Course Catalog

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Doctor of Ministry


The D.Min. 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 insure 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.



The D.Min. 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 D.Min. program. Instructional personnel, both adjunctive and residential, are appointed by the Dean to whom they are directly responsible.



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



The D.Min. 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. DSDM501 (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 D.Min. candidate will complete a minimum of two semesters of Peer Learning Supervision (6 hrs.) 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 D.Min. Director. Candidates will participate in structured supervised peer-learning experiences related to their ministry.



Candidates will design, implement, and reflect upon a self-directed, original project of ministry conducted in the minister’s own ministry setting (minimum 6hrs. - Students who do not complete the project in two semesters must register for DSDM593 each semester until completion).



The D.Min. degree seeks to enhance the capacity of the minister to engage in theological reflection in the real world in the service of the church. Given the diversity of ministry interests, candidates may design their courses of study with the following Program Objectives in mind. These seek to:


  • develop an appropriate biblical theology of worship and, in light of that theology, a capacity to lead effectively the community of faith in corporate worship;
  • develop an appropriate pastoral theology, a level of personal, interpersonal, and spiritual awareness commensurate with mature ministry, and the requisite skills to practice pastoral care in a ministry setting;
  • develop an understanding of the processes of faith development and to administer within a ministry setting effective structures and systems for the nurturing of the same;
  • 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 mission of the church;
  • understand the ministry as a commitment to life-long learning, and to develop appropriate educational strategies within the ministry setting to realize that commitment; 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.



Seminars (1@ 2hrs., 4 @ 4 hrs. each)18 hrs.
Supervision (2 sems. @ 3 hrs. each)6 hrs.
Ministry Projectminimum 6 hrs.*
Total Hours for D.Min. Degree30 hrs.



Tuition ($392 p/hr. X minimum 30 hrs.*)$11,760
R & A Administration Fee$ 250
R & A Proofreader Fee$ 100
Graduation Fee$ 125

*Students who do not complete the Ministry Project in two semesters (minimum 6 hours) must register for DSDM 593, Ministry Project Extension, each semester until completion.



D.Min. 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.




  1. $40.00 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 educational, the remaining two can be personal, professional, or educational)
  4. Church recommendation form (must be filed before beginning first semester)
  5. Immunization history (must meet North Carolina’s immunization standards)
  6. Provide proof of satisfactory criminal background record check for all states of residence for the past five (5) years with a residence verification statement.




  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 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 D.Min. will enrich his/her ministry.
  6. Personal Interview
    • Applicants deemed worthy will be invited to the M. Christopher White School of Divinity for a personal interview with the D.Min. Admissions Committee.
    • At this interview the applicant will be given the opportunity to share his/her understanding of ministry and the D.Min.
    • Based on the applicant’s submitted materials, the D.Min. Admissions Committee will dialog with the applicant to assess his/her readiness for D.Min. 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 School of Divinity Office of 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(s) that occur after the Criminal Record Check has been submitted must be reported immediately to the School of Divinity Office of 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 D.Min. Admissions Committee may request an applicant take this test to evaluate more fully his/her readiness for D.Min. studies.
  • Miller Analogies Test: Although not required of all applicants, the D.Min. Admissions Committee may request an applicant take this test to evaluate his/her readiness for D.Min. studies.


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.




  1. The D.Min. Admissions Committee, consisting of the Dean or the Associate Dean of the School of Divinity, the Director of the D.Min. program, and the Director of Admissions of the School of Divinity, will meet concerning each applicant. His/her readiness for D.Min. 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.




  1. Candidates must complete the admissions criteria as listed above by sending all information to the Director of Admissions by April 14 prior to Fall matriculation. This insures 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
Box 7308
Boiling Springs, NC 28017


Candidates for the D.Min. 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.




Orientation to Gardner-Webb University, the M. Christopher White School of Divinity, and the degree program is required of all candidates and is a component of the first D.Min. seminar, The Ministry as Life-Long Learning.



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



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



All students enrolled in the D.Min. program whose files are active are considered “full time” students. The minimum hour requirement to maintain full time status is 3 hours. There is no “part time” status in the D.Min. program.



In special cases a candidate can petition the D.Min. 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.



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 D.Min. program.



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 D.Min. program. Upon request for an appeal of suspension, the D.Min. director will schedule a time for the D.Min. 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 D.Min. Admissions (Appeals) Committee is final.



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



A candidate can request an incomplete from a professor. The professor 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 is required for each component of supervision (Peer Learning and Self-Directed).


  1. Certification of CPE (which may be substituted for the second semester of Peer Learning Supervision) will be granted when the Director of the D.Min. 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 D.Min. 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;
  3. Certification of Self-Directed Supervision will be granted by the D.Min. Director upon the recommendation of the Faculty Advisor during the project phase of the D.Min. program. The criteria for satisfactory performance is the candidate’s ability to manage his/her time effectively and follow his/her self-imposed time-line for completion of the program. The candidate will also present to the Faculty Advisor a description of assistance and expertise sought and secured.



If any area of supervision is not certified, the candidate has the right to appeal to the D.Min. Director. Upon appeal, the D.Min. 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.



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 Student Handbook).



A candidate for the D.Min. degree makes application for graduation the fall before he/she anticipates graduating in the Spring. D.Min. degrees will be awarded only in the Spring Commencement. The application for graduation will be filed with the Registrar’s Office according to the University academic calendar published annually.



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



The D.Min. 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 D.Min. Director. The candidate is required to pay extension fees for every Fall and Spring semester beyond the Spring semester of the third year.



All written work should be submitted in formal style according to A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th Edition, by Kate L. Turabian. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007,unless the candidate is instructed otherwise by a professor.



Grades will be given on a 4.0 scale with the letter grade “A” representing superior performance and the letter grade “F” representing unacceptable performance.






F=59 and below


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