Western Theological Seminary

Doctor of Ministry Degree

We offer you a Doctor of Ministry degree with a missional accent—and without a straightjacket!

Strengthen your practice of ministry by developing your capacity in critical biblical and theological reflection, reliable social research and cultural discernment, and missional vision and practice in ministry. Tailored learning units, peer collegiality, faculty mentoring, and annual on-campus seminars will nourish these capacities for learning and ministry leadership growth.

What makes Western Distinctive?



Over the course of three years, participants gather with peers and faculty members for 2-week annual seminars in May to provide a context for nourishing these capacities.

You will identify learning goals clearly rooted in needs for learning and growth in your ministry setting. Your faculty mentors and peers will help you design personally tailored learning units. These units form the core of your learning activities in a defined arena of ministry practice, culminating in a ministry project.

Personal Attention

kyle&DMin students.jpg

Rev. Dr. Kyle J.A. Small directs the D.Min. program. Dr. Small is the Associate Professor of Christian Leadership and the Associate Dean. He also directs WTS's Master of Divinity programs. Dr. Small is available to help you discern whether a D.Min. program of study is right for you at this time and whether this particular style of program will enhance your learning.

Contact kyle.small@westernsem.edu or 800.392.8554, ext.134.

Commitment to Academic Excellence


The self-designed learning encourages growth at four levels simultaneously:

  • Who you are as a person (emotional and psychological formation)
  • Who you are as a child of God (spiritual and ecclesial formation)
  • What you do (skills formation)
  • What you know (intellectual formation)

Following the third seminar and the completion of five learning units, you will complete a carefully designed project/dissertation, engaging in some practice of ministry shaped by what you have learned in the program and demonstrating that you have met the stated goals of the program. All phases of the program are outlined in detail in the D.Min. Handbook.


reggie-smith.jpg Rev. Dr. Reggie Smith

Pastor, Roosevelt Park CRC, Grand Rapids, MI

One of the things I was looking for in any Doctor of Ministry program was a sense that the professors would be there for me. Western’s professors were interested in my formation as a pastor.

The program maintained a careful balance with constructive feedback on my learning units and creative freedom to pursue the areas that fed my soul and heart in ministry.

The D.Min. program at WTS was not about getting a degree, but making new friends and walking together to lead the most creative thing in the world—the local congregation.”

Courses and Application Requirements

  • Hold a M.Div. degree or its educational equivalent
  • Have at least three years of ministry experience since the M.Div. was completed.
  • Have at least one year of experience in the current ministry setting.
  • Be prepared to participate in seminars for two weeks in May/June in each of the next three years.
  • Application must be completed by January 15 (Cohort begins in May).

Sequence of Courses

DM810 Orientation Seminar

Introduces major components of the program. During the seminar, students refine their program of study and work on designing learning units. Meets for two weeks in May; 4 cr

Learning Units

Learning units are primary building blocks of the D.Min. program. A learning unit is a specific action-reflection exercise that furthers the candidate’s knowledge, skill, and personal competence in ministry in a specific discipline with carefully defined objectives related to the overall program goal. Students develop and complete five learning units.

DM820 Candidate Seminar

Begins the second year of the program, culminating and integrating the first year’s work and providing a foundation for the second year. Meets for two weeks in May; 4 cr

DM830 Project Seminar

Begins the third year, in which students design a project based upon their first two years’ work. Students are expected to have completed four learning units prior to entering this seminar. Meets for two weeks in May; 4 cr

DM840 Project

Design and execution of a project is the final stage of the D.Min. program. The D.Min. project consists of an original investigation or activity in ministry and affords students an opportunity to develop a mature practice of ministry characterized by careful scholarship. 12 cr

Western Theological Seminary

Student Links