Doctor of Ministry
Doctor of Ministry
The Doctor of Ministry degree at South University, Richmond campus offers both a Standard Track and Advanced Track option. The program helps to develop a student’s understanding of the nature and purpose of ministry, enhance the student’s competencies in ministry skills, and promote the student’s growth in spiritual maturity. Foundational courses provide an introduction and overview to the various disciplines required for effective ministry leadership. Ministry skills courses, advanced ministry studies courses, and the final project further integrates biblical and theological perspectives into the practice of ministry. Students will also gain lifelong learning skills that will enable them to continue their personal, intellectual and professional growth.
Procedures for Admission to the Doctor of Ministry Program
The criteria used in determining admission to the doctoral program include:
- An earned undergraduate degree from an accepted accredited institution with a CGPA of 2.7 or better on a 4.0 scale OR
- An earned undergraduate degree from an accepted accredited institution with a CGPA of 2.7 or better on a 4.0 scale during the applicant's last 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours earned on the bachelor's degree and/or subsequent graduate work OR
- An earned graduate degree from an accepted accredited institution with a CGPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
- Interview with the Program Director/Chair or Dean of the College.
- Submission of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, with submission due within 5*/10 weeks of initial start date. *Effective March 22, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Montgomery campus or High Point Off Campus Instructional Site will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation. *Effective April 1, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Richmond and West Palm Beach campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation. *Effective May 31, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Tampa and Orlando campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation. *Effective July 12, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Austin and Columbia campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation. *Effective August 16, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Savannah and Virginia Beach campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation.
- Applicants for whom English is a Second Language (ESL) must submit a minimum paper-based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 550 or the electronic-based score of 79-80 to be considered for the program.
- Completion of an application for admission.
- Applicants who are not citizens of the United States should refer to the section in the South University catalog entitled International Student Admissions Policy.
Exceptions to the Minimum GPA
Applications with CGPA lower than the stated program minimum (2.7 for the bachelor's degree and 3.0 for a graduate degree/coursework) may be considered for admission on the basis of evidence of academic and professional potential demonstrated by career and/or personal accomplishments indicated in a personal statement of academic and professional goals, a career resume or curriculum vita, and two letters of academic and/or professional recommendation. The Program Director/Chair in consultation with the Dean of the College or designee must approve exceptions.
Students admitted on an exception basis will be admitted as regular students on provisional status for the first quarter of enrollment. In order to remain enrolled after completion of the first quarter the student must achieve a CGPA of at least 3.0.
Standard Track: If you have a bachelor’s degree and are involved in the ministry and/or exploring if ministry is for you, the DMin program’s Standard Track may be right for you. You’ll start with foundational courses that introduce you to the various disciplines required for effective ministry leadership. Then, through ministry skills courses, advanced ministry studies, and a final project, you’ll explore and refine techniques for integrating biblical and theological perspectives into your practice of ministry.
Advanced Track: If you’re already active in the ministry and have completed a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree (with a 3.0 GPA) or related graduate degree with credits equivalent to the M.Div, you may be eligible to earn your doctorate in less time with the online DMin program’s Advanced Track. In this track, you’ll take a shorter path through the ministry study and skills courses, eventually tackling your final project before completing your degree.
Transfer credit is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. South University offers no guarantee that credit earned at another institution will be accepted into a program of study offered by South University.
Choose four additional courses from the following:
Supervisory Clinical Pastoral Education
*Opportunities to pursue Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) are a unique feature of the D.Min. program. CPE Level I or Level II fulfills the ministry practicum requirement; students who have completed CPE Level II (4 credit hours) may elect to use Supervisory CPE for their final project if they have been accepted into a supervisory clinical pastoral education program.
Advanced standing credit is determined based on student's previous college work providing 56 credit hours of transfer credit.
Choose two electives from the following:
Supervisory Clinical Pastoral Education
*Opportunities to pursue Clinical Pastoral Education are a unique feature of the D.Min. program. CPE Level 1 or Level 2 fulfills the ministry practicum requirement; students who have completed CPE Level 2 (4 units) may elect to use Supervisory CPE for their final project if they have been accepted into a program.
Offered at Montgomery, Richmond, and Online Programs.
Note: Not all Online Program offerings are available to residents of all U.S. states. Please contact an admissions representative for further information.
The Doctor of Ministry degree at South University is a 96 credit hour program and is designed to be the first-professional degree to prepare ministry practitioners to seek or advance in vocational or bi-vocational ministry. The program can help to develop a student's understanding of the nature and purpose of ministry, enhance the student's competencies in ministry skills, and promote the student's growth in spiritual maturity.
The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree program at South University is designed to equip ministry practitioners to provide ministry leadership and spiritual care in the following roles:
- Pastors, ministry staff, and lay ministers in local churches/parishes
- Program staff leaders in parachurch organizations
- Chaplains and spiritual care coordinators in a variety of institutional settings
- Program staff leaders in non-profit service agencies, community development, advocacy and justice ministries
- Social entrepreneurs pursuing business as mission, and commercial and industrial chaplaincy
Program Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates will be able to:
- Articulate a biblically informed and theologically reasoned understanding of the helping relationship that is consistent with the student's faith tradition and the needs of the student's chosen ministry setting.
- Explain the nature of the practice of ministry and exhibit a commitment to its ethical and professional expectations appropriate to the context.
- Display knowledge of the nature and causes of interpersonal conflict and strategies to resolve disputes and achieve resolution and reconciliation among parties in ministry settings.
- Formulate an awareness of the diversity found in ministry, and an ability to work effectively with differences of religious beliefs (or none), denominational differences, racial and ethnic differences, generational differences and gender differences.
- Acquire the specific skills required for competent practice of ministry in a variety of settings.
- Engage complex issues and problems of ministry settings and demonstrate the capacity to design and implement strategies to successfully overcome and/or resolve them.
The Standard Track of the D.Min. program is designed for students seeking to prepare for vocational or bi-vocational ministry. Foundational courses provide an introduction and overview to the various disciplines required for effective ministry leadership. Ministry skills courses, advanced ministry studies courses, and the final project further integrate biblical and theological perspectives into the practice of ministry. Students can have the opportunity to gain lifelong learning skills that will enable them to continue their personal, intellectual and professional growth.
The Advanced Track of the D.Min. program is designed for students who have completed a graduate degree or a significant amount of coursework in biblical, theological, and ministry studies, and who are currently engaged in vocational ministry. Students in the Advanced Ministry Study can further develop their understanding of the nature and purpose of ministry, enhance their ministry skills, and continue their growth in spiritual maturity.
The online DMin program equips you to offer leadership and spiritual care in the following roles:
- Pastors, ministry staff, and lay ministers in local churches/parishes.
- Program staff leaders in parachurch organizations.
- Chaplains and spiritual care coordinators in a variety of institutional settings.
- Program staff leaders in non-profit service agencies, community development, advocacy and justice ministries.
- Social entrepreneurs pursuing business as mission, and commercial and industrial chaplaincy.
Haven’t experienced online learning before or wondering what it’s like to earn your degree online at South University? While the mode of learning is different from the traditional classroom experience with added convenience and flexibility, we hold the same high standards of academic excellence in the online classroom.
South University’s online programs combine a curriculum designed for student outcomes and a classroom designed for flexibility and engagement. Our online classroom learning platform, Brightspace, provides you with a host of features to enhance your learning experience, including:
- Advanced media content
- Personalized navigation
- Simplified online learning atmosphere
- Access to digital books
- Emailing and instant messaging options
We provide more than just an online classroom, bringing a range of campus experiences and services online. In addition, the online classroom is accessible on the go via mobile devices and with tools like the Pulse App. Pulse helps you stay connected and on track with your course by providing a number of features such as course calendars, readings and assignments, feedback and grades, and announcements.
Read more about online requirements here.
South University Doctor of Ministry Program
The goal of the DMin program is to produce ministry leaders and doers. Students in this program engage in what is termed, “Practical Theology”. The program centers on helping those who sense a call to vocational ministry, to hone their skills toward an intentional approach to improving the ministry in which they serve. The Final Project, which is the determining factor for receiving the degree, is meant to improve or create a ministry that will bless the people served by the student. As such, vocational orientation is one of our most important criteria for admitting students.
Frequently Asked Questions
• “What are the vocational goals of your program?”
Our goal is to train men and women for more effective vocational ministry leadership. Most of our students are currently working in pastoral ministry, chaplaincy ministry (prison, hospital, corporate and other), and the non-profit sector. Our program trains students in doing ministry at a “state of the art” level, both through course content and in interaction with other vocational practitioners. Many others in the program are exploring a vocational ministry calling. Their experience with courses and with their fellow students can serve to solidify and direct that calling toward a ministry context fit for them.
• “What is the difference between a seminary program and South’s program?”
Our program has intentionally been structured to welcome those interested in vocational ministry from diverse denominations, traditions, or those who are independent. Most seminaries are affiliated with a sponsoring denomination and favor that denomination in their curricula. For us, diversity is a strength. We also emphasize practical ministry issues over strictly academic pursuits. We believe our emphases promote ministry doers and leaders by focusing on those skills which can be put into immediate practice in their ministry context.
• “Is the program accredited through ATS [The Association of Theological Schools]?
We are the Department of Ministry within South University, which is not a Christian school or Seminary. South University, and all of its Departments, are regionally accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is accountable to the United States Department of Education.
• “When are DMin classes typically held?”
The DMin classes are fully online meaning that you have some flexibility to deal with the weekly assignments. Students must post in the courses at least twice per week, on different days, to maintain their attendance. However, the most successful students will engage in the Discussion areas repeatedly while also uploading their weekly assignments (when applicable) each week. Our courses are 10 weeks in length and begin on Tuesdays. For maximum efficiency, they run back-to-back allowing students to move through the program rapidly.
• “How long will it take to complete the program?”
Since every student works at their own pace, and each student has different work and family commitments, it is hard to give an exact answer. However, if a student stays full time on the Standard Track, the student can expect to finish the credit portion of the degree in as few as 3 years. If the student stays full time on the advanced track (not just advanced standing), they can expect to graduate in as few as four to five quarters. These dates assume the student manages their final project efficiently. Once students begin the Final Project, each project varies greatly in the time it takes to do sufficient research, including Human Subject Research. Students should expect to add 30-40 weeks to their schedule in order to complete, and have approved, their Final Project.
• “Do I have to write a dissertation to complete the program?”
As this is a doctoral program, a final project of significance is required. At South, we have three options for a final project: a dissertation, a ministry project, or the completion of a supervisory CPE. While all of these projects are significant, and require significant work, a formal dissertation is not required.
Scott E. McClelland
Dr. Scott McClelland serves as the Department Chair for South University's Department of Theology. He holds the BA and MA in Biblical Studies from Wheaton College, a ThM from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a PhD in New Testament from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Among my several vocational roles, I have been a Senior Pastor in New York and southern California, and a co-pastor with my wife, Louise, in San Francisco. I also have served in the Academe as a full-time tenured professor, an adjunct prof, the Director of an off-campus program in San Francisco, an Associate Dean and Director of a south Florida regional campus, and a Dean of Extension Studies to help an isolated small school extend its education to a local urban area. Outside of the academic world, I have been a Director of Development for a non-profit relief agency, and a passenger service agent for an airline!
I am a native of Philadelphia, PA and currently reside in south Florida and on Whidbey Island, WA in the summer. My many vocational opportunities have allowed us to also live in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York, southern California, San Francisco, and Buffalo, NY.
I have taught in both undergraduate and graduate educational institutions such as The King’s College (NY), Nyack College, Westmont College, Houghton College, Trinity International University and Fuller Theological Seminary. During that time I have published several articles and given presentations as a member of the Society of Biblical Literature.
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