What Can I Do with a DMin?
August 25, 2023
Westminster’s Doctor of Ministry program offers ministry professionals a doctoral level education to sharpen not just their ministry comprehension and competence but also their convictions and character in order that they might be prepared to transmit the Gospel in a wide range of ministry contexts. As such, it is the highest professional degree offered by Westminster. In this article we’ll be taking a closer look at the skills that students will gain in the program, how it differs from the PhD, the structure of the program, tuition costs, and the benefits of the program.
Skills of DMin Graduates
The DMin is designed to sharpen and strengthen students for ministry in five disciplines:
- Pastoral care & counseling
- Evangelism and missions
- Christian public witness
Each of these skills are fostered through a foundational course taught by our expert faculty, allowing for focused study in these vital areas.
Though the DMin is a professional degree with particular emphasis on ministry practice, the unique nature of Westminster’s integrated curriculum views a robust knowledge and expression of various theological disciplines as an essential foundation for proper orthopraxy. The DMin curriculum engenders this integration of doctrine and application, the above skills will be integrated with further coursework to produce reflective ministry practitioners in both theory and in practice. The learning experience for DMin students also involves producing a doctoral level project that demonstrates a unique contribution to the understanding of the practice of ministry.
How the DMin Differs from the PhD
While both the DMin and the PhD are doctoral degrees, the PhD focuses exclusively on advanced academic research whereas the DMin focuses on competence in the practice of ministry. In this way, the DMin is a professional doctoral degree that is more comparable to other professional doctorates like those awarded in medicine (M.D.) or in law (J.D.). The nature of the DMin as a professional degree is such that, as stated above, character and conviction are a main focus of the program, not just academic competence and intellectual comprehension. However, as a doctoral degree, DMin students are expected to pursue the highest standard of expertise in ministry reflection and practice. In this sense, the DMin is meant to be every bit as academically rigorous as the PhD, but focused on the areas of practical application as well as doctrine.
Structure of the DMin
The DMin consists of eight modular courses over 4-5 years and is available on campus only. The eight courses are made up of three foundational courses that are focused on biblical theology, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and covenantal apologetics respectively. The remaining five courses are the foundational courses mentioned above that focus on the skills of preaching, leadership, pastoral care and counseling, evangelism and missions, and Christian public witness. All of the coursework bears an emphasis on the practical application of Westminster’s theological distinctives.
Courses are offered in a cohort based, modular format and take place over the span of one week each. This means that the eight courses of the DMin only require eight weeks of residential study on campus. The modules are designed to accommodate the schedules of those who are active in ministry by being offered over the summer in July and August and over the winter in January. Students will typically be required to complete an assignment before attending the module, as well as after the module.
When it comes to the total tuition costs of the program, the true-cost price is $34,000. However, this number can be greatly remediated through scholarships. Students can expect up to a 20% baseline scholarship that will reduce their out-of-pocket tuition responsibility by $6,800. If a student has a ministry partner (such as their church) providing up to $6,800, Westminster’s Ministry Partnership Match will match that financial support. This will reduce your out-of-pocket tuition responsibility by another $13,600. With these scholarships and matching programs a student’s total out-of-pocket tuition responsibility would be $13,600. This can be further reduced if ministry partner payments exceed the $6,800 that is matched by Westminster.
Benefits of the DMin
The DMin is a flexible program that is designed to meet the needs of busy ministry practitioners who have responsibilities to their congregations. It allows ministry professionals to deepen their theological reflection and gives them the opportunity to sharpen their ministry skills through strengthening the relationship between doctrine and their unique practice of ministry alongside other men of God. Ministry can be a lonely career and this time of fellowship with other pastors and vocational ministers can be a significant source of personal and spiritual revitalization. It will also help further equip ministers to defend the Christian faith in a way that is in accordance with the Word of God. It will also help students apply the Scriptures in real-world situations personally and in their particular ministry setting. Students will also focus on the principles of godly biblical leadership in order to shepherd and serve the church effectively and with humility.
John Muhlfield, a DMin alumnus, described his experience in the DMin this way…
“Class discussions with seasoned fellow laborers were tremendously stimulating and encouraging, and while challenging, the applied research project stretched me in healthy and lasting ways. I thank the Lord for the blessing the program was in my life and would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Rich Penix, a current DMin student, expressed his perspective on the program as follows…
“The shepherding disposition of the faculty combined with the camaraderie of fellow pastors affords a unique experience that sharpens and refines pastors in their ministry of God’s Word. My experience in the program has created lifelong friendships with fellow pastors, as well as needful improvement in my ability to rightly understand and live God’s truth before God’s people.”
Westminster’s DMin program offers the highest professional degree available for ministers. It focuses on the practical application of doctrine for ministry and develops the ministry competencies, character, and conviction of pastors, ministers, and church leaders. It does this all while delving into Westminster’s theological distinctives, which provide a coherent framework for understanding the Word of God.
Want to learn more? Our admissions team is composed of subject matter experts, alumni, and current students that are able to walk you through our theological distinctives, the nuances of our degree programs, and examine scholarship opportunities that may benefit you. Contact a counselor here.
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