About the Program
The Doctor of Ministry in spiritual formation and ministry leadership offers a comprehensive curriculum track that focuses on the real-world skills ministry leaders need today. The ultimate goal is to renew and transform ministry leaders, churches, and communities toward those of Jesus Christ.
In general, the goals of the Doctor of Ministry Program focus on growth in specific skills for spiritual formation and ministry leadership. In this context, doctoral scholarship and research are emphasized to bring theory and praxis into practical ministry application. The program seeks to accomplish these goals by focusing on the following outcomes:
- Personal Spiritual Formation: Students will learn the theory and practice of personal spiritual formation, develop habits for continued spiritual growth, develop a theology of spiritual formation, and apply this knowledge personally.
- Ministry Leadership: Students will gain knowledge of leadership development, personal leadership styles, the art of spiritual leadership, and learn how to apply this knowledge in ministry practice.
- Community Impact: Students will study historical and contemporary church movements and reflect on contemporary concerns in the practice of ministry. Students will learn how to apply their knowledge in local ministry practice and will make a contribution to the greater Christian community.
The faculty of Azusa Pacific Seminary believe that the growth of the student’s spiritual life is foundational to effective ministry. Accordingly, the development of spiritual life is integral to every course. In addition, there are opportunities for the graduate school community to pray together and share experiences in Jesus Christ. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend the university chapels as well as special services and lectures.
Azusa Pacific Seminary utilizes an experiential learning model. The Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), Master of Arts in Youth Ministry (MAYM), and the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) programs intentionally integrate biblical, theological, and ministerial studies with ministerial practice. Field education, the central component in the M.Div., MAPS, and MAYM degree programs, facilitates the integration of academic learning and experience in ministry. Students are required to devote at least eight hours per week to some form of supervised ministry for the duration of their master’s degree program.
For more information about field education, visit apu.edu/seminary/fieldeducation/.
Class Schedule and Size
Azusa Pacific Seminary at Azusa Pacific University conducts a year-round schedule. The majority of the programs adhere to 15-week semesters. The D.Min., however, runs on a 26-week semester.
Classroom experience is in concentrated sessions during two-week residency periods held each January and July.
Students benefit from personal attention and opportunities to build meaningful relationships with professors and peers with diversified ministerial experience.
Each course is structured to include three components which incorporate the theoretical, practical, and collegial aspects of the learning experience:
- Preliminary Reading
Assigned reading that must be completed prior to the classroom experience, fulfilling a requirement of 1,800–2,000 pages of reading for a three-unit course and 2,400–2,500 pages for a four-unit course. The reading provides the theoretical basis for the analysis of practical situations in ministry.
- Classroom Experience (English program)
Classroom experience for the D.Min. is in concentrated sessions during two-week residency periods held each January and July. The residency periods involve significant interaction with a faculty instructor in a peerlearning, seminar format. The faculty instructor serves as a facilitator of discussion in a collegial atmosphere, using his or her academic and practical experience to bring in-depth analysis, critical thinking, integration, and application to the topic.
- Classroom Experience (Korean program)
The Doctor of Ministry Korean program follows APU’s academic calendar. Each class meets multiple times during the semester in one-day intensive sessions utilizing lecture and discussion formats. In this way, courses provide opportunity for critical reflection and application of content over a period of several months.
Students must achieve a minimum grade of B- in order to receive credit for work in a course. If a student receives a grade of C+ or lower in a course, the course may be repeated, and the new grade, if higher, will replace the former grade in the computation of the grade-point average.
- Course Project
An extensive post-classroom project provides an opportunity to synthesize the reading and the classroom discussions and apply them to a ministerial situation. The results of this reflection are then submitted in the form of a paper with a minimum length of 5,000 words (20 pages).
Students will demonstrate academic and practical learning through completion of a major written project. They will conduct research and develop and write their project in a ministry practice field of interest. Ordinarily the project will be a minimum of 100 pages and a maximum of 250 pages long. Complete information on the doctoral project process and standards is available from the Office of the Doctor of Ministry.
Because of the specialized nature of the program, transfer credit must be evaluated by the director of the D.Min. program. A maximum of six semester units of doctoral-level work which have been completed within the past eight years will be allowed as transfer credit.
Additional Degree Requirements
Full-time status in the D.Min. program is 8 units per term. Students who enroll in at least 4 units are considered to be half time.
A maximum of 16 units of coursework may be completed during one calendar year, requiring a minimum of two years for completion of all required coursework. The written doctoral project may be completed in the third year. The minimum time required for completing the program is three years, and the maximum time allowed is seven years from the time of enrollment.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students will be considered for candidacy for the Doctor of Ministry after satisfactory completion of 16 units of coursework (minimum of 3.0 GPA in all coursework, with no grade less than B-), satisfactory completion of two doctoral project seminars, approval of the student’s doctoral project proposal by the director and the D.Min. committee, and an interview with the director. Final approval for candidacy is granted by the D.Min. committee.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many units do I take each quarter/semester?
While there are no minimum or maximum unit requirements, 9 units is considered a full-time schedule.
How long is a semester?
Semesters generally run for 15 weeks.
How many hours does each class session require?
Both once a week classes, which last for 4 hours and 15 minutes, and twice a week classes, which run for 2 hours each, are available.
How many students will there be in my classes?
Most classes will average 15–18 students.
How many evenings per week do I attend classes?
Classes usually meet once a week, but some are offered twice a week.