Doctor of Ministry

Note: Information regarding the Doctor of Ministry Degree for the School of Theology contained in this catalog is an overview of the basic requirements for completing the degree. Students enrolled in the program are accountable for the policies and procedures contained in the most recent edition of the Doctor of Ministry Degree Handbook.

Persons interested in additional information regarding entry into the program should contact the School of Theology D.Min. Office by mail at P.O. Box 22628, Fort Worth, TX 76122-0720, by phone at (817) 923-1921, ext. 6700, or by email at

Doctor of Ministry Handbook PDF

Purpose and Nature of the Degree

The purpose of the DMin Program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is to develop reflective practitioners in ministry who will grow not only in ministry comprehension and competence, but also in character. Because it is a doctoral degree program, the student is expected to pursue a high standard of expertise in ministry reflection and practice. Students will be challenged to think biblically and critically about practices of ministry and to articulate and demonstrate a biblical vision for ministry practice.

Admission Requirements for the Doctor of Ministry Degree

Applicants must be approved for general seminary admission prior to consideration by the DMin Office. Any former Southwestern student wanting to return for additional studies is asked to complete a re-admission process. An applicant who has not previously attended Southwestern Seminary should comply with current admission standards.

Educational Requirements

All DMin applicants must have a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from a regionally-accredited college, university, or seminary or a degree which is equivalent to the MDiv from a regionally-accredited college, university, or seminary. A Master of Arts in Christian Education (MACE) may be considered if the student has completed the theological core requirements of the MDiv degree from an accredited seminary. Other Master’s degree graduates will be considered on an individual basis. All students not meeting the MDiv requirements are invited to submit their transcripts for evaluation and determination of any additional course work necessary to satisfy the requirements for admission.

Applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.00 on a scale of 4.00 in Master’s level studies in religion or theology. Applicants with less than a 3.00 may be admitted on probation, at the discretion of the DMin Office. Applicants may request an exception to the required 3.00 GPA rule by submitting a letter to the DMin Office asking for the exception and explaining any unusual circumstances that contributed to their failure to achieve the required GPA during their Master’s level work. The applicant will also need, in addition to the letter requesting an exception, to submit original copies of his MAT and/or GRE test scores to the DMin office. Applicants must score above a 400 on the MAT, or on the GRE, a minimum of 153 on the Verbal Reasoning section (500 on the old scale) and a minimum of 4.0 on the Analytical Writing section.

Prior to admission into the DMin Program applicants must have completed the MDiv degree from an institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) or an affiliate of the council of regional accrediting groups or its educational equivalent. The DMin Office has the right to prescribe any Master’s level courses that an applicant must take in order to apply for DMin studies.

The DMin Office will examine the academic transcript(s) of applicants who have earned an MA and are seeking entrance to the program in order to determine if the applicant has indeed attained MDiv equivalency. An applicant not meeting the MDiv equivalency requirement may take additional Master’s level coursework to achieve this equivalency. Such coursework will be considered leveling work. Students may not enroll in a doctoral seminar in a discipline in which leveling work is incomplete. An M.A. degree will be considered “equivalent” to the M.Div. when the following conditions are met:

  1. The student has completed three years (72 semester hours minimum) of Master’s level work, and
  2. The student has completed Master’s level course work in the following five areas:
    • Biblical Studies (15 hours)
    • Theological Studies (3 hours)
    • Historical Studies (3 hours)
    • Ethics and Philosophical Studies (3 hours)
    • Evangelism and Mission Studies (3 hours)
    • Preaching and Pastoral Studies (6 hours)

For the Expository Preaching cohort, one full year of Hebrew and one full year of Greek are also required.  Applicants without the minimum language requirements must complete them before they may progress to the seminar stage.  The language requirements must be completed in addition to the 72 hours of course work mentioned above.

Applicants with a BA degree in religious studies, Bible, or a similar field may submit a transcript of that coursework in order to provide a more complete picture of their academic preparation, but in no instance may courses taken toward an undergraduate degree be counted toward the three years of Master’s work.

