Doctor of Ministry
54 CREDITS, 4 YEARS
About the Degree
The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree equips students to be mindful agents of change as influential leaders for a more just and humane world. Student-practitioners serve and impact evolving local and global communities in concrete ways. The program begins with an 11-day summer residency, followed by two 4-day residencies in the fall and winter. Students continue in a program of study in which they develop expertise in an area of ministerial growth or specialization, culminating in service to church and community. By fostering collaboration, graduates expand their capacity for leading congregations and religiously affiliated organizations.
Summer residencies in the month of July over a two-year period is required of all DMin students. In the first year, an additional one week of residency is required in the Fall Quarter and one week in the Winter Quarter. Courses are available in a variety of learning modules, including transfer options, weekend and summer intensives, and hybrid distance learning availability throughout the program of study.
The program is built with a deep recognition of the nuanced context of our evolving world–the realities of globalization, cultural and religious diversity, hunger for spirituality, and socio-economic marginalization. The program melds areas of advanced study with an advanced leadership focus, culminating with the completion of a major research project.
Applicants are required to have earned a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution with no less than a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, on a scale of 4.0. Equivalency may be obtained, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, by such factors as possession of two master’s degrees in fields related to ministry. Students not meeting these requirements are encouraged to take graduate theological courses, which may be accepted, along with other graduate degrees already obtained, towards equivalency. Ministerial experience may not be considered as equivalent to, or a substitute for, the MDiv degree. International students must present an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
The Doctor of Ministry requires a demonstrated exercise of pastoral leadership. References from communities or organizations served by the applicant will attest to the applicants’ leadership of the community. Those wishing to pursue the Doctor of Ministry degree must have completed a minimum of three years of full-time professional ministerial experience subsequent to the MDiv degree or its equivalent.
All applicants must be currently involved in Church ministry or a related leadership position. One recommender must attest to the applicant’s religious, moral and intellectual qualifications for ministry. The recommender must: A) be someone who is qualified to attest to the applicant’s academic ability; B) be from a person who knows the quality of the applicant’s pastoral ministry/ leadership.
Below is a list of degree requirements for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
- All credits are quarter credits
- Years average is based on FT at 3 classes per quarter
I. Leadership Core
- Envisioning Leadership I & II
- Healthy Systems in Ministry I & II
- Leading from Spiritual Depth I – III
- Sustaining Pastoral Excellence I – IV
- Engaging Society with Gospel Values I – IV
- Social Analysis: Skills for Unpacking Society’s Problems I – III
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Doctoral Project Seminar
III. Specialization Area
This area of discovery allows the student-practitioner to specialize in specific areas of ministry that deepen his/her understanding and contribution to pastoral ministry. In the beginning, the student-practitioner may choose to begin with the curriculum the School of Theology and Ministry already offers and is known for in theological circles: ecumenical and interreligious leadership; leadership from spiritual depth; chaplaincy; and transformational pastoral leadership. In addition, student-practitioners may choose from a variety of fields available within Seattle University to build a specialized or interdisciplinary focus of expertise.
- Ecumenical / Interreligious
- Pastoral / Transformational / Spiritual Leadership
IV. Doctoral Project
Once a doctoral candidate’s project proposal is approved, the student-practitioner registers for STMD 6990 and begins research and writing under the direction of the student’s doctoral committee chair. In the following quarters, the student continues to register for STMD 6990 until the doctoral project is complete and course credits are exhausted. No more than 9 credits can be earned through the doctoral project. Doctoral candidates may register for them in consecutive quarters or intersperse them with other coursework throughout the entire length of the degree following approval of the proposal.
- Doctoral Project
For complete course descriptions, credit information and more please visit the SU Academic Catalog.
DMin student-practitioners who complete this degree will be able to:
- Demonstrate responsiveness to the varying needs of religiously-affiliated communities and organizations;
- Demonstrate capacity to lead diverse populations through systemic change;
- Develop practical leadership skills to build effective team-oriented approaches through collaboration and consensus building;
- Demonstrate social research skills appropriate to addressing and proposing solutions to pastoral issues and problems;
- Develop skills for designing, critiquing, and implementing relevant research to affect ministerial effectiveness in advancing social justice, and enacting effective change;
- Demonstrate oral and written communication competency.
Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry has been awarded a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. which includes scholarships for six early career pastors, with three to ten years of ministerial leadership, who are pursuing a Post-Master’s Certificate in Pastoral Leadership or a Doctor of Ministry Degree. For more information on the Early Career Pastor’s Scholarship click here.
We’ve reimagined what it looks like to meld classroom learning with practicum and internship learning throughout each degree program. The School of Theology and Ministry’s Contextual Education internship program places students with nonprofit-organizations, hospitals, government agencies, for-profit companies, and places of worship for the purpose of integrating student learning with meaningful work in the greater Seattle community.
Outcomes – Vocations of Alumni
- Associate Managing Editor, Human Rights & Welfare
- Regional Director, Peacebuilding Nonprofit
- Development Director
- Food Bank Executive Director
- Government, Deputy City Clerk
- President & Lead Consultant, Consulting Firm
- Adjunct Instructor
- Educational Program Director
- Spiritual Direction
- Life Coach
- Assistant Director, Missional Leadership Programs
Joanne Sanders, Doctor of Ministry
Joanne Sanders has spent much of her career in higher education. Working as the Associate Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University in California, her work encompasses a mission to guide, nurture and enhance spiritual and religious life within the university community.
Looking to explore and deepen her own leadership, Joanne appreciated the opportunity the School of Theology and Ministry offered to pursue a Doctor of Ministry degree while maintaining her job at Stanford. The Doctor of Ministry degree created a path that would allow Joanne to integrate her own research, academic interests, and passions into a vocational context as a religious leader in higher education. “I am also deeply appreciative of Seattle University’s strong commitment to Jesuit education, which is so aligned with my own values and experiences from an academic and religious perspective,” Joanne adds.
For Joanne, the Doctor of Ministry degree would further strengthen and deepen her expertise and credibility, while providing a way to remain actively engaged in theological and religious education.
“I specifically chose a DMin rather than a Ph.D. because of the contextual, integrated, and interdisciplinary learning and leadership that I wanted to engage and explore at this point in my career,” Joanne explains. “A Doctor of Ministry will help create possibilities for more advanced roles in higher education and beyond.”
In addition to academics and career paths, Joanne’s sense of spiritual and religious leadership has been uniquely strengthened through her time at the School of Theology and Ministry. She explains, “It is validating and encouraging all at the same time as we work to help others flourish and live whole lives. I have gained much confidence in leadership and my own ability to authentically bring my whole self into the work I do at Stanford. This growth has made me a more grounded and empathic leader as well.” She also has found her classes to be relevant to those working in a wide range of fields, and she appreciates the depth and breadth of religious leadership training in a secular environment.
Joanne sees the School of Theology and Ministry as an institution that will transform and transcend people’s expectations. She reminds others, “In the midst of full lives, there will be times when you wonder whether or not you can do this. You can, and you will be deeply enriched by the commitment and diligence you encounter not only within yourself, but those around you. You have chosen a place that will illuminate the relevance and need for thoughtful spiritual and religious leadership, which is so essential to our future as a global and human community.”
Larry Walls, Doctor of Ministry
Although he is officially retired, Larry Walls, a student in the School of Theology and Ministry’s Doctor of Ministry program, is a life-long learner. After a 25 year career as a Naval Officer in the Submarine Force (during which he completed a BA in business), Larry retired from the Navy and began working as a volunteer chaplain at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton. He eventually took over as Head Chaplain, which brought him to the School of Theology and Ministry for the first time. He completed a Master of Divinity degree at the school in 2013, and upon leaving his position as Head Chaplain, was unsure what his next step in life would be. However, as Larry describes it, the Doctor of Ministry Degree chose him, and he joined the very first cohort of Doctor of Ministry candidates.
Larry was attracted to the diversified student body and staff, and has found it to be a rich opportunity to learn from others of different faith traditions and theological backgrounds. However, opening himself up to other belief systems proved to be difficult for him at times. When he began at the school, Larry was steeped in the learning of his own tradition. Others had warned him of the possibility that he would be swayed by a “liberal school.” He describes himself as arriving with his fists balled up, ready to fight off any attempt to move him from the dogma of his beliefs. He recounts a moment of transformation when one of his professors looked at him and said, “Larry, unclench your fist!” Larry says this was just what he needed to hear in order to allow himself to learn and grow in the rich and transformative environment that the school offers.
Larry hopes to continue to use his doctoral studies to serve other communities. He believes that a study of theology at the lay level of churches could prove to be transformative in moving church communities into the future.
Larry sees the School of Theology and Ministry as a place for students to deconstruct what they know so that they can then reconstruct with new insights. His hope for future students is that they will come ready to be challenged and learn so that by the end of their studies, they too can hold their traditions, beliefs, and practices in their hands as an empowered choice.
Vicki Jo Farley, Doctor of Ministry
Vicki Jo Farley found herself at the School of Theology and Ministry because of a desire to work in the area of spiritual formation and end-of-life care. After completing her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree at the School of Theology and Ministry, Vicki focused on her career and gained experience in the field while completing continuing education courses to become a board-certified chaplain. With a desire to continue her education and ministerial leadership development, she chose to pursue the Doctor of Ministry program because of its flexibility in on-campus and online courses.
With a passion for growing her spirituality, Vicki envisions this degree aiding in a career of spiritual care and formation. Vicki reflects that the classes offered at the School of Theology and Ministry are practical and challenging. “The classes brought together the strength I have in my religious voice and how to use it in different social contexts and the public square.”
She continues, “These classes have expanded my horizons regarding how I engage patients as they come to the end of life. I am cognizant of their social context and the Gospel values they have experienced both positively and negatively. I have used the concept of restorative justice in helping them reconcile relationships.”
Vicki has experienced personal growth throughout the program and is looking at spiritual formation at the seminary level to guide others on their spiritual path. “I have found my voice and am using it to engage patients and families around relationships, justice, and what they value in the Gospel of their choosing.”
Scott Anderson, Doctor of Ministry
Scott Anderson’s longstanding relationship with the School of Theology and Ministry traces back long before he decided to pursue the Doctor of Ministry degree. With each experience and interaction, Scott was drawn more deeply into the mission and vision of the school, becoming more convinced of the richness of its ecumenical vision and in-depth scholarship around questions of leadership and spirituality. When the School of Theology and Ministry developed a Doctor of Ministry degree program, he says, “The choice was easy.”
In his time at the School of Theology and Ministry, Scott has valued the school’s big-hearted community that is religiously, socially, economically, sexually, and racially diverse. Describing himself as “a person who is privileged by just about every standard,” he has appreciated the opportunity to grow in his understanding of privilege among a community of such grace. He hopes it is making him a better disciple of the Christian Way, and an agent for justice and reconciliation in the world.
One lesson Scott has learned from his professor, Dr. Lê Xuân Hý, speaks to the challenge of developing an understanding across cultural divides. Dr. Lê Xuân Hý taught how the diversity within is bigger than the diversity between. For Scott, this meant, “We share far more as humans than we have differences. Paying attention to our similarities enable us to draw insight and strength from what makes us different.”
Scott’s education and church leadership continually impact one another. The school has connected Scott with a community of people working for justice. Many of his colleagues are also graduates of the School of Theology and Ministry. Together, they are engaged in developing non-profits closely partnered with churches to address questions of homelessness.
In addition, his experience as a pastor guides the questions he asks in his academic work, and he uses what he has learned in class to address current church issues. Scott has recently added some teaching roles that are a direct result of the completion of his degree. He has also used his studies to help his congregation and denomination understand and navigate the seismic changes that all churches and institutions are currently facing.
Scott says his experience has convinced him that we need new ways of being that recognize, and then strengthen, our deep connections without losing what is unique and extraordinary about each of us. He adds:
“The School of Theology and Ministry, more than any educational institution I have encountered, is engaged in pioneering theological formation that prepares leaders and their institutions for the rapidly shifting landscape we are all trying to navigate.”
When you click on the “Apply Now” button below, it will redirect you to the Seattle University Application System, where you will need to register and create an account in order to apply. We look forward to receiving your application.
About the Curator
Rt. Rev. Edward Donalson III, DMin
Interim Director of Doctor of Ministry,
Assistant Clinical Professor at Seattle University
Educator, author, thought coach, and multi-media personality, Rt. Rev. Edward Donalson III, DMin is a visionary with a dynamic message of empowerment.
Born in Philadelphia, PA and cultivated in Seattle, WA as a bi-coastal youth, he developed a heart for diversity and an ability to navigate all socioeconomic, educational, and ethnic spheres. Traveling nationally as a guest lecturer, workshop clinician, and preacher since 1996, he is a constructive theologian with a liberative lens. His scholarship centers intersectional theology as an emerging discipline.
With a Bachelor of Theology, a Masters of Art in Global Leadership and a Doctorate of Ministry. Married eighteen years to Ujima E. Donalson, CPC, NLPP, M.Ed., and father of one daughter. Dr. Donalson speaks a life affirming message to all people.
Dr. Donalson has authored 7 books: Moments of Worship; More Moments of Worship; THINK! Retooling Your Mind for Kingdom Success; THINK Again! The Roadmap to Kingdom Greatness; Unlocking the Genius Within: Essays on Greatness; Get Your Life: Affirmations, Inspirations, and Intentions, and In My Own Words; the Contemplative Life of a 21st Century Bishop, and is also the compiler of two anthologies: On Becoming and Yes I’m a Christian; a Practical Theology for an Emerging Generation. He is host of Curated Conversations on Justice in partnership with Genesis Global Spiritual Center (CSL).
Dr. Edward Donalson, III currently serves as Senior Pastor of Kingdom Family Worship Center Int’l and is the Presiding Prelate of Freedom Assemblies Worldwide. He is the current President of the United Ecumenical College of Bishops while concurrently serving the College of Affirming Bishops. As a member of the College of Affirming Bishops he sits on the Theological Education Council of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. Dr. Donalson is also the Bishop of Operations for the P.U.R.E. Ministries International Fellowship Churches and serves both on the King County Juvenile Justice Steering Committee and The City of Kent Community Police Race Relations Taskforce.
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