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What Are the Requirements for a Doctor of Ministry Studies Degree?

Ordained pastors or ministers can advance their education in spiritual direction and guidance by completing a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program. Read on to learn more about this degree's requirements and available ministry specialties.

Doctor of Ministry Program Prerequisites

The Doctor of Ministry is a professional degree akin to a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) for a physician. You may need to either be currently working with a congregation of your own or to have a certain amount of professional experience. Check with each school to find specific requirements for each program.

Important Facts About A Doctor of Ministry Studies Degree

Common Courses Using conceptual tools for practical solutions, challenges for church leaders
Prerequisites Master's degree in theology or an equivalent ministry degree
Concentrations Pastoral ministry, congregational development
Online Availability Fully available
Median Salary (2020)$45,110 (Directors, religious activities and education)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)3% (Directors, religious activities and education)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Program Structure

Some schools offer a variety of concentrations designed to meet the specific needs of different ministerial callings. You might choose an urban culture-related concentration to learn how to work with an inner city population. Other concentrations focus on counseling, music, preaching and liturgy.

Other schools use a cohort model, which involves studying a series of areas in depth, such as the Old and New Testaments. Some programs are structured to accommodate the schedules of working ministers.


Courses for the Doctor of Ministry can vary broadly from one concentration to another as well as between schools. A sample of subjects you may encounter in your studies includes:

  • Historical answers to modern problems
  • Explorations of Celtic Christianity
  • Building communities to build congregations

Project and Thesis Requirements

Some programs require you to complete a research project in which you identify a question, problem or topic that interests you and investigate it further through applied academic and field research. You will also have to complete a thesis paper. Some schools allow or even prefer you to perform your thesis or research project within your own parish if you're already a working minister.