Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.)

Fr Sergius Halvorsen
Fr Sergius Halvorsen, Director of the D.Min. Program

The Doctor of Ministry degree at St. Vladimir's Seminary enhances the practice of ministry for ordained and lay ministers in the Orthodox Church. The program integrates enhanced competencies in pastoral analysis with skills necessary to lead students to an advanced understanding of the nature and purposes of ministry. Working in communities of teachers and learners, the students gain deeper knowledge about the practice of serving others in Christian love as they grow in spiritual maturity as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The D.Min. program at St. Vladimir's provides priests, chaplains, and other pastoral professionals with advanced knowledge and skills in order to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are suffering. Integrating doctoral level academic work with pastoral spirituality, this program will help you to acquire and refine the skills to minister to those whom God has called you to serve. Please consider joining us in a doctoral program that will give you an opportunity to foster deep and lasting friendships as we engage in work that contributes to authentic spiritual and pastoral renewal.

The Doctor of Ministry Program is a three and a half year program consisting of a mandatory orientation, eight core courses, one research and writing methodology course and a final project.

Admission to the DMin Program is contingent upon satisfactorily completing all mandatory orientation exercises by the specified deadlines. The objectives of the DMin orientation are to a) build a cohesive community of teachers and learners; b) ensure that the student is proficient with all online technology; c) establish best practices for doctoral level reading, research and writing. Students who do not satisfactorily complete all mandatory components of the orientation by the specified deadlines will not be permitted to matriculate into the program, and the policy for enrollment deposit shall be followed.

  • Orientation
  • Advanced Preaching and Communications
  • Bioethics for Ministry
  • Sustainability in Ministry
  • Liturgical Life and Pastoral Ministry
  • Ministry in a Secular Age
  • Ministry to the Sick and Dying
  • Missiology
  • Youth Ministry
  • Project research, analysis, and writing

Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate an advanced competency in the practice of ministry in the Orthodox tradition.
  • perform analytical and ministerial research in Scripture, Patristic texts and contemporary sources. 
  • integrate advanced theological knowledge into one's ministry in the local context.
  • communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ more effectively through oral, written and other media.

A. Qualified applicants demonstrate that they:

  • hold a Master of Divinity degree;
  • have at least three (3) years experience in ministry subsequent to the first graduate theological degree and are currently serving in a position of ministry; and
  • are capable of doing doctoral-level academic work.

B. Applicants who would like to pursue the Doctor of Ministry without a Master of Divinity degree must establish M.Div. equivalency as defined by ATS standard E.4.1:

M.Div. equivalency is defined as 72 graduate semester hours or comparable graduate credits in other systems that represent broad-based work in theology, biblical studies, and the arts of ministry and that include a master’s degree and significant ministerial leadership. Ministerial experience alone is not considered the equivalent of or a substitute for the master’s degree.

Qualified "equivalency" applicants demonstrate that they:

  • hold a graduate theological degree of at least 48 credits;
  • have at least seven (7) years experience in ministry and are currently serving in a position of ministry;
  • are prepared to complete all equivalency requirements as specified in the offer of admission; and
  • are capable of doing doctoral-level academic work.

Equivalency applicants are encouraged, but not required, to complete a 400-hour unit of ACPE-accredited Clinicial Pastoral Education. Applicants with fewer than 48 graduate credits, whether those credits have resulted in a theological degree or not, are normally directed to complete an M.Div. at an ATS-accredited school or equivalent.

For more information about the equivalency process, see M.Div. Equivalency.

Students in the program complete eight hybrid core courses while living at home via distance learning which includes:

  • online video presentations
  • threaded discussions
  • conference calls and webinars

The use of distance learning technology allows priests, chaplains and other pastoral professionals to do doctoral study at St. Vladimir's while maintaining their current ministries. In fact, students are required to be engaged in full time practice of ministry during the program in order to best integrate theory and practice. Students are also required to attend four one-week on-campus intensives during the course of the program. These meetings are held on the St. Vladimir's Seminary campus in late fall and mid summer.

In order to best accommodate the Paschal cycle, students take courses during fall and summer terms. The fall term begins in early September and ends in mid December. The summer term begins in mid May and ends in mid August. Each academic term includes a mandatory one-week on-campus intensive. Please consult the Academic Calendar for specific dates and the Class Schedule for the daily timetable during the on-site intensive.

Each student will complete a final project that focuses on a particular aspect of Christian ministry. The project will combine doctoral level research with critical reflection on the practice of ministry. The objective of the final project will be to provide concrete resource material for others in ministry. As part of the application process, prospective students are expected to propose three possible topics for their final project.

Our Lord sent his Apostles out two by two (Mark 6:7) to preach and minister, and before ascending into Heaven instructed them that He would be present whenever two or three are gathered together in His name (Matt 18:20). Christian ministry, therefore, is defined by Christ Himself as a cooperative work. The D.Min. program fosters and strengthens this sense of cooperation with the cohort system in which a group of students progresses through the program as members of a team.

Members of the cohort develop grow as Christian ministers while supporting one another in the academic and pastoral elements of the program. In addition to the program objectives, it is hoped that members of the cohort will form lasting bonds that will strengthen and enhance their ministries well beyond graduation.

Because the DMin is a program that "enhances the practice of ministry" it is essential for the student to receive regular feedback from persons who interact with the student in his or her practice of ministry.  External Review Committee (ERC) members will periodically provide feedback to the student in areas of ministry that are related to the students' work in the program.  Feedback will be provided through various means such as brief surveys, interviews and conference calls.  At the time of application, each student will specify members for the ERC consisting of: one supervisor (e.g. Diocesan Bishop, chancellor, dean); two peers (e.g. priests, chaplains); and four constituents (e.g. parishioners, people to whom one ministers), all of whom are in regular contact with the student in the context of ministry. The expected time commitment for ERC members is approximately two hours each academic term

In order to participate in the distance learning portions of the program, students will provide and maintain the following:

  • PC or Mac computer running:
    • a recent version of Windows, OSX or Linux
    • the most recent version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Chrome
    • a word processor, preferably MS Word
    • access to a broadband internet connection

The Danilchick Family Endowment for Pastoral Studies offers both continuing education grants and need-based awards to qualified students enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program. Full-time students with demonstrated financial need are eligible for a need-based financial aid award; all full-time Doctor of Ministry students, regardless of need, are eligible for continuing education support. Students who seek a continuation grant must prepare and deliver at least one workshop in their field of pastoral study and submit a report of the workshop to the D.Min. program director no later than May 15 of the grant year. The workshop must be intended for an audience beyond the student’s local parish community, such as, a diocesan assembly, a pan-Orthodox conference, a deanery retreat, etc.

To apply for need-based financial aid and/or continuing education support:

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