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 is designed especially to prepare church leadership for effective ministries of personal and social transformation in the context of a multicultural, globalizing, and urbanizing world.

The approach to learning 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, and therefore, may be limited in their work on campus. 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 Doctor of Ministry Program 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. Program formats and designs are constantly being reviewed and re-structured to meet these needs.

Students are granted matriculation status upon entrance into the program. Upon successful completion of the course work and approval of the Proposal for a Demonstration Project, they are granted candidate status.

Areas of Focus

The Doctor of Ministry program is organized around particular areas or foci in ministry. These include:

Multifaith (in Collaboration with Auburn Theological Seminary) — the focus is on the integration of academic study with inter-religious dialogue and experiential learning. The program includes a focus on interfaith education, social services in an inter-religious context, and the functions of faith communities in the larger New York areas and beyond.

Congregational Ministry — the focus is on understanding the challenges of institutional ministry in congregation and other forms of faith communities with emphasis on designing a project which focuses on the renewal and transformation of congregations and other faith communities. This program is available in English, Spanish, Korean, and Chinese.

Congregational Ministry — Specialized — Our specialized programs within the context of congregational ministry have two foci: First, a program in revitalizing the role and function of the preacher is offered. Second, a program on Biblical Engagement in cooperation with the Eugene A. Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society is being developed. Both are offered in English.

  1. Preaching — The emphasis is on developing exegetical/hermeneutical skills in interpretation, understanding the new patterns and opportunities for communication, and developing projects which are aimed at the broadening and renewal of preaching.
  2. Biblical Engagement —The emphasis is on learning how to engage and interpret Scripture in ways which increase a broader understanding of Biblical traditions within faith communities. A focus on pedagogy as it relates to teaching scripture is primary.

Leadership – Two program areas are available in our Leadership track. The first program focuses on understanding and engaging in community organization and renewal with a focus on justice and social transformation. The second program focuses on economic development and explores the role of faith communities and religious leaders in the economic development of communities. Each track also engages in the creations of projects which relate to either community organization or economic development.

Pastoral Care – The emphasis is on exploring issues related to pastoral care of faith communities and individuals with and beyond those communities. Other tracks are also available with a focus on CPE Supervisors and Pastoral Psychotherapy. The Pastoral Psychotherapy emphasis is done in cooperation with the Blanton-Peale Institute.

The Doctor of Ministry program is offered with primary work done in English, Korean, Chinese or Spanish. The ability to use English-language bibliography is essential, but principal classroom work and major writing assignments may be done in the student’s primary language of ministry. The use of language other than English is to enable students to function at their optimal level in their primary language to focus on ministries and resources specific to their linguistic communities. The Korean, Spanish, and Chinese Doctor of Ministry tracks at NYIS do not require a student demonstrate proficiency in English.

The Doctor of Ministry is primarily offered through intensive formats which are supported by additional on-line learning technologies. Cohort groups number between 8-15 in any particular year, and not all tracks or learning formats may be offered each year.

The Korean Ministries Doctor of Ministry intensive is designed for those whose primary language is Korean and who are working in ministries around the globe. Classes are offered in an intensive format that meets in New York for four weeks during the summer and again one week during the following spring in the first year. All work done in the second year is completed at the location of the student’s ministry. The Korean Ministry track is also available in a residential format which requires weekly classes during the first year for fall and spring semesters and weekly classes in the fall of the second year.

The Hispanic-Latino/a Ministries Doctor of Ministry is offered in Spanish in a format that requires students to travel to New York for three one-week intensive periods during the first year, and again one week during the fall of the second year of the program.

The English language tracks (Congregational Ministry, Pastoral Care, Multifaith, and Leadership) are offered in a format that requires students to travel to New York for three one-week intensive periods during the first year, and again one week during the fall of the second year.

Admissions Requirements

All applicants are required to show evidence of the following:

  • a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree that is from a program accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in North America (ATS) or an equivalent graduate theological degree from an ATS-accredited school. Applicants from outside the US and Canada must present a theological degree from a theological school accredited in their country or region. If the applicant does not have the MDiv but has done other graduate-level theological work, equivalency will be assessed by the Admissions Committee.
  • a minimum of three years of ministry experience subsequent to the applicant’s first graduate theological degree. While ministerial experience is not considered the equivalent of or a substitute for the MDiv degree, the applicant’s ministry prior to his or her first graduate theological degree will be assessed particularly in the context of the community of faith to which he/she belongs, and given consideration.
  • demonstrated capacity or potential for both an advanced level of academic research and writing, and competence in the practice of ministry. Applicants may be required to submit samples of their written work (other than sermons) for the purpose of determining their capacity for graduate-level writing and research.
  • engagement in some form of professional ministry that can reasonably be expected to last for the duration of the Program. An applicant who may be engaged in non-traditional forms of ministry is required to present evidence that such practices are understood as ministries at least by the community of faith to which he/she belongs.

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

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 formats and languages. 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 reflection.

THE MENTOR AND RESEARCH 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 assessing his or her competencies and developing the initial challenge statement for a Demonstration Project. Out of these assessments emerge the Proposal for action and research that will further the mission and strengthen selected competencies of the student. 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 transdisciplinary understanding of the link ages among spirituality, transformation, and pastoral leadership competencies and skills that lead to empowerment in urban and global settings.

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 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.

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 I 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.


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