Doctor of Ministry

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is an advanced professional degree appropriate for clergy and lay leaders with significant ministry experience who desire to deepen and improve their ministries through a disciplined and integrative process of action, reflection, and research. The primary objective is to develop professional competencies, critical skills for reflection on ministry, the capacity for focused advanced theological research and interpretation, and appropriate
interpersonal skills for service in specific, constituency-based contexts. The program places considerable emphasis upon developing effective ministries of personal and social transformation in the context of a multicultural, globalizing, and urbanizing world.

The approach to learning in the DMin is participatory, interdisciplinary, collaborative, and dialogical. Through the study of Scripture, religion and theology, ethics, the social sciences (sociology, history, politics, political economy, psychology, and counseling), and the arts of ministry, students and faculty from diverse contexts are mutually engaged in creating opportunities for critical and imaginative forms of ministry and mission.

An important feature of the program is its emphasis upon collegiality. Peer relationships with other students and close working relationships with faculty are expected to be developed. A commitment to mutual respect, trust, and cooperation is nurtured throughout the program. This commitment to collegiality is extended beyond the immediate participants of the classroom to those with whom the candidate is involved in ministry through the formation of a Site Team, which is a committee of persons selected from the context of the student’s ministry that works with the student for the duration of his/her program. Equally important is a commitment to the creation of pastoral leadership and identity, particularly as a practice of spiritual formation, through critical analysis, evaluation, and assessment.

The design of the program is based on the recognition that students are fully engaged in ministry. Toward this end, the Seminary has made provisions to accommodate the particular constraints under which the students may operate, even as it encourages students to improve their knowledge and skills and continue with their existing professional responsibilities. The DMin requires a minimum of three years to complete, and in all cases candidates are expected to complete their programs within six years of their matriculation.

The NYTS DMin is a single program that is organized for purposes of instruction and peer interaction into three language tracks: English, Spanish and Korean. Within each of these tracks cohort groups may be organized from time to time around specific areas of concentration in ministry such as multifaith ministry, preaching, community organizing, pastoral care, chaplaincy, clinical pastoral education, or executive leadership.

All instruction in the DMin is offered in the form of cohort groups that are normally made up of between 8 and 15 students, and that stay together over the course of the first three semesters for learning. Most meet in intensive sessions that are supported by additional on-line learning. Intensive sessions may be one-week in length, meeting three times in Year 1 and once in the first semester of Year 2; or four weeks in length in Year 1, with one week in the first semester of Year 2. The only track or concentration are that is currently being offered in semester-long format, meeting once a week, is in Korean.

The tracks and specialized areas apply for the most part only to the first three semesters of the DMin program during which instruction is offered. Students can move from one track or area of specialization to another with the approval of the Director of the DMin during these first three semesters of the program. Following approval of a proposal, candidates for the DMin continue to work with site teams and individual advisors, but are no longer meeting in cohorts within tracks. The diploma that is received upon completion of the DMin does not list any particular specialization or track.


While the DMin at NYTS is a single program, it is organized into various tracks for purposes of teaching and learning in the first three semesters. Students working in Korean or Spanish are formed in cohort groups that often cover a broad range of ministerial areas of proficiency, such as preaching, congregational leadership, pastoral care, or missions. In both Korean and Spanish language tracks, all work may be completed in the primary language, with no English language proficiency required.

Students in the English track are able to work in more specialized areas of concentration as well, depending on the number of others able to form a specialized cohort group. Not all areas of concentration within these tracks are available every year. The tracks are as follows:
Congregational Ministries
Pastoral Care

Admission requirements

All applicants are required to have completed

  • a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree received from an institution that is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS), or
  • a graduate theological degree from an accredited school outside North America that in the judgment of the Admissions Committee meets the standard of an ATS-accredited school, or
  • the educational equivalent of an accredited MDiv degree in the form of one or more degrees received from an institution of higher education recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or a Canadian provincial quality assurance agency. MDiv equivalency is defined as 72 graduate semester hours representing both professional and academic learning, with at least 24 graduate credits completed in the combined ar eas of biblical studies, theology, history, and the arts of ministry. Candidates who hold an earned graduate degree in another field of study (e.g. social work, urban planning, law) but have not completed sufficent graduate theological studies will be encouraged to enroll in and complete an MA degree at NYTS in one of the specialized areas of ministry (MAPCC, MARE, MAYM, or MARLA) as appropriate to their particular track in the DMin. In all cases the decisions of the Admissions Committee of the Doctor of Ministry program regarding equivalency are final. For more information on admission on the basis of educational equivalency, contact the Director of the Doctor of Ministry.

All applicants are expected to have completed a minimum of three years of ministry experience subsequent to the applicant’s first graduate theological degree. In considering exceptions to this expectation, the DMin Admissions Committee will consider the number of years of ministerial experience of the applicant prior to completing the MDiv, and the specific nature of the applicant’s ministry in the context of the religious community or faith-based institution to which the person is related.

All applicants must demonstrate a capacity for engaging in advanced academic research and writing appropriate for the doctoral level.

All applicants must be engaged in some form of professional ministry (ordained or lay) that can reasonably be expected to last for the duration of the degree. An applicant who may be engaged in non-traditional forms of ministry is required to present evidence that such practices are understood as ministry at least by the community of faith to which he/she belongs. Applicants do not need to be in ministerial positions for which they receive paid compensation.

Applications for admission are available from the office of Vocational Discernment, the Director of the Doctor of Ministry, or online at under “Admissions.”

