Doctor of Ministry (DMIN)

The advanced professional degree offered by Golden Gate Seminary is the Doctor of Ministry degree, which requires completion of 29 hours of advanced seminary work beyond the Master of Divinity degree. It is a three-year non-residential degree program to enhance maturity in ministerial leadership identity, understanding, and skills among ministry practitioners possessing a foundational seminary degree and significant experience in the practice of ministry.


  1. Candidates will demonstrate theological competence in ministry leadership, spiritual formation, and ministry relationships
  2. Candidates will possess a theoretical understanding of ministry leadership, spiritual formation, and ministry relationships
  3. Candidates will master theological reflection upon the practice of ministry
  4. Candidates will exhibit advanced scholarship through research and writing
  5. Candidates will exhibit advanced ministry competence through a major ministry project and report
  6. Candidates will evidence the practice of ministry reflection through mentoring, peer support, and interaction with ministry participants
  7. Candidates will integrate personal learning and growth goals into program activities


Because people minister out of who they are, not just out of what they know, this program is designed to focus on the candidates and their learning needs. This program design enables the candidates to become more informed, intentional, and integrated in how they approach ministry. The intended outcomes are greater self-understanding and a stronger ability to integrate theological and theoretical concepts into life and ministry. The program culminates in an advanced Ministry Project where theology, theory, and skills are integrated in a way that positively impacts the candidate's ministry setting.

The DMIN program is designed for completion in three years, with six years as a maximum. After three years in the program, an extension fee will be charged for any additional semester approved for a candidate by the DMIN Committee. Travel time and expenses are minimized by starting DMIN tracks at accessible sites in different regions. Short-term, intensive formats for seminars are utilized, and two required seminars are scheduled back-to-back in the same locale so the candidates need not be absent from their ministry setting more than ten to twelve days at a time.

With Golden Gate's DMIN, the candidate is a person, not a number. The vocational and cultural diversity of the DMIN candidates provides a rich environment for learning and growth. It is hoped that this program will be seriously considered for this next stage in the student's professional development.

To request an electronic application pack by email, please contact the DMIN Office by emailing

Program Components and Customization

The DMIN program was designed to provide the candidate with opportunities to specialize in relation to his/her ministry vocation. The Specialist Seminars, Ministry Mentoring, and the Ministry Project give the student significant latitude to personalize his/her learning.

Seminars    The DMIN program includes eight seminars (15 hours credit total). There are three categories of seminars:
  • Program Seminars orient the student to the program and prepare him/her for the Ministry Project.
  • Core Seminars help integrate ministry function with biblical, historical, and theological disciplines.
  • Specialist Seminars are customized learning experiences to fit the student's educational needs. They may be seminars offered by Golden Gate, another institution, or a tutorial offered by a qualified person, as approved by the Track Coordinator.
Ministry Mentoring     Ministry Mentoring (8 hours credit) provides the student with significant feedback and mentoring in a supportive context. Normally, it lasts a minimum of 18 months and includes regular interaction and feedback from a Field Mentor, laypersons, and peers. This focuses on both personhood issues and professional development.

Ministry Project    The conducting of a Ministry Project and the preparation of an acceptable project report are the culminating activities in the Doctor of Ministry program (6 hours credit). The project calls the student to take full initiative in developing a prospectus (in-depth project design), implementing and evaluating the project, and preparing a report. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate competencies in planning, guiding, evaluating, and reporting on a significant ministry event in which the student integrates personhood, theology, theories, and skills.

Any significant area of the candidate's ministry offers possibilities for a project. The project must evidence an innovative and situation-specific approach that involves the student in leading persons in ministry to accomplish targeted objectives. Personalized guidance is offered in helping the student fashion a meaningful Ministry Project.

About Cohorts

In a cohort-based program, candidates join a peer learning community containing eight to 15 candidates. Each cohort has a distinctive focus that is built around the specific learning needs of those in the cohort.

Normally, three or four new cohorts begin each academic year. Start dates vary, with seminars usually taking place every six months in January, the summer months, and November.

The program focuses on developing personal maturity, leadership character, and ministry effectiveness through:
  • Personalized learning goals
  • Relevant seminars taught by seminary faculty and leading practitioners
  • Specialist seminars
  • Field-based mentoring and ministry support/feedback
  • Cultural and vocational diversity within cohorts, and
  • Theological reflection and integration
Our candidates emerge with greater self-understanding and a stronger ability to integrate theological and theoretical concepts into life and ministry.

About Tracks

Other specialized tracks may focus on healthy churches, international missions, mission strategy, chaplains or language-specific ministry. Korean tracks are available.

General and specialized cohorts begin about three times each year, in various locations.

Admission Requirements

Requirements for Admission Applicants are to complete all general requirements for admission to the Seminary.

The application for admission to the Seminary and the DMIN program, along with all other requirements, must normally be completed five months prior to the start of the first seminar in order to secure approval and have the needed time for pre-seminar reading. If an applicant does not begin work toward the degree within one year of admission, a new application must be submitted.

Previous GGBTS master's degree applicants/students: The permanent application/student file already contains transcripts from colleges and universities. Applicants will need to arrange only for transcripts for any additional studies completed at colleges, universities, and seminaries since the last application to GGBTS.

The following cluster of data is considered in determining approval of an applicant's entrance as a candidate in the Doctor of Ministry program:
  1. The MDIV degree, or its equivalent, from an institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and/or regional accrediting body. For applicants who have a ministry-based master's degree other than the MDIV, the following guidelines will be used to evaluated MDIV equivalency. A total of 72 hours, which would include the following:
    • 20 hours in Biblical Foundations including: Introduction to Old Testament and Introduction to New Testament.
    • 12 hours in Theological/Historical Foundations including: Survey of Christianity and Christian Theology.
    • 32 hours in Leadership Skills Formation including: Public Speaking for Christian Educators/Preaching/Communication, Missions/Evangelism and Theological Field Education.
    • The remaining 8 hours will be free electives.
    Candidates with deficiencies in the above areas may be allowed to take up to 10 hours of leveling work concurrent with the program. All deficiencies must be removed before beginning implementation of the Ministry Project. The candidate will work closely with the Track Coordinator to develop an approved schedule for removing any deficiencies.
  2. Seminary Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. An applicant with a seminary GPA lower than 3.0 is required to take the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) as an additional measurement of his/her academic capabilities for succeeding in the program. The MAT can be taken at a university testing center and is normally given either on demand or at specifically scheduled times. To apply to take the MAT, go to This website gives information about the test and a sample test as well. Applicants need to be aware that it frequently takes four to six weeks to obtain a MAT score. This should be taken into consideration for meeting the DMIN application deadline.
    • "Provisional Acceptance." An applicant may be granted "provisional acceptance" if his/her entrance data is not sufficient to indicate candidacy, or if grade point average and MAT score are marginally lower, but ministry (as determined by references, years in ministry, essay, and interview) is significantly above average. The Track Coordinator will review work of provisional applicants after their first six months in the program and recommend to the DMIN Committee if they should be granted candidate status. If the Committee determines the "provisional applicant" should not continue in the program, he/she will be terminated from the program.
  3. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who do not have English as their first language and who do not take the MAT will be required to take the TOEFL exam, including the Test of Spoken English portion. They must score at least 575 on the standard paper-based TOEFL . Applicants using the Internet-based TOEFL exam must score at least 90.
    • For Korean Bilingual applicants only: Applicants with an MDiv from a properly accredited Korean -based program will take an in-house, proctored English test as outlined in the DMin Guidebook.
    • For persons who have graduated with an undergraduate or graduate degree from an ATS-accredited English language-based institution, the testing requirement is waived.
    • Persons who otherwise meet all the entrance criteria with the exception of the required TOEFL scores will be encouraged to address their English deficiencies. Once they have addressed those deficiencies to the point that they can obtain the required TOEFL scores, they will be considered for acceptance into the program.
  4. Three years of substantial post-seminary ministry experience. Positions held while a college or seminary student will not normally meet this requirement. A staff position or its equivalent that provided opportunity for demonstrating qualifications for ministry will constitute substantial ministry experience.
  5. Applicants must have specific and adequate positions of ministry. A bivocational applicant will need to provide evidence that the ministry setting and ministry involvement are sufficient to meet the educational goals of the DMIN program.
  6. Statement of Conversion and Call. Applicants submit a maximum two-page essay (typed and double-spaced) that overviews their experience of becoming a Christian and decision to pursue ministry as a calling.
  7. Ministry Essay. Applicants also submit a ministry essay of at least eight to ten pages (typed and double-spaced) setting forth his/her understanding of ministry and his/her ability to communicate that understanding. The essay needs to address each of the following areas:
    • Philosophy of ministry.
    • Past ministry experience.
    • Current ministry situation, including position, nature of responsibilities and accomplishments, organizations, and programs.
    • Goals for personal and professional development in ministry practice.
    • Specific ways the DMIN Program will help in achieving these goals.
  8. Institutional Approval Form. The church, institution, or agency in which the applicant ministers will provide the Seminary a statement of its approval of the applicant and its willingness to participate in the applicant's program of study and practice. This form is used to determine an applicant's denominational status, in terms of tuition.
  9. References. An applicant will submit references to testify to his/her commitment to and effectiveness in ministry. (The DMIN Office will contact these individuals directly with its standard reference form.)
  10. Interview. The Director or Associate Director will conduct or supervise an interview with each applicant.

Progress in the DMIN Program of Study

Under the direction of the DMIN Committee, the candidate’s academic work and ministry practice will be evaluated periodically.
  • No credit will be given for any seminar or project in which the candidate fails to make an acceptable grade. If a candidate makes a failing grade in more than one seminar, the track coordinator will evaluate the wisdom of continuing in the program with the candidate and make appropriate recommendations to the DMin Committee.
  • After approval of a prospectus, and the completion of all other seminars and DM 410, the candidate may begin the field project.

Graduation Requirements

  • The DMIN program is designed for completion in three academic years, with six years as a maximum. After three years, additional extension fees are charged. After six years, the candidacy expires.
  • Each candidate is required to conduct a specific and tenable Ministry Project. Suggestions, guidelines, and requirements for choosing the project are contained in the DMIN Program Guidebook.
  • The candidate is expected to achieve an acceptable level of professional competence in ministry, as well as meet the specific requirements for the degree.
  • Graduation will be by action of the faculty upon completion of all requirements.

Course Requirements

Course Title Course # Hours
Program Seminars
An introduction to the components and expectations of the DMIN program.
DM 400 1
Research Tools and Methods for DMIN Projects
This seminar will assist the candidate in developing basic skills for doing effective theological and theoretical research, especially as it relates to the development of a Prospectus and Project Report. Candidates will also gain an understanding of how to engage in responsible Internet research.
DM 420 1
Project Planning Seminar
An overview of the elements necessary to conceptualize a Ministry Project, prepare an adequate Ministry Project Prospectus, and write an acceptable Ministry Project Report.
DM 422 1

Core Seminars
The Theory and Practice of Ministry and Leadership
Study of biblical, theological and theoretical concepts of ministry and leadership, with particular emphasis on the relation between these concepts and the performance of the minister’s tasks.
DM 411 3
Spiritual Formation
An examination of the nature and development of spiritual life, especially as it relates to the minister.
DM 414 2
The Ministry of Personal Relationships
The function of the minister in relationships with those to whom and with whom he/she ministers.
DM 417 3
Specialist Seminars
Proclamation and Worship
An examination of the minister’s task in communicating the gospel through preaching and worship planning.
DM 423 2
Candidate-Arranged External Seminar
A seminar relating to the special form of the candidate’s ministry.
DM 424 2
Alternative Specialist Seminar Options
Principles and Practices of Ministry Supervision DM 425 2
Context, Culture, and Missions DM 426 2
Track Specific Seminar I DM 427 2
Track Specific Seminar II DM 428 2

Special Seminar in Ministry

A flexible program designed to take advantage of unique learning opportunities and to meet the specialized interests of DMin candidates and special students. Among the possibilities are seminars led by visiting professors or covering a special emphasis.
DM 429 2
Program Components
Ministry Mentoring
The Ministry Mentoring component is required for all candidates. Normally it will last a minimum of eighteen months and include regular interaction and feedback from a Field Mentor, laypersons, and peers. Candidates will also develop a customized Learning Covenant and will be guided toward intentional reflection on and evaluation of their ministries.
DM 410 8
Ministry Project
Each candidate will plan, guide, evaluate, and report on a significant Ministry Project in which personhood, theology, theories, and skills are integrated. Candidates may begin the project after the completion of all seminar requirements. All deficiencies related to entrance criteria also must be completed before beginning the project. It will be especially important that the candidate maintain close contact with the Ministry Project Committee during the entire period of work on his/her Ministry Project.
DM 430 6

For full-time student verification, students must be enrolled in a DMin cohort and registered for at least 8 semester hours per year and/or the Ministry Project, DM 430. The DMin cohort program is a year-round, non-semester-based degree program. It includes Ministry Supervision DM 410, a 24 month program of study for 8 academic hours. VA students, please see Registrar for full-time student verification and additional information.

Upcoming Tracks and Locations
Benefits of Doctor of Ministry Program
Professors and Practitioners
Testimonies From Graduates
Measures of Religiosity (Requires Password)
Program Guidebook

To request more information about the program