Doctor of Ministry (School of Theology)

Page Contents:

The Fuller Doctor of Ministry degree program is a learning community encouraging and equipping leaders for mission in changing times.

The Doctor of Ministry is a professional degree granted by the School of Theology. The program is designed to serve the needs of pastors, missionaries, mission executives, church leaders, and other ministry professionals through an experience of continuing education while students remain active in their ministry.

The program of study combines rigorous theological reflection with knowledge from theoretical and tested ministry models, which are then applied to the student's ministry context. Courses are taught by experienced professors with proven expertise in developing and sustaining effective ministry. The classroom becomes a learning community where it is assumed that students come with expertise to share as well as something to learn.




Admission Requirements 

General standards for admission to Fuller Theological Seminary may be found in the Admission Standards section of this catalog.

Admission to the Doctor of Ministry program at Fuller Seminary requires:

  • A Master of Divinity or its equivalent, or a Master of Arts of a theological nature of at least 96 quarter units (64 semester units) from an approved accredited school. Those with an MA degree may be admitted to a special 76-unit track. To learn more about MDiv equivalency please contact an advisor at 626.584.5318 or
  • A ministerial leadership position. The DMin program is designed for ministry leaders to continue to learn and grow without having to leave their ministry context.
  • A minimum of three years of ministerial leadership experience after receiving the MDiv or MA degree.
  • A cumulative graduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher (3.0 on 4.0 scale)
  • Twelve quarter units of Greek or 8 quarter units of Hebrew (or their equivalent in semester units). This requirement may also be met through a course in the DMin program. 
  • Evidence of academic writing and critical thinking ability in the form of a writing sample (see the online application for details).  
  • If the native language is not English, or the medium of instruction for all postsecondary education is not English, applicants must either submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 600 (paper test), 250 (computer test), or 100 (internet test) taken within the past two years, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic Format, with a minimum score of 7.0 taken within the past two years.  Note: Applicants for the Latino Ministry Cohort are not required to take the TOEFL or IELTS exams.




The Doctor of Ministry degree requires the completion of 48 quarter units of credit beyond the Master of Divinity degree, or 76 quarter units of credit beyond a two-year (96 quarter units or 64 semester units) theological MA degree.

Fuller Doctor of Ministry students will have the option of completing the program on either the Personalized track or the Cohort track.



Personalized Track 

Phase 1: DM711 Exploring the Contours of Ministry (4 units). All students in the Personalized Track begin with this online course. This course is the gateway to the Doctor of Ministry Program at Fuller and serves as a general orientation to the program and an introduction to the theological method and practices of the program.

Phase 2: Seminars (36 or 64 units). After completing DM711, students in the Personalized Track will complete 36 or 64 units from any courses under any subject heading below. Students may choose from multiple Personalized Track subjects.

  • Leadership
  • Spiritual Formation/ Discipleship
  • Personal and Congregational Care
  • Culture and Theology
  • Ethics
  • Evangelism, Church Growth, and Church Planting
  • Multicultural and Urban Ministries
  • Preaching, Worship, and the Arts
  • Missional Theology and the Missional Church

Courses are taught by faculty drawn from all three schools (School of Theology, School of Intercultural Studies, and School of Psychology), as well as adjunct professors who bring additional expertise. The courses are taught as one- or two-week intensives.

Phase 3: Doctoral Project (8 units). For details, see below.

Students admitted to the 76 unit track will complete an additional 28 quarter units of DMin courses beyond the 48 units of the Personalized Track.



Cohort Track 

Phase 1: Seminars (40 units). In cohort concentrations, the same group of students meet together online and for one- and two-week segments with a preset curriculum focused around the areas of interest listed below.

The students joins one of the six possible cohorts available:

  • Christian Spirituality
  • Church Planting
  • Hospital Chaplains
  • Lideres Latinos en un Mundo Multicultural
  • Missional Leadership
  • Youth, Family and Culture

Phase 2: Doctoral Project (8 units). For details, see below.



 Doctoral Project 

The Doctoral Project serves as the culmination of the degree, providing students with an opportunity to integrate coursework and reflection and then apply this learning to a particular ministry context. The intended result is a unique and practical contribution both to the student’s ministry and to the broader Christian community. 

This project is a major ministry project: A biblically-based, theologically sound paper that explores and develops a strategy to address specific aspects of ministry in a particular context.

The Doctor of Ministry Office requires that students start their Doctoral Project at least two years before the time they hope to graduate and before their fifth year of study. Students are allowed to formally begin the Doctoral Project process once the following items have been completed:

  1. All admission requirements have been satisfactorily met, such as biblical language requirements, special projects, and changes from probation or special status to regular status in the program; and
  2. At least 24 units of coursework have been completed and grades for this coursework have been posted to the student's transcript.

The doctoral project is divided into two parts:

  1. DM710 Developing Your Doctoral Project Proposal, a 2-unit online course on how to develop the doctoral project proposal. This course is offered twice a year, in Fall and Spring quarters.
  2. After the proposal is submitted and approved, students will register for the remaining 6 units of the doctoral project. In addition to tuition, there is a $300.00 fee which covers two professional style and format reviews and the binding of the doctoral project.



Course Design 

Each course has three major components:

  1. Preparation, which must be completed prior to the class, consisting of various combinations of reading (up to 4,500 pages for a 12-unit course; 3,000 pages for an 8-unit course; or 1,500 pages for a 4-unit course), working with audio or video tapes, and written assignments;
  2. A one- or two-week intensive period of classroom interaction; and
  3. An extensive postsession project, which synthesizes reading and class work and applies them to the student's ministry situation, to be completed within four months after the class ends.




The grade range is A, A-, B+, B, and B-. The lowest grade one can receive to pass a course is B-. The only grade below B- is an F. One grade of B- or lower will result in academic probation. Two grades of B- or lower will result in dismissal from the program.



Course Locations and Residency 

Courses are primarily offered on the Pasadena campus. In addition, from time to time courses will be offered at selected external sites. Up to 24 units of course work may be taken at off-campus sites. 



Time Limits 

Work for the Doctor of Ministry degree must be spread out over at least three years. However, all work for the D.Min. must be completed within seven years from the time the first course is taken (ten years for the 76-unit track).




Christian Spirituality Cohort. The Christian Spirituality Cohort features a variety of different learning environments and structures that will allow students to engage spirituality conceptually and practically. They will explore the history and theology of Christian spirituality, the connection between spirituality and nature with special focus on Jurgen Moltmann’s theology of creation, and a cultural hermeneutic applied to the world we find ourselves in everyday.

Church Planting Cohort. The church Planting Cohort at Fuller is designed for people who are seeking a new understanding to what church planting looks like in the 21st century. The premise of this cohort is two-fold. First, it seeks to develop the skills and gifting of the individual student crucial in successful church planting. Secondly, it develops a strategy that seeks to exegete the culture and needs of a community.

Hospital Chaplains Cohort. For those facing life’s greatest healthcare challenges, Christ offers hope and healing. Everyone will engage the healthcare system at some time. It cuts across every aspect of life, Knowledge and experience are essential to providing high quality spiritual care. In the Ministry and Medicine Cohort both professional chaplains and congregational pastoral care specialists will be able to expand their knowledge base in medical and spiritual care issues and enhance the impact of their ministries.

