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Doctor of Ministry

Delve deeper into the challenges facing the community and the broader church.

Interested in receiving an overview of the program with specific courses, costs, and academic plans?

Doctoral Degree

Re-tool your ministry practice and revitalize your spiritual life

Northeastern Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program (D.Min.) provides an opportunity to revitalize your calling to ministry and research practical questions vital to the Church’s future. Students can focus their doctoral study on Leadership, Scripture, or Spiritual Formation.

The D.Min. program is offered fully online with no residency requirement. The prerequisites include prior graduate-level theological education and at least three years of professional ministry experience. 

At Northeastern Seminary, the online D.Min. degree consists of 34 credits and can be earned in as few as three years. The doctorate provides opportunities for you to engage the issues that confront the faith community, re-tool your ministry practice, and revitalize your spiritual life. Specifically, the D.Min. program provides an environment to: 

  • Acquire an advanced understanding of the nature and purposes of pastoral ministry
  • Develop enhanced competencies in pastoral and cultural analysis and ministerial leadership skills
  • Think biblically and theologically about all aspects of ministry
  • Integrate understanding and competencies into a theologically reflective practice of ministry

Need flexibility as a working adult? Northeastern Seminary strives to make our seminary experience as flexible as possible. This 34-credit ministry degree can be completed fully online with no residency requirement in as few as three years. Students can select a full-time or part-time schedule to accommodate career and family commitments.

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

What do I need to start my Doctor of Ministry degree?

The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) assumes that the majority of applicants have a seminary Master’s degree and sufficient ministry experience. In rare cases where an individual has a non-theological master's degree (e.g., MBA, M.Ed., M.S.W.) and has an exceptional amount of ministry experience and strong academic background, s/he may only need to complete an additional Advanced Certificate (6 classes) in theology, biblical studies, and ministerial education. Advanced Certificate classes are graduate-level courses that are transferrable into M.A. or M.Div. degree options upon completion. Ministry experience alone is not considered the equivalent of or a substitute for formal study in theology, biblical studies, and ministry.

If yes, you have met the educational prerequisite and can apply today. If not, which category best describes you?

I have an advanced degree in another discipline (e.g., MBA, M.Ed. or Ph.D.).

In rare cases, an individual can pursue an 18-credit certificate to satisfy the educational prerequisites for D.Min. admission. An individual must satisfy the following three items to be considered for this option:

  • Strong academic background in your prior (non-seminary) Master’s or Doctorate program
  • Formal theological study from your undergraduate or past programs
  • Extensive ministry experience that can be documented in the form of a resume

It is recommended that persons considering this option work with the Admissions office to determine if they would be a good candidate.

This 18-credit graduate-level certificate in Scripture, Theology & Ministry is only offered at Northeastern Seminary. All classes may be completed online and either full-time or part-time. The certificate must normally be completed with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher to be academically eligible for admission into the D.Min. program. The certificate will consist of six classes listed below:  
• Introduction to Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching (required)
• The following five Great Conversation classes: Being in the Word, Being in the Story, Being Church, Being Christian, and Being Mission

I have done a prior graduate-level study in theology, biblical studies, or ministry, but do NOT hold an advanced degree.

If you do not have an advanced degree, you will be required to obtain at least a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Divinity (M.Div.) before applying to the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program. In addition, if your graduate coursework was taken within the last seven years, you may be eligible for transfer credits depending on your prior degree. You may submit an unofficial copy of all your prior graduate work to JP Anderson, Associate Vice President for Seminary Enrollment.

Online or onsite coursework may be completed at Northeastern Seminary or any other ATS-accredited seminary. If classes are taken at another institution, official transcripts must be sent to Northeastern Seminary.

You will want to apply and be accepted into the Certificate program in Scripture, Theology & Ministry before applying to the D.Min. program. You will follow the standard admissions steps for the Certificate program. You have the option to complete the D.Min. application essay as a replacement for your Certificate admissions essay. 

Once you have completed the Certificate program, you may apply to the D.Min. program. Please make note of the following required admissions steps requirements for the D.Min. program: 

  • You will need to fulfill three recommendation steps: 
    • One faculty recommendation from a Northeastern Seminary professor. This recommendation can be sent from the D.Min. online application.
    • One outside recommendation (pastor, minister, bishop, etc.). This may be one of the same people who submitted a recommendation for your Certificate admissions file. In this case, they are recommending you for the Doctor of Ministry program. This recommendation can be sent from the D.Min. online application.
    • If you haven’t already, you will need to meet with the Director of the D.Min. program who will provide a third recommendation to the Office of Admissions on your behalf. The Director may request to meet with you if they haven’t met you already.  
  • We will use the transcript(s) that was submitted for the Certificate program for the D.Min. program. We will also pull your transcript with your grades from the Certificate program into your admissions file once you have started applying to the D.Min. program. 

If you complete the D.Min. Application Essay as part of your Certificate admissions essay, we can use this essay as part of your D.Min. admissions file (this is optional).

Doctor of Ministry Program Tuition

Cost to pursue doctoral degree

Woman at graduation

Total Program
Sticker Price: $19,720

Less than 15% of students
pay this amount

98% of students who applied
for a scholarship received one

How is the program designed?

Online Collaboration—Creating The Collegial Learning Environment

The D.MIn. program may be done fully online with no residency requirement. Each class will have opportunities for online interaction with faculty members and peers allowing students to integrate and apply classroom material.

D.Min. classes will occasionally assign personal retreat and reflection as part of the coursework. In addition, all students will be eligible to take part in seminary spiritual formation weeks and formation groups.

Unique course offerings provide students-focused time with visiting faculty such as MaryKate Morse, Christena Cleveland, Soong-Chan Rah, Andy Crouch, Frank Thomas, Ruth Haley Barton, and Leith Anderson. 

Learning at the doctoral level is enhanced by the opportunity to be part of a small, highly selective group of peers in ministry and to form valuable relationships with the faculty members who guide the class.

Entering D.Min. students experience an extensive, personal, and professional assessment that is formative in nature. 

Final projects encourage students to invest in their context. Students partner with faculty and advising experts to conduct applied research and publish and present the results for others to learn from. 

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet

Frederick Buechner

Doctoral Degree- Three Focus Options

The Doctor of Ministry program culminates in your dissertation, with the option to specialize your doctorate in Leadership, Scripture, or Spiritual Formation. Your dissertation will be a publishable document that utilizes theoretical and theological resources to address both the nature and practice of ministry. Guided by a committee, you will select a research topic with the intention of enhancing your personal ministry and that of your site. 

Past courses have included:

Special Topics in Leadership:

  • Leadership, Theology, and Civic Engagement
  • Leadership in the Time of Crisis
  • Incarnating the Gospel in Culture
  • Gender Violence & Reconciliation: Church Leadership Strategies

Special Topics in Spirituality:

  • Spirituality in Leadership
  • Spiritual Direction

Other topics include

  • The New Testament & Moral Discernment
    Spirituality for Ministry
  • Theology & Spiritual Formation: Personal Transformation & Missional Living
  • The Courage to Be Human in an Age of Celebrity
  • A Liberating Cross--In the Hands of a Loving God
  • Biblical Theology of Leadership
  • Developing Healthy Spiritual Communities
  • Critical Issues in Contemporary Church Communities
  • A Biblical Theology of Healing & Miracles
  • Power, Inequality, and Reconciliation in the Church
  • The Radical Future of the Church
  • Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling

Courses in standard rotation include:

  • Advanced Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching
  • Transformational Leadership
  • Spirituality for Ministry

Watch recent graduates share findings from their dissertations.

Service to the Church & the World

To believe that a theological seminary does not exist for its own sake, but exists rather to serve and resource the church of Jesus Christ.