Doctor of Ministry

Designed for experienced ministers who want to strengthen the connection between theology and practice, the DMin is the capstone degree for ministry professionals.

Why the Doctor of Ministry?

Learn where you lead

Candler’s DMin is 90% online so you can stay rooted in your place of ministry while earning your degree. With 32 hours across three years, it fits into your schedule at a pace that’s sensitive to the rhythms of church life. Four short visits to campus—once in each of the first two years and twice in the third year.

The tools you need to succeed

A cohort model means collaboration is built in, as students have ample opportunity to form long-term relationships with faculty and fellow classmates. Access to state-of-the art educational technology and the resources of Pitts Theology Library, the third largest theology library in North America, to support you in your studies.

A practical and innovative final project

Throughout the DMin program, students are engaged in the design and development of a final project to be presented on campus at the close of the third year. Planning and execution of the final project is intertwined into the three years of study, building on the issues and questions that arise from coursework.

Advanced training for ministry professionals

Candler's DMin provides the necessary skills to analyze ministry practices through sustained biblical, ecclesiological and theological reflection, and to discern, shape and disseminate new practices in the service of the gospel. The program is designed for working ministry professionals who have received an MDiv and have at least three years of experience. There are two tracks: Church Leadership and Community Witness and Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation.

A DMin student minister Red Deco
Purple flowers in front of a door with the Emory seal engraved on it

Doctor of Ministry Degree Requirements

To qualify for the DMin degree, a candidate must complete each of these requirements.

Requirements for Admission

To enter the DMin program, a candidate must have a:

  • An MDiv degree with a superior academic record from an institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (or an equivalent accrediting body outside the United States and Canada) or an approved academic equivalent to the MDiv (e.g., a master’s degree with an emphasis on ministry as reflected in a transcript)
  • A sense of vocational identity in pastoral ministry and service to the church, broadly conceived
  • Three years of professional ministry experience beyond the MDiv degree

Credit Hours and Course Delivery

For either of the DMin tracks, a total of 32 credit hours is required for graduation: 26 awarded for the successful completion of a combination of a course on strategies and resources for online learning, six three-credit classes and related colloquies, and a further six for the successful completion of the final project.

Though course delivery will be predominantly online, all three years will include time on Candler’s campus. In the first year, this will involve general orientation and meeting cohort members in the fall. In the third year, the fall visit is constructed to help equip students for the design of their final project and the spring Festival of Learning includes formal presentation and review of the final project. One further residential component falls in the middle of the second year: a track specific residential course offered in the January term.

Final Project

DMin students will be assigned a mentor who will assist in designing the final project required for the degree. Courses in each track are structured so students make steady progress on the project’s planning and design throughout the program.

The heart of the final project consists of crafting an innovation in ministry practice in the student’s location of choice. The design will build upon the issues and questions that arose during coursework, and the final product will serve as an ideal example of how Candler prepares real people to make a real difference in the real world.

Some past sample final projects:

  • Racial inclusivity in college chaplaincy setting
  • The efficacy of the district superintendent role in United Methodist history and polity
  • Adult education and formation in a local church
  • The role of “boundary leaders” in chaplain ministry
  • The decline and possible revitalization of Wednesday evening suppers in a local church context
  • How to help a local church better deal with issues of race and class
  • How to help African American congregations become a more hospitable environment, especially to visitors
  • Developing and teaching a college course strengthening town/gown relations
  • Working with a church and a local elementary school to develop a program that reduces bullying
  • Developing a training program to mentor at-risk children in church community
  • Developing an interactive, communal approach to preaching
  • The prophetic aspects of the pastoral task and the role of preacher
  • The question of Christian authority in consumer culture, especially in an age of social media
  • The role of the Magnificat in the rise of women leadership in the Alliance of Baptists
  • The doctrine of resurrection in relation to the problem of church decline in North America
  • The role of violence in the understanding of the peaceful God of the Bible
  • Church revitalization in the Ninth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Helping a local church become more missional and more sensitive to interreligious dialogue
  • Developing a program to help Christian professionals (especially business executives) unite faith and occupation
  • Studying and implementing a program of contemplative prayer in a local church
  • Church revitalization in a local church setting, particularly around the implementation and assessment of new Eucharistic worship service
  • Studying the efficacy of the narrative lectionary for deeper biblical literacy, especially in African-American worship communities


The DMin is designed to be completed in three years. In extraordinary circumstances, a student may be allowed to complete the Final Project during a fourth year. When such a program extension is granted, a student enrolls in DM799– Doctor of Ministry Library Use and must pay the residency fee (currently $85 per semester) as well as other mandatory student fees for the fall and spring semester of the fourth year. Projects are then presented at the Festival of Learning at the end of the fourth year.

CB26 Pattern CB26 Pattern

Doctor of Ministry Tracks

Doctor of Ministry Tracks Image

The DMin program offers two tracks. The Church Leadership and Community Witness track is geared toward students interested in models of ministerial leadership, while the Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation track will help graduates achieve a theology of Scripture they can use in ministerial practice.

Both tracks are designed to enhance students’ competence in congregational analysis, integrating theology and practice, sharing best practices in ministry, and facilitating collaboration.

Year One
DM500. Strategies and Resources for Online Learning (August Intensive; Online and Residential)
DM700. Becoming a Reflective Practitioner (fall)
DM701. First Year Colloquy I (fall)
DM702. First Year Colloquy II (spring)
DM711. Understanding Community (spring)

Year Two
DM703. Second Year Colloquy (fall and spring)
DM712. Ecclesiologies in Action (fall)
DM713. Leadership as a Practice (January Intensive; Residential)
DM714. Leadership and Witness 1: Cultivating Church (spring)

Year Three
DM704. Final Project Collquy (fall and spring)
DM715. Leadership and Witness 2: Engaging the World (fall)
DM750. Doctor of Ministry Final Project (spring)

Year One
DM500. Strategies and Resources for Online Learning (August Intensive; Online and Residential)
DM700. Becoming a Reflective Practitioner (fall)
DM701. First Year Colloquy I (fall)
DM702. First Year Colloquy II (spring)
DM721. Scripture, Theology, Practice (spring)

Year Two
DM703. Second Year Colloquy (fall and spring)
DM722. Issues in Old Testament Interpretation (fall)
DM723. Teaching as a Practice (January Intensive; Residential)
DM724. Issues in New Testament Interpretation (spring)

Year Three
DM704. Final Project Colloquy (fall and spring)
DM725. Preaching the Bible (fall)
DM750. Doctor of Ministry Final Project (spring)

Ready to take the next step on your journey with a Doctor of Ministry?

How to Apply