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    Harding University
  Mar 08, 2021
2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
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2017-2018 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Doctor of Ministry

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Description: The Doctor of Ministry is a unique seminary degree designed for the enhancement of spiritual leadership in a specific ministry context. It is like a Ph.D. or Th.D. in that it is a terminal degree, but it is distinguished from other doctorates by its focus on applied research in the practice of ministry rather than classical research as a contribution to the academy. The HST D.Min. emphasizes Transforming Leadership. The 34-hour program consists of a core sequence of six      integrated courses that are offered in a two-year cycle. During these two years, students take at least one course each semester - fall, spring, and summer. Some courses are taught as one-week intensives, and others are offered through live interactive streaming (HST LIVE). After the two-year course cycle, students may use the third year to fulfill electives and complete the final dissertation/project. One may finish the D.Min. in three years, though most take four to five years.

Intended Educational Outcomes: All D.Min. graduates are expected to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply research tools to a particular ministry problem and effectively address the problem through managing resources available in the local ministry context.
  • Exhibit the ability to think theologically about contemporary ministry challenges.  
  • Demonstrate effective skills in oral, written, or media performance that will increase one's communication and ministerial effectiveness appropriate to one's particular ministry context.

Program Design

The D.Min consists of 34 hours, divided into coursework, orientation, and dissertation/project.

  • 19 hours of core curriculum which are scheduled in three courses per year (one per semester). These six seminars are organized into a repeated six-semester cycle, and most are offered as one-week intensives.
  • A non-credit orientation. Students must complete the orientation before their first fall seminar. It will be offered as a one-day orientation immediately prior to the seminar.
  • Research skills for ministry taught in three consecutive 1-hour online/streaming seminars during the 4th, 5th, and 6th semesters of enrollment (3 credit hours).
  • 6 hours of electives that may be fulfilled through other HST ministry courses, D.Min. courses at other ATS accredited institutions, or other specialty programs. This could facilitate sub-specialties in numerous areas according to student needs and interests. Students work alongside HST professors to ensure program relevance and academic content and objectives of the electives.
  • Final dissertation/integrative project (6 hours).


Admission Requirements:

  • Master of Divinity Degree: One must have an accredited M.Div. degree (or a master's degree plus equivalent course work) for admission.
  • Ministry Experience: Candidates must have three years of appropriate ministerial experience beyond the first master's degree. A certain percentage of exceptions are allowed.
  • GPA: Applicants must show by official transcript a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). A student who's graduate GPA is between 2.70 and 3.0 may be considered for probationary admission for the D.Min. Probation will be removed upon completing 18 hours of course work that applies to the D.Min degree with a GPA of 3.0.
  • M.Div. Equivalency: Those who hold an accredited master's level theological degree other than the M.Div. may be able to qualify for admission by submitting official transcripts of all previous college and master's work. The admissions committee will determine any leveling requirements. Completing equivalency does not guarantee admission to the D.Min., but it fulfills the educational requirement needed to apply.

Application Process:

  • Complete formal online application: The full application process is found here. It includes a link to the application itself, information on transcript submission, evaluation and recommendation forms, and other questionnaires.
  • Schedule interview: When all credentials have been filed, the applicant should arrange with the chairman of the Admissions Committee for an interview.
  • English proficiency: A score of at least 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (internet-based test) is required on the TOEFL examination of all applicants whose native language is not English. For information on this English language proficiency test, write to TOEFL Services, Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, U.S.A.

Transfer Credit: A maximum of six semester hours of masters-level credit from HST or another ATS accredited institution may be applied toward course requirements for the D.Min. degree, subject to approval. A maximum of six hours of graduate credit in ministry at the M.Div. level may be taken.

Auditing: A D.Min. candidate or graduate can audit any course for a reduced fee.

Financial Information: For those entering HST's D.Min. in Fall 2017 and thereafter, the tuition rate when you begin is locked in for the next three years. (For exact rate see the "Financial Information" section of the catalog.) If you complete the program within three years, you will pay the same rate for your entire program. If you go beyond three years you will pay the tuition rate in effect at that time.

Program: 34 hours

I. Research Skills in Ministry (3)

III. Electives (6 hours)

These may be fulfilled through other HST masters-level courses, D.Min. courses at other ATS accredited institutions, or other specialty programs.1


1 A. Assignment of elective credit.

  1. Students could take HST masters-level courses to receive credit toward their D.Min.
  2. Those who take courses in other accredited ATS D.Min. programs will send official transcripts to HST in order to transfer that credit.
  3. Those who participate in approved outside training/certification programs would be supervised by a faculty member who assures content and guidance practice matches the rigor of HST coursework. After the student finishes the training, HST will grant credit for one or two courses depending on the equivalency determine by supervising faculty.

 B. These electives could conceivably facilitate sub-specialties in numerous areas including spiritual formation, consulting, coaching, clinical pastoral education, etc. HST has no prior arrangements with any organizations, and no specific credit equivalencies have been established with outside programs. Students will work closely with HST D.Min. faculty to arrange training that is best suited to their needs.

IV. Final Project (6 hours)

Additional Requirements

Seminars: Three D.Min. seminars are offered each year, usually requiring 8 days on campus. Seminars are preceded by advanced reading and followed by ministry-related projects. These seminars are designed to apply directly to spiritual growth of the local church and/or greater effectiveness in ministry.

Academic Advising: Students must advise with one of the directors of the D.Min. degree program in selecting seminars that relate to the candidate's specific ministry goals and in developing a research project.

Dissertation: Upon approval of dissertation proposal, the candidate will be assigned a dissertation committee for consultation and evaluation of the research project.

Degree Candidacy: The student should apply for candidacy to the degree during the first week of November of the academic year in which he/she hopes to graduate. The student is responsible for notifying the associate dean if, after applying, he or she is unable to complete graduation requirements.

Statute of Limitations: The D.Min. degree must be completed within six years from enrollment in the first seminar. If a student goes beyond the time limit, he or she may obtain a time extension of one year for each additional three-hour D.Min. seminar successfully completed at Harding School of Theology. A continuation fee of one credit hour is required for any fall semester in which a candidate does not take three hours or more. These credits will be applied toward the six credit hours required for the dissertation/project.

Level of Scholarship: A 3.00 GPA is required to graduate. D.Min. candidates are permitted only three hours of C.

Probation: After completing 12 semester hours and thereafter, students with a cumulative GPA below 3.00 will be placed on academic probation. To remove probation, a student must achieve a 3.00 cumulative GPA during the next 18 hours of study.

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