Lideres Latinos en un Mundo Multicultural. La globalización está trayendo giros veloces que afectan el ministerio profundamente. El líder latino se encuentra en medio de muchos cambios. La constante migración desde América Latina plantea una serie de retos, mientras que la adaptación al mundo pos-moderno estadounidense presenta otros. Y esto se da en medio de una migración mundial que está trayendo a personas de todo el mundo a los Estados Unidos. El líder latino tiene el reto de re-imaginar el liderazgo cristiano para dirigir a una iglesia fiel en este contexto urbano multicultural. El Doctorado en ministerio Líderes latinos en un mundo multicultural le dará herramientas a pastores y líderes latinos para ampliar su visión del ministerio, por medio de conocerse a sí mismos y mismas, conocer su comunidad y aprender a visualizar a la iglesia latina como una iglesia misional.

Missional Leadership Cohort. Today’s global culture is experiencing rapid, tumultuous change that is affecting the very structure and significance of church leadership. As ministry professionals, we find ourselves in the center of this transition, facing the challenge of how to re-vision church leadership to meet the uncharted requirements of being a faithful church in a postmodern world. With the widening quest for a spiritual dimension to life – yet a greater breach between the church and society – church professionals need Spirit-empowered, Missional leadership that has a dynamic impact on the church as well as their local communities.

Youth, Family and Culture Cohort. The Youth, Family and Culture cohort is an online/on-campus hybrid cohort that focus on the theology and strategic issues of youth and family ministry, psychological development of adolescents, developing the spirituality of adolescents, emerging models of youth and family ministry and an integrated approach to youth and family ministry.



Korean Doctor of Ministry Program 

The School of Theology offers a specialized Doctor of Ministry program for Korean-American and Korean pastors based on instruction in the Korean language. Admission to the Korean Doctor of Ministry program, requires an ATS-accredited Master of Divinity degree or its educational equivalent with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above. An English language test score is not required for students enrolling in the program. However, students may not attend courses in the English language program unless the TOEFL or IELTS requirement has been met.

The Korean Doctor of Ministry Program program is based on a strong biblical and theological emphasis as a foundation for effective ministry, featuring courses in biblical theology, homiletics, marriage and family studies, and theology of ministry. Korean students may take up to 20 units of course work in Seoul; 20 units must be completed at the Pasadena campus.

Dr. Seyoon Kim is the director of the Korean Doctor of Ministry Program in the School of Theology. For further information on this program, including course descriptions and schedules, please contact the Korean Doctor of Ministry Program staff at (626) 584-5651.





Variable Units Option 

Students in the Doctor of Ministry program may elect to take most courses for either 8 or 12 units. This option allows a student either to expand their program over more courses (as many as five plus a directed study) or to focus their work in fewer courses (as few as three after the initial online course) as determined by his or her interests and ministry needs. Specific information and advising about the different requirements in each course is available from the Doctor of Ministry office.

CF 705 Spiritual Formation and Discipleship in a Postmodern World. The average pastor faces the challenge of aiding his or her congregation to develop a lifestyle and worldview that is consonant with being a disciple of Jesus. It is all too easy for Christian believers to remain relatively unformed spiritually, given the pervasive impact of contemporary culture and the lack of time in the lives of most adults. The focus of the course is on how to aid/encourage/guide the process of transformation in the lives of adults seeking to follow Jesus within the complexities of a postmodern world. (8 or 12 units). 

CF 728 Incarnational Discipleship through Smaller Faith Communities. The church of the 21st century is more about real people in community, discipleship and mission. The future church is returning to its ancient roots in experiencing Jesus as the incarnational and living presence in the midst of God’s people. The larger congregation is a network of interrelated smaller communities – some intentional, some generic, some spontaneous. Pastors and leaders are called to be incarnational representatives of Christ among the people, seeing Jesus as their primary model of life and ministry. This is personal and interpersonal church. Christian formation and Spirit transformation are about participating with others in Jesus’ pathway of discipleship. (8 units) 

CN 705 The Minister's Personal Growth. What has made this the longest running course in the Doctor of Ministry Program and just as relevant today? Pastors are under stress like no other time in recent history and they need to learn how to take care of themselves. Dr. Hart will teach you how to pay attention to a pastor's personal and family life, problems of anger, depression, assertiveness, and relationship, as well as address the fuzziness of role definition and role conflicts. (8 or 12 units). 

CN 710 The Call to Soul-Making and Soul-Mending. Pastoral care and counseling is the nurture of the soul, which is the missing element in much evangelical mainstream spirituality. This course explores the depths of spiritual, psychological and relational theology, which invites us to examine the inner realm of human nature and destiny and their impact on the person in familial, social and cultural contexts. (8 or 12 units). 

DM 710 Developing the DMin Doctoral Project Proposal (Online). This course is designed to help students learn how to craft a DMin doctoral project proposal for a ministry focus (strategy) paper. It will offer guidelines to identify a suitable topic and will familiarize the student with the DMin theological model and the related three primary components of the doctoral project. The course content will include project examples and specific research tools for each of these three components. The student will become knowledgeable of the elements of the proposal itself, from thesis statement to bibliography, and learn how to identify both the characteristics of a strong proposal and the common problems in developing ones. (2 units) 

DM 711 Exploring the Contours of Ministry (Online). This online course is the gateway into the Doctor of Ministry Program. This course should be taken immediately upon admission to the program and serves as a general orientation to the program and an introduction to the theological method and practices of the program. Students are invited to discover and share personal and ministry reflections within the context of a local community of support. This is a required first course for all students on the personalized track. (4 units) 

EV 715 Reinventing Evangelism: Telling the Jesus Story through Life, Word and Community. This course explores the theory, strategy, and methodology of evangelism. It argues that to do effective, wholistic, biblical evangelism that takes seriously the culture and needs of those one seeks to reach, it is necessary to build a proper theoretical foundation (that sees the Bible with fresh eyes), adopt an appropriate strategy (that makes sense to the given situation), and understand the wide range of methodologies that exist for doing evangelism (by exploring an array of outreach options). (8 or 12 units). 

GM 720 Spirituality and Ministry. This seminar is designed to give understanding and experience of the spiritual life and its disciplines, as defined by the New Testament and the history of the disciples of Jesus. To do so, it is offered in a retreat setting. The course will include a study of classics in the field of Christian spirituality, along with some historical and systematic treatments. This is to be substantially completed before the seminar sessions. A special focus is placed on the spiritual life and disciplines in the context of Christian ministry. (8 or 12 units).  

LG 730 New Testament Greek and Exegesis for Ministry Practice. This course is designed to introduce the pastor to the basic elements of the Greek language in terms of noun and verb morphology, syntax, and the application of the grammar and syntax to the practice of exegesis. The elements of  exegetical method for the study of the New Testament will be explored as well as their practice. Topics to be considered will include: the use of the exegetical tools, text criticism, lexicography and grammar, exegetical consideration of the different genres in the New Testament and several hermeneutic issues and perspectives with current New Testament studies. In addition, considerable time will be devoted to the use of the New Testament Greek and exegesis in the preparation of sermons and teaching. (8 units) 

MF 724 Building Strong Families Through the Local Church. This seminar will focus on the factors that are important in developing strong families life in church communities. Topics of focus are communication, appreciating uniqueness and differences in members, problem solving, conflict resolution, marital and parenting resilience, gender roles, authentic sexuality and crisis management. The special needs of the divorced, single parents, and stepfamilies will also be addressed, The caring bond that occurs in family life from infancy through adulthood will be understood in the context of the larger community setting . (8 units). 

