Trinity Evangelical Divinity School



Doctor of Ministry

Be equipped for greater ministry effectiveness.

Our Doctor of Ministry invites men and women to step deeper into study of the Word, to broaden their perspectives on ministry practices, and to join with a global community of ministry practitioners in dialogue and study for the sake of the Gospel. The program is flexibly designed to fit the schedule and needs of full-time ministry professionals.

Doctor of Ministry

The Professional Doctoral Degree is a practical, ministry-focused degree designed to equip pastors, missionaries, and key church leaders and parachurch leaders with ministry tools for service in today’s complex and challenging world. Our focus is the development of advanced ministry skills, strategies, and theology for solving problems and building Christ-honoring ministries.

Where can this degree take me?

The DMin degree is designed to enhance the professional competence of those already engaged in full-time ministry. It is an in-service program, enabling students to complete the degree while taking minimal time away. As such, the purpose of this degree is the deepening of one’s current vocation rather than preparation for a future career.

What will I study?

Since the DMin is not designed to be a residential program, all classes are offered in one-week intensive class sessions. Each year classes are held on the Deerfield campus, typically in March, July, and November. Non-residential courses may include those taken in conjunction with a ministry conference or event in a wrap-around format. There also exists the potential for courses to be taken in partnership with other doctoral programs at Trinity, such as our PhD programs.

Each student is required to complete 36 semester hours of work as follows:

  • Doctor of Ministry Core - 6 hours

    MN 9550 Leadership in Today’s Church1 3 hours
    MN 9990 Ministry & Missions Research Methods2 3 hours
    1 Must be taken as one of the first three courses
    2 Must be taken as one of the first four courses


  • Doctor of Ministry Concentration - 12 hours

    Credit Overview

    Required: 1 Theological Foundations course in concentration 3 hours
    Required: 3 Concentration courses chosen by student 9 hours


    Strategic Leadership (SL)
    Courses in this area help ministry leaders gain awareness and competency in strategic issues facing churches, mission organizations, and other Christian institutions. The focus of these courses will be in areas of personal and institutional leadership development, shaping vision and mission, building teams, effective ministry management, and navigating change.
    Missional Engagement (ME)
    Courses in this area focus on the missional emphasis of God’s work in the world, both local and global. Classes will address evangelistic strategies, church-planting initiatives, cross-cultural ministry, and other related mission-driven topics.
    Pastoral Ministry (PM)
    Courses offered in this area will address issues and concerns facing pastors in their roles as preachers and shepherds in a local church setting. This is a broad concentration area, which allows students the freedom to choose courses in preaching, pastoral care, spiritual formation and selected courses in the SL concentration area.
    Military Chaplaincy (MC)
    This is a special cooperative concentration between TEDS and the branches of the U.S. Military designed for currently serving military chaplains who wish to focus on the chaplaincy in their program. Detailed information regarding this concentration is available from the Admissions Office.
    The opportunity may arise to launch a concentration based on a strategic ministry focus in response to a cultural movement or phenomenon or one that is structured within an organization or church network/denomination. These concentrations will meet the overall requirements of the program as delineated herein, but may have unique electives or experiences. Each of these potential concentrations will be reviewed and approved by the Professional Doctoral Committee before being offered.

  • Electives - 9 hours

    Select 9 hours of electives.


  • Major Project - 9 hours

    The culmination of the DMin program is a major project. This major project is intended to help students think theologically about ministry by requiring them to apply new concepts and methods to their ministries.
    MN 9985 Major Project Proposal 3 hours
    MN 9991 Major Project Research3 6 hours
    3 The student receives one hour of credit for each of the first three chapters of their project in rough draft form. These will be completed during the coursework phase of the program. The remaining six hours of the project will be completed over two semesters at the conclusion of the student’s coursework. For additional information about the major project, please consult the DMin handbook.


DMin Faculty

Program Director: Dr. William P. Donahue
Dr. William Donahue has served churches in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, including 18 years with Willow Creek Community Church and Willow Creek Association. His research, writing, leadership coaching, and teaching focus on building transformational leaders, groups, and teams. He has authored and co-authored over 20 books and leadership training resources, including the best-selling Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, Coaching Life-Changing Leaders, Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry, In the Company of Jesus, and The Irresistible Community: An Invitation to Life Together.

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What are the prerequisites for admission to this program?

  1.  Possess a Master of Divinity degree or other acceptable master’s level qualifications (see full prerequisites for details).
  2.  Have earned a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all master’s work. For students who have not achieved a 3.0, the Miller Analogies Test will be required to confirm their capacity to handle doctoral level studies at a graduate institution.
  3.  Have had at least three years of consistent full-time ministry experience after receiving the Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent. Exceptions may occasionally be made on the basis of extensive ministry experience prior to receiving the MDiv degree. Such exceptions are normally considered on the basis of three years full-time experience prior to the MDiv as equivalent to one year of post MDiv full-time experience.
  4.  Recommendations from the following four people (to be submitted electronically through the online application): (1) Ministry supervisor, (2) Ministry colleague, (3) Lay leader, (4) Chairman of church board, professor, denominational official OR professional acquaintance.
  5.  Since the program is heavily dependent on computer skills, applicants should be able to use a current word processing program. Ownership of a desktop or laptop computer is required, along with Internet and email capabilities.
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Doctor of Ministry Prerequisites

In lieu of an MDiv, other acceptable master’s level qualifications are defined as an earned ministry or theology related masters degree, including at least 74 semester hours of graduate study in areas closely parallel to Trinity’s MDiv curriculum. Specifically, this should include 12 semester hours of Old Testament, 12 semester hours of New Testament, 12 semester hours of Systematic Theology, 3 semester hours of church history, and 35 semester hours of free electives. On rare occasions, credit may be given for distinguished teaching experience. Students who lack a limited number of these prerequisites may be admitted with a deficiency that must be removed through appropriate master’s course work taken at or through an accredited seminary before enrolling in the fifth DMin course.

Those who have ministry experience prior to their MDiv work can be admitted on this basis: normally, three years full-time experience prior to the MDiv are considered as equivalent to one year of post-MDiv full-time experience.

Special Instructions for International Applicants

You’ll need to meet the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations in obtaining an F-1 (student) visa. This requires additional admissions information and paperwork. International applicants whose first language is not English must also submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

All international DMin program students, including Visiting DMin students and students from Canada, are now required to enter the United States with an F-1 visa. DMin residential students (i.e. living in or near Deerfield and taking semester-length courses) must comply with the same visa requirements as other program residential applicants (see Admissions section).

DMin nonresidential students (i.e., commuting to the Deerfield Campus on a course-by-course basis) must also obtain an F-1 visa. Students who enter the United States to pursue the Doctor of Ministry degree without the F-1 visa potentially jeopardize their ability to complete the degree and reenter the United States. F-1 visas will remain valid as long as reentry into the United States for the purposes of study occurs at least once every five (5) months. A new visa will be required if reentry does not occur within this time period.  Hence, full-time progress for DMin international nonresidential students is defined as taking at least one course in each of the three sessions (Fall, Spring, Summer) per year.