Doctor of Ministry

Overview of the Program

The Doctor of Ministry is designed for experienced ministers who want to strengthen the connection between theology and ministry practice.

The program will provide ministry professionals with advanced training and the skills necessary to analyze ministry practices through sustained biblical, ecclesiological, and theological reflection, and to discern, shape, and disseminate new practices in the service of the gospel. The curriculum is designed for experienced ministers—those who have received their MDiv and have at least three years of experience—offering two tracks, Church Leadership and Community Witness, and Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation.

Course delivery is predominantly online and supported by an exceptional digital learning staff. Each course week runs from Wednesday to Tuesday with two live online sessions: 90 minutes every Wednesday and 60 minutes every Monday. DMin students also make full use of the renowned Pitts Theological Library, with remote access to digital resources and the option to receive physical books via mail.

Upon completion of the degree, all students enrolled in the Candler DMin degree will upon completion of the degree be able to:

  • articulate a theoretically integrated and theologically grounded understanding of oneself as a reflective practitioner;
  • analyze a ministry setting, using appropriate research methods and exhibiting contextual sensitivity
  • publicly interpret and disseminate discoveries in the church and to the broader community; and
  • engage in collaborative approaches to ministry with other reflective practitioners.

Degree Requirements

For either of the DMin tracks, a total of 32 credit hours is required for graduation: 26 awarded for the successful completion of a combination of a course on strategies and resources for online learning, six three-credit classes and related colloquies, and a further six for the successful completion of the final project.

Though course delivery will be predominantly online, all three years will include time on Candler’s campus. In the first year, this will involve general orientation and meeting cohort members in the fall. In the third year, the fall visit is constructed to help equip students for the design of their final project and the spring Festival of Learning includes formal presentation and review of the final project. One further residential component falls in the middle of the second year: a track specific residential course offered in the January term.

The DMin program offers two tracks. The Church Leadership and Community Witness track is geared toward students interested in the practices of contemporary leadership, while the Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation track will help graduates deepen their engagement with Scripture. Both tracks are designed to enhance students’ competence in congregational analysis, integrating theology and practice, sharing best practices in ministry, and facilitating collaboration.

Track One: Church Leadership and Community Witness

Students enrolled in the Church Leadership and Community Witness track will be able to articulate an integrated model relating to church leadership or community witness; and design, implement, and evaluate an original and research-based ministry project that engages a critical issue in church leadership and/or community witness.

Year One

  • DM500. Strategies and Resources for Online Learning (August Intensive; Online and Residential)
  • DM700. Becoming a Reflective Practitioner Understanding Community (Fall)
  • DM701. First Year Colloquy I (Fall)
  • DM702. First Year Colloquy II (Spring)
  • DM711. Understanding Community (Spring)

Year Two

  • DM703. Second Year Colloquy (Fall and Spring)
  • DM712. Ecclesiologies in Action (Fall)
  • DM713. Leadership as a Practice (January Intensive; Residential)
  • DM714. Leadership and Witness 1: Cultivating Church (Spring)

Year Three

  • DM704. Final Project Colloquy (Fall and Spring)
  • DM715. Leadership and Witness 2: Engaging the World (Fall)
  • DM750. Doctor of Ministry Final Project (Spring)

Track Two: Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation

Students pursuing the track in Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation will be able to articulate a coherent theology of Scripture that informs ministerial practice in the realms of teaching and/or homiletics; and design, implement, and evaluate an original and research-based ministry project that engages a particular issue in one’s ministerial context.

Year One

  • DM500. Strategies and Resources for Online Learning (August Intensive; Online and Residential)
  • DM700. Becoming a Reflective Practitioner Understanding Community (Fall)
  • DM701. First Year Colloquy I (Fall)
  • DM702. First Year Colloquy II (Spring)
  • DM721. Scripture, Theology, Practice (Spring)

Year Two

  • DM703. Second Year Colloquy (Fall and Spring)
  • DM722. Issues in Old Testament Interpretation (Fall)
  • DM723. Teaching as a Practice (January Intensive; Residential)
  • DM724. Issues in New Testament Interpretation (Spring)

Year Three

  • DM704. Final Project Colloquy (Fall and Spring)
  • DM725. Preaching the Bible (Fall)
  • DM750. Doctor of Ministry Final Project (Spring)

Final Project

The final project for the DMin degree will be constructed and implemented in phases throughout the three-year program and build upon issues/questions that arise from coursework. While each student will engage in an individual project, all students will work in peer-learning groups within their cohort that will provide a setting for creative conversation, project design, feedback, critique, etc. of one another’s work. The completion of the final project in the third year is thus tightly woven together with the progression through the program’s first two and a half years. Also, it is expected that by working in peer-learning groups, students will hold one another accountable to the threeyear timeline, as well as provide each other space for creative conversation. Each project will have a primary faculty consultant.

In the first semester, students will undertake a study of the ministry setting in which they work. Using congregational studies and social analysis methods, students will study the history, conflicts, demographic makeup, etc. of their ministry settings. The secondsemester courses for both tracks will analyze the student’s ministry setting in relation to the particular focus of the track.

At the start of the second year, each student will be asked to submit a brief project proposal document that outlines the proposed focus for his or her final project. On the basis of the topic area identified in that paper, the DMin director will assign the student a faculty consultant for the final project. During the first part of the third year, the project design (including any IRB requirements) will be finalized (no later than December 1). The latter half of the third year will be devoted to the completion of the final project. During this period the coordinator of the Final Project Colloquy, along with the project consultant, will act as the student’s primary faculty resources for matters connected with the project’s completion and implementation. The degree program culminates in a “Festival of Learning,” in which students will present their final projects, receive questions and feedback in a public forum, and receive final approval for graduation.

A variety of possible media and audiences are envisioned for presentation of the final project. The purpose of the Festival of Learning is to share the rich learning/experiences of the DMin students with a wider audience.

There are three components to the final project:

  • Written Component: A publishable article (10,000 words) that identifies the challenge and/or opportunity the project hoped to address, describes the project, and presents findings. The written component should show how the project engaged theories and practices studied in coursework, as well as how the project responds to the student’s own ministerial setting. The written component will be submitted to the project consultant in mid-March.

  • Digital Component: Given the online format of the degree, students will share their final projects with a wider audience through a media-rich digital component (examples might include minidocumentary videos, digital scrapbooks, audio files, digital portfolios, etc.), inviting colleagues in (and beyond) the program into their settings through images, sounds, and narratives.

  • Festival of Learning: Students come together, face to face, and present their projects to one another and to faculty. Final assessment of the projects in their entirety will be presented at the Festival of Learning in late April.

Application for the Degree

At the beginning of the semester in which a student plans to graduate, the candidate must submit a formal application for the Doctor of Ministry degree before the deadline stated in the academic calendar. A late fee of $25 will be assessed for applications submitted after this date.

The Application for Degree is available in OPUS during a window of time set by the university registrar each semester, approximately four weeks prior to the submission deadline.


The DMin is designed to be completed in three years. In extraordinary circumstances, a student may be allowed to complete the Final Project during a fourth year. When such a program extension is granted, a student enrolls in DM799. Doctor of Ministry Library Use and must pay the residency fee (currently $85 per semester) as well as other mandatory student fees for the fall and spring semester of the fourth year. Projects are then presented at the Festival of Learning at the end of the fourth year.

Procedures and Regulations

Techonology Recommendations:

Students experence in this online degree program is highly dependent on the quality and functionality of personal computer equipment. Students will be provided with minimum required specifications for their computer equipment and software versions, related to the tools that will be used in the program, once they are admitted.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Grading System:

Grades in the DMin program are assessed on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory system. In order to achieve a grade of “Satisfactory”, the student must attain to the B letter grade range (i.e. a minimum of 80%). Given the tight sequencing of the DMin degree, failure to complete a course with a satisfactory grade will result in immediate discontinuance from the program.


Incompletes will only be made for the most extreme, unusual, or extraordinary circumstances. Incompletes are at the discretion of the DMin director (in consultation with the faculty of record) and are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Leaves of Absence:

Leaves of Absence are granted by the DMin Director (in consultation with the staff and academic dean) and are for one year only.


Admission to the DMin degree program requires an MDiv degree with a superior academic record from an institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (or an equivalent accrediting body outside the United States and Canada); a sense of vocational identity in pastoral ministry and service to the church; and three years of professional ministry experience beyond the MDiv degree. All completed applications, regardless of the GPA of the applicant, will be fully reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

Those admitted who do not matriculate at the time for which they were admitted may request, in writing, admissions consideration for a future semester.

Application Deadline

Offers of admission to the DMin degree program are made on a rolling admissions basis between November and June of each year. When an application is complete, it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. Typically, a decision will be reached within three weeks.

Those admitted who do not matriculate at the time for which they were admitted may request, in writing, admissions consideration for a future semester.

Applications for the DMin degree program are not accepted for the spring semester or summer term.

Application Procedures

Applicants should apply online at application. For further information, contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, telephone 404.727.6326, fax 404.727.2915, email

Offers of admission to the DMin degree program are made on a rolling basis, between November and July of each year.

To be considered for admission to the DMin degree program, an applicant must supply the admissions office with the following:

  1. Application for admission.

  2. $50 nonrefundable application fee paid online or by mail (check or money order made payable to Emory University).

  3. Résumé.

  4. Autobiographical statement: The three– four-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element in the evaluation of your application. Please consider your response carefully, tending to content, style, grammatical correctness, and essay organization. The statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience. With this in mind, write a reflective essay about your life that addresses the following:

    • Significant life experiences that have affected your view of self, God, and the world. Include references to family members and significant others, courses, and experiences in college, church, service-related activities, and employment.

    • Aspects of your background that inform the unique perspective you would add to the diverse and vibrant community that exists at Candler School of Theology

    • Your reasons for applying to Candler and the ways in which further study in one of the Doctor of Ministry concentrations— Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation or Church Leadership and Community Witness—will enhance your ministry.

  5. A sample of recent academic writing.

  6. Official transcripts from all colleges, universities, graduate schools, and seminaries, regardless of when the applicant attended, how many hours completed, and whether a degree was granted. Official transcripts should be sent directly from these institutions or delivered in a sealed and signed envelope. If currently enrolled at an institution, the applicant should send an official transcript of work to date and ask that a transcript be sent promptly following the completion of the term and/or conferral of a degree.

  7. Three letters of recommendation from persons who are not family members: one academic reference, provided by a graduate school professor; and one professional reference, provided by a layperson in a leadership position at your current ministry site; and one ecclesial reference from a bishop, district superintendent, or denominational executive showing support for your participation in the Doctor of Ministry program. Applicants who have been out of college for more than five years and are unable to secure an academic reference should submit additional professional reference, either from a layperson or an ecclesial colleague. Students who have been enrolled previously at another theological institution must provide a letter certifying that they leave the school as students in good standing.

  8. The Admissions Committee welcomes, but does not require, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). GRE scores, while not required, may be considered in an application if applicants wish to submit them. Applicants who plan to continue to doctoral study or who choose to submit the GRE scores as further evidence of their academic potential are encouraged to have these scores included in their admission file. The institution code for Candler is 5198.

  9. Persons whose first language is not English must furnish, with the application, recent evidence of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 95 (Internet-based total) with a minimum score of 21 or higher in each of the four sub-areas, 250 (computer-based total), or 600 (paperbased total). The TOEFL results should be submitted directly from TOEFL to Candler (Institutional Code: 5455, Department 01). Applicants whose first language is not English are strongly encouraged to complete an intensive English course, at an institution in your home country, for at least six months prior to enrollment.

  10. A criminal background check is required of all students prior to enrollment at the expense of the student (approximately $18) through a vendor designated by the school. Candler School of Theology will provide information regarding the process of securing the required background check in early spring to admitted students. Reports from criminal background checks are due August 15. Students will not be allowed to register for classes until the results of this report have been received and reviewed (see page 92).

  11. SAP-G training is required of all degree and nondegree students. SAP-G is an online learning platform designed to educate students on preventing and responding to interpersonal violence, including sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, and stalking, in the Emory community. The training is offered at the expense of the school. Students will not be allowed to register for classes until notification of the completion of part I is received. Notification must be received by August 15. Part II of the training is completed six weeks after part I. Notification of completion of part II is required by October 15 for students interested in registering in future semesters.

  12. All incoming Emory students must meet the CDC and American College Health Association immunization guidelines prior to registration for classes. For additional information, please see page 101. To access the Entrance Health Survey and Consent for Treatment Forms, visit In addition to supplying the above documents, international students (persons who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) must comply with the following:

Upon admission, and before the visa process can begin, international students must complete the Emory University Financial Certificate, which indicates adequate financial resources to cover tuition, fees, travel, and living expenses for the first year of study in the United States. (An I-20 will not be prepared until this certificate has been approved; it must be approved by the university before July 1 for the fall semester.)

International students will be billed automatically for health insurance through Emory University unless insurance compliance information indicating proof of comparable United States–based coverage is submitted by July 1. Information regarding insurance for international students can be found online at

Admission Deposit

A nonrefundable admission deposit of $100 is required of all students enrolling at Candler School of Theology. This deposit is required by May 1 for DMin admits, or within three weeks of notification of admission to the degree program, in order to secure the student’s place in the program. The deposit will be posted as a credit to the student’s Emory University account; students who pay the deposit but fail to enroll will forfeit the deposit.