Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Credit Hours


Years to Complete

  • Hybrid

    The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) encourages you to flourish as a pastoral leader who makes and nurtures communities of disciples. Through the DMin program your ministry will benefit from intentional coursework, directed spiritual growth, and formative peer relationships.


    Applied learning with direct impact on your ministry.

    The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program is designed to fit into your life and ministry. Coursework is tailored to serve both the needs and the schedules of mid-career pastors and ministry leaders. In addition to our "generalist" track we are introducing three new concentrations for students to select from; Homiletics, Spiritual Formation & Foundational Leadership and Urban Ministry & Prophetic Method.

    Calvin Seminary's DMin program is designed for ministry leaders who are looking for a diverse (ethnically, ecumenically, etc.) community of learners that will help them to develop advanced ministry leadership skills and spiritual formation.

    Our program is not limited to a narrow area of ministry focus. Instead, our open and flexible approach empowers students to bring their ministry driven questions, projects, and foci to bear within a community of learners.

    The guiding values of the Doctor of Ministry program

    We believe God’s Kingdom is diverse.
    This is evidenced by the varied ethnic traditions, theological perspectives, and practices and insights used for ministry. By cultivating learning cohorts that reflect this God-authored diversity we will invite students to learn in an environment that is rich, deep, and faithful to the ideals of the Gospel itself.
    We believe this degree program must serve local churches and leaders.
    Therefore, we insist - in pedagogy, classroom engagement, peer groups, and conversation - on beginning with the challenges and opportunities facing our students as they engage in ministry. Students should expect to bring their ministry to the classroom as the starting point for reflective learning. Using inductive, curated, seminar-like conversations, we hope to cultivate communal and particular learning for ministry.
    We believe that listening well is crucial for effective Kingdom leadership.
    Consequently, our DMin program will strive to engage a listening posture by: a) utilizing faculty who listen well to students; b) insisting that students grow in their own ability to listen well - both to one another and to their ministry context; c) equipping students with effective ethnographic tools; and d) asking students to engage their particular disciplinary lens (i.e. missiology, worship, pastoral care, evangelism, etc.) and demonstrate the capacity to “listen well” to the implications of their work for another context simultaneously.
    We believe that life and ministry are complex.
    As a result, we are committed to an interdisciplinary and contextual experience throughout the program. Students will regularly be asked to place their experience, knowledge, and insight at intersections of other contexts, disciplines, and human experiences. In so doing students will deepen their understanding of God, the redemptive work of Gods Kingdom - and of the very Gospel itself.
    We believe that effective ministry is the product of excellent research and development.
    In fact, we are convinced that the church universal is best served by ministry leaders who relentlessly search for truth and wisdom wherever it can be found. Faculty and students will share the responsibility for gleaning ministry contexts, conversations, and integrative learning for crucial insights. The apex of the students’ work will be the writing of a doctoral thesis which responds wisely and biblically to the questions, needs, and concerns of the communities the students are serving.
    We believe this degree program should make a difference.
    Upon graduation students will be grounded in their personal sense of vocational calling and pastoral identity. Students will be empowered to implement the theologically informed ministry featured in their thesis project in ways that evidence the redeeming work of Christ in our world. Students will also possess a critical set of analytical tools and worldview which will enable them to engage other opportunities and challenges in their respective communities.


    Program Format

    The DMin program has been created with the church and ministry leader in mind. The courses, timelines, and flexibility are meant to accommodate the busy schedule of a ministry professional.

    The program is designed for students who are actively serving in ministry, and is intended to be completed in 5 years. Each year, students are enrolled in class for 11 months of the year over two academic terms. There are no course requirements in December.

    Online & Residential

    Coursework is completed through our interactive online learning platform, with one required on-campus, learning session in the middle of each term, aptly named the Residential. Below is a general outline.

    • Summer Courses: The DMin 2022 Summer Term is April - July
    • Winter Courses: The DMin 2022 Winter Term is October 1 - February 28.

    Set Your Own Pace

    Though a hallmark of the DMin is a peer learning community, students are not bound to a particular cohort. This enables students to complete the program at a pace that fits their particular life situation and learning goals.


    The Building Blocks of your Program

    The courses below will serve as the core of the Doctor of Ministry program. The themes and framework of these courses will serve as a foundation for your program.

    Doctor of Ministry Coursework

    The Abbey
    This is the start of DMIN studies at Calvin Seminary. The Abbey is focussed on three objectives. First, it is the orientation to the DMIN program itself. Second, it is a time of introduction to peers who are beginning the same program at the same time. And finally, it is a reflective time of self assessment and individual contextual analysis. Students will be expected to start the process of unraveling their ministry questions on conversation with others.
    Ethnography involves the observation and study of people in their natural settings. Its potency resides in its ability to undermine assumptions and give voice to those who have been previously muted. This course will have its own context and its dynamics hopefully yielding more complicated and less linear explanations of that which is central for the student’s research. Throughout the course students will build a theoretical and analytical “toolbox” for considering the church as a social institution embedded within a wider societal context. The “toolbox” will, hopefully, allow students to attend to the actual life of the church and, in turn, process those patterns and habits through a theological lens that allows for strengthened ministry settings.
    Interpreting Culture and Ministry Contexts
    This course introduces students to the process of exegeting culture and social contexts, and the correlating impact it has on individuals, churches, and the surrounding communities, all for the purpose of creating effective and appropriate ministry. Attention will also be paid to the relationship between that exegetical findings of culture/ context and the personal development and role of the individual leader within that context.
    Mission of the Church
    This course will encourage students to develop clarity and precision regarding the meaning and purpose your work has in God’s economy. It is also designed to spark your imagination of how God intends for you and others to participate in his mission in and through your daily work.
    Transformational Leadership
    This course will insist on critical engagement with current models and outcomes for ecclesial and Kingdom leadership. Using a Case Study methodology students will be asked to develop a theological framework for applied leadership solutions rooted in a telos that reflects the Gospel for their context.
    Return to the Abbey
    Once a student has registered for and/or completed 24 credits, they may join in the Return to the Abbey course. This trip to the Abbey serves a variety of functions, including: a) a return to self reflection and an understanding of the growth that has taken place personally over the course of studies, b) an oral exam in which the student will be asked to demonstrate personal and theological insights associated with course work and development, and c) overall theological understanding and insight sufficient to warrant the proposal and pursuit of a major thesis project.
    Partnered with your required courses will be elective courses led by current scholars and practitioners designed to meet the needs of ministry leaders

    Doctor of Ministry Concentrations

    Builds on top tier programing and partnership with the Center for Excellence in Preaching.
    Urban Ministry & Prophetic Method
    Focuses on mapping neighborhood ecosystems, financial management, prophetic strategies and praxis, and individual and organizational self care.
    Spiritual Formation & Foundational Leadership
    Concentrates on leading organizational and ecclesial change, spiritual discernment, and leading out of who you are.

    Graduation Requirements and Outcomes

    What to Expect

    We are excited to come alongside seasoned ministry practitioners in the DMin program. Below are the requirements for graduation from the program, along with the outcomes we hope to see as a sign of a successful program.

    Graduation Requirements

    • Coursework: Complete 36 credits of coursework, including up to 12 credits of electives and Directed Doctoral Studies.
    • The Abbey: Participation in “The Abbey” and the “Return to the Abbey”, both significant episodes of self reflection and learning in the academic process
    • Oral Exam: An opportunity to showcase theological and personal learning by way of an oral comprehensive exam prior to launching your research project
    • Doctoral Dissertation: This is the culmination of your theological learning, peer learning and personal reflection. Your dissertation will be a demonstration of theologically informed and contextual thinking in which you display research findings and ministry models that will address the challenges of ministry in your context and in the broader context of effective ministry today

    Program Outcomes

    Graduates of Calvin Seminary’s DMin program will have:

    • Demonstrated growth in theological integration, awareness, and ministry skills through critical thinking skills and applied research methods regarding the scope and practice of ministry.
    • Developed the ability to assess diverse ministry contexts to determine effective transformational ministry models.
    • Developed critical research skills enabling them to develop theologically informed, practically oriented ministry models rooted in qualitative/quantitative research
    • Completed a doctoral-level project that contributes new knowledge and understanding of the practice of ministry.
    • Demonstrated capacity to engage in ongoing learning, including acts of self-care, peer to peer relationships, and vocational growth for ministry longevity and vitality.

    Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

    How Much Will This All Cost?

    We believe the Doctor of Ministry program can provide curriculum and conversation that will provide a tremendous benefit to any current ministry leader. While that has strong value, it does not make the questions about program costs any less important. In creating the DMin program, we aimed to keep these costs competitive and manageable. Our simple price tag for the program, along with financial aid and a straightforward payment plan, should provide some clarity, allowing prospective students to focus on whether the next step of a DMin program is right for them.

    Tuition and Fees

    Tuition is $318 a month, billed 12 months of the year.

    DMin students will also be required to pay for any fees related to course work including but not limited to:

    • Travel costs to the semi-annual Residential portion of the program
    • Books
    • Additional technology-related costs (note: students will be required to have access to reliable high speed internet)

    Scholarships and Financial Aid

    A limited number of scholarships are available. The application for admissions to the DMin program will also serve as your financial aid application. You will be notified of any award at the time of admission.

    Note: students in the DMin program will not have access to any federal loan programs.

    Admission Process and Requirements

    Applying to the Program

    Ready to get started with your application for the Doctor of Ministry program? Below is the information you will need to begin the process, including a list of the requirements to be considered for admission.

    Admission Requirements

    Below are the basic requirements to apply for the Doctor of Ministry program. The DMin is a competitive program, so applicants who meet these requirements will merely be considered for admission. See the timetable below for more information.

    Admission Requirements

    Required Academic Background
    Required Academic Background Typically, applicants to the Dmin program must have an earned Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, or an equivalent of an MDiv from an accredited school. Applicants with a master’s degree in a ministry-related area other than an MDiv can be considered for admission, but must submit additional application materials Applicants with a master’s degree in another area can be considered for admission, provided that the degree is a master's degree (or its equivalent) in an area related to one's ministry setting or vocational calling. Applicants who have not earned a Master of Divinity are required to complete the supplemental questions and reference on the DMin application. In addition to the character, ministry, and academic background requirements listed above, applicants without an earned MDiv will be evaluated using the following criteria: Ability to thoughtfully interpret scripture and the theological tradition of one’s ministry context The capacity to understand and adapt one’s ministry to the cultural context. Self-understanding of one’s ministerial identity and vocational calling Readiness to engage in ongoing personal and spiritual formation for one’s ministry Significant ministerial experience that enables the applicant to engage as a ministry peer with other students in this advanced professional doctorate program. Supplemental Application for Applicants without an earned Master of Divinity Applicants who have not earned a Master of Divinity must submit a supplemental application that will help the DMin Admissions Team evaluate the following competencies: Theological Reference Criteria: Ability to thoughtfully interpret scripture and the theological tradition of one’s ministry context. Question for Reference: Please comment on the applicant's ability to thoughtfully interpret scripture and the theological tradition of their ministry context. Criteria: The capacity to understand and adapt one’s ministry to the cultural context. Question for Reference: Calvin Seminary seeks DMin students who have the capacity to adapt one's ministry to the cultural context where their ministry is located. Please comment on the applicant's ability to shift their ministry practice according to the needs of their specific context. Use specific examples where possible. Essay Basic self-understanding of one’s ministerial identity and vocational calling Prompt: In 250 words, briefly describe your current understanding of your vocational calling. How does your identity shape this vocational calling? Readiness to engage in ongoing personal and spiritual formation for one’s ministry Prompt: Personal and spiritual formation and growth are essential aspects of participation in the DMin program. In 250 words, briefly assess your readiness to engage in this growth process. In what ways do you hope or expect to experience formation and growth? Resume Significant ministerial experience that enables the applicant to engage as a ministry peer with other students in this advanced professional doctorate program.
    Required Ministry Experience
    Significant prior ministry experience is required. Students must be actively serving in a ministry context while earning the DMin.
    Required Character and Competencies
    Calvin Seminary will consider the following in the character and ability of the applicants: A vibrantly lived faith, humble character, and teachable spirit will be sought through peer assessments and references. The ability to think, write, and interact with others in a manner that is professional, empathic, and sensitive/appreciate cultural and theological diversity. The ability to communicate ideas with clarity, theological precision, and a deep concern for praxis.

    Application Materials Needed

    The following steps are required as part of the application for the Doctor of Ministry program:

    • A completed application
    • An up-to-date resume (you will be asked to upload this document within the online application)
    • Within the online application, you will be asked to submit three essays, using the following prompts:
      • Learning Goals: In an essay of up to 600 words, describe why you are pursuing a DMin, including some of your personal learning goals.
      • Self Assessment: In an essay of up to 600 words, evaluate your own intercultural competence, spiritual maturity, and ministry skills/capacity.
      • Problem/Purpose Statement: In an essay of up 1000 words, describe 2-3 ministry challenges from your own context which are significant challenges, and which could drive your participation and research in the DMIN program.
    • Three online recommendations, including two ministry leader recommendations and one writing recommendation. The online application will ask for you to provide the email addresses of your three references. After your application is submitted, an email form will be sent to these individuals to be completed.
    • In addition to the application, official transcripts from any college or university you attended will be required. They can be sent to: Calvin Seminary, attn: Admissions Office, 3233 Burton St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
    • If English is not your primary language, a TOEFL test will be required. In order to be considered for admissions, a score of 90 with a 23 in the Writing subsection (and a minimum of 20 preferred in the other subsections) is required. Note: exceptions to this requirement are handled on a case by case basis. Earning a previous degree at an English speaking college or university does not automatically exempt someone from the TOEFL requirement.

    Admission Process

    Calvin Seminary admits a new class of students to the DMin every summer.

    In order to be considered for admission, all application materials must be submitted by March 10.

    Admission decisions will be communicated to applicants by mid to late March. A limited number of students are admitted each year. Applicants will be either admitted, waitlisted, or declined admission to the program.

    Admitted students must accept their admission by submitting a $250 enrollment deposit by early April, and can plan to begin their coursework by mid April.

    Program Leadership and Contact Information

    Find out if the DMin program is right for you

    The DMin program directors and the admissions office is available and ready to help you discern if the Doctor of Ministry program is right for you.

    DMin Program Directors

    Danjuma Gibson

    DMin co-Director, professor of Pastoral Care

    Geoff Vandermolen

    DMin co-Director, Director of the Vocational Formation Office

    Student Stories

    The DMin program is designed to fit into your life and ministry. Coursework is tailored to serve both the needs and schedules of mid-career pastors and ministry leaders.

    Read testimonies from current DMin students here.