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You don’t necessarily have to have a Ph.D. in ministry in order to make a difference in your local community—but it definitely doesn’t hurt.

While many people begin their ministry work before they receive any formal training or education, a degree in ministry can serve as a stepping stone to an advanced career in religion, ministry, or missionary work. 

A Ph.D. in ministry is a versatile degree that will help you succeed regardless of what kind of career you pursue.

Admissions Requirements for an Online Ph.D. in Ministry

There are many on-campus and online seminary schools in the US. Applying for an online Ph.D. in ministry is a rigorous process. In most cases, you will be expected to have earned a master’s degree in a related field, such as ministry, divinity, or theology. You will need a GPA of at least 3.0. in all of your graduate courses, which you will supply proof of by sending in transcripts from all the schools you have attended.

Otherwise, admissions requirements vary. You may need to submit a personal essay or a research paper showing that you are capable of doctoral-level work. Most doctoral-level programs in ministry also require a significant amount of professional, full-time work experience—sometimes three years or more. 

Other requirements you may need to meet include supplying letters of recommendation from individuals who know you well and traveling to campus for a thorough, in-person interview. Contact admissions representatives at your school of choice for more information on the program requirements.

What Are the Best Online Ph.D. in Ministry Degrees?

Online College Plan uses data from the National Center for Education Statistics to determine the best programs. We factor in how robust the school’s online education is, how well that school delivers on its promises, how affordable the program is, and how selective the school is as a whole. For more information, see our methodology page.

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  1. MERIT: 100

    With more than 17 colleges for students to choose from, it’s easy to see why Liberty University is a top choice for students seeking high-quality online programs. In fact, Liberty is one of the largest Christian universities in the world and one of the largest private nonprofit universities in the United States, too. 

    As such a prominent Christian university, Liberty has one of the best doctorate degrees in ministry. The online Doctor of Ministry consists of 30 credit hours and takes most students just two years to complete. It will provide you with a deeper understanding of core biblical principles and communication strategies so that you can serve in a variety of roles. 

    Courses last just eight weeks each, allowing busy learners to move quickly through the curriculum. The degree offers both practice- and research-focused tracks, and includes unique specializations like next-generation ministry, pastoral counseling, chaplaincy, and discipleship.

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  2. MERIT: 94.49

    If you’re looking for a practice-based professional degree as an aspiring ministry leader, you should look no further than the Doctor of Ministry in relational leadership at Shiloh University. Shiloh, located in Kalona, IA, has a variety of accelerated, hands-on online programs for students, and this distance-based program is no exception. 

    The degree consists of just 36 credit hours and is highly affordable, with tuition rates starting at $300 per credit hour. It takes most students just three years to complete their studies. 

    You’ll engage in 33 credit hours of study along with three units of a ministry research project. This project will allow you to explore a topic of interest without ever having to come to campus for an in-person residency.

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  3. MERIT: 87.29

    Founded in 1967, Amridge University is one of the most prestigious theological seminaries in the country. Although the school opened its doors as the Alabama Christian School of Religion with the goal of training ministers in Christian counseling and Bible studies, the university now has a number of other high-quality degrees.

    One of these is the fully online doctoral degree in ministry. The Doctor of Ministry at Amridge creates effective and compassionate Christian ministers who are able to combine their commitment to continue spiritual growth with in-depth theological reflection. You’ll be able to research issues in congregational ministry and enhance your skills to lead ministries in church leadership, family concerns, and worship services. 

    Most students can complete this degree in just three years. You can take classes on a part- or full-time basis to accommodate your busy schedule.

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  4. MERIT: 82.97

    Boston University has plenty to offer prospective doctoral students. As a private research university, it is categorized as a university with very high research activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The graduate programs here are some of the most immersive, providing students with extensive access to hands-on learning opportunities in the field and in the numerous research laboratories. 

    The university also is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and has one of the very best online doctorates in ministry. The Doctor of Ministry in transformational leadership is a professional doctoral degree that combines intensive residencies with distance education classes. You’ll take online classes in a cohort, moving through your classes with the same group of students from start to finish. 

    Core seminar topics include research methods, contextual-theological analysis, and transformational leadership. You’ll also be able to choose an 800-level elective course from any area to explore a topic of interest.

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  5. MERIT: 74.25

    Originally a seminary just for women, Anderson University is now one of the fastest-growing private master’s universities in the country. In fact, between 2006 and 2016, the university more than doubled its enrollment in graduate-level programs! 

    The doctoral degree in ministry is growing just as quickly. Titled the Doctor of Ministry in biblical preaching, this degree can help church leaders of all kinds take their leadership to the next level. It consists of online, independent study combined with three week-long seminars on campus (one is completed in a different city, to be decided). 

    All students will complete a ministry capstone project, helping them gain skills that are relevant to their specific ministry settings. Only fifteen students each year are admitted to this competitive program, an admissions policy that ensures that all students will receive the highest level of supervision and guidance.

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  6. MERIT: 74.13

    As the only Assemblies of God university in the state of Texas, Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a private university and seminary located in Waxahachie. With more than 60 programs for students to choose from, the online doctorate in ministry is one of the most immersive.

    The Doctor of Ministry at Southwestern Assemblies of God has a focus in leadership and creative communication. You’ll complete only one class per semester in this degree, which is offered in a cohort model. You will only be required to attend campus three times per semester and will benefit from a variety of resources while enrolled in your studies.

    Not only will you have access to all technology support, but you’ll also be able to access all other resources and facilities that you’d get on campus, such as tutoring and career services. You’ll even get your own project advisor during the research component of your studies.

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  7. MERIT: 74.07

    Piedmont International University, a Christian Bible college in Winston-Salem, NC, offers everything you could possibly want in a university. From dual enrollment to graduate and even online doctoral degrees, this school is a member of the American Association of Christian Schools. It offers some of the best online programs in ministry.

    The Doctor of Ministry is an advanced degree that is designed for aspiring senior pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and more. Available entirely online, it includes core courses such as The Strategic Ministry Leader, Critical Concepts of Apologetics, and Biblical Counseling. 

    Offered by the Temple Baptist Seminary, the program helps students develop skills in high-level biblical research. You’ll also learn how to apply that research to your specific area of ministry and how to present in a professional, compassionate way.

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  8. MERIT: 74.03

    Luther Rice College & Seminary was founded specifically to meet the needs of Christian leaders who did not have the luxury of quitting their jobs to go to seminary. From the very beginning, Luther Rice has had a profound commitment to offering high-quality distance education, today offering all programs entirely online. 

    A nationally-accredited, post-graduate degree, the Doctor of Ministry at Luther Rice consists of 30 credit hours of study. It includes four core courses that can be completed during week-long modules on-campus, with the rest of the required classes available entirely online. 

    It’s a sure bet if you’re looking for good use of your tuition dollars, too. The program not only features tuition that costs just $340 per credit hour, but it has exceptional outcomes. In fact, in a recent survey, 97% of graduates reported that a Luther Rice education improved their overall ministry experiences post-graduation.

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  9. MERIT: 73.67

    Duke University is frequently regarded as one of the world’s top 20 universities by publications such as the Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, and more. It has produced some of the largest numbers of Rhodes, Marshall, and Goldwater Scholars, an indication of its high academic caliber. You don’t even have to study on campus to benefit from this reputation.

    The online Doctor of Ministry encourages aspiring pastors and leaders to engage in rigorous theological reflection as they serve in their current ministerial roles. It blends intensive on-campus sessions with live online learning opportunities, offering students the flexibility and support they need to earn an advanced degree. 

    Class sizes are small and offered in hands-on cohorts.  You’ll enjoy and benefit from a hybrid learning environment and engaged spiritual formation mentors who are distinguished and attentive.

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  10. MERIT: 72.94

    Originally named the Christian Broadcasting Network University, Regent University is a relatively young university, established only in 1977. Despite this age, Regent offers some of the best online programs, according to U.S. News & World Report, and has a handful of doctoral-level degrees for students to choose from. 

    One of the largest divinity programs in the world, the Doctor of Ministry at Regent has graduated more than 250 senior pastors and 125 presidents of organizations. It’s home to more than 2200 alumni in almost every state and more than 40 different countries, meaning you’ll join a prestigious body of alumni upon your graduation from this program.

    Courses are offered in short, eight-week sessions. You’ll engage in 36 credit hours of study and be able to choose from two concentrations: chaplain ministry and leadership and Christian leadership and renewal. Multiple start dates are available each year for maximum convenience.

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  11. MERIT: 72.30

    A theologically conservative Christian university, Calvary University was founded as the Calvary Bible College. The university offers a number of undergraduate degrees along with an adult degree completion program. It’s also home to numerous high-quality online degrees.

    The online Doctor of Philosophy in bible and theology at Calvary builds on the university’s popular Master of Arts in bible and theology. It can be completed in just four years and is offered online as well as on several of Calvary’s campuses. Tuition is low, with rates starting at just $250 per credit hour. 

    In this program, you’ll take classes that can be categorized into five main themes: biblical languages, biblical exegesis, biblical synthesis, systematic theology and practicums, and dissertation. The university also has related doctoral degrees in bible and theology, both with and without biblical language courses.

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  12. MERIT: 71.75

    Did you know that Emory University is home to Emory Healthcare, the largest healthcare system in the state of Georgia? Of course, you don’t have to be a pre-med student in order to benefit from the high level of research and quality academic instruction here—Emory also offers some of the best online programs in other areas, too. 

    The Doctor of Ministry at Emory University is perfect for skilled ministers who wish to strengthen their skills in theology and ministry. Applicants are expected to have at least three years of experience and can choose from two tracks: biblical interpretation and proclamation and church leadership and community witness.

    The degree consists of 32 credit hours over the course of the years, with instruction taking place almost entirely online. You’ll be expected to come to campus four times over the duration of your studies. Significant financial aid and scholarships are available—some of which cover up to 30% of the full cost of tuition!

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  13. MERIT: 70.95

    Named after Dr. James Faulkner, a publisher and supporter of public education, Faulkner University is just one of two schools dedicated to this man’s legacy (the other is Faulkner State Community College). Faulkner University is a private Christian institution located in Montgomery, AL—and its online programs are just as exciting as its colorful past.

    Faulkner’s Doctor of Philosophy in biblical studies program combines high-quality Christian instruction with a firm biblical foundation. The program is best for students who wish to teach in private, public, and governmental sectors, as well as those who want to engage in significant postdoctoral research. 

    In this program, you’ll take classes in theology, biblical languages, biblical interpretation, archeology, and religious history. You must complete 54 semester hours of credit and complete a dissertation. In most cases, you will be able to complete your studies in just four to five years.

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  14. MERIT: 70.49

    Originally known as North Greenville High School, North Greenville University is a school of many former names. It has also been referred to as North Greenville Baptist Academy, North Greenville Junior College, and North Greenville College. Today, this private Baptist University has more than 2,500 students and a handful of online programs to choose from.

    The Doctor of Ministry at North Greenville University is perfect for both aspiring and current ministry leaders who want to enhance their teaching, research, and ministerial influence. The degree is facilitated by skilled faculty mentors who offer insightful teaching as well as years of experience. It takes most students just three years to complete this degree, which consists of 32 credit hours. 

    With two convenient start dates per year, the degree can be completed in a hybrid fashion. You’ll take most of your classes online, engaging in an extensive study of the basic principles of Christian leadership.

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  15. MERIT: 69.95

    Clarks Summit University is a tiny university, with an enrollment of fewer than 800 students. Despite its small size, this school has one of the best online doctoral degrees in ministry.

    It has a core theological foundation that prepares learners with a practical education in global ministry and counseling ministries. You’ll complete 30 credit hours of study and be able to choose from three different concentrations to tailor your education to your unique ministry needs. Customizations include pastoral, ministry, and Bible exposition. 

    You’ll take core classes such as Developing Effective Leadership Skills and The Centrality of Scripture in the Ministry. It’s a flexible program that allows you to complete courses in one-week, on-campus modules with additional studies whenever it is most convenient for you. Most students complete their programs in fewer than six years.

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  16. MERIT: 68.91

    In addition to its main campus in Lancaster, PA, Lancaster Bible College has three additional sites in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Florida, along with a booming online campus. These are designed to provide accelerated degrees for both adult learners and traditional students alike.

    The Doctor of Ministry degree is offered by the Capital Seminary and Graduate School at Lancaster. It can be completed in just two years, with most students focusing on coursework in their first year and applied research in the second. 

    Multiple connections are available, including strategic leadership, and since this program doesn’t require full-time residency, you’ll be able to stay active in your vocation. You’ll enjoy online and face-to-face classes, traveling to campus for just three weeks of the entire program.

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  17. MERIT: 68.03

    With nearly 3,000 students enrolled in traditional programs on the primary campus in Marion, IN, it would be easy to assume that Indiana Wesleyan University does not cater to the needs of busy working adults. That’s far from the case, however, as this private Christian university (the largest in the state of Indiana) offers a wide variety of fully online degrees.

    The Doctor of Ministry at Wesley Seminary is perfect for working ministers. It can be completed entirely online with just two weeks of on-campus residency each year. You’ll be able to choose from several concentrations, depending on the year in which you intend to enroll, such as transformational leadership, spiritual formation, and transformational preaching. 

    Each student can pursue an individualized course of study. You can choose from eighteen different Doctor of Ministry courses so that your studies perfectly match your eventual career goals. The degree is accredited by the Association of Theological School and is highly affordable. Tuition starts at just $525 per credit hour.

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  18. MERIT: 67.75

    Maranatha Baptist Bible College has a unique story in that, despite its name, it is not actually a Bible college. The school offers numerous bachelor’s and graduate degrees across its five schools and colleges, where students can pursue specialized degrees in Christian ministry and other disciplines.

    The Doctor of Ministry in preaching and leading at Maranatha Baptist Bible College can be completed on campus or entirely online. Modules are one week long and offered three times a year. Choose to complete your courses online, and you’ll be able to do this via advanced video-conferencing technologies. You’ll also take seven classes and complete your degree with a ministry-based project. 

    You’ll engage in hands-on courses such as Evangelism and Church Planting, baptist Polity, and Great Preachers and Great Preaching. Tuition is affordable for this program, with rates starting at just $380 per credit hour. You can also apply for a variety of scholarships, such as the Doctor of Ministry Scholarship, which offers a grant of up to $1000 for the first class that you take.

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  19. MERIT: 66.86

    Fordham University is the alma mater of a number of prestigious alumni, including a handful of U.S. representatives and senators, numerous governors and billionaires, and four cardinals of the Catholic Church. As you might expect, Fordham University also has one of the best online doctoral degrees in ministry. 

    In this program, you’ll be able to explore a wide variety of issues related to ministry, including feminism, globalization, peace and justice, and ecology. You can choose from concentrations such as spirituality or Latinx ministry, or you can pursue a more generalist track. Either way, you’ll work closely with a faculty mentor who will guide you through each and every step of your degree. 

    Courses are offered in a hybrid fashion, with online and evening courses available. You’ll learn from renowned faculty and a group of international students from more than 20 countries, and you’ll also be able to take courses at any member schools of the New York Theological Consortium. To be eligible for admission, you must hold a master’s degree in divinity or the equivalent. 

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  20. MERIT: 64.92

    With more than 90 majors in 100 different areas of study, Bethel University is a private evangelical Christian University that was founded in 1871 as a Baptist seminary. Although the school has a campus of nearly 300 acres in Arden Hills, MN, Bethel also has a vibrant online learning community, too.

    The Doctor of Ministry at Bethel University is one of the first accredited, fully-online programs of its kind. The program has numerous concentrations, including biblical and theological engagement, church leadership, congregational and family care, and transformational leadership. Courses are offered in a cohort fashion so that you can study with the same group of peers while also engaging in a range of options for specialized study. 

    Upon graduation, you’ll join an accomplished group of alumni who are currently serving on six different continents. You’ll conduct relevant, impactful research that will equip you to make a difference in the world—regardless of whether that’s through working as a teacher, minister, or researcher.

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  21. MERIT: 64.44

    Originally developed by Quaker pioneers, George Fox University opened its doors in 1885, known first as Friends Pacific Academy before changing its name to Pacific College. Now, George Fox has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students on its campuses in Newberg, Salem, Portland, and Redmond, OR. 

    The Doctor of Ministry at George Fox University focuses on professional ministry practice and works to develop compassionate and skilled Christian leaders. It includes three program tracks, each of which is led by a lead mentor and supported with a cohort community. You’ll enjoy an online format for convenient distance study along with several formative on-campus learning experiences. 

    Available program tracks include leadership and global perspectives; semiotics, church, and culture; and leadership and spiritual formation. Regardless of the track that you select, you’ll be guided through your research with a detailed, immersive project portfolio process.

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  22. MERIT: 63.80

    Catholic University of America is a pontifical university of the Catholic Church and the only one founded by U.S. Catholic bishops. It was developed in 1887 and approved on Easter Sunday, a legacy that has helped contribute to its ranking as one of the country’s best colleges by the Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s

    The Doctor of Ministry in evangelization at Catholic University of America incorporates a blended learning model that requires you to study for thirteen weeks online and two weeks on campus. It runs just once a year for fifteen weeks and takes students three years to complete. You will take a total of ten courses over this time. 

    You’ll be able to choose from core classes such as Ministry in a Multicultural Church, Evangelization in a Digital Age, and Mission of Evangelization in the Parish. You’ll also engage in a  significant amount of research in a field of your own choosing.

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  23. MERIT: 63.73

    Located in Wake Forest, NC, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary was created in 1950 and is home to a variety of undergraduate and graduate-level degrees. The Doctor of Ministry is one such degree, consisting of 31 credit hours of advanced vocational ministry courses. 

    You’ll be able to complete your degree in just three to six years by studying at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to hone your skills in ministry by acquiring new tools and techniques for your work. You will have to travel to campus just a few times for on-campus workshops. 

    Otherwise, all courses can be completed online. You’ll take just a few classes each semester, engaging in courses such as The Minister as Personal and Professional and Integrative Technology Workshop. You’ll take a variety of other workshop- and project-based courses.

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  24. MERIT: 62.92

    Nicknamed the “University in the Forest,” Drew University has an illustrious 186-acre campus. Although its beauty is quite something to behold, you don’t have to study on-campus in order to benefit from this university’s impressive academic reputation. The Madison, NJ-based school also offers a variety of online programs. 

    The Theological School at Drew offers a Doctor of Ministry degree that includes four separate concentrations: pilgrimage and spirituality, women’s religious leadership, courageous leadership in a changing culture, and Bible, theology, and leadership in the Korean context. 

    To apply, you’ll need to have a Master of Divinity along with three years of full-time professional experience. You should currently hold a leadership position either within or beyond the church setting. You’ll submit a resume or CV along with transcripts and two letters of recommendation.

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  25. MERIT: 62.77

    Bakke Graduate University has one of the furthest reaches of all the doctoral universities on this list. It has students, faculty, and alumni spread out over more than 50 countries, with degrees focusing on business, urban studies, and Christian theology. It has developed and maintained this reach through extensive online programming.

    A 40-credit hour online program, the Doctor of Ministry at Bakke can be completed in three years and requires only one on-campus immersion. This immersion experience is conducted at one city in an assigned location in the United States. 

    You’ll take just two years (or up to seven years while studying part-time) to complete this degree. It includes core classes such as Donors, Grants, and Social Media; Global Narrative Theology; and Cultural Transformation (with multiple electives available).

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  26. MERIT: 61.61

    Whether you’re a lead pastor, a senior pastor, or even an associate pastor, you’ll absolutely love the 30-credit hour Doctor of Ministry at the Grace School of Theology. Grace, located in The Woodlands, TX, is one of the south’s best providers of distance education in theology and ministry.

    This program prepares learners who are currently employed in vocational ministry by allowing them to remain where they currently are. You’ll attend a few on-campus immersive courses, but otherwise, can study entirely online. 

    You will take core classes such as Effective Bible Leadership, Contemporary Theological Issues, and Issues in Grace Theology and Praxis. You can also choose four classes each from the following tracks: Counseling, Practical Theology, Leadership, Ministry and Missions, and Interdisciplinary.

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  27. MERIT: 60.55

    Lexington Theological Seminary has one of the most diverse student populations around. Although it is a seminary involved specifically in the Christian Church, it is ecumenical, with nearly half of its population representing other denominations. It awards a variety of master’s and doctoral degrees, including a Master of Pastoral Studies, Master of Divinity, and of course, a Doctor of Ministry degree.

    The Doctor of Ministry at Lexington Theological Seminary is a graduate professional degree designed to build your ability to interpret and engage in contemporary cultures so that you can deliver effective ministry. Classes are offered on a cohort-based model and include ten hours of initial required courses.

    After completing the required courses, you will be able to take 12 hours of electives that allow you to adjust your coursework to your own interests. You’ll also be able to take research-based courses leading to the creation of your dissertation project.

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  28. MERIT: 56.76

    A multi-denominational Christian evangelical seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary is located in Pasadena, CA. With a student body that hails from more than 90 countries and 110 denominations, this school is incredibly diverse and has regional campuses all over the Western United States. It also has a thriving online campus. 

    The online practice-based program in ministry at Fuller includes a flexible curriculum that is both theological and practical in nature. You can choose either a personalized or cohort track. The personalized track includes a required ten-week online course, four electives, a two-year ministry mentoring by phone, and a doctoral project. The cohort track requires you to meet with your peers on campus for annual on-campus seminars covering various topics in ministry. 

    Cohort topics cover everything from lifelong leadership formation to recovery ministry and even youth, family, and culture.

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  29. MERIT: 56.73

    A not-for-profit private institution in Atlanta, GA, Beulah Heights University was established only in 1918. This school offers a variety of programs in business, philosophy, organizational leadership, and of course, ministry. 

    The Doctor of Ministry at Beulah Heights University features a generalized curriculum that is flexible enough so that you can tailor the curriculum toward your personal interests. It features particular interest areas such as worship studies, preaching, pentecostal-charismatic ministry, and leadership. 

    The degree is perfect for candidates seeking Christian leadership positions within civic organizations, para-church organizations, and the church itself.

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  30. MERIT: 55.10

    A private institution located in El Cajon, CA, Southern California Seminary assists both local and national church leaders as they seek to minister effectively in their communities. The school offers more than just generic degrees in theology and ministry, instead helping students meet their goals through diverse online and on-campus programs.

    The Doctor of Ministry program is a 36-unit doctoral degree that’s perfect for pastors and leaders of all kinds. It is operated in a cohort-based model and can be completed in just three years of study. It is facilitated in an executive-style intensive model, featuring a two-day on-campus kick-off along with an annual meeting each year for two weeks.

    You’ll have access to some of the most innovative technology as you complete your degree, merging functional and intellectual components of ministry as you learn. It’s the perfect degree for adults who have some experience in ministry but want to take their careers to the next level.

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What Can I Do With a Ph.D. in Ministry? 

If you’re already a practicing theology instructor, minister, or church leader, you might be wondering why a Ph.D. or Doctor in Ministry degree is really necessary.

The short answer is that a doctorate in ministry will help improve your professional network, knowledge, and leadership skills. Plus, a Doctor of Ministry can open up a wide variety of doors in your career. You could pursue work in social work or organizational leadership, for example, since most ministry degrees have a strong emphasis on building both communication and leadership skills. 

You could also pursue a more traditional route and begin or continue a career as a practicing minister. You could become a missionary, or you could become a professor of theology. You could even work in a role that involves counseling or theology-related research.

Do I Have to Attend a Seminary to Earn a Ph.D. in Ministry?

A common misconception is that you can only earn a doctoral degree in ministry by enrolling at a seminary. A seminary is a school where students engage exclusively in studies related to theology or divinity—no other majors are offered.

That’s not the case, however. While seminaries are historically the place where ministers earned their credentials, many universities now offer graduate-level programs in ministry and related fields. If you’re not sure what you want to major in, one of these schools might be a smart choice. 

What Kind of Classes Will I Take?

You will take a variety of classes while you are enrolled in your Doctor of Ministry degree. You will engage in an extensive study of Biblical texts and languages, learning more about evangelism (or spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ) as you do so. 

You will also take classes in subjects such as homiletics and apologetics so that you can be a more informed and effective communicator. Since most ministry degrees are heavily rooted in the liberal arts, you’ll also take classes in sociology, history, psychology, and ethics, too. 

What Are Some Specialization Tracks I Can Pursue?

Choose to enroll in a Doctor of Ministry degree, and you will often be able to choose an area of specialization. You may immerse yourself in this specialization through elective coursework or even through the completion of your dissertation. 

Specialization tracks will vary depending on where you choose to study and what your professional goals might be. However, some to consider include family care, apologetics, ethics, church leadership, and biblical languages. All of these can help you make an impact on the communities you serve.

What Is the Difference Between a Doctor of Ministry and a Ph.D.?

When you first begin researching doctoral programs in ministry, you might be confused by the use of terms like “Ph.D.” and “Doctor of Ministry” (or D.Min). The two are very similar. Both are professional degrees that represent the highest level of academic credentialing you can receive. 

However, there are some differences between the two as well. A Doctor of Ministry degree generally includes studies that are directly related to the work that you will do in your career. You will engage in courses that are focused more on practice and the application of your new skills to your ministry. A Ph.D., on the other hand, includes classes that are more scholarly and research-oriented in nature.

Is a Ph.D. in Ministry Right for Me?

Before deciding if a Ph.D. or Doctor of Ministry degree is right for you, it will benefit you to think carefully about why you are enrolling in such a program. What are your professional and personal goals, and how will one of these degrees help you to meet them?

One thing is almost guaranteed—although you may not know which road your new degree will take you down, you will almost never regret earning one of these degrees. You’ll build lifelong relationships with your peers and instructors that will enrich your career long after you graduate. You’ll also graduate with the highest level of credentialing available in the discipline, and you’ll have serious leadership and communication skills to back those credentials up, too. 

If that sounds like something that you might be interested in, then a Ph.D. in Ministry might be the right choice for you.