OD 718 Beyond Hierarchy: Leadership as Co-Creation in the New Millennial Church. This class explores the theological and cultural support for “flatter” church organizations and includes a thorough examination of practical examples. Former views of leadership as defined by position and micro-management are giving away to the concept of leader as one who leads by influence and serves as the catalyst for new possibilities. Participants will learn the theoretical basis for this shift into a more co-creational, collaborative oriented model of ministry. Leadership practices essential for releasing system-wide innovation – untapping the immense creative potential in their congregations – will be offered as practical resources for church leadership in the New Millennial Church. (8 units) 

OD 724 Missional Leadership: Character, Context and Challenge. It’s A.D. 30 all over again. The church is having to play catch up to the Spirit. Enter the Missional church. The emergency of the Missional church is showing signs of being the largest realignment of Christianity since the Reformation. This course explores the distinguishing contours of the Missional church revolution as well as the leadership required by it. Major course attention will center on three primary shifts underway: the shift from an internal to an external focus, the shift from program-driven to people development as the core activity of the Missional community, and the shift from church-based leadership to apostolic-era leaderships. (8 units) 

OD 728 Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix. This integrative course will expose students to new opportunities and challenges in theology, culture, and practice of ministry in the emerging postmodern milieu. This will be accomplished through an in-depth exploration of the nature of postmodernity and a discussion of emerging ministry models seeking to address it. (8 units) 

OD 751 Leading and Managing Your Ministry. Leadership is made of a thousand good decisions. Leadership is what the leader does. Living in an era of high expectations the leader must understand the context of leadership, the approaches to church leadership and how to turn leadership goals into everyday practice. Special focus will be on the leader in context – how to lead in a specific church at a specific time. (8 units). 

OD 755 Managing Conflict. This course relates theory about conflict, between persons, within communities, and among organizations, to the life of the church. Such issues as the nature of human differences, the constructive values and uses of conflict, the biblical and the theological understanding of conflict, styles of conflict management, and organizational handling of conflict will be considered. A theory of conflict reduction will be presented. Staff conflict will be particularly emphasized. In addition to considering the above issues, participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their own styles of conflict, analyze based on actual situations from students’ ministries. (8 or 12 units) 

OD 757 Organic Leadership Development: The Shaping of a Leader. The most important resources in any church, organization or mission agency has is its people. In the post-modern context, creating a community that empowers the development of its leaders to understand their core passion and calling, and to live out that calling in the context in which they live, is mission critical. (8 units) 

OD 778 Advancing Leadership: Practical Ministry Amidst Theological Tensions, Cultural Change and Competing Demands. The goal of the course is to teach students how to translate their theological commitments into the day-to-day situations common to life in a religious organization. The course will introduce the range of skills and practices one needs to lead effectively. We will emphasize how these skills are grounded in theology, biblical studies, ethics, and church history. A major theme of the course will be that the listening and communication skills it takes to be a good pastor, preacher and teacher are the very skills that make a good leader. (8 units) 

OD 783 The Practice of Missional Leadership. The primary work of leadership is to continually stand in the space where it is compelled to ask the question of what God is about among this group of people who comprise this local church in this specific context at this particular time. This course presents a praxis of Missional leadership unique to the discussion in that it takes seriously a biblical theology of creation, incarnation and kingdom that locates both the church and its leadership in what is described as the ‘space between’. It argues that the fatal misapplication of the Missional conversation lies, in part, in its continued internalization of both church and leadership that leads almost all Missional proposals toward older forms of church growth or church effectiveness even when framed in postmodern language. (8 units)  

PM 708 Theology for Preaching. How is Christian preaching a theological endeavor? This course will focus upon a theology of preaching – how does Christian theology empower, authorize, and sustain Christian proclamation? There will also be consideration of the function of our theologies in preaching. How do our claims about God inform and give substance to our sermons? (8 units)  

TC 709 Theology and Pop Culture: The Art of Interpretive Leadership. With congregations increasingly barraged by electronic inputs, ministers must learn the art of interpretive leadership – finding God within digital media. This multi-disciplinary course will engage students in a two-way dialogue between pop culture and theology, with emphasis upon music, movies, TV, art, fashion, and sports. Students will develop a biblical, theological, and sociological understanding of these art forms and a critical understanding of the advertising, consumerism, and globalization that drives pop culture. (8 units) 

TM 710 The Local Congregation as a Mission Outpost. Lesslie Newbigin wrