Doctor of Ministry
The Doctor of Ministry, often referred to as D.Min. or DMin, is offered through Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Designed to help ministry leaders, ministry professionals and church leaders improve their ministry skills, the Doctor of Ministry degree program allows you to continue in your full-time ministry while you learn, reflect and polish the gifts God has given you within a strong community.
Students are asked to come to campus only two weeks a year for training by some of the world’s best faculty in small classes filled with people with passion for ministry, Christ, community and more. Biola's location, just outside the great city of Los Angeles, California, makes it easy for individuals from all over the world to come and learn with us while pursuing doctoral degrees. The Doctor of Ministry program cost is modest, while the value of what can be gained is priceless.
We invite you to join us and “fan into flame the gift of God that is in you” (2 Tim. 1:6).
- Advanced Biblical Preaching, taught by Donald R. Sunukjian
- African American Ministry, taught by Parnell M. Lovelace, Jr.
- Asian American Ministry, taught by Ben Shin
- Discipleship for the 21st Century, taught by Steven L. Porter
- Engaging Mind and Culture, taught by Greg Ganssle
- Growing and Multiplying Churches, taught by Gary McIntosh and Alan McMahan
- Heart, Mind and Soul, taught by Donald R. Sunukjian, Steven L. Porter and Greg Ganssle
- Ministry Skills, taught by Ben Shin, Bill Hull and Brandon Cash
- Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, taught by John Coe
- Strengthening the Skills of a Shepherd (한국어 목회학박사 학위과정)
(All courses fully taught in Korean)
D.Min. Program Distinctives
Talbot’s Doctor of Ministry program offers the first-class, ministry-oriented education that you have always wanted. Here is some of what will set your experience apart.
- Cohort-Based. We believe the best learning occurs within relationships and community. We limit the size of our cohorts so you can develop personal relationships with each other. Your academic pilgrimage will be with classmates who share your passion within a ministry setting. You may come from different geographic and ministry backgrounds, but you will gather here to learn together and form friendships that will last a lifetime.
- Faculty-Mentor Led. The faculty are recognized experts in their fields who want to share their lives, as well as their expertise. Because we limit the size of the cohorts, that can happen. From start to finish, and beyond, our faculty-mentors care about you as a person.
- Practitioner-Sensitive. Our program gives you the opportunity to focus on ministry in general or on a specific aspect of ministry. Talbot offers numerous specialty tracks, not a generic “one size fits all” program, to help you develop deep expertise in the area of ministry that you are most passionate about. We do not waste your time with academic busy work. Your assignments will be integrated into and designed to assist your ministry. This program is intensely practical.
- Spiritual Formation-Focused. The faculty-mentors and Talbot's Institute for Spiritual Formation work together to help you to develop the mind and spiritual character necessary for effective ministry.
Talbot’s Doctor of Ministry program is designed to fit into your busy ministry schedule. We offer a selection of “specialty tracks” designed to enhance your area of ministry by exposing you to the latest scholarship and world-class experts.
Talbot’s Doctor of Ministry program has two parts: residency coursework and the writing of a doctoral project. The residency work is completed in an uninterrupted sequence of two weeks per year over three years. During your first three years, you will spend two continuous weeks per year in intensive coursework. At the end of the third year, you will submit your doctoral project proposal and begin writing your doctoral project. You have six years to complete the entire program.
Residency Preparation (3 times)
The semester before each residency, extensive reading and preparation are assigned by the faculty-mentor. You should plan to devote one day per week in preparation for the residency.
Residencies (3 times)
Each year’s two-week residency consists of two one-week courses. The courses are designed sequentially so you acquire increasing competency in the selected area of concentration, both in terms of conceptual understanding and praxis, from one year to the next. The focus of each year is the pre-residency work, the residency itself, and a major post-residency ministry project to be carried out following each residency. You must successfully complete your post-residency projects in order to advance in the program.
Spiritual Formation Retreat (1 time)
During the first weekend of the first residency every student will participate in a spiritual formation retreat along with his or her cohort. This retreat will be led by Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation and will encourage you to experience continued growth in spiritual maturity.
Doctoral Project (1 time)
Your doctoral project is the capstone project of the program. It is the culmination of previous learning in the program and a demonstration of your ability to engage in ministry as a scholar-practitioner in a given area of specialization. In addition to the faculty-mentor, you will be assigned a reader. With the faculty-mentor playing the lead role, these two faculty members form the project committee and guide you through the process, approving each aspect of the doctoral project from the initial proposal through to the final draft. Doctoral project proposals will only be accepted from students who have maintained a cumulative 3.0 GPA. The final requirements for degree completion is a successful presentation of the completed doctoral project to your mentor and the reader, and the presentation of an acceptable project to the D.Min. office.
The D.Min. degree is a “professional” degree. What does that mean?
The Doctor of Ministry degree is designed to help participants to further develop the highest levels of expertise in church, parish, parachurch, and missionary service. The D.Min. degree is similar to other professional degrees like a J.D. or M.D. in that it provides students with a practical education focused on perfecting practical skills. The D.Min. degree is designed for those working in a full-time ministry capacity.
Why should I get a D.Min. from Talbot?
Talbot’s Doctor of Ministry program has four distinctives: it is cohort-based, faculty-mentor led, specialty-focused and practitioner-sensitive. You will be part of a small learning group (cohort) led by one of our expert faculty leaders (faculty-mentor) in a ministry area that you are passionate about (specialty-focused) that will help you develop the highest levels of expertise (practitioner-sensitive) in ministry. You will be trained in a ministry context while pursuing your degree in one of the best doctor of ministry programs.
What if I don’t have an M.Div.?
M.Div. equivalency can sometimes be granted to those students who have completed 72 graduate-level credits from an ATS-accredited school. To see if you qualify, you may contact our Doctor of Ministry office and request a preliminary evaluation. We also suggest reviewing the rest of the admission requirements.
What if I don’t have three years of ministry experience post graduation?
The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program is designed for vocational ministers. The ministry experience requirement validates that a student is actually ministering. If you wonder if your experience qualifies, please contact the D.Min. office.
How long will it take to get my D.Min. degree?
Successful completion of the Doctor of Ministry program includes three years of residency work and the completion of a doctoral project, which may take an additional year or two. Most students complete their degree in five years. However, students are permitted up to six years to complete the program.
I’m in ministry and have a family, can I still find time to complete the D.Min. program?
The Doctor of Ministry program is designed for adult learners, serving in full-time ministry. Most students spend about one day a week on program assignments. We will not bog you down with academic busy work, but instead focus on the effectiveness of assignments. What you do in the classroom will be directly and immediately relevant to your ministry and ministry setting, however you will need to utilize your time-management skills to balance ministry, family and this advanced study.
How much time do I need to spend on campus?
D.Min. students are required to be on campus for an annual two week residency during the first three years of the program. In addition, students may need to set aside time to come to campus to meet with their faculty mentors as they work on their doctoral project. Students are required to be present for the formal presentation of their doctoral projects and the Graduation Ceremony.
What is a “residency”? How many are there?
“Residency” refers to the two-week time period in which students receive classroom instruction that usually meets on campus. Students will meet eight hours a day, Monday through Friday of each week. This time will be used to interact with the pre-residency readings and course assignments as well as learn new material and embark on new projects.
What is a faculty-mentor?
Your faculty-mentor will be a Talbot professor who teaches your specialty track and oversees and approves the required work.
Do I have to write a thesis or dissertation?
The writing of the doctoral project is the culmination of your work in the program and is a requirement to obtaining your D.Min. degree. This doctoral project is similar in scope and effort to a Ph.D. dissertation, but your doctoral project will address a practical ministry issue relevant to you or your local church.
Is there a doctoral project oral defense?
The doctoral project is not “defended” like a Ph.D. dissertation, however there is a formal presentation to and evaluation by your faculty member and the rest of your thesis committee when your doctoral project is complete.