Curriculum of the Doctor of Ministry

All NYTS Doctor of Ministry program tracks have a common curricular structure, even if they are offered in different tracks, specialized areas, or formats (intensive or semester-long). The following is the design of the curriculum:

Year One

The Critical Interpretation Seminar is designed to assist students to encounter their own and other’s theology and faith stance, with specific attention to the questions of biblical, theological, and socio-philosophical hermeneutics. The Seminar focuses theologically on the transformative and inclusive meaning of the Reign of God in relation to diverse social structures and processes in various world contexts. Students are expected to develop and integrate the theological commitments that they bring to ministry with those of their peers as well as the academic works that they read and study. A hermeneutical self-inventory assists the students in identifying areas for further personal, theological and historical

The Research and Project Development Seminar is designed to assist students to develop their ability to employ an interactive action-reflection method of learning. The Seminar provides the groundwork for their eventual Demonstration Project by developing the Site Team, engaging in a competencies assessment process, writing an initial challenge statement (or problem statement) with goals, strategies, and research questions for addressing the challenge (or problem) in ministry, and beginning to develop appropriate research tools. The Site Team assists the student in developing the initial challenge statement for a Demonstration Project, from which the eventual Demonstration Project Proposal emerges. Key to this seminar is demonstrating a capacity for integrating research, reflection, and action in a dynamic fashion that advances ministry and mission. The seminar is also designed to provide the students with the initial critical research and writing skills necessary for the completion of their individual projects.

The Leadership Formation Seminar is designed to help students reflect upon and develop leadership skills in their various contexts by exploring substantive, methodological, conceptual, and practical issues of leadership with the view of shaping the student’s practice of leadership in her or his ministry. The Seminar is also designed to provide students with a cross-cultural and trans-disciplinary understanding of the linkages among spirituality, transformation, and pastoral leadership competencies and skills that lead to empowerment in urban and global settings. Assessment of ones gifts and competencies in ministry takes place in this seminar.

Orientation and Evaluation Sessions are integral to the first year curriculum of the program. These provide opportunities for more sustained community life and sharing and comprehensive assessment and evaluation. Upon successful completion of the basic work and favorable evaluations for the first year, the student is allowed to move to Year Two.

Year Two

Independent Studies or Research is designed, under supervision by selected NYTS faculty, to provide students with the opportunity independently to pursue in depth topics related to their areas of interest for the purpose of developing an area or areas of competence, expertise, or specialization, relevant to their individual ministries. This independent work is assigned as needed and is normally scheduled for the summer between the second and third semesters of the program.

The Proposal Seminar in the third semester of the Program is designed to provide the students with appropriate guidance and support in the preparation of the Demonstration Project Proposal. This proposal is normally submitted in the late fall of the third semester. The Proposal emerges out of a collaborative assessment process of student and Site Team, is under the guidance of the Group Mentor who recommends its approval, and is finally approved by Faculty. Upon its approval, the student is admitted to candidacy and is assigned an Adviser who will serve as the student’s primary resource and guide for the remainder of the program.

Advisor Selection takes place midway through the second year. After a Demonstration Project Proposal has been approved, the Director of the program assigns an Advisor to the student to guide the project and thesis to their completion. The Advisor can be proposed by the student, and is normally a member of the NYTS Core or Adjunct faculty. Any student who wishes to propose an Advisor who is not yet a member of the NYTS Core or Adjunct faculty must do so in writing to the Director of the program, with a C.V. or resume of the Advisor attached. In all cases the Director of the Doctor of Ministry must make the appointment of the Advisor, which is done through a formal letter of approval that the Advisor must sign.

The Demonstration Project is the major work beginning in the fourth semester of the Program. This involves the performance of a significant action project in ministry that is seriously researched, analyzed, and evaluated and that offers an occasion to demonstrate growth in selected competencies. Research that supports the project is expected to be fully integrated in a reflection-action mode, which is to say that research is both tested by and reflective upon action. The Project should be integral to the candidate’s current involvement in ministry and be of significance to the broader religious and/or faith community. The Project and its analysis are the basis for the written thesis.

A Site Certification Visit takes place at the conclusion of the Demonstration Project. The student’s Advisor or another member of the NYTS faculty is expected to visit the location at which the Demonstration Project was conducted and meet with members of the Site Team. The purpose of this visit is to certify the completion of the project, and to participate in an evaluation session with members of the Site Team and the Candidate regarding the completed project. A written report from the Advisor or other faculty member conducting the Site Certification Visit is to be given to the Director of the program.

Year Three

The Thesis is the written form of the Demonstration Project at NYTS. The format for this written work is found in the Demonstration Project Formatting Guide available from the Director of the Doctor of Ministry or the Director of Library Services. A full draft of the written Demonstration Project, approved in writing by the Adviser and the Site Team, must be submitted to the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Faculty reading and approval no later than February 1 of the year in which graduation is sought. Any revisions that are required by the faculty readers must be completed before a public Presentation (or Defense) of the project can be scheduled.

A Presentation or Defense of the Candidate’s project and thesis is required prior to the Candidate being approved for graduation. The Presentation is attended by the Advisor and at least one other faculty member, as well as any other members of the Seminary faculty, students, Site Team members, and other guest who wish to participate. Site Team members, guests, and others may participate in the discussion that takes place during the Candidate’s Presentation or Defense of his or her work. However, at the conclusion of the session, which normally lasts for two hours, only those who are members of the Seminary faculty vote on whether to pass the Candidate’s thesis, which is required for graduation. Options for this vote are: pass, pass with minor revisions, pass with major revision, no pass.

The Presentation and all necessary revisions to the written thesis must be successfully completed no later than May 1 for the candidate to graduate that year. The Doctor of Ministry program must be completed within six years of the initial matriculation unless the Candidate applies for, and receives, a formal leave of absence from the program.

For more information contact:
Director of Doctor of Ministry Program
New York Theological Seminary
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-1211


Comments are closed.