Doctor of Ministry Studies (D.Min.)

Professor speaking with a class outside

The Doctor of Ministry Studies Program is designed to enhance the practice of ministry among Christian leaders. The goal is to equip the person committed to a Christian vocation for the highest level of excellence in the actual practice of ministry. It is a professional degree, focusing not just on gaining new knowledge, but also on developing more effective skills and greater competencies in ministry.

Our faculty want to help you grow in spiritual maturity, and to see you excel in a ministry that is biblically rooted, theologically sound, and culturally relevant. This program has been designed with these objectives in mind, allowing you to gain the most from on-campus seminars while continuing to serve in your place of ministry full-time.

A world-class faculty, the resources of a university campus and a smaller program allowing for more personal attention are just a few of the features that make the Beeson D.Min. program an outstanding option for those Christian leaders who want to go further in their training.

Degree Objectives

The Doctor of Ministry Degree Program is designed to enhance the practice of ministry among those who are formally engaged in Christian ministry. Students in the program will:

1. Grow in spiritual maturity and in the practice of spiritual disciplines.
2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the nature and purposes of ministry.
3. Improve their ability to integrate the biblical and theological foundations for ministry into the practice of ministry.
4. Develop the knowledge and skills needed for pastoral research and self- directed learning.
5. Perform the duties of his or her ministry with a greater degree of effectiveness and skill.

The D.Min. is a professional doctoral degree, meaning that it is designed to enhance the practice of a particular discipline - in this case, Christian ministry. The D.Min. is not a research doctoral degree, like the Ph.D. Research doctorates are designed to equip persons for original research, writing, and teaching in a particular discipline. While the D.Min. involves research in its own right, the desired outcome is greater insight into the nature and purposes of ministry, for the improvement of its practice.

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

Seminars

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.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition & Fee Table
ChargeAmount
Application fee $50
Enrollment confirmation deposit (applied toward tuition) $200
Per credit rate for 2016-2017 $418
Campus Life Fee $100 per term
Technology Fee $175 per semester, fall and spring
Continuation fee for each semester beyond eight semesters $1000
Dissertation proofreading fee by Beeson-approved proofreader $350

Upon a student's notification of admission, a $200 enrollment confirmation deposit must be paid before the student can be registered for the first seminar. This deposit amount is deducted from the amount of the first semester's payment.

Students are responsible for their own travel to and from the university for the on-campus seminars, all meals and lodging during the seminars, and textbooks and materials for each course.

Student loans are available through the university's Office of Financial Aid, but no scholarships are given.

Application Process

  • Application and non-refundable $50 application fee by check or money order (Please include your social security number on the memo line)
  • Official transcripts from all educational institutions attended since high school [Please note: Since individual institutions may not fulfill transcript requests immediately, transcript request should be placed at least several weeks before the admissions deadline.]
  • Current résumé
  • Ministry reflection paper (see Guidelines for Papers below)
  • Autobiographical essay (see Guidelines for Papers below)
  • Personal interview with a member of the D.Min. Committee and/or the D.Min. Director, Mark Searby. May be conducted by telephone for persons who live a great distance from the school. To schedule an interview, please call (205)726-2374. [Please note: Interviews must be completed by the admissions deadline. Please contact the D. Min. office at least several weeks before the deadline to schedule your appointment.]
  • No testing is required for admission to the program, other than a score of at least 550 on the TOEFL if English is your second language and your Master's degree work was done in a language other than English.
  • Recommendation forms completed by the following:
    • A minister who knows you well
    • A professor who knows you well
    • A layperson who is familiar with your ministry
    • A professional person who has observed your ministry
      NOTE: Applicants may either download the reference forms or contact the D.Min. Office and we will provide you with the necessary forms. The completed reference forms should be returned directly to the D.Min. Office. If you download the forms from the website, you are responsible for providing your references with return envelopes addressed directly to the D.Min. Office.

Application Deadline

All application materials must be received by March 1. However, applicants are encouraged to provide their materials earlier than the deadline.

Beeson admits students to the D.Min. program annually. A limited number of persons (currently six) are admitted to each of three tracks: Specialization in Christian Preaching, Specialization in Spiritual Leadership, and General Studies.

Please keep in mind that before a residency starts, there are 3-4 months of preparatory readings and papers to be completed. The application process must be complete before the preparatory work can begin.

Notification of Acceptance

Applicants are normally notified of admission in early April. After notification of admission, students must submit a $200 enrollment confirmation deposit (non-refundable) that is applied to the first semester's tuition. After the deposit is received, students will receive information regarding their first seminar, which is held in July.

Apply Online

Guidelines for Papers

Ministry Reflection Paper

The admissions committee wishes to determine an applicant's capacity to reflect theologically on a ministry issue; to articulate a biblical response to the ministry issue; and to express these things clearly in a written form. Write a paper of 10-12 pages (not including your bibliography page), double-spaced, in which you reflect on one of the following ministry issues: conflict, leadership, spiritual formation of church members, philosophy of ministry, the role of preaching in church health, or pastoral care in times of crisis.

The paper must include the following elements:

  • Briefly describe this topic as you see it in today's church culture.
  • Provide a biblical/theological foundation for addressing the topic, focusing on exegesis and exposition of specific biblical passages.
  • Provide a personal application section for your current ministry context.
  • Utilize a minimum of four commentaries and four biblical/theological sources.
  • A minimum of ten sources must be cited in footnote references.
  • The paper must be paginated.
  • A bibliography is to be included in the paper.
  • Please use Turabian format (A Manual for Writers, 7th ed.).

Note: If you are more familiar with another style manual (e.g. APA), you may use it. Please note the manual you are using.

Autobiographical Essay

Write a paper of no more than seven typed, double-spaced pages in which you address these topics:

  • Your conversion experience
  • Your call to ministry
  • Your ministry experience
  • Your goals for personal and professional development in ministry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is This Program for Me?

Doctor of Ministry studies is not continuing education for ministry in the traditional sense. The degree is reserved for those who have demonstrated a capacity for excellence in the practice of ministry. It is a demanding program, requiring great personal initiative, investment, and discipline. For those persons who aspire to greater competency in ministry, who will take up the challenge of rigorous study and personal growth, the D.Min. degree is a proven method for advancement.

What Makes Us Different?

Collegiality

The rapport of ministers coming together around a common study for common goals is a tremendous blessing of the D.Min. experience.

Field-based Curriculum

The needs and opportunities of the minister and his or her place of ministry are very much in view in the curriculum design.

Ministry Orientation

Religious studies in the abstract, this is not. D.Min. studies are immediately relevant and applicable to your present ministry needs.

Personal Formation

A goal and emphasis of D.Min. studies is the ongoing formation of the minister. Personal and spiritual issues are equally as important as new knowledge and skills.

Flexibility

Remaining in full-time ministry service while pursuing your degree is something that only a professional doctoral degree, like the D.Min., can allow you to do.

Is Beeson a Baptist seminary?

Beeson is not a Baptist seminary, although we have many Baptist students. BDS is an interdenominational school located on the campus of a Baptist-supported university - Samford University.

Learn More

What denominations are currently represented in the student body?

Students from the following denominations are actively involved in pursuing their D.Min. degree at Beeson: Anglican, African Methodist Episcopal, Assembly of God, Christian Church (DOC), Conservative Congregational, Church of God, Free Will Baptist, Missionary Baptist, Nondenominational, Presbyterian (PCUSA), Southern Baptist and United Methodist.

Admission

Prerequisites for Admission

  • Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent from an accredited school
  • Grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Probationary admission is possible with a GPA of at least 2.75
  • Must be currently engaged in vocational Christian ministry, with a minimum of three years full-time experience after the completion of the Master of Divinity degree

International Students

The application process for international students is unique and can seem complicated. It is our hope that this page will reduce this stress by taking you step by step through the process.

Preliminary Evaluations

Prospective international students must complete and submit the following evaluations to the Beeson Divinity School Office of Admission before beginning the standard application process for admission.

  • World Educational Service (Official course-by-course transcript of academic work sent through World Educational Services)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Any applicant whose native language is not English must also submit a score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 80 (Internet-based) on the TOEFL. Students should arrange to take the TOEFL by visiting www.toefl.org or by writing to Educational Testing Service at P.O. Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Apply to Beeson

Once the above material is completed, an international prospect may begin the standard application process below. Following an admission decision, the applicant will need to complete the Affidavit of Financial Support, including an official bank statement.

*A note regarding student visas: The United States Information Agency's insurance regulations for J visa holders require international students and their dependents to have and maintain health insurance during residency in the United States. Proof of coverage is required before registering for classes. The law mandates that Samford University must deny student status to international students who do not continue to comply. Information about specific carriers, minimum coverages, and premium costs is available from the Office of Admission, Samford University.

Support Services

As a university-based divinity school, Beeson offers students the opportunity to be involved in the larger community of a vibrant university. Divinity school students may fully participate in all Samford University activities including recreational facilities, concerts, theatrical productions, art exhibitions, lectures, recitals and sporting events.

Computer Labs

While students are on campus for seminars they have access to computer labs. The computer lab in the divinity school is open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Students in the D.Min. program may request that the lab stay open at other times also. The word processing program used in the divinity school computer lab is Microsoft Word on Windows XP. Other programs are available in other computer labs on campus.

Library

D.Min. students also have full access to the Samford University Library, which has more than 1,000,000 research aides, including bound journals, books, maps, CD-ROMs, videos, and audiotapes, with substantial holdings in religion. Students may check out materials from the University Library at any time, whether they are on or away from campus.

A copy of every D.Min. dissertation published by Beeson students is held in the University Library.

Housing

The D.Min. degree program requires that students be on campus for seminars for a total of 10 weeks during the program. Students are responsible for the cost of their housing during the seminars, as well as making the appropriate arrangements. On-campus housing is normally available during the July terms, but not during the January terms. For assistance in making housing arrangements, contact the D.Min. office at (205) 726-2374. Samford University also provides a list of area hotels.

Turabian Style

The guideline for writing ministry praxis proposals and dissertations is A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (seventh edition) by Kate L. Turabian. A summary of Turabian style relevant for writing dissertations will be distributed to students. Students should use the Turabian style guide for all of their academic work, unless an instructor specifically grants an exception for an assignment.