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 to the program should contact the School of Theology D.Min. Office by mail at P.O. Box 22720, Fort Worth, TX 76122-0720, by phone at (817) 923-1921, ext. 6633, or by email at dmin@swbts.edu.

Doctor of Ministry Handbook PDF

Revised Cultural Engagement track beginning 2014-15 PDF

Philosophy & Purpose

The Southwestern Doctor of Ministry degree is designed to enhance the practice of ministry for those who are currently engaged in positions of ministerial leadership.

Admission Requirements & Procedures

Prerequisites for Admission

  • Prior to admission into the D.Min. Program, applicants must have completed the Master of Divinity 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.Those applicants who have not completed an M.Div. degree, but have completed another type of master's, must contact the Doctor of Ministry Office to request a transcript evaluation. Some applicants may need to complete leveling work before their master's degrees can be considered equivalent to the M.Div. degree. Please note: All leveling work must be completed before applicants can begin seminars.
  • Applicants must have served in a vocational ministry position acceptable to the committee for at least 3 years after graduation with the M.Div. or its equivalent.
  • For the preaching cohort, the course work in the Master of Divinity or other master’s level work must meet the following language requirements: one full-year of Hebrew and one full-year of Greek. Please note that an applicant without the minimum language requirements may complete the requirements by taking additional hours in the biblical languages while they are seeking approval to the program.
  • Students must have maintained a 3.00 GPA or higher on a 4.00 scale in masters level studies in religion or theology. If your GPA is below the standard 3.00, you will be required to submit original copies of your MAT and/or GRE test scores to the School of Theology D.Min. Office . Applicants wishing exception to the required 3.00 GPA rule must submit a letter to the D.Min. Committee asking for the exception and explaining any unusual circumstances that contributed to the low scholarship level attained during their master's level work. Applicants must score above a 400 on the MAT or, on the GRE, a minimum of 153 (500 on the old scale) on the Verbal Reasoning section and a minimum of 4.0 on the Analytical Writing section. Applicants with less than a 3.00 may be admitted on probation, upon approval of the DMin Committee.
  • Applicants must be employed or hold an official position in vocational Christian ministry during the time they are enrolled in the degree.

Instructions for Application Process:

  • The application for the Doctor of Minsitry Program is a two-step process: (1) completion of the general online application with the Admissions Office (new students), and (2) submission of application materials to the School of Theology D.Min. Office, including two essays, Statement of Ministry Endorsement form, an Academic Reference, and the D.Min. application fee. (Note: current or returning Southwestern students will consult with the Registrar's Office for the necessary application paperwork rather than the Admissions Office if the student has taken courses within the past three years.)
  • Complete online admissions application at www.swbts.edu/applynow. All applications  must be entirely complete by February 1 in order to begin in July of the same year.
  • As part of the online application, applicants must write a short essay about their conversion and call to ministry.
  • As part of the online application, applicants will submit two personal references. A personal reference may not be anyone that is under the applicant's leadership or authority. A space will be provided on the online application to enter an email address for these references. They will be automatically emailed a reference form.
  • The Admissions Office will need official copies of the applicant's graduate level transcripts. Please contact your school and send your official transcripts to the Office of Admissions, P.O. Box 22740, Fort Worth, TX, 76122. If you attended multiple graduate schools/seminaries, the office will need original copies from each school.
  • A transcript from an international institution will require certification to demonstrate its equivalency to graduate-level work in the United States. Students must contact World Education Services in order to obtain transcript evaluations, www.wes.org.
  • The general admission application fee is $35.00. Applicants may pay by credit card during the online application process, or may mail a check to the Office of Admissions, P.O. Box 22740, Fort Worth, TX, 76122. Checks should be made out to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Please note: once the application has been submitted the applicant may not go back and pay the application fee online.
  • Applicants must also complete the "Confidential Academic Reference" form and submit this form to the School of Theology D.Min. Office . This form must be completed by a professor with whom they have completed a graduate level course. The professor must have an earned doctorate degree from an accredited institution. Click here to obtain the "Confidential Academic Reference" form.
  • Doctor of Ministry applicants must also submit a Statement of Ministry Endorsement form to the D.Min. Office. Click here to obtain the "Statement of Ministry Endorsement" form.
  • The D.Min. application fee is $20. Applicants must mail a check to the School of Theology D.Min. Office at P.O. Box 22720, Fort Worth, TX 76122. Checks should be made out to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Please note: the application fee for the D.Min. program is separate from the $35 general application fee.
  • Applicants are required to submit a research paper (1 hard copy and 1 electronic copy), as part of the application process, to the School of Theology D.Min. Office . The electronic copy can be sent via email to dmin@swbts.edu.  The research paper should meet the following criteria:
    • The paper must 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.
    • In the research paper, the student must 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.
    • The paper must demonstrate clear and succinct skill in developing and proving a thesis statement.
    • As needed, the student must demonstrate the ability to interact with the original biblical language(s).
    • The student must use primary sources rather than secondary sources.
    • We recommend applicants have someone else critique the paper as he or she might observe problem areas that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.
    • The paper should be at least ten pages.
    • 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.
  • In addition to the research paper, applicants must submit an autobiographical essay to the School of Theology D.Min. Office (1 hard copy and 1 electronic copy).  The electronic copy can be sent via email to dmin@swbts.edu. The autobiographical essay should include:
    • Primary life events (and what meaning they have)
    • Significant persons and relationships (including role models, the impact of the family of origin, and the nuclear family)
    • The minister's understanding of his or her spiritual pilgrimage (particularly focusing on conversion, times of doubt or struggle, and growth experiences).
    • The minister's understanding of motivation and call to ministry and significant persons and events in that process.
    • A brief history of both secular and ministry-related experiences (significant difficulties, successes, and epiphanies about ministry).
Suggestions for an Effective Autobiographical Essay:
  • Be authentic - admit and evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses. Avoid statements that appear as prideful; however, do not be so self-effacing that it comes across as insincere humility.
  • Be specific regarding events and people that shaped your life. Avoid generalities that are unhelpful in the assessment of your life events.
  • Include how your life experiences influenced your theology.
  • You are encouraged to write this essay using the informal (first person) perspective in order to make the paper more personal.
  • Papers must conform to an acceptable style form such as Turabian or the latest edition of the Southwestern Seminary Manual of Style.
  • The paper should be approximately ten pages.
Interview:
  • After submission of all application materials, schedule a personal interview with the Associate Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program or a member of the Doctor of Ministry Committee. Applicants should be prepared to discuss the reasons why they are seeking a D.Min. degree and how this degree will better equip them for ministry.

Return D.Min. Application Documents to:

School of Theology D.Min. Office
P. O. Box 22720
Fort Worth, TX 76122
817-923-1921 ext. 6633
Fax: 817-921-8767
dmin@swbts.edu

International Students

For admission, all non-U.S. 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 less than 90 may not enter the D.Min. 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 D.Min. program). Citizens of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada and other non-U.S. citizens who have successfully completed an accredited English-language based bachelor's degree from a North American institution are exempt from this requirement.

In addition to a passing TOEFL score, the D.Min. Committee will reserve the right to require additional English proficiency courses taken concurrently with the D.Min. 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 or in other designated institutions.

All students applying for the D.Min. program must be citizens of the U.S., permanent residents, here on an R-1 visa or plan to study on an F-1 visa.

Applicants 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 D.Min. program is contingent upon the applicant maintaining proper status. The International Student Services Office communicates regularly with the D.Min. program to assure that all DHS regulations are followed.

Notification Regarding Admission

Upon receipt of the complete D.Min. application, the School of Theology D.Min. Office distributes the essays to members of the D.Min. Committee for evaluation. After the transcript(s), reference information, standardized test scores, personal interview and essays have been evaluated, the application will be submitted to the D.Min. Committee for consideration at the regularly scheduled meeting (first Thursday of each month).The committee will either accept an applicant unconditionally, conditionally, or decline the application.

All applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decision in writing by the Associate Dean for the Professional Doctorate Program. This notification is usually sent by mail within two weeks of the committee decision. Applicants who are accepted into the program will then receive information regarding registration for the first year of seminars.

Research and Writing Seminar

All accepted students are approved provisionally into the D.Min. Program.  The provisional status is lifted after successful completion of the Research and Writing Seminar that is conducted via the internet using BlackBoard technology.

The Research and Writing Seminar is a required six-week internet seminar that is conducted before a student can begin his first year of seminars.  The online seminar will be conducted from April to May before the seminar year begins in July.  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.

Curriculum

Overall Program Guide

Research and Writing Seminar: DMNRW 6000 Pass/Fail
Major Specific Seminars (two seminars, one per year, worth 12 hours each) 24 hours
Professional Dissertation Seminar: COLLM 8000 Pass/Fail
Professional Dissertation Stage  
  • Professional Dissertation Prospectus : COLLM 8010 A
Pass/Fail
  • Professional Dissertation Writing Stage: COLLM 8020 A
Pass/Fail
  • Successful Dissertation Defense: COLLM 8026
6 hours
Total Program Requirements 30 hours

Major Areas of Study

The D.Min. curriculum is divided into three areas of vocational interest (majors). Each D.Min. student is required to designate one area as his or her major.

Christian Worldview and Cultural Engagement

The focus of the Christian Worldview and Cultural Engagement major is to equip Christian ministers to engage culture with the perspective of a biblical worldview. Students will receive foundational instruction in biblical, theological, historical, and philosophical studies that will enable them to develop effective ministry strategies for addressing key cultural issues.

Course Title Course Number Hours
Research and Writing Seminar DMINRW 6000  
Developing the Biblical and Theological Foundations for a Christian Worldview DMNCW 6112 12
Christian Apologetics and Modern Culture - Engaging and Responding to a Multicultural Society DMNCW 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

Expository Preaching

The focus of the Expository Preaching major is to train pastors to exegete Scripture accurately, applying biblical truths to culture, training them to communicate skillfully the glory of God.

Course Title Course Number Hours
Research and Writing Seminar DMINRW 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 6
Professional Dissertation Stage    
  • Professional Dissertation Prospectus
COLLM 8010  
  • Professional Dissertation in Progress
COLLM 8020  
  • Successful Dissertation Defense
COLLM 8026 6
  Total 30

Pastoral Leadership

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

Course Title Course Number Hours
Research and Writing Seminar DMINRW 6000  
Pastoral Leadership - Foundation of Leadership Principles DMNPL 6112 12
Pastoral Leadership and the Art of Effective Communication 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

*Students completing the pastoral leadership major as an international cohort will follow an adjusted seminar schedule specifically designed for ministry in an international context.

Professional Dissertation Requirements

Professional Dissertation Seminar (COLLM 8000)

Students will participate in the Professional Dissertation Seminar during the summer 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: Professional Dissertation Prospectus. Upon approval of their prospectus by the DMin Committee, students will be enrolled in COLLM 8020: 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 School of Theology D.Min. 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.
  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 D.Min. program.
  3. 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 Fee and Continuation Fees

Students are billed by the Business Office prior to the beginning of each academic year. Fees are due by July 1. Students should contact the Business Office to discuss payment plans.

Fees for the 2013-2014 D.Min. 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 $8,275.00. The total program cost for non-Southern Baptist students is $11,275.00.
Program Continuation
Fee
If a DMin student’s program exceeds four years, an additional program continuation fee of $1,100 per year will be charged to the student. 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 or her dissertation by the end of six years, he or she may request a program extension.  The Program Extension Fee is $1100 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