2016-2017 Student Catalog | Doctor of Ministry Program

Academic Program


Northeastern’s D.Min. program is an in-service curriculum that allows participants to complete the program while remaining in full-time ministry. Classes are offered in one-week intensives in January and June, with extensive pre- and post-seminar assignments and online interaction that allow students to apply class materials to the local setting.


Earning the Doctor of Ministry degree requires completion of 36 credit hours: 10 three-credit classes, plus a 6-credit dissertation. The following six courses are required:

  • Calling and Vocation (opening retreat in residency week)
  • Theological Foundations for Ministry (residence week in January of even years)
  • Scriptural Foundations for Ministry (residence week in June of even years)
  • Spirituality for Ministry (residence week in January of odd years)
  • Transformational Leadership (residence week in June of odd years)
  • Research Methodology (delivered in 3 sections) (see “Dissertation” section for schedule)


The D.Min. curriculum is completed with four additional courses complementing the overall focus on Scripture, spirituality, and Christian leadership. These courses are offered on such topics as Developing Healthy Spiritual Communities, Contemporary Theological Issues, and Preaching and Scripture. Independent studies are available for students who wish to pursue areas of interest not represented in current course offerings.


The program culminates in the writing of a doctoral-level dissertation and publishable paper of one’s process, findings, and learning. This dissertation is intended to make a major contribution to the student’s own understanding of ministry and to the body of knowledge in the field of pastoral ministry.


The following features enrich the NES D.Min. program:


  1. Retreat experiences: Even in the midst of the academic rigor of the D.Min. degree, the intent is to provide students with the gift of time and space for the renewal of your soul. As a result, spiritual formation retreats are an integral part of the rhythm of the program. Entering students begin the D.Min. experience with a three-day, two-night retreat at a reflective/meditative off-site venue. This retreat focuses on understanding one’s ministry journey to date, determining personal growth goals for the rest of the program, and building relationships among the D.Min. students. The first class (Calling and Vocation) is taken in this retreat setting. Each of the remaining required courses also includes a 24-hour retreat during the residence week. In addition, D.Min. students are invited to attend (at no charge) the annual All-Seminary Retreat where the entire NES community gathers for worship, learning, and community.
  2. Online collaboration: Each one-week residency is preceded and followed by opportunities for online interaction with the faculty member and/or fellow students. This online interaction helps to create the collegial learning environment that characterizes the NES D.Min. program, and also allows students to integrate and apply classroom material.
  3. Spiritual formation: A signature feature of the NES D.Min. program is its interwoven emphasis on formative spirituality through a regular rhythm of retreat experiences and coursework. Doctoral students are guided in the development of an integrational theology of human and Christian spirituality that equips them to nurture both their own spiritual formation and that of those they are called to serve within and outside the church.
  4. Exposure to nationally known scholars and practitioners: In addition to the outstanding NES faculty, the D.Min. program is intentional about providing students with access to some of the leading scholars and practitioners of our day. Students may take electives that are built around NES’ Conferences on Ministry and receive focused time with the keynote presenters (past speakers have included Dallas Willard, Reggie McNeal, and Ruth Haley Barton).
  5. Peer Interaction and Reflection: Learning at the doctoral-level is enhanced by the opportunity to be part of a small, highly selective group of peers in ministry. Small class size ensures that the learning environment is highly collegial. Students form meaningful friendships with one another and develop long-term mentoring relationships with the faculty members who guide the class.  
  6. Professional Development: Entering D.Min. participants will experience an extensive, personal, and professional assessment as part of their first class. This experience will be formative in nature and not evaluative. The information gained from this experience will be confidential and will be used by the student and his or her dissertation advisor during the program to enhance spiritual and personal development and effectiveness in ministry.