Academic Catalog 2020-2021

Ministry, Doctor of Ministry

The DMin degree is an advanced professional degree designed to equip persons who are committed to Christian ministry to fulfill their calling at the highest level of excellence in the practice of ministry. The program of study requires a Master of Divinity degree from an accredited theological institution and sufficient experiences in ministry to ensure a level of maturity appropriate to engage the intensity of the program design. The degree program identifies reflective thinking, or, more specifically, the ability to think theologically, as the primary skill essential to effective ministry. All aspects of the program build from that assumption. The degree program attempts to address ministry issues developing naturally from the global community which is the context for the 21st century church. Both by academic design and supervision elements, the degree intends to reflect the interactive, laity-involved, team-oriented nature of ministry required to address the needs of the 21st-century church.

Administration of the Program

The DMin program operates under the guidance and administration of the Dean of the School of Divinity. Enforcement of all academic policies is at the discretion of the Dean in consultation with the Associate Dean and the Director of the DMin program. Instructional personnel, both adjunctive and residential, are appointed by the Dean to whom they are directly responsible.

Director of the Program

The Director of the DMin program is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the program, and the DMin office is the primary communication portal for current candidates and prospective candidates.

Components of the Program

The DMin degree is a 30-hour degree program comprised of three major components: seminars, supervision, and a ministry project.


Five seminars are required of each candidate for which 18 credit hours will be earned. DSDM 501 The Ministry as Life-long Learning and DSDM 510 The Ministry of Biblical Interpretation are required of all students and are prerequisites to all subsequent seminars. All seminars have some aspect of ministry as their primary focal point.


Each DMin candidate will complete a minimum of two semesters of Peer Learning Supervision (six hours) under the direction of a School of Divinity-appointed Field Supervisor. In lieu of one semester of Peer Learning Supervision, a candidate may substitute one basic unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) with prior approval of the DMin Director. Candidates will participate in structured supervised peer-learning experiences related to their ministry.

Ministry Project

Candidates will design, implement, and reflect upon a self-directed, original project of ministry conducted in the minister’s own ministry setting (minimum six hours; students who do not complete the project in two semesters must register for DSDM 593 each semester until completion).

Program Objectives

The DMin degree seeks to enhance the capacity of the minister to engage in theological reflection in the real world in the service of the church and in the context of vocational ministry. Given the diversity of ministry interests, candidates engage their courses of study with the following program objectives in mind:

understand ministry as a commitment to life-long learning, and to develop appropriate educational strategies within the ministry setting to realize that commitment;

develop an appropriate biblical hermeneutic which incorporates both Old and New Testament studies and fosters meaningful biblical and theological reflection;

develop an understanding of the church, and his/her role in it, within a global context, and the capacity to reflect theologically on the implications of that global context for the nature and ministry of the church; and

demonstrate the ability to reflect upon the nature of one’s ministry by conceptualizing and executing an original project in ministry, reflecting theologically on that project, and defending the project to a committee of faculty and other ministry professionals.

Student Learning Outcomes

A student completing the Doctor of Ministry will:

  1. Demonstrate life-long learning skills;
  2. Demonstrate appropriate biblical and exegetical skills;
  3. Develop an appreciation for the global context of ministry; and
  4. Design, implement, write, and assess an original ministry project.

Admission Policies

DMin applicants are required to meet admission standards which are both general to the School of Divinity and specific to the degree program. The processes for admission are described in detail as follows.

General Admissions Criteria

  1. Non-refundable application fee, paid online or by credit card or money order - no cash;
  2. Original transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate study;
  3. Three references (one must be academic, one must be ministerial, and one must be personal.);
  4. Church recommendation form (must be filed before beginning first semester);
  5. Immunization history (must meet North Carolina’s immunization standards); and
  6. Proof of satisfactory criminal background record check for all states of residence for the past five (5) years with a residence verification statement.

Specific Admissions Criteria

  1. Completion of the Master of Divinity degree (or its equivalent) from an ATS-accredited institution;
  2. Minimum grade point average of “B” (2.75 on 4.0 scale) in Master of Divinity (or its equivalent) studies;
  3. Three years of significant ministerial experience beyond the first graduate theological degree;
  4. Placement in a full-time vocational ministry setting;
  5. Ministry Essay

    The applicant will submit a 10-15 page double-spaced ministry essay. The essay should discuss the applicant’s call to ministry, theology of ministry, history in ministry, goals for ministry, and how he/she believes earning the DMin will enrich his/her ministry; and

  6. Personal Interview

    Applicants deemed worthy will be invited to the M. Christopher White School of Divinity for a personal interview with the DMin Admissions Committee. At this interview the applicant will be given the opportunity to share his/her understanding of ministry and the DMin. Based on the applicant’s submitted materials, the DMin Admissions Committee will dialogue with the applicant to assess his/her readiness for DMin study.

  7. A Background Record Check

    Prior to admission, a satisfactory “Criminal Record Check” for all states of residence for the past five (5) years must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions with a residence verification statement. Criminal background histories obtained for employment purposes are not acceptable for admission to the School of Divinity. Information received pertaining to criminal background histories will become part of the student’s permanent academic file. Any conviction or pending criminal charges cited in the criminal history will be reviewed by the School of Divinity Faculty Admissions Committee. Any allegations or charges of misdemeanor(s) or felony(ies) that occur after the Criminal Record Check has been submitted must be reported immediately to the Office of Graduate Admissions and the Dean of the School of Divinity. Failure to report allegations of such charges may result in immediate dismissal from the program.

  8. Aptitude Tests

    Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): This test is required for all candidates for whom English is a second language. The minimum acceptable score is 550 (non-computer test).

    Graduate Record Exam: Although not required of all applicants, the DMin Admissions Committee may request an applicant take this test to evaluate more fully his/her readiness for DMin studies.

    Miller Analogies Test: Although not required of all applicants, the DMin Admissions Committee may request an applicant take this test to evaluate his/her readiness for DMin studies.

Provisional Admission

In some cases as determined on an individual basis, Provisional Admission may be granted when an applicant does not fully meet the criteria for admission.

At the end of the first semester of enrollment, the Admissions Committee will review the status of all individuals admitted provisionally and will (1) grant full admission to the degree program, or (2) terminate student status.

Acceptance for Admission

  1. The DMin Admissions Committee, consisting of the Dean or the Associate Dean of the School of Divinity, the Director of the DMin program, and the Director of Admissions of the School of Divinity, will meet concerning each applicant. His/her readiness for DMin studies will be evaluated on the basis of the materials submitted and a personal interview.
  2. Evaluation of applications will be based on the following criteria: academic ability; theological preparation and readiness for advanced ministry studies; ministerial experience and maturity; and personal and professional integrity.

Deadlines for Admission

  1. Candidates must complete the admission criteria as listed above by sending all information to the Director of Admissions by April 14 prior to Fall matriculation. This ensures consideration for acceptance into the program. Applications may also be submitted for admission in Spring or Summer terms. Contact the Director of Admissions for appropriate application deadlines.
  2. Completed applications received after April 1 are NOT guaranteed consideration for the program.

Mailing Address

Office of Graduate Admissions

Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity

Campus Box 7308

Boiling Springs, NC 28017

Notification of Admission

Candidates for the DMin program will be notified of their admission status on or before May 15 prior to Fall matriculation. Because of the confidential nature of some items of information required for admission, the University reserves the right to reject any application without stating a reason.

Academic Policies


Orientation to the School of Divinity, and the degree program, is required of all candidates and is a component of the first DMin seminar, The Ministry as Life-Long Learning.

Residency Requirements

Residency is required of candidates only during seminars. Currently, all DMin seminars are offered as on-campus experiences.

Transfer of Credit

Eight (8) hours of doctoral-level coursework can be transferred into the DMin program from another ATS-accredited institution upon the approval of the DMin Director. This work can be completed prior to entering the DMin program or while in the DMin program. If a candidate plans to study at another institution during his/her course of study, he/she should seek the approval of the DMin Director prior to matriculation at any other institution. Transfer of credit is not guaranteed.

Full-Time Status

All students enrolled in the DMin program whose files are active are considered “full-time” students. The minimum hour requirement to maintain full-time status is three hours. There is no “part-time” status in the DMin program.

Interrupted Status

In special cases a candidate can petition the DMin Director to grant him/her interrupted status from the program. If interrupted status is granted, the time limits for completion of the degree are put on hold.

Retention Policies

All candidates are expected to maintain a GPA of 2.75. In the event that a candidate’s GPA falls below a 2.75, he/she will be placed on probation until he/she is able to raise his/her GPA to 2.75.

If the candidate is unable to raise his/her GPA above 2.75 after two semesters of probation, or if it becomes mathematically impossible for him/her to improve his/her GPA above 2.75, he/she will be suspended from the DMin program.

Appeal of Suspension

If a suspended candidate believes he/she has a legitimate appeal of his/her suspension, he/she may make a formal appeal to the Director of the DMin program. Upon request for an appeal of suspension, the DMin Director will schedule a time for the DMin Admissions Committee to meet with the candidate. The candidate will be allowed to make his/her appeal to this committee. The appeal will be limited to 30 minutes. The candidate will be notified of the decision of the Committee within one week. The decision of the DMin Admissions (Appeals) Committee is final.

Appeals Committee

The DMin Admissions Committee, composed of the Dean or Associate Dean (either of whom serves as chair), Director of the DMin program, and a faculty representative, will act as a suspension appeals committee.

Incomplete Work

A candidate can request an incomplete from an instructor. The instructor holds complete discretion concerning the granting of an incomplete. If an incomplete is granted, it must be cleared in accordance with University policy by mid-term of the following semester. A candidate will not be permitted to enroll in another seminar until all work from pervious seminars is complete.

Certification of Satisfactory Performance in Supervision

Certification of satisfactory performance in supervision is required for each component of supervision (Peer Learning and Self-Directed).

  1. Certification of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) (which may be substituted for the second semester of Peer Learning Supervision) will be granted when the Director of the DMin program is presented with documentation of a candidate’s completion of one basic unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at an Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) certified center;
  2. Certification of Peer Learning Supervision will be granted by the DMin Director upon the recommendations of the Field Supervisor, the Peer Group, and the Ministry Consultation Committee. The criteria for satisfactory performance will be the candidate’s progress and learning as outlined in the goals of his/her Ministry Development Covenant; and
  3. Certification of Self-Directed Supervision will be granted by the DMin Director upon the recommendation of the Faculty Advisor during the project phase of the DMin program. The criteria for satisfactory performance is the candidate’s ability to manage his/her time effectively and follow his/her self-imposed timeline for completion of the program. The candidate will also present to the Faculty Advisor a description of assistance and expertise sought and secured.

Appeal of Certification

If any area of supervision is not certified, the candidate has the right to appeal to the DMin Director. Upon appeal, the DMin Director will meet with the candidate, Field Supervisor, and others serving in a supervisory capacity with regard to the student as deemed appropriate. The candidate will be allowed to make his/her appeal to these individuals. The candidate will be notified within one week of the Director’s decision, which is final.

Academic Honesty

All work submitted by candidates in each course is presumed to be the candidate’s own. Cheating, plagiarism, or any other expression of dishonesty will be subject to the University’s policy on academic dishonesty (see Traditional Undergraduate Student Handbook).

Application for Graduation

A candidate for the DMin degree usually makes application for graduation the fall before he/she anticipates graduating in the spring. The application for graduation will be filed with Registrar Services according to the University Academic Calendar published annually.

Graduation Requirements

A GPA of 2.75 is required for graduation as well as completion of all degree requirements.

Time Limits

The DMin is designed to be completed in a minimum of three years with a maximum time limit of six years. Approval for an extension of time must be granted in advance by the DMin Director. The candidate is required to pay extension fees for every Fall and Spring semester beyond the Spring semester of the third year.

Degree Requirements

Seminars (1@ 2 Credit Hours, 4 @ 4 Credit Hours each) 18 Credit Hours
Supervision (2 semesters @ 3 Credit Hours each) 6 Credit Hours
Ministry Project minimum 6 Credit Hours
Total Hours for DMin Degree 30

Students who do not complete the Ministry Project in two semesters (minimum six hours) must register for DSDM 593 Ministry Project Extension each semester until completion.

Total Credit Hours: 30