The culmination of the NES Doctor of Ministry program is the preparation of a well-researched and carefully written dissertation. The 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 completed dissertation will be a publishable document that displays the student’s ability to employ appropriate theological, theoretical, and practical resources in addressing a particular problem related to the nature and practice of ministry.
As the highest professional degree related to the theory and practice of ministry, a fully accredited Doctor of Ministry program must “include the design and completion of a written doctoral-level project that addresses both the nature and the practice of ministry. The project should be of sufficient quality that it contributes to the practice of ministry as judged by professional standards and has the potential for application in other contexts of ministry. The ministry project should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to identify a specific theological topic in ministry, organize an effective research model, use appropriate resources, and evaluate the results, and should reflect the candidate’s depth of theological insight in relation to ministry” (Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools).
In compliance with the foregoing academic and professional standards, Northeastern Seminary has identified the following specific purposes for the Doctor of Ministry dissertation:
- To enhance the student’s understanding and practice of ministry
- To improve the student’s self-directed learning, research, and writing skills
- To make a meaningful contribution to the broader ministerial community’s understanding about the nature and practice of ministry
- To provide the student with an opportunity for publication
The guidelines and procedures outlined here summarize Northeastern Seminary’s distinctive approach to the dissertation process and highlight the Seminary’s commitment to assisting students in the production of a high quality dissertation that fulfills these purposes.