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Online doctoral programs in ministry, or Doctor of Ministry programs – D.Min for short – are professional degrees for those working in religious ministry. As a doctorate, it is considered a terminal degree in the area of ministry. Prerequisites for those who wish to obtain a Doctor of Ministry degree include having a Master of Divinity degree in most cases.

Those who work in ministry have a passion to serve God and to do His work on the Earth. Earning a Doctor of Ministry helps those working in this field to fulfill their passions and gives them a sense of completion in their education. Reaching the highest educational degree in ministry can offer a sense of satisfaction in their commitment to the ministry.

Online Doctoral Program in Ministry, DMin

“The ordinary ministry is that which receives all of its direction from the will of God revealed in the Scriptures and from those means which God has appointed in the church for its continual edification.”

William Ames

Our goal is to bring information about the individual programs to our ranking for the sake of comparisons. However, in some cases, there is much more information provided to the general public regarding the programs and others may only offer minimal details. For this reason, program descriptions may vary in detail, and any new information may be added or updated as it is made available.

As with many online doctoral programs, there are often residency requirements involved. Some may require more in-person visits than others. In the interest of variety, hybrid programs were not excluded from the ranking. Prospective students are able to follow the links to request more information about the programs listed in this ranking.

What is a Doctor of Ministry Program?

A Doctor of Ministry program is a post-graduate program in the ministry discipline. The Doctor of Ministry program is a terminal degree and usually follows a Master of Divinity degree. In most cases, students pursuing this degree will do so at a Christian college or seminary. There are even many online schools of theology to choose from.

DMin programs are often designed with pastors, youth ministry leaders, urban ministry leaders, mission leaders, and educators in mind. There are many career options with a Doctor of Ministry.  These potential careers include Christian authors, speakers, theologians, professors, teachers, or those who work in mission agencies or non-profit organizations.

Doctor of Ministry programs can have a variety of concentrations or specializations, such as:

  • Evangelism
  • The Psychology of Religion
  • HomileticsOnline Doctor of Ministry Christian Program, Seminary, DMin
  • Apologetics
  • Spiritual formation
  • Ethics
  • Church growth
  • Urban Youth Ministry
  • Church & Ministry Multiplication
  • Leadership
  • Church Leadership
  • Transformational Leadership
  • Leading for Congregational Change
  • Applied theology
  • Theology Reflection
  • Biblical and Theological Engagement
  • Theology of WorkDoctoral Program in Ministry, DMin
  • Ministry in Complex Contexts
  • Biblical Studies: Mentoring Relationships in the Old and New Testament
  • Pastoral or Christian Counseling
  • Congregation and Family Care

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Ministry?

Programs can vary in length depending on the institution which offers them. Some programs may be completed in about three years. However, student progress can be very individual, and in some cases, it can be five to six years before they are able to complete their doctorate.

Those who are seeking a doctorate need to consider how much time they have to spend on their studies as well as how much time it will take them to complete the final project, thesis, or dissertation. Proper planning and time management can help doctoral students earn their degree in the least amount of time allowed by their program of choice. Of course, when the studies are a joy, completion time is less of a goal than the experience itself, so finding a flexible program may be more suitable for those who aren’t concerned with how quickly they may earn the degree.

Doctor or Ministry Degree Program, DMin


When searching for the best online doctoral programs in ministry, there are a number of statistics or features to look at when choosing a program. When ranking these programs and examining the schools that provide these programs, points were awarded to schools in four categories chosen to reflect the quality of the program and the school offering it. The maximum possible score any school could achieve would be 80 points.

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An important factor many consider when returning to school is affordability. When determining affordability, the institutions with the lowest average cost of tuition and fees were given the highest score, which was 25 points. The number of points awarded decreased as the average cost of tuition and fees increased. Tuition costs come from the most recent numbers as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Other factors include the overall size of the student body. While the size of the school is often an individual preference, schools that had more students in attendance were ranked higher than those with fewer students. The reason behind this is with more students, it is expected that overall there are a higher number of degrees awarded at those schools. The school with the most students ranked highest with 25 points being the highest awarded.

Another statistic which may influence choice is the student-to-faculty ratio at the school. Many students want to know that help is there when they need it, and while this can be true at schools with more students per faculty member, preference was given to those with fewer students per faculty member. The highest number of points awarded was 25.

DMin program, Doctoral student, doctoral candidate

The opinions of students who have attended the school are important to us at OnlineCollegePlan. However, due to fewer student reviews for the schools that offer a Doctor of Ministry or similar doctoral program, the influence on the ranking is much less than other factors. The maximum number of points awarded was 5.

The following percentages reflect the influence each statistic has on the ranking:

  • Affordable Tuition 31.25%
  • Student to Faculty Ratio 31.25%
  • Size of the Student Body 31.25%
  • Quality based on Student Reviews via Niche 6.25%

In the event of a tie ranking score, the alphabetical order of the institutions was used to determine the ranking order. All ranking scores are disclosed as Merit. No institution featured in this ranking was given preferential treatment, nor was any requested. All institutions are not-for-profit.

Note: In one case, an obvious incongruency was noticed for tuition & fees and was corrected for our ranking calculations by consulting the school website.

Below you will find the Best 20 Online Doctoral Programs in Ministry.

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  1. Apex School of Theology
    MERIT: 57
    Average Cost: $7217.00

    Online Doctor of Ministry Program

    Apex School of TheologyThe Apex School of Theology was founded by the Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Perkins in 1995 as the Apex Academy School of Religion in Apex, North Carolina. The school outgrew its original facilities at the historic, Apex First Baptist Church and relocated to the city of Durham in 2002. In 2006 the school once again changed locations while staying in the city Durham.

    Apex has one of the top Doctor of Ministry program. The Apex School of Theology is known for their superior freshman retention and graduation rates. The Doctor of Ministry program offered by Apex will take students approximately three years to complete. The program consists of forty-two credit hours broken down into:

    • six core courses
    • four track specific courses which are selected and taught by mentors
    • A two-course specialized dissertation in the student’s area of study

    The competency tracks available for the Doctor of Ministry program at Apex School of Theology are:

    • Biblical Studies: Mentoring Relationships in the Old and New Testament
    • Christian Counseling
    • Developing Effective Series: Preaching and Christian Models for Leadership for the 21st Century
    • Leading for Congregational Change

    Students who are participating in the DMin program at Apex School of Theology will be considered to be full-time students. Post-graduate full-time status course load is six credits per semester.

    There are two Intensives and a peer group session that students are required to attend each year at Apex. These are broken down into two-day and five-day sessions, often held in the Fall – August or September – and in the Spring – January or February.

    For more information regarding the Doctor of Ministry degree program offered by Apex School of Theology, prospective students can follow the links provided.

    You can follow or connect with Apex School of Theology on Facebook and Twitter.

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  2. MERIT: 56
    View Profile Average Cost: $833.00*

    Doctor of Ministry Program

    BGU Doctoral Program in Ministry, DMinBakke Graduate University is located in Dallas, Texas and although it does offer hybrid programs it is well known for its experiential learning in urban environments. The Doctor of Ministry program offered at Bakke is unique due to this style of teaching. Their DMin program is broken down into three phases.

    The Doctor of Ministry program, while not completely online, does have some major online and distance learning components. During the first phase, students will participate in two directed study courses which are completed via email. These are Theology of Work and Practical Urban Theology and are one unit each.

    Also in phase one, there are two two-week courses which are eight units each which are Transformational Leadership for the Global City, offered in Seattle, Ghana, Manila, and Jamaica, and Nature & Mission of the Church in the Context of Rapid Urbanization which is offered in various locations around the world. While many doctoral programs have residency components, this program is unique in offering such varied locations to study.

    Phase two of the program includes the two-unit online research bridge course. It also includes the electives which make up twelve units. There are three different ways that students are able to approach their electives. The most popular method is for students to take established courses which coincide with their chosen specialization or emphasis, Independent Studies in partnership with an approved professor, or do a bit of both.

    For the second phase, students may instead choose a coaching option in which they are paired with a professor who will use Directed Studies in order to guide and prepare the student for their dissertation. The last option is for the student to become an expert in their city and performs specific research that culminates in a city-wide consultation. For this option, the write-up for the process used by the student will become their dissertation.

    The final phase is eight units and is the dissertation and final project phase. A student’s final project will illustrate their expertise in their area of specialization, concentration, or emphasis. The final project is meant to influence the students work and/or future work and how it can affect people and the environment in light of the swiftly changing urban environments.

    DMin degree specializations or concentrations which are offered at Bakke Graduate University are the following:

    • Church & Ministry Multiplication
    • Leadership
    • Ministry in Complex Contexts
    • Theology Reflection
    • Urban Youth Ministry
    • Theology of Work
    • Other – students may work with their advisor if they are interested in a different concentration

    *The cost of tuition and fees differs from the costs on the BGU website.

    You can follow or connect with Bakke Graduate University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  3. MERIT: 55
    View Profile Average Cost: $6,900.00

    Online Doctor of Ministry Program

    Amridge UniversityLocated in Montgomery, Alabama and founded in 1967, Amridge University is a leader in distance education and online programs, including a DMin program. In fact, distance education is the primary method of program delivery at Amridge.

    The goal of the Doctor of Ministry program offered by Amridge is “to develop effective Christian ministers by combining theological reflection with continued spiritual growth which leads to greater competence in ministerial skills.” This DMin program is structured to utilize the student’s work setting for their learning experience and so that much of the coursework will benefit their ministry.

    The DMin program is able to be completed in about three years and it can be taken either part-time or full-time. There are 30 graduate hours of required curriculum out of which 24 hours must be taken at Amridge University. While most of the program is online, there are residency requirements that must be fulfilled. The program also has cumulative GPA (3.0) and dissertation requirements, among others, in order to complete the program successfully.

    You can follow or connect with Ambridge University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  4. MERIT: 53
    View Profile Average Cost: $5280.00

    Online Doctor of Ministry Program

    Doctor of Ministry, Ministry Programs, Master of Divinity, online ministry programsGrace School of Theology is a private, non-denominational, institution of higher learning which opened as Houston Theological Seminary in 2002. The school changed its name to Grace School of Theology the following year. The school is located in Conroe, Texas in the metropolitan area of Houston with administrative buildings, the main library, and some classrooms located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    The Doctor of Ministry program offered by Grace School of Theology is designed for professionals who are already working in the ministry. In fact, it is a prerequisite to have had three years of experience working in the ministry after obtaining a Master of Divinity degree (or equivalent) from an appropriately accredited institution. Also, prospective candidates must write a 10-page research paper on one of the designated topics (openness theology, prosperity theology, homosexuality, or philosophy of Leadership) written to specifications described by Grace School of Theology. In lieu of the research paper, a master’s level (or higher) thesis may be submitted.

    The Dmin Program requires 30 hours to be completed. The courses at Grace are offered in an “intensive block format” which is described as having three parts; pre-residency, residency, and post-residency. The pre-residency portion of the course lasts for approximately three months which consists of reading and other assignments. Residency requirements, or classroom intensives, last from seven to ten days per course. The post-residency portion of the course will last approximately three months and consists of a final assignment in which candidates apply their knowledge to their life in the ministry.

    You can follow or connect with Grace School of Theology on Facebook and Twitter.

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  5. Shiloh University
    MERIT: 52
    Average Cost: $4510.00

    Online Doctor of Ministry in Relational Leadership

    online doctor of ministry program, online DMin, online doctoral programShiloh University, named after the biblical story of Shiloh, was founded as an online Bible college and seminary in 2006. Shiloh University is based in Kalona, Iowa. Unlike many online programs, the courses taught at Shiloh University do not have residency requirements which allow students from virtually any location to be able to participate.

    The Doctor of Ministry online program offered by Shiloh University should take about three years to complete with a maximum of five years. The program consists of 36 units and doctoral students should allow on average 10 to 12 hours per week for a 3-unit course. 33 units are in the seminar format and the remaining 3 units are a ministry research project.

    Following the third year of studies, there is a written comprehensive exam which is graded on a pass or fail basis. Through this exam, students are given the opportunity to illustrate the knowledge and understanding of ministry which they have gained throughout their studies and during the completion of their research project.

    You can follow or connect with Shiloh University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  6. MERIT: 51.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $9,480.00

    Online Doctor of Ministry Program

    Piedmont International University was founded by Dr. Charles H. Stevens. Dr. Stevens who served as pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the 1920s and again for many years from the 1930s on into the 1970s. Dr. Stevens established the school as Piedmont Bible Institute in 1945 in order to help war veterans begin their Bible studies. Through dedication and devotion over the years, the school has grown into what is now the Piedmont International University (PIU).

    Requirements to be accepted into the Doctor of Ministry online program at Piedmont include:

    • Master of Divinity degree, or the equivalent of 72 credit hours, from an accredited institution
    • GPA of at least 3.00
    • previous ministry experience
    • current ministry involvement
    • statement of the call to ministry
    • a writing sample such as a book review or scholarly, graded paper written for a seminary course

    The Doctor of Ministry program at Piedmont consists of 30 hours with some on-campus requirements. The program is broken into 9 hours of ministry core courses, 12 hours are devoted to courses in the student’s area of concentration, and 9 hours will be in the area of research.

    DMin program concentrations to choose from are:

    • Pastoral Leadership
    • Bible Exposition
    • Biblical Counseling
    • Missions
    • Discipleship/Christian Education
    • Interdisciplinary

    Prospective students interested in the DMin program should request more information for complete details and requirements.

    You can follow or connect with Piedmont International University on Facebook and PIU Athletics on Twitter.

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  7. MERIT: 48.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $9,067.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    Baptist Union Theological Seminary was founded in 1871 by John Alexis Edgren in order to train pastors to serve Swedish Baptist immigrants who were coming to the country to escape religious persecution in Europe. Although founded in Chicago, in 1914 the seminary moved to Saint Paul where it merged with a Christian high school. From there the school expanded into Bethel Seminary & College and continued to grow. In 2004, the institution became known as Bethel University, a private Christian university, which consists of 4 schools to serve its students:

    • Bethel Seminary
    • College of Arts & Sciences
    • College of Adult & Professional Studies
    • Graduate School

    There are four options for obtaining a Doctor of Ministry from Bethel University:

    • Doctor of Ministry in Biblical and Theological Engagement – offered in an online format with intensives in St. Paul.
    • Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership – offered in an online format with intensives in St. Paul.
    • Doctor of Ministry in Congregation and Family Care – offered in an online format with intensives in St. Paul.
    • Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership – offered in a fully online format.

    Each course of the Doctor of Ministry program is taught by the experienced faculty at Bethel and will hone the students’ skills and knowledge of ministry as well as the applications of ministry in their specialization of choice. One of the goals of the D. Min programs at Bethel is “graduating leaders with a higher level of visioning, leadership, and engagement within their ministry setting.”

    The D.Min programs which are offered with intensives in St. Paul are each $382 per credit with an estimated total cost of $18,336. The Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership which is offered in a fully online format is $550 per credit with an estimated total cost of $26,400. All estimated costs are subject to change and it is always a good idea to check with the school directly for an accurate cost assessment.

    You can follow or connect with Bethel University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  8. MERIT: 46
    View Profile Average Cost: $7,240.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    Luther Rice College and Seminary, Online Degree ProgramLuther Rice Seminary was founded in 1962 in Jacksonville, Florida. Later in 1991, the school moved its campus and is now located in Metro Atlanta, Georgia. Today, well over one thousand students in attendance at Luther Rice College and Seminary. Luther Rice has always been innovative when it comes to distance education, so it is no surprise to find their program in this ranking.

    The Doctor of Ministry program at Luther Rice College and Seminary is for those in the ministry practice to enhance their critical thinking and communication skills as well as biblical and theological knowledge and how to apply all of these to their ministry. With advanced insight, graduates of the D.Min program are sure to excel in their career path, whether that be one of a Senior Pastor, Professor, Theologian, Christian author, or one of many others.

    The D.Min program is a total of 30 hours and consists of ten courses. Four of the courses are to be completed on-campus during week-long modules. The remaining credits able to be completed 100% online.

    The four on-campus modules are:

    • Research & Writing for Ministry (August)
    • Evangelism in Contemporary Culture (August)
    • Contemporary Preaching (January)
    • Critical Issues in Ministry (June)

    Courses completed online are:

    • Issues in Biblical Counseling (Summer Semester)
    • Contemporary Leadership Development (Spring Semester)
    • Ethics in Ministry (Spring Semester)
    • Relationships in Ministry (Fall Semester)

    Courses for the Doctoral Ministry Project:

    • Doctoral Ministry Project Design (Fall or Spring)
    • Doctoral Ministry Project (any semester)

    Doctoral costs are currently $327 per hour and each course has a $100 Technology Fee. Costs and fees are subject to change and it is always best to inquire with the school in regards to costs and for complete program information.

    You can follow or connect with Luther Rice College and Seminary on Facebook and Twitter.

    The image is courtesy of Lricewiki.

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  9. MERIT: 46
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,910.00

    Doctor of Ministry in Preaching and Leading

    Maranatha Baptist University Logo, D.Min, online doctoral program, online ministry degreeMaranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin was founded by Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm, a member of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International, in 1968. Later, in 2013, the name was changed to Maranatha Baptist University to reflect the growth of the school and the range of programs offered to students. Today, more than 11,000 students earn their education from Maranatha on-campus and online.

    The Doctor of Ministry in Preaching and Leading offered at Maranatha Baptist University is unique in that the courses are in a module format which is available through distance education which involves video-conferencing. Students are required to use their own equipment, such as a microphone and camera-equipped computer for the video conferencing in order to participate. The modules last for one week and are offered in January, June, and August, Monday through Friday, beginning at 8:30 A.M. and lasting until 4:30 P.M.

    The following is a list of courses in the Doctor of Ministry Program. These are four credit hours each with one exception:

    • Research and Writing (no credit, no tuition)
    • Preaching the Gospels
    • Evangelism and Church Planting
    • Small Group Communication and Evangelization in the Local Church
    • Ministry Project
    • Great Preachers and Great Preaching
    • Preaching Old Testament Narratives
    • Theology of Leadership
    • Organizational Leadership
    • Developing Leaders in the Local Church
    • Baptist Polity

    To be eligible to participate in the Doctor of Ministry program at Maranatha, prospective students must hold a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts degree with sufficient coursework completed to total 60 hours of completed study at the Master’s level. Up to 8 credits of similar doctoral level credit may be eligible to be transferred in from other institutions toward their degree.

    In order to complete the D.Min program, students are required to complete a minimum of seven courses at Maranatha and a ministry-based final project. There is also a no-credit tuition-free course which students must take.

    For complete program information details, please visit the Maranatha website or contact the university directly.

    You can follow or connect with Maranatha Baptist University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  10. MERIT: 43
    View Profile Average Cost: $9,420.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    Lexington Theological Seminary, online D.Min program, online ministry coursesThe Lexington Theological Seminary is located in Lexington, Kentucky. The seminary was founded in 1865 and has roots dating as far back as 1836. While LTS has a relationship with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), it is an ecumenical seminary that welcomes students from all paths of Christianity.

    Lexington Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program is designed in a cohort model with on-campus intensives and online courses. The on-campus intensive courses are taught together for a single intensives session. Online courses are taught one at a time for a duration of two months each.

    Online Courses (two credits each) include:

    • Introduction to Doctoral Studies: Research, Writing, and Critical Theological Reflection
    • Interpreting the Resources of the Faith for Contemporary Contexts
    • Leading Congregations through Adaptive Change

    On-Campus intensive courses (two credits each)include:

    • Interpreting Contemporary Cultural Contexts
    • Interpreting Contemporary Congregational Contexts

    Students will also take six elective courses (two credits each), two of which must be taken on-campus, intensive sessions are available. The remaining four may be taken online. Two of the courses must be in practical disciplines, two in classical disciplines, and the remaining two are open to the choice of the student.

    Following completion of electives, students are gathered into a new cohort in which they will complete Writing the D.Min. Project, a two-credit course. After which the students will complete their final D.Min. project which will account for six credits of the program.

    Requirements include that applicants must hold a Master of Divinity degree from an ATS-accredited institution or an approved equivalent, had a GPA of at least 3.0 during their master’s program, have had three years minimum of experience working in ministry after obtaining their master’s degree. In some cases, applicants may request to waive the experience requirement if they have had substantial experience prior to earning their master’s degree.

    For more information regarding details of the program, costs, and requirements, please visit their website or contact the Lexington Theological Seminary.

    You can follow or connect with Lexington Theological Seminary on Facebook and Twitter.

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  11. MERIT: 42
    View Profile Average Cost: $9,880.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Beulah Heights University is one of the fastest growing Bible institutions in the country. The school was founded in 1918 as Beulah Heights Bible Institute and offers students a high-quality education steeped in Protestant Christian tradition. Throughout the years, the school changed names as it grew and expanded its curriculum. In 2006, it officially became Beulah Heights University.

    The Doctor of Ministry program offered by Beulah Heights University offers students a program with hybrid courses that have a brief residency requirement so that students are able to continue their ministry work as they earn their doctorate. After completing the pre-residency requirements, students are required to attend class on the main campus for one week. Typical course schedules for residency are Monday through Friday 8 am until 12 pm and/or 3 pm until 7 pm.

    There is a total of 36 credit hours (12 courses) in the program.

    Core courses, 3 credits each, for the BHU D.Min program are:

    • Doctor of Ministry Orientation and Assessment
    • Foundations for Ministry Leadership: Scripture, History, Theology
    • DM 903 Executive Coaching for Transformational Ministry
    • Leadership and Peacemaking: Conflict and Reconciliation
    • Leading Worship and Discipleship: Equipping and Communicating
    • Holistic Mission: Evangelism, Justice, and Mercy Ministries with Global Awareness

    Students will also take nine credit hours of elective courses in order to earn their D.Min, typically this is three courses. Elective courses are chosen to complement and support the student’s area of concentration.

    Project and Dissertation courses are three credits each consisting of:

    • Advanced Research Methodologies
    • Doctor of Ministry Project/Dissertation
    • Doctor of Ministry Dissertation

    For complete information, students should visit the BHU website and contact the school for details.

    You can follow or connect with Beulah Heights University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  12. MERIT: 42
    View Profile Average Cost: $11,152.00

    Doctor of Philosophy in Bible and Theology Program

    Christian CounselingCalvary University is located in Kansas City, Missouri. The university today is the result of a successful merger of Kansas City Bible College (KCBC) and Midwest Bible College in St. Louis in 1961. Later the school grew more as Citadel Bible College of Ozark, Arkansas joined Calvary University in 1987. Since the history of Calvary University is traced back through these colleges, the school seal proudly has the year 1932 above the crest — the year that KCBC first opened its doors.

    Calvary University Seminary offers programs which are offered in person or in a blended/online format in order to help students who may not have the ability to make trips to campus consistently. The PhD in Bible and Theology program is a four-year program with five courses or segments to be completed each year. There are prerequisites that are taken prior to the first year of studies if they have not been completed during previous education.

    Prerequisites can take up to a year of studies and include the following six courses in Biblical languages:

    • Greek Intensive I, II, and III
    • Hebrew Intensive I, II, and III

    The focus of your first year of studies is Biblical exegesis. The courses are:

    • Advanced Hermeneutics and Theological Method
    • Principles of Dissertation Research
    • Exegesis in Hebrew Old Testament
    • Exegesis in the Greek New Testament
    • Exegesis to Exposition

    Your second year of studies is Biblical synthesis. The courses include:

    • Advanced Old Testament Synthesis I (Genesis-Deuteronomy)
    • Advanced Old Testament Synthesis II (Joshua-Song of Solomon)
    • Advanced Old Testament Synthesis III (Isaiah-Malachi)
    • Advanced New Testament Synthesis (Matthew-Acts & Revelation)
    • Advanced New Testament Synthesis (Romans-Jude)

    Third-year studies are systematic theology and practicums as follows:

    • Applied Theology Practicum I & II
    • Advanced Theological Analysis I
    • Advanced Theological Analysis II (Anthropology, Hamartiology, Christology, Soteriology, & Pneumatology)
    • Advanced Theological Analysis III (Israelology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology)

    The Fourth Year focus is on your dissertation and consists of the following five courses:

    • Dissertation Research and Writing I, II, III, and IV
    • Dissertation Lecture/Defense

    For more information and details about their PhD in Bible and Philosophy program, prospective students can contact Calvary University.

    You can follow or connect with Calvary University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  13. MERIT: 41
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,000.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    The Claremont School of Theology is a private graduate institution based in Claremont, California. It was founded in 1885 and has remained a small school throughout its history; there are just over 350 students enrolled today. Despite its small size, Claremont does have great distance education opportunities. Over half of the student body takes classes online.

    The Doctor of Ministry at Claremont is a 28-credit program that you can take in three different concentrations, which are the Mentoring D.Min, D.Min in Practical Theology of Conflict, Healing and Transformation in Korean Contexts, and D.Min in Spiritual Renewal, Contemplative Practice, and Strategic Leadership. The last option is the only one currently available as an online program. However, some courses may only be available in a hybrid format so you will need to discuss this with an advisor.

    This online D.Min is a good option for those of you who are interested in developing stronger leadership skills that allow you to lead compassionately and practically, and you’re ready to embrace diverse approaches for leadership to help those in your congregation have more engaged spiritual lives. In order to be eligible to enroll, you’ll need:

    • At least three years of advanced theological education
    • At least three years experience in service/ministry

    There is only one on-campus requirement of the program, and it is an in-person intensive that spans several days in the month of January. This gives you the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with your instructors and fellow students. This degree culminates in a Practical Research Project.

    For more information and details about the D.Min program at Claremont School of Theology, prospective students should visit their website or contact the school directly.

    You can follow or connect with Claremont School of Theology on Facebook and Twitter.

    The image is courtesy of selemitchell.

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  14. MERIT: 41
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,970.00

    PhD in Biblical Studies

    Montgomery, Alabama is home to Faulkner University, which is a private Christian university associated with the Churches of Christ. Faulkner was founded in 1942 as a bible school, and it moved up the ranks over several decades. The university offers degrees at all levels, but online learning is more popular with the graduate population. Only a third of those students are enrolled solely in face-to-face classes.

    The PhD in Biblical Studies at Faulkner University is designed to prepare its graduates for entry-level teaching positions in higher education as well as postdoctoral research. You could go on to have a career in the public, private, or governmental sectors. You will gain essential skills in writing, conducting research, and speaking while you gain an in-depth scholarly knowledge of the Bible.

    This is a fully-online program that consists of 54 credits. It is open to students who have earned a biblical-studies masters degree and held a GPA of at least 3.0. You are not required to have any work experience to qualify for this degree, but the more well-rounded your activities are, the better your application may look to the university. Once enrolled, the typical student takes four or five years to graduate.

    The curriculum is broken up into the following parts.

    Foundation Courses

    • Biblical Scholarship and Christian Ministry
    • Advanced Studies in Biblical Hermeneutics

    Core Courses

    • Advanced Studies Biblical Backgrounds
    • Advanced Studies in Textual Criticism
    • Advanced Studies in Biblical Theology
    • Advanced Studies in Religious History
    • Advanced Studies in Restoration Theology
    • Advanced Studies in Biblical Languages

    Elective Textual Seminars

    Before registering for textual seminars, students must pass a non-credit exam demonstrating proficiency in the biblical languages. After that, students choose six seminars to participate in. There are a total of twelve in the new and old testament available.


    In order to graduate, students must complete four dissertation modules of three hours each; when it is time to defend your dissertation, it will be done through a conference call.

    You can follow or connect with Faulkner University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  15. MERIT: 39
    View Profile Average Cost: $21,310.00

    Online Doctor of Ministry Program

    Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia is a leader in online education. Distance education began on VHS tapes at this school back in 1985. Now, only 15,000 out of a total of 75,000 students attends campus at all. This is one of the largest Christian universities in the world and it is the largest private university in the country.

    Liberty University ranks highly across many areas of study. One of the things that makes Liberty University stand out is how convenient the degree programs are, and that includes its Doctor of Ministry. This degree prepares you for a variety of pastoral roles by spanning several topics to build an interdisciplinary skill set based on research and biblical principles. This degree is 30 credit hours and takes an average of two years to complete.

    The university also offers all of the following specialization areas online: Biblical Studies, Chaplaincy, Church Revitalization, Discipleship, Evangelism & Church Planting, Expository Preaching and Teaching, Next Gen Ministry, Pastoral Counseling, Ministry Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Theology and Apologetics, and Worship.

    There are more features that set this online D.Min program apart like the choice of multiple start dates, short eight-week terms, attending on-campus intensives if you’d like to, and more.

    You can follow or connect with Liberty University on Facebook and Twitter.

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  16. MERIT: 39
    View Profile Average Cost: $17,288.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    Regent University is also located in Virginia, over in Virginia Beach. However, it is considerably smaller than Liberty with roughly 9500 students. Degrees are offered from the associates to bachelors level, with extensive online options. It was first founded in 1977 and has held different affiliations throughout the years. Regent is an interdenominational evangelical institution.

    Regent University’s Doctor of Ministry is among the largest programs of its kind in the world that holds full ATS accreditation; it was also one of America’s first Doctor of Ministry programs to be approved for online delivery. The only slight downside of the program is that it does have quite substantial residency requirements compared to other degrees.

    Online students would progress through the program in a cohort model; they have the ability to choose from August, October, January, March, May, or June to start their studies. There is an on-campus seminar of at least one week but no more than two for each of the core courses. If these short bursts of traditional study are okay with you and you’d like to proceed, you should keep in mind that you’ll need a Master’s degree from an ATS-accredited school and significant ministry experience.

    The program has 36 total credits and has concentration options in Christian Leadership & Renewal, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), Military Ministry, and Ministry Leadership Coaching. Regardless of your chosen track, you will be required to complete and defend a dissertation.

    You can follow or connect with Regent University on Facebook.

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  17. MERIT: 39
    View Profile Average Cost: $10,730.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    SEBTS LogoSoutheastern Baptist Theological Seminary is most commonly referred to as its abbreviation, SEBTS. It is a seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention that was founded in 1950. It is located in Wake Forest, North Carolina. It is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

    Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry features world-class faculty and competitive tuition prices. There are start dates in Summer and in January and the school wants to make sure that prospective students are aware that there is a high level of commitment required for this online D.Min. Active participation is expected all year.

    For students that are able to commit to year-round study and are ready to take their next step, this Doctor of Ministry has several different concentrations to choose from. This is great because it means you can specialize in an area of ministry that is on your heart. Here are your options.

    • Biblical Counseling
    • Christian Leadership
    • Church Revitalization
    • Disciple-Making
    • Expository Preaching
    • Great Commission Mobilization
    • Next Generation Ministry

    There is also a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Ministry for those of you who are seeking a more general approach.

    You can follow or connect with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on Facebook and Twitter.

    The image is courtesy of Ildar Sagdejev (Specious).

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  18. MERIT: 39
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,994.00

    D. Min in Leadership and Creative Communication

    SAGU LogoSouthwestern Assemblies of God University is in Waxahachie, Texas and serves over 2,000 students. This university was created by the merging of Southwestern Bible School, Shield of Faith Bible Institute, and Southern Bible College. It is officially stated that the university was founded in 1927 and the mergers and growth took place over time. It has been operating as SAGU since 1994. It is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers an online D.Min in Leadership and Creative Communication. The university prides itself on creating an environment that seeks to strengthen the faith of their students. This degree will also help you build skills in effective communication and using media to enhance your ministry and further the mission of the church.

    This online D.Min is presented in a cohort model, and the rotation is strict. This means that students enter the program in the fall and they are not allowed to substitute courses or deviate from the plan at all. The program is 30 hours and will consist of 24 credits worth of courses, and the remaining six are a professional project you’ll complete at the end of your program.

    The courses you’ll take in this Doctor of Ministry program are:

    • Vision, Planning, and Creativity
    • Spiritual Formation and Self Improvement
    • Fresh Approaches to Preaching in a Postmodern Era
    • God and Popular Culture
    • Creative Communication and Technology
    • Organizational Behavior
    • Foundations of Leadership: History, Theory, Application, and Development
    • Ethics

    While the strict nature of this program may not be for everyone, the structure that it provides is excellent for a lot of students as well. You will also have access to all of the support services that the university offers, including a personal advisor, tech support, and more. Students that live near the campus can even access the campus facilities.

    Another good thing about SAGU’s program is that there are only three meetings on campus across the ten semesters you will be enrolled in the program. For an online doctoral program, this is a low amount, and it does add to the convenience factor. At the time of writing, new students were eligible for a generous grant from the university. You can talk to an advisor about it today if this seems like the school for you.

    You can follow or connect with Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Facebook and Twitter.

    The image is courtesy of Fkbowen.

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  19. MERIT: 37
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,330.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota offers traditional and online degree programs at the graduate level. The majority of their student body, which totals under 100, studies on campus but there is plenty of opportunity for distance learning. It is an ecumenical institution and is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

    United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities has four different Doctor of Ministry concentrations that you can choose from. These are Interreligious Chaplaincy, Religion and Theology, Theology and the Arts, and Directed Study. These programs are designed for religious leaders that are seeking to expand their ministry or just gain the knowledge to view things in a new light and revitalize their approach.

    The entire program consists of 42 credit hours that the school purports could be finished in as little as 12 months at its fastest. After you complete the coursework, the optional dissertation can take another two to three years. You can also choose to complete an individualized capstone project instead, and you can even choose an art project! This is a very flexible program and has your academic needs and goals in mind every step of the way.

    You can follow or connect with United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities on Facebook and Twitter.

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  20. MERIT: 36.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,970.00

    Doctor of Ministry

    Anderson UniversityNot to be confused by the Indiana institution of the same name, Anderson University is in Anderson, South Carolina. The school’s motto is “to nourish humanity through the cross,” and that has been its mission since its founding in 1911. Degrees are offered in more than 50 areas at the bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels. It is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The majority of its students are taking at least some classes online. Over half of its graduate population studies solely online.

    AU’s D.Min in Biblical Preaching isn’t entirely online. Students will have to go to campus in Anderson, South Carolina two times and then to a city of their choosing another time. You will also be required to go to three event-based seminars. These trips are for week-long seminars that are not optional. Because the focus of this program is preaching, you will truly benefit from these practical excursions.

    The remainder of the program is made up of independent and online study. This program is made to enhance your personal preaching gifts that you were given by God and to deepen your understanding of what it means to truly preach biblically. This is a cohort program that only admits 15 students at a time to make sure that each of the students gets the individual attention they deserve in such a rigorous program.

    Once you’ve completed your studies, this online Doctor of Ministry culminates in two projects that you must complete. The first of those is a ministry project. This project is one that the student will design, complete, and then evaluate, and it is imperative that it is appropriate for the high level of study that comes with a doctoral program; and finally, you will have to complete a dissertation.

    You can follow or connect with Anderson University on Facebook and Twitter.

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Is a Doctor of Ministry a PhD?

Doctor of Ministry, Pastor, Preacher, Church Leader

A Doctor of Ministry, or DMin, is not a PhD, it is its own separate category of a doctoral degree in the theological field. While both of these degrees are great options for pastors or those aspiring to have higher careers in the church, religious education, and so on, they are very different.

A PhD, short for Doctor of Philosophy, is a more academic degree. You would pursue this is you wanted to teach religion or a similar course; you could also choose this option if you wanted to specialize in a particular area of the Bible, conduct research for a living, et cetera. This is the perfect degree for someone who is a more theoretical thinker.

A DMin, short for Doctor of Ministry, is a professional doctorate degree. The structure of this type of program will enhance your skills in ministry and will deepen your practice and is specifically designed to help you serve your congregation better, fostering a stronger relationship with God, and helping you to learn new ways of spreading the gospel.

How Long Does it Take to Go to Seminary School?

Doctor of Ministry DegreeSeminary school is a Christian graduate school that is designed to prepare students to be ordained. Because it is a graduate school, you are required (most of the time) to have already completed an undergraduate degree. The typical length of time to complete your undergrad, or earn your bachelors degree, is four years. Seminary school itself is between three and three and a half years. So, it will take you about four years to get to seminary, and then can take another four for you to get through it.

How long does it take to become a pastor?

D Min online degree programEvery denomination and sometimes even churches within that denomination are going to have different requirements when it comes to becoming a pastor. Because there are so many different walks in Christianity, we can only give you the baseline information on this topic. First of all, most churches do require you to have completed seminary school, which we have established is seven years. That is the least amount of time that it can take.

Some churches have an extensive candidacy process that can take an additional two to three years. You have to complete the candidacy process through your church. If you’re extremely interested in this topic, you should research your denomination’s standards, or talk to someone in your church.

How Do You Address A Pastor With a PhD?

This is a tricky one because you want to make sure you’re giving them the respect that they deserve and we understand. The rule is that you should always address them as Reverend Name or Pastor Name when you’re speaking to them or addressing a letter. This is because these are titles of respect for a person that has dedicated their life to the church.

The only exception to this rule is in the salutation of a letter or email; then it is appropriate to say Dr. Name, as long as it is addressed properly on the outside of the letter or subject line of digital correspondence.

What is a Pastor’s Wife Called?

doctor of ministry, pastor's wifeThere is a lot of debate that surrounds this topic. There is no official title awarded by the church or in the bible when it comes to the spouse of a pastor. The main thing to remember is to be respectful and follow the traditions of your denomination or church. For instance, some churches refer to the pastor’s wife as the First Lady of the church; however, this is not true everyone and some traditions view this as not being biblical.

When you are referring to a pastor’s wife, that is exactly what she is, the pastor’s wife. You can refer to her as such, or just call her by her name if appropriate.

Is Doctor of Divinity a Real Degree?

degree, diploma, credentialsA Doctor of Divinity is not a degree that you can go to school and earn. Instead, it is what is considered an honorary degree. Being awarded an honorary degree is not the same as earning an actual doctorate. Instead, this is a symbol of recognition that dates back to the middle ages.

A Master of Divinity is a real degree though and is not to be confused with the honorary nature of the Doctor of Divinity. A Master of Divinity is what is earned in seminary and it is the final step that will prepare you to be ordained or to go on to study at the doctorate level. The doctorate degrees in this field include the Doctor of Ministry, or DMin, and the Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD.

What is the Difference Between Theology and Divinity?

Doctor of Ministry Online DegreeThere is a huge difference in the terms theology and divinity even though they seem to be used fairly interchangeably in the realm of education. At the simplest, divinity is the state of being divine; however, it can also be used to reference someone who is regarded as having some special relationship or access to the divine. The latter meaning of the word is why the first professional degree in the field is called a Master of Divinity. Pastors are regarded as having a special relationship with the divine (God). In a general context, the words divinity and theology can be used interchangeably, but if you’re someone who is highly-specific, theology may be the better word even though they are synonyms in academia.

Theology is the more proper term because at its simplest it means the study of the nature of God, religious beliefs, and so on. This is the study of religious faith, practice, experience, and truly, the study of God. Both terms are used frequently in the study of ministry.