A transcript from an international institution will require certification to demonstrate its equivalence to graduate-level work in the United States. International applicants must contact and submit their transcripts to SpanTran (; 2400 Augusta Drive, Suite 451, Houston, TX 77057; 713.266.8805; fax: 713.789.6022) for evaluation. The evaluation service sends evaluation results directly to the Office of Admissions.

Ministry Requirements

Applicants must be employed, or hold an official position, in vocational Christian ministry during the time they are enrolled in the degree. Exceptions can be made for special circumstances, such as missionaries on furlough or international students who will be returning to their home countries to complete the professional dissertation.

Applicants seeking admission must have served in a vocational ministry position acceptable to the DMin Office for at least three years after graduation with an MDiv degree, or its equivalent.

Due to our doctrinal convictions, only male students will be considered for Pastoral Leadership and Expository Preaching majors in the Doctor of Ministry program.

International Student Requirements

For admission, all non-USA citizens will be required to take the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as an admission requirement. The minimum score for unconditional admission is 100 (those who score between 90–99 may enter the program conditionally; those who score below a 90 may not enter the DMin Program). The computer-based TOEFL will be accepted if it is less than two years old. The minimum score for unconditional admission is 250 (those who score between 233–249 may enter the program conditionally; those who score less than 233 may not enter the DMin Program). Citizens of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada and other non-USA citizens who have successfully completed an accredited English-language based bachelor's degree from a North American institution may petition the DMin office to have this requirement waived.

In addition to a passing TOEFL score, the DMin Office reserves the right to require additional English proficiency courses taken concurrently with the DMin work where deficiencies are found to exist in order to assist students in achieving their potential and to contribute effectively to the seminars. These courses may be taken at Southwestern Seminary or in other designated institutions.

Applicants applying for the DMin Program must be citizens of the U.S., permanent residents, hold an R-1 visa, or plan to study on an F-1 visa.

An applicant from outside the United States must meet U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations to study at Southwestern Seminary in any program. Any approval of the applicant's admission to the DMin Program is contingent upon the applicant maintaining proper status. Southwestern Seminary’s International Student Ministry and Services Office communicates regularly with the DMin Program to assure that all DHS regulations are followed.

Please note that all international students who are studying at Southwestern Seminary under an F-1 visa status may complete the Ministry Practicum Seminars for each year they are in the residency portion of their program requirements. These Ministry Practicum Seminars are designed to facilitate one’s growth as a minister and enable one to develop greater ministry skills which can be utilized both now and upon one’s return to the country of origin.

Korean Doctor of Ministry Program

Southwestern offers the entire Doctor of Ministry curriculum in the Korean language. Students in this program attend seminars in Fort Worth two different times throughout the year. One seminar occurs in the summer semester and the other in the fall/spring. Each seminar is two weeks in duration, meeting eight hours a day for ten days. Students are required to do both pre-seminar and post-seminar assignments. Students must also be present in Fort Worth for at least three cohort meetings per year. In between the seminars and cohort meetings, students complete research and assignments that are submitted to faculty for evaluation at regular intervals. All of this yearlong seminar work is registered as a single 12-hour doctoral seminar. For more details on the calendar of meetings, please see page 35 of this handbook.

Application Processes

When to Apply

All materials must be received in the DMin office by February 1 of the year the applicant anticipates beginning the program. Applications are good for one year from the date received. International Students wishing to apply for the DMin program must have completed and submitted their application by February 1st for the following reasons: 1) the interview process to obtain an F-1 Visa could take as much as 4 months in some cases, and therefore 2) we cannot guarantee their participation in the seminar for the upcoming year.

How to Apply

Complete the online admissions application at All applications must be entirely complete by February 1 in order to begin in July of the same year. Applications for the DMin Programs may be requested by contacting the Office of Admissions, P. O. Box 22628, Fort Worth, TX  76122, 817-923-1921 ext. 2700 or

Any former Southwestern student wanting to return for additional studies is asked to complete a re-admission process. An applicant who has not previously attended Southwestern Seminary should comply with current admission standards.

Those applicants who have not completed an MDiv degree, but have completed another type of Master’s degree, must contact the DMin office to request a transcript evaluation. Some applicants may need to complete leveling work before their Master’s degree can be considered equivalent to the MDiv degree. Please note that all leveling work must be completed before students can begin seminars.

As part of the Admissions application, students will submit the following items:

  1. Two (2) Confidential Academic Reference forms. This form must be completed by professors from whom applicants have completed a graduate level course. The professor must have an earned doctorate degree from an accredited institution. The student may contact the DMin Office for permission to substitute for one personal reference if he is unable to obtain two academic references.
  2. A Statement of Ministry Endorsement form.
  3. Current ministry resume.
  4. A research paper. Research papers must be a minimum of 10 pages and:
    1. Indicate the ability to do doctoral level research. Applicants may utilize a previously written paper. However, the applicant should examine this paper for weaknesses in argumentation or logic as well as form and grammar and make appropriate corrections.
    2. Make an argument and pursue a research question. Do not send exegetical papers (or any papers) that are in outline or bullet form and that do not show evidence of the student’s ability to do research.
    3. Demonstrate clear and succinct skill in developing and proving a thesis statement
    4. Please note: The paper can be a result of a previous Master’s level assignment.  However, it should be revised, edited, and conformed to an acceptable style form such as Turabian or the latest edition of the Southwestern Seminary Manual of Style.
  5. A 3-5 page “History of Ministry-Related Experience.” This paper should note specific ministry responsibilities, significant relationships, and spiritual insights gained from them.

Applicants will be notified of the final decision on their application in writing by the DMin Office. Upon acceptance into the program, the DMin Office will send a letter of acceptance as well as a registration form. Submission of the registration form constitutes official registration for DMin seminars. Upon receipt of the completed registration form, the DMin Office will register the student for the first year of seminars, including the Research and Writing Seminar.

Research and Writing Seminar

The Research and Writing Seminar is a required seminar that is conducted at the beginning of a student's first year of seminars.  The purpose of the seminar is to both strengthen a student’s writing skill and to facilitate growth in the area of doctoral research.  The seminar is graded upon a Pass/Fail basis and students will not be allowed to begin the first year of seminars unless the Research and Writing Seminar has been completed successfully


Program Requirements

The DMin Program is a thirty (30) hour degree:

  (two seminars, one per year, worth 12 hours each)
24 hours
  DMNRW 6000: Research and Writing Seminar
    (completed before beginning seminars)
  COLLM 8000: Professional Dissertation Seminar Pass/Fail
  COLLM 8010 A: Prospectus Writing Stage Pass/Fail
  COLLM 8020 A: Dissertation Writing Stage Pass/Fail
  COLLM 8026: Successful Dissertation Defense 6 hours


Major Areas of Study

Students may choose from one of two majors of study: Expository Preaching or Pastoral Leadership.

Expositional Preaching

To train pastors to exegete Scripture accurately, applying biblical truths to culture, training them to communicate skillfully the glory of God. The Expositional Preaching major is offered in both Fort Worth and Houston.

Course Title  Course Number  Hours
Research and Writing Seminar DMNRW 6000  
Expository Preaching - Exegesis of New Testament Literature DMNEP 6112 12
Expository Preaching - Exegesis of Old Testament Literature DMNEP 6212 12
Professional Dissertation Seminar COLLM 8000  
Professional Dissertation Stage    
·         Professional Dissertation Prospectus COLLM 8010  
·         Professional Dissertation in Progress COLLM 8020  
·         Successful Dissertation Defense COLLM 8026 6
  Total 30


Pastoral Leadership

To equip pastor-theologians to be more effective leader-servants by enlarging their understanding of biblical servant-leadership, analyzing classical and current organizational leadership theories, and developing a spiritual leadership plan for their ministry setting.

Course Title  Course Number  Hours
Research and Writing Seminar DMNRW 6000  
Pastoral Leadership: Foundation of Leadership Principles DMNPL 6112 12
Pastoral Leadership and the Dynamics of Church Leadership DMNPL 6212  12
Professional Dissertation Seminar COLLM 8000  
Professional Dissertation Stage    
·         Professional Dissertation Prospectus COLLM 8010  
·         Professional Dissertation in Progress COLLM 8020  
·         Successful Dissertation Defense COLLM 8026 6
  Total 30


Professional Dissertation Requirements

Professional Dissertation Seminar (COLLM 8000)

Students will participate in the Professional Dissertation Seminar during the spring at the end of their second seminar year. The seminar is an online prospectus writing course composed of a series of webinars and online assignments. The intent of this course is to guide students through the prospectus writing process. Students must complete all prerequisites for this seminar.

Professional Dissertation Stage

Upon satisfactory completion of all seminar requirements and the Professional Dissertation Seminar, students enter the dissertation stage of the DMin Program. At this stage, students will be registered in COLLM 8010-A: Professional Dissertation Prospectus. Upon approval of their prospectus, students will be enrolled in COLLM 8020-A: Professional Dissertation in Progress as they write their professional dissertation. Upon satisfactory completion of the Professional Dissertation and the oral examination, students will receive six (6) hours of credit in class COLLM 8026: Successful Dissertation Defense. The DMin office will inform the Office of the Registrar that the student has passed the professional dissertation. Upon that notification, the Office of the Registrar will register the student retroactively for COLLM 8026.


Termination from the Program

Students may be terminated from the D.Min. program for the following reasons:

  1. Failure to complete the program in the allotted time. The program is designed to be completed in four (4) years but the maximum time allotted is six (6) years. This time is calculated from the first semester of enrollment in seminars and terminates the day of graduation for the same calendar semester of the 6th year.
    1. A student who has not completed his degree by the six (6) year time limit will be dropped from the DMin Program, unless he submits a formal petition to the Associate Dean and DMin Committee for an extension and the petition is granted. An official petition for an extension must include the following: 1) the reason(s) why the student has not completed the degree within the DMin Program time limit; 2) documentation of the student’s effort to complete the degree within the time limit; and 3) a timeline that outlines the student’s plan to complete the DMin Program in consultation with his faculty and field (if applicable) supervisors. A student should not assume that his petition for an extension will be granted automatically. Requests for Extension must be received in the DMin office by March 31st.  Extensions are granted on a one-year basis from July 1 to June 30.
    2. If a student’s formal petition for an extension has been approved, but he has not submitted an approved prospectus by year eight (8), he will be required to retake the prospectus seminar. This will be at no charge to the student.
  2. Failure to maintain a 3.00 GPA (on a 4.00 scale) throughout the course of the program. Each student is required to maintain a 3.00 GPA (B average) in the DMin Program.
  1. Failure to remain in good standing with the seminary at large. All students of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are required to adhere to ethical, financial, and academic standards as set forth in the seminary catalog.
Program Fees

Students are billed by the Business Office at the beginning of each DMin year.  Fees are due by July 1 for the upcoming year. Students should contact the Business Office to discuss payment plans.

Fees for the 2017-18 DMin academic year are as follows:

DMin Program Fee

Due to the Cooperative Program scholarship for Southern Baptist students, the total program cost for Southern Baptists is $10,200.00 ($2,900 x 3 years + $1500 initial fee). The total program cost for non-Southern Baptist students is $12,300.00 ($3,600 x 3 years + $1500 initial fee).

Program Continuation Fee

If a DMin student’s program exceeds four years, an additional program continuation fee of $1,500 per year will be charged. Please note that a student’s program may not exceed six years in total.

Program Extension Fee

If a DMin student has NOT completed his dissertation by the end of six years, he may request a program extension. The Program Extension Fee is $1,500 per year.

All fees and dates are provisional and may be subject to change by the administrative offices of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas