The Doctor of Ministry is the most advanced degree for professionals working in ministry. The course and project work often is interdisciplinary in nature and usually involves applied exercises including integral research and writing. A significant portion of the program’s requirements is to be met in the setting of the applicant’s ministry rather than in residence. Bethel Seminary has developed two unique and distinct offerings within our Doctor of Ministry degree program: self-directed and cohort-based Doctor of Ministry programs. For complete admission requirements for the Doctor of Ministry program, please refer to the "Doctor of Ministry" page under the Admissions section of this catalog.

Self-Directed Doctor of Ministry

Bethel Seminary’s self-directed Doctor of Ministry program is dedicated to producing transformed, godly leaders ready for 21st century ministry and is convenient, relevant, progressive, focused, and empathetic. In the self-directed program, students choose among the Church Leadership track, the Congregation and Family Care track, and the Biblical and Theological Engagement track. They also can pursue a more specific concentration within a track. This enables students to select up to four classes over the course of their program. Courses are offered in the summer and winter on the St. Paul campus and occasionally on the San Diego campus.

Cohort-Based Programs

Bethel Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry cohort-based programs challenge master practitioners and scholars to lead unique, carefully selected cohort groups in a focused course of study. Students choose a cohort based on the focus of study and stay together for the duration of their program. There are no electives, as the curriculum offerings are focused on helping students develop expertise in a specific area of study. The cohort-based programs also make use of distributive learning technologies. Students are exposed to a professor of record who is a proven scholar or practitioner in the subject being studied and who serves as the cohort’s primary mentor.

Program Goals

The Bethel Doctor of Ministry program is designed for Christian leaders and practitioners who long for theological and intellectual stimulation, a rigorous academic environment, experiential learning, and the professional networking that will:

  • Enable them to think critically and creatively regarding the challenges facing the Church
  • Address these challenges with robust and innovative social research
  • Develop innovative, research-based approaches to address identified ministry and leadership challenges
  • Create new knowledge and models for the practice of ministry that will glorify God by advancing the Kingdom of Christ throughout the world in culturally sensitive ways
  • Produce personal integration of theology, leadership, and personal spiritual formation with the practice of ministry
  • Demonstrate advanced professional competency

Critical Issues

Bethel’s Doctor of Ministry program emphasizes four issues critical to effective and satisfying ministry studies.

  1. Collegial Support. Bethel’s program emphasizes the relational dimension of learning through colleague groups and mentorship. Clusters of students with like concentrations and ministry interests interact with and support one another through the duration of the program.
  2. Current Technology. Bethel provides computer software and guidance, enabling each student to participate in a system that ensures rapid transfer of information between student and advisor and among students. Students are required to use a computer to participate in the Doctor of Ministry program because of enhanced capability for research and communication.
  3. Academic Excellence. Each student will receive instruction from Bethel faculty members and highly skilled ministry practitioners who have received doctoral degrees. Students will be stimulated to consider new ideas and ways of approaching ministry as a result of interacting with our excellent faculty and thesis advisors.
  4. Ministry Applications. Employing an approach that integrates reflection and practice, Bethel’s program places learning and growth in the context of ministry. Participants consistently draw upon their studies as they design and implement their ministry projects. The program structure requires students to remain in active ministry while they pursue their education.

Doctor of Ministry Candidacy

Qualifications to become a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree are: completion of 39 semester hours of coursework with completed projects, completion of the thesis proposal foundations and thesis proposal workshop, and an approved thesis project proposal. Students who started the program summer 2011 or after are also required to complete the mid-career assessment process. When those pieces are complete, a letter will be sent to the student informing him or her of candidacy status.

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies is awarded to Doctor of Ministry students who enter formal Doctor of Ministry candidacy, but who are unable to successfully complete the thesis.