministry practice.
The course structure is adaptable and adaptive, with most of the coursework being conducted online and two weeks of annual residencies in Marion, IN, or globally, depending on the selected concentration.
To gain admission, prospective students must have a master’s degree in divinity from an accredited institution, a minimum 3.0 GPA on all graduate coursework, and three years of ministry experience. Students without an accredited MDiv can be considered for admission as outlined in the DMin Application Evaluation Worksheet and mandated by the Association of Theological Schools in Standard 5.5.
The current concentrations are Transformational Preaching, Transformational Leadership, and Spiritual Formation. Regardless of concentration, students will be equipped with the right skills, tools, and perspectives to become ministry leaders in societal, culturally diverse, personal, and communal settings.
Students gearing toward learning the most profound truths about God should consider the Spiritual Formation concentration — this centers on examining and practicing Scripture, information enabled by the spirit, and transformation into the likeness of Christ.
North Greenville University
North Greenville University’s hybrid DMin program is a 36-credit hour doctoral program that trains future ministry leaders in research and teaching in an average of 3 years. This online DMin degree consists of intensive studies and applied courses that allow students to gain hands-on practical experience in a ministry setting while reaping the benefits of customizable online courses.
The first two years of the doctoral program are devoted to introducing students to the scope of the field, along with its methodology and praxis.
Applicants must hold an MDiv with a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale from an accredited institution or recognized by the ATS Association of Theological Schools. Additionally, applicants should submit their Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores.
After completing online coursework, online doctorate students will start to plan the final project and project report and use what they’ve learned from the program and influence the field. Students will have guidance from the school’s world-renowned faculty and be assigned an academic advisor for their final ministry project.
Additionally, North Greenville University students can obtain federal financial aid.
Liberty University Online
Liberty University is famous for offering hundreds of online degrees, one of which is the Doctor of Ministry which takes two years, on average, to complete and is delivered 100 percent online. The DMin program at Liberty University enhances and sharpens a student’s ministry skills and knowledge by encouraging a comprehensive understanding of biblical concepts and outreach tactics in 30-credit hour coursework.
Additionally, the program offers fourteen specializations, including Spiritual Formation, Strategic Christian Ministry, Theology and Apologetics, Pastoral Counseling, and Expository Preaching and Teaching.
Online doctorate candidates must hold a master’s degree in divinity or other closely related fields from an accredited institution with an average GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Upon admission, students will have an academic advisor to help them evaluate which credit hours from their graduate degree are transferable to the online DMin. Depending on the specialization, students can transfer up to 50% of graduate-level coursework to the doctoral program.
Online doctorate students will learn from a faculty with doctorate degrees and years of experience in ministry leadership. Online doctoral students who want more hands-on experience can participate in in-person intensives in Virginia. Graduates will be able to serve in many pastoral roles, having been schooled in research, proposing creative solutions, examining issues through an informed perspective, and more.
An additional benefit of the DMin at Liberty University is the block rate tuition; students taking 7 to 15 credit hours is set at $2,750 per semester.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
The online Doctor of Ministry at Southwestern Assemblies of God University focuses on leadership to help students gain advanced leadership skills for various ministry situations. The program requires students to complete 30 hours in a one-course per semester format offered in a cohort model. The Doctor of Ministry at SAGU is mostly an online program although it does require three cohort meetings during the ten semesters of enrollment.
This online DMin gives students the information necessary to create and carry out successful plans for their ministry context and prepares them to effectively serve both believers and non-believers, regardless of the type of ministry to which they are called.
Applicants for the online doctorate are required to hold a 72-hour MDiv or master’s degree from a closely related field from an accredited institution or professionally accredited seminary. Additionally, applicants should have at least a year of work or life experience.
The online DMin at SAGU has an intense curriculum structure, which means that students must follow a strict course rotation every semester. Students will proceed to the six-credit Professional Doctoral Project after completing the online courses.
The doctoral project aims to help students demonstrate their capacity to comprehend ministry practice in a way that encourages improvement, query, and critique.
The Catholic University of America
The Catholic University of America offers a hybrid 30-credit hour course plan DMin program that blends thirteen weeks online and two weeks of on-campus residency. Unlike other doctoral programs, those who wish to obtain a doctorate degree should maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA for all coursework. The program offers three concentration courses; Evangelization, Liturgical Catechesis, and Spirituality.
Students will be given academic advisors to plan their course of study and guide them in choosing which concentration to pursue.
Additionally, students will be required to complete a doctoral ministry project, a combination of treatise and oral presentation that concludes the doctorate program. The project will show the student’s capacity to recognize a ministry-related issue, find pertinent multidisciplinary resources, and investigate pastorally and theologically sound solutions.
Those with at least a three-year full-time or a six-year part-time pastoral ministry experience or equivalent can apply for the program. Other requirements include an MDiv or its educational equivalent with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited institution.
Regent University’s online doctor of ministry is a 36-credit hour doctorate degree that helps students advance their theological training without stepping foot on campus! The program offers two concentrations; Chaplain Ministry & Leadership And Christian Leadership & Renewal.
Regardless of which concentration students choose, they’ll be equipped with the skills necessary to lead in different ministry contexts while utilizing the Holy Spirit’s transformative power.
Applicants with an MDiv degree or equivalent from an accredited institution are preferred. However, students without an MDiv degree can still apply if their previous graduate degree has at least 72 credit hours of theological studies, 48 of which are seminary credits.
Students at Regent University will learn from different perspectives, allowing them to make well-informed decisions when facing difficulties in their churches.
In addition to graduating and returning to the workforce as committed and developed leaders, students will still have the abilities, know-how, and experience to assist others in similar transformative growth.
Luther Rice College and Seminary
The online doctorate in ministry at Luther Rice College and Seminary prepares students for advanced learning and specialized themes in the field, thanks to the program’s rigorous 30-credit hour curriculum, all of which can be completed 100% online. Students acquire the advanced skills and theological knowledge required to progress from active participation in Christian vocational ministry to more outstanding church leadership.
The program trains students in critical, biblical, and theological thinking to help them communicate effectively and pursue various professions, such as theologians, professors, teachers, authors, and pastors.
While applicants are preferred to hold regionally accredited MDiv degrees, those with unaccredited graduate degrees can still submit applications and undergo evaluation. Candidates with an MA in Bible or theology may do extra coursework in Bible and theology to be assessed for academic equivalent.
While no residency is required, students must complete a doctoral ministry project. The project entails a structured approach to an independent study that leads to a written product that exhibits student proficiency in a branch of practical theology. The program’s reading, writing, and coursework are all meant to help the student prepare for this last task.
Lancaster Bible College
Lancaster Bible College offers a hybrid Doctor of Ministry with minimal residency requirements designed to cater to the unique needs of working adult students who want to pursue careers as ministry professionals and leaders in Christian professional settings.
The program requires students to complete 34 credits that adopt a critical lens on Scripture and what it means to live out Scripture via ministry, focusing on empirical research, creative thought, and practical application. The average completion time is three and a half years.
Application requirements include an MDiv degree from an accredited institution and a 15-page research paper at the master’s level.
The online doctor of ministry at LBC offers three specialization areas: Chaplaincy Studies, Formational Leadership, and Strategic Leadership. The program’s core coursework consists of seminars, concentration seminars, and research design and reporting and is taken in conjunction with each concentration area.
These seminars include Applied Research and Contextual Ministry Praxis, completed before an Applied Research Dissertation. Depending on the specialization areas chosen, additional coursework will vary, but all courses address various crucial topics and skills required for success in ministry.
Bethel University offers a DMin degree that allows students to choose between a fully online or hybrid learning format. The DMin is a 48-credit-hour program that enhances the personal growth of students’ spiritual health and the ability for ministry effectiveness to prepare them to support others’ personal and spiritual growth with an average completion time of four years.
Interested students should hold an MDiv or equivalent seminary degree from a regionally accredited ATS or internationally recognized institution. The program is competitive and only accepts students with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Doctoral students can tailor their doctoral program by choosing a concentration: Biblical and Theological Engagement, Congregation and Family Care, Church Leadership, and Transformational Leadership. Each of the four concentration area specialist courses is unique but includes a wide range of topics, from the connection between religion and mental health to the historical sources that serve as the foundation of interactions in Christian organizations.
Graduates will be able to advance their field expertise and have the skills and knowledge necessary for research and personal experience to solve real-world problems.
Duke University – Duke Divinity School
Clergy and lay Christians who want to improve their ministry skills by engaging them in rigorous and creative theological inquiry can enroll in the hybrid Doctor of Ministry at Duke University. This degree, which only admits 20 students each year, requires students to attend on-campus residential seminars five times for two years.
The DMin program at Duke takes pleasure in providing a top-notch theological investigation with faculty members who have experience serving their Christian traditions and being active in scholarship.
Applicants should hold a master’s degree in ministry or theological studies from an ATS-accredited school with an average of 3.0 GPA. Additional requirements include ministry work experience of at least five years full-time.
Students can use tools for independent study or tools that call for scheduled online meetings so that they can interact with their instructors and classmates. Students are encouraged to collaborate closely with a faculty advisor to create a research project that keeps them in their ministry contexts while involving them in rigorous theological reflection.
Students will acquire the abilities necessary to create a significant publishable piece of literature that benefits the church.
Emory University – Candler School of Theology
Emory University’s Doctor of Ministry is designed to help ministry professionals with years of experience advance their knowledge and obtain a more powerful bond linking ministry practice and theology. This DMin program allows students to choose between Church Leadership and Community Witness and Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation tracks.
Regardless of which track students choose, they must complete 32 credit hours, comprising 26 online courses in methodologies and resources, six classes worth three credits each and related colloquia, and six credits from the final project. There are, however, four short visits to Candler’s campus. Only one time in each of the first two years and two times in the third year.
Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree and an MDiv from an ATS-accredited institution with a stellar academic reputation, professional experience in pastoral care and the church, and three years of additional professional ministry experience upon receiving the MDiv.
The curriculum will give ministry professionals additional training and the abilities needed to evaluate ministry practices via consistent biblical, ecclesiological, and theological thought. Students will also learn to identify, create, and spread innovative approaches in the service of the gospel. Students will receive a 10% scholarship each year.
The Doctor of Ministry at Anderson University is a hybrid program that blends online courses with four two-hour interactive class meetings and hybrid and on-campus advanced seminars. The advanced-topic seminars will equip pastors and other church leaders with the skills and information they need to develop their leadership potential and prepare for a ministry project.
Unlike other degrees that only focus on preaching to evangelism, this 21st DMin program focuses on helping the ministry adapt in light of demographic and cultural change.
Anderson University is one of the most competitive schools, giving precedence to the most qualified applicants. To be considered, applicants should hold an MDiv or MMin from a college or university with regional and ATS, ABHE, or TRACS accreditation. Additionally, applicants should have a 3.0 minimum GPA and three years or more experience in a ministry-related field.
The main goal of this 21st-century DMin is to help future ministry leaders find ways to adapt to evolving opinions about everything, from social media to sexuality. Graduates will be able to think of ways that will help connect and engage people with the Gospel. This degree will give students the necessary skills to preach, teach, and serve in the modern world.
Clark Summit University – Baptist Bible Seminary
Clark Summit University offers an online Doctor of Ministry through the Baptist Bible Seminary school designed for practicing ministers. The program requires students to complete 30 credit hours with an average completion time of six years and allows students to choose one of the three specializations: Bible Exposition, Ministry, or Pastoral.
The curriculum equips students with a theological foundation to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for a successful and approachable pastoral practice.
Interested students must hold a master’s in divinity, ministry, or other closely related degrees. Before enrolling, it is advised for online students to complete the FAFSA application and obtain financial aid opportunities. Most doctoral students at CSU use grants, fellowships, and other types of financial aid to cover the cost of their education.
One of the critical features of the DMin at Clark Summit University is the mentorship opportunities and the school’s community. Online students can expect to find assistance, guidance, and inspiration necessary to complete program requirements.
Students will learn from a supportive faculty with the best academic credentials, a high level of knowledge, and extensive experience working in churches and other ministry contexts. Students will learn practical methods for applying discernment, critical thinking, and properly handling God’s Word in their work.
Fordham University’s Doctor of Ministry is offered through a hybrid learning format combining on-campus and online coursework. The curriculum provides the Spirituality Concentration, Generalist Concentration, and Latino Ministry Concentration as its three concentration options. Students will be equipped with the necessary abilities to apply rigorous theological analysis to real-world ministry.
Graduates will be able to contribute meaningful research and substantial scholarship in the field and its connections to multiculturalism, ecological concerns, enculturation, peace and justice issues, feminism, globalization, and spirituality once they graduate.
Students interested in applying for the online DMin program should possess a bachelor’s and master’s in ministry or divinity degrees or equivalent from accredited institutions with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Qualified Applicants will be evaluated through an interview with either a faculty member, the dean, or the director of admissions.
Each student will collaborate closely with a faculty mentor while attending online and on-campus classes. During the first two years of study, there are two intensive on-campus sessions. To complete the program, students will have a dissertation project.
Amridge University offers a distance learning Doctor of Ministry program with a 30-credit curriculum designed to enable students to use their existing work as the primary source of learning resources. The program has numerous in-service projects that go along with the coursework and directly help the candidate’s ministry.
This program focuses on developing students’ abilities in practical ministry, as opposed to stressing the improvement of those talents favored in academia, unlike other doctoral programs in Theology or related fields.
Interested applicants with MDiv or MMin degrees with an average GPA of at least 3.0 are prioritized. However, students without an MDiv or MMin can still apply for the program if they have graduated from related fields, such as theology, and have obtained seminary credit hours from their previous graduate degree.
Students can choose a field of specialization and gain more knowledge within the program. While coursework is conducted and completed online, the program still requires students to participate in an on-campus residency to satisfy nine necessary core credits.
George Fox University – Portland Seminary School
George Fox University’s Portland Seminary School offers a mostly online DMin degree with demanding residency requirements designed to help working ministry leaders and professionals develop their skills and advance their knowledge in the industry.
The DMin program allows students to choose between Semiotics, Church, and Culture tracks or Leadership and Spiritual Formation tracks.
All tracks call for lengthy stays at various locations; the Leadership and Spiritual Formation residencies are held on the Oregon Coast. Each emphasis area’s coursework aims to develop students into leaders by enhancing their organizational, research, and assessment skills and overall skill set. This is done by broadening students’ perspectives on God’s mission.
Applying with an MDiv degree already earned is the simplest way to meet DMin qualifications. However, the school can still consider students who want to apply to the DMin program without an MDiv in conformity with the accrediting body or equivalency. The DMin office will review applicants’ portfolios without an MDiv degree and evaluate if they can enroll in the DMin program.
Lexington Theological Seminary
The Lexington Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry is a 30-credit cohort program that only requires two on-campus visits throughout the doctoral degree program. The program consists of rigorous on-campus intensives, a culminating project conducted with the help of a scholar-practitioner, and highly interactive online coursework.
The program will give students the skills to interact with the subject more sophisticatedly, enabling them to change the larger community.
Applicants must have an MDiv degree from an ATS-accredited institution or equivalent with an average GPA of 3.0. Additional requirements include a minimum of three years of experience in ministry after their graduate degree. Those with prior experiences before their graduate degrees can submit for consideration and request to waive the three-year experience requirement.
The flexible program allows each student to enroll in one course per semester and complete coursework at their own pace after approximately one year of core courses with a cohort of classmates. Depending on the number of credits that are sought from a course, courses span anywhere from two to eight weeks.
LTS offers a 30% scholarship to all DMin students, with flexible payment options available for the remaining tuition.
Beulah Heights University
Beulah Height University’s Doctor of Ministry is a hybrid program designed to help students develop advanced competencies in many different areas of the ministry to become qualified and better leaders upon graduation. The program includes a comprehensive education embracing all the contexts and realities of the modernity that ministry operates in to help students undertake Christian ministry in modern culture.
The program goes along with dedicating time to focused study, critical thought, and assessment of current and enduring ministry concerns.
Admission requires either an MDiv degree or its equivalent. The equivalent of the MDiv degree must demonstrate suitable preparation for advanced work in the field of study. Additionally, applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA on all their graduate-level coursework, regardless of degree and concentration.
The DMin curriculum provides students with a broad education in the ministry while offering specializations in partnership with other university departments. This comprises preaching, Pentecostal-Charismatic ministry, women’s studies, leadership, and worship studies.
Students will move on to a formal area of specialty or take electives in a subject relating to their proposed research project and thesis after completing fundamental DMin courses.
Online Doctorate in Ministry Common Courses
Courses for an online DMin program will vary depending on the school’s curriculum and the student’s concentration. Here are some examples of the most common courses DMin students could take to acquire their doctorate in ministry:
Christian Spiritual Formation
This course examines the meaning of biblical Christianity and how it relates to practice, focusing on spiritual development via personal disciplines like prayer and meditation.
Theological Foundations of Ministry
Students in these courses study the religious beliefs that ministers in various religions follow. For instance, biblical students learn the tenets of Christian church leadership.
Biblical Leadership in Church Revitalization
This DMin course talks about foundational concepts to help students revitalize churches. It will look at the themes of revival in the Old and New Testaments and individuals’ most effective leadership qualities.
This course teaches students how to start a church where believers can develop their religion. Learners receive knowledge on how to grow their communities and win new converts.
Growth and Development of the Contemporary Minister
This course helps DMin students realize the opportunities and problems facing ministry leaders today. The training also aids in forming a personal strategy that can be applied to one’s personal, spiritual, marital, familial, and ministerial lives.
Biblical Foundations for Evangelistic Church Planting
This course aims to create a theology of the church from the biblical text. This course aims to build a theology of church planting on the authority of the Bible.
The topics relating to the areas of concentration will be covered in this seminar course, which will go beyond the material covered in core courses. Students will receive training in using biblical, theological, historical, ministerial, and missiological principles for their research projects.
Professional Organizations in Ministry
Professional organizations offer various beneficial tools to recent graduates and those pursuing an online doctorate in ministry. Access to online journals and trade periodicals, chances for professional growth, job postings, and in-person networking events are typical advantages of membership. Here are the top three professional organizations for ministry students and professionals.
The American Association of Pastoral Counselors merged with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in 2019 to form the ACPE Psychotherapy Commission. Members of ACPE receive member discounts on educational activities, the weekly ACPE News, and details on the annual conference. The organization emphasizes networking and leadership development that encompasses religion, discipline, and race.
The Association of Professional Chaplains supports more than 5,000 chaplains in health and human care settings. The organization holds conferences and webinars, manages a professional certification in chaplaincy care, and provides various educational resources on its website, including several scholarly publications.
AP Clergy aids in organizing smaller colleague groups in addition to an annual conference, giving practitioners a chance to collaborate and support one another. The group also edits a book series on crucial issues affecting the clergy and publishes a quarterly journal.
Members of CDS gain several opportunities to learn about developments in the field, share knowledge, and trade ideas.
ETS is a group of academic, professional, biblical scholars, teachers, pastors, and other evangelical experts. The group promotes conservative, evangelical biblical studies to benefit Jesus Christ and his church.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an online doctor of ministry worth it?
As long as the online DMin is accredited by accrediting agencies, such as The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, as well as The Association of Theological Schools, it will be worth it.
Accredited online Doctor of Ministry programs help students do research in the field of study that genuinely interests them. Students can concentrate on the area of ministry that will most positively impact their congregation and advance spiritually in their future ministry endeavors.
What is the difference between a Doctorate in Ministry and a Ph.D.?
Most Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) holders work full-time in academic settings emphasizing teaching, research, and writing. A Doctor of Ministry (DMin) focuses on recognizing issues and difficulties in ministry settings and using current research to generate new solutions.
How long does it normally take to get a DMin?
The Association of Theological Schools mandates that students finish their coursework for at least a year before completing their doctoral thesis or research project. Usually, it takes three to six years to finish the degree.
What jobs are available with a Ministry Doctorate?
Many jobs are open to persons with a doctor’s degree in ministry. Graduates can become counselors, senior pastors, chaplains, university professors, and more. Students might also find employment as motivational speakers who travel.
Do Online DMin degree programs offer financial aid?
Online students have several financial aid options to help them pay for their online education. Some students might be eligible for workplace programs, grants from their university or seminary, state or federal help, employer programs, or scholarships.
Religious institutions may have scholarships for ministry students, and some colleges give tuition discounts to active-duty and retired military personnel. Students must request financial aid through the FAFSA.
People with religious interests have the opportunity to complete online doctorate in ministry (DMin) programs and obtain the advanced degrees required to hold leadership positions in their churches.
The best universities provide a variety of specializations and concentrations that students can use to tailor their degrees. A dissertation is one of the last steps necessary to obtain one of these degrees.
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