Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)

Quick Guide to the Doctor of Ministry Program

Sometimes answering the call can be interrupted by the everyday challenges of serving a church, which is why Perkins School of Theology offers its highly acclaimed Doctor of Ministry degree. Through reflection, exploration and peer sharing the Doctor of Ministry program offers:

  • A renowned faculty
  • Integration of theology with your real experience
  • Intensive peer group interaction and learning 30 hour graduation requirement
  • Concentrations in Vocational Direction, Organizational Leadership, and Community Building.
  • Cohorts begin each June in Dallas or in Houston


The Doctor of Ministry degree provides the opportunity for advanced study in the areas of vocational and leadership formation and community building. Integrating theological reflection and ministerial practice with these areas of study, Christian leaders build their theological knowledge and gain skills to engage effectively in ministerial work in contexts of change and transition.

The goals of the degree are to (1) seek vocational depth and direction; (2) gain theological knowledge and understanding of vocational and leadership identity in tandem with developing skills for relevant practices of ministry that build communities in context; and (3) acquire knowledge, critical insights and skills to exercise leadership grounded in Christian vocation in contexts of transition and change within the Church and the community.

With a specific focus and skill-oriented curriculum, the program draws on faculty strengths from SMU Perkins while addressing the current needs in Christian ministry in and outside of Christian churches and communities. We offer a rich interdisciplinary and across university schools curriculum that develops leadership skills in congregational and community settings experiencing change and cultural ambiguity. Our curriculum integrates vocational direction, organizational leadership, and community building in ways that address the current challenges of Christian communities, Christian organizations, and service and faith-based non-profits.

The curriculum follows a cohort system for students. Cohorts will progress through 24 credit hours of courses that integrate the areas of Christian vocation, leadership, and community building. Students will then work independently in the final six credit hours, preparing for and completing the writing project that brings the course work to bear on a specific practice of ministry.


Course Requirements: Two 3 credits/hours courses each June (second and third week of June) and January (first and second week of January) for a total of 12 credits per year, for two years, for a total of 24 credits, followed by one 3 credits/hours directed study developing the research area for the writing project and one 3 credits/hours course for the Writing project for one year (last summer of course work), for a total of 30 credits in three years, with a possible one year extension.

Complete the 30 credit hours courses with a GPA of 3.0 or above within the time limit of 3 years:

DM 9380    Vocation, Leadership & Community
DM 9370    The Person and Role of a Leader in Ministry
DM 9369    Leadership and Vocation in Church and Community: A Theological/Historical Exploration
DM 9379    Models of Leadership, Social Institutions and Community Engagements
DM 9359    Vocation, Leadership and the Bible in Contexts
DM 9350    Ecclesiology, Community and Models of Leadership
DM 9347    Contextual Analysis
DM 9309    Integrative Seminar and Strategic Planning in Contexts of Change and Transitions
DM 9390    Directed Study (with assigned advisor)
DM 9394    Writing Project Seminar

The Doctor of Ministry Committee

The core of the Writing Project is driven by the courses and the student’s particular interest in integrating course work with a practice of ministry. Therefore, the Director, in consultation with the student and Perkins faculty, will assign a committee composed of the Director, an advisor, and a second reader.  Approval of the writing project is granted by the committee.