Doctor of Ministry Frequently Asked Questions

Deciding to pursue a doctoral degree can be both exciting and intimidating. As you consider the question “Should I get a DMin?” this page may help you in your discernment. We’ve gathered some of the most frequently asked questions to help you discern whether a DMin program is a good fit for you.

What is a DMin?

The Doctor of Ministry Degree is generally a cohort-driven professional doctoral degree providing space for renewal, growth, companionship among peers, and rich dialogue with faculty.

Can I do a DMin without an MDiv?

The MDiv is considered a pre-requisite for the DMin. In some cases, however, equivalence can be granted. Equivalency is based on graduate divinity studies meeting the ATS standard of 72 semester hours with the same breadth of the MDiv curriculum. If you are interested in pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree, but do not have an MDiv, please contact the DMin Office to find out more about equivalency.

What’s the difference between a DMin and a PhD?

People often wonder what makes a Doctor of Ministry different from a PhD. Perhaps they’re looking at doing a DMin or PhD and want to make sure they have all the facts straight, or maybe they’re comparing the two credentials.

One of the differences is that a PhD culminates in a dissertation and is primarily focused on theoretical research, which may or may not have obvious practical application. A DMin, on the other hand, culminates in a project, typically with practical application. For examples of the differences between DMin project and PhD dissertations, see “Does the Doctor of Ministry Require a Dissertation” below.

Another difference is the time length. DMin programs at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary typically take three years. PhD programs range in length and typically take at least five years.

Often, PhD programs prepare students for teaching or research, whereas the DMin degree prepares students for deeper or more effective ministry.

Ultimately, if you’re considering a DMin vs PhD, one of the best things you can do is talk to the director of Pittsburgh Seminary’s DMin program to find out which is right for you! E-mail doctorofministry@pts.edu.

Does the Doctor of Ministry require a dissertation?

A DMin typically culminates in a project, not a dissertation.

For example, a PhD dissertation may be titled something like the following:

  • “A Question of Authority: Protestants in Virginia and the Carolinas and the Tension Between Religion and Politics, 1835-1861”
  • “Jesus and the Galilean Crisis: Interpretation, Reception, and History”
  • “ Studies in the Archaeology and History of Israelite Samaria”
  • “Preaching ‘As if Nothing Had Happened’: Karl Barth’s Emergency Homiletic 1932-1933”
  • “‘Newter’-ing the Nicodemite: Reception of John Calvin’s Quatre sermons (1552) in Sixteenth-Century England”

On the other hand, a DMin culminates in a project, typically with practical application. Here are examples of DMin projects:

  • “Grief Recovery Ministry in the Local Church”
  • “An experiment in Reformed Revival in New Castle, Pennsylvania”
  • “Missional Covenant Groups”
  • “Investigating Technological Futurism's Potential Role in Humanity's Participation in Bringing About God's Renewal of the World”

Final DMin projects are bound and placed in Pittsburgh Seminary’s Barbour Library. Feel free to browse the theses in our catalog!

What can I do with a Doctor of Ministry? What are Doctor of Ministry jobs?

The Doctor of Ministry degree is designed to enrich and deepen the ministries of its graduates. For examples of what DMin graduates go on to do, check out these profiles. 

The Rev. Dr. Linda Morgan-Clement (DMin '05)

The Rev. Dr. Andrew Kort (DMin '17)

What does DMin stand for?

DMin stands for “Doctor of Ministry” and is a terminal doctoral degree. 

For more information, see "What is a DMin?" above.

Where can I find Doctor of Ministry project examples?

See “Does the Doctor of Ministry require a dissertation?” above.

What should I look for in a top DMin program?

Several things are important in a DMin program. 

  • Make sure that the school where you complete the degree is well established and highly regarded.
  • Be sure you are excited to work with the director of the program.
  • Consider what past graduates are doing (see examples above or read our stories on the Doctor of Ministry homepage).
  • Review past final projects (see examples above).
  • Consider possible concentrations.
  • Evaluate the cost.