Is a DMin Worth It? What Can I Do with a Doctor of Ministry?

This article appears in the Stories edition of the Calvin Seminary Forum

What Is a DMin?

The DMin, or Doctor of Ministry, is an advanced degree offering practical avenues for ministry growth.
At Calvin Theological Seminary, this advanced program is designed for ministry professionals who have completed a master's level degree - often, but not exclusively, a Master of Divinity (MDiv).
The Calvin 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.

What Can I Do with a Doctor of Ministry?

These are just a few of the career opportunities a DMin may prepare you for:

  • Pastor: Lead your church well through a greater understanding of your ministry in the context of your congregation and community.
  • Youth pastor/director: Grow in your discipleship of your youth group.
  • Worship pastor/director: Ground your worship ministry in sound biblical and theological truths.
  • Ministry director: Deepen your ministry's theological foundations and be challenged by their practical application.
  • Parachurch ministry leader: Reach further in your ministry by understanding the context and physical and spiritual needs of those you serve.
  • Denominational ministry leader:Be enriched for further denominational ministry, nurturing your community of affiliated churches.
  • Nonprofit leader: Lead your nonprofit with an ethical framework and innovative solutions.
  • Chaplain: Be enriched in your existing chaplaincy by reaching the needs of those you serve in setting like the military, hospitals, prisons, organizations, and more.



Can I Teach with a DMin?

The DMin is a professional degree intended to further vocational formation and is not specifically intended to prepare future professors.

Benefits of Getting a DMin

  • Personalization: The Dmin degree is largely customizable, focusing on the research and electives that will best serve your ministry of choice.
  • Highly applicable: Calvin students report that the DMin program meets their vocational needs to deepen their ministry and address real-world issues in their roles.
  • Get your questions answered: The Dmin is a place to bring your biggest ministry questions. While good conversation often brings more questions - and we certainly won't solve everything in this program - you will find tested best practices and innovative ideas to enhance your ministry and address the problems you've started to think there are no solutions for.
  • Diversity and inclusion: As your most diverse program, the DMin offers small group learning that allows you to learn from peers with varying backgrounds and fresh perspectives.
  • Terminal degree: The DMin degree is one possible terminal degree for those in ministry, and can help to further you on your path to your vocational goals.



Challenges of Pursuing a DMin

The length of the DMin program, 3-5 years, can be challenging for some. Though the program is of substantial length, the manageable course load is designed to work around the current roles of ministry professionals.
If expediency is a priority, other advanced degrees, such as a Master of Theology or even a certificate program, may provide a faster route to completing your next goal in ministry preparation.

DMin vs. PhD

Some people pursue a PhD in theology rather than a DMin as their doctorate degree. Both options for furthering education offer a richness of study, in different ways.

  • Calvin Seminary's DMin program allows ministry professionals to develop advanced ministry leadership skills and spiritual formation
  • The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is designed to equip students for teaching and research in colleges, theological seminaries, and universities, and for advanced church leadership.



Benefits of a Theology PhD

Consider if these advantages of pursuing a PhD instead of a DMin may be beneficial to you and your ministry goals:

  • Teaching: A PhD brings with it the ability to teach as a professor in undergraduate and graduate institutions.
  • Advanced research: Through Calvin's PhD program, you will learn about proper research methods and their application, and you will complete a dissertation.
  • Concentrations: If you hope to focus on the history of Christianity, moral theology (ethics), New Testament, philosophical theology, or systematic theology, there's no better path than Calvin's PhD program, offering robust concentrations in these areas

This article appears in the Stories edition of the Calvin Seminary Forum

Dmin vs. MDiv

Some ministry professionals may be content with a MDiv instead of a Dmin, as an MDiv is also considered a terminal degree.

MDiv: Pros & Cons

Consider these pros and cons of pursuing an MDiv only, instead of a DMin.

Advantages of an MDiv

  • Start ministry sooner: After completing an MDiv degree, we recommend launching into ministry before returning to seminary to pursue a DMin. This will give you a context for your ministry and real-world questions to be asking with your classmates and professors.
  • Flexibility: Once you complete your MDiv, you will likely find that your time previously spent on coursework, which prepared and equipped you, can now be spent in full-time ministry. You can always pursue a DMin program once you are established in your field of calling.

Disadvantages of an MDiv

  • Not digging deeper: If you are a Christ-following leader looking to expand your knowledge and application of ministry, don't miss this opportunity to go deeper alongside professors and peers by continuing your education past an MDiv.
  • Burnout or lack of solutions: If you are in ministry, it's important to get the resources you need to thrive personally and for the benefit of your community. The DMin program can refresh leaders, preventing burnout and helping them cultivate promising solutions to their day-to-day challenges.

Is a DMin Worth It?

The advantages of pursuing a DMin depend on what a person wants to gain from their academic experience as well as their career goals. If you wish to further your study in ministry without pursuing a professorial role, the Dmin could be a great fit for you.

Pursue Your Ministry Career at Calvin

The DMin at Calvin encourages you to flourish as a pastoral leader who makes and nurtures communities of disciples. Through this 3-5 year program, your ministry will benefit from intentional coursework, directed spiritual growth, and formative peer relationships. Learn more by completing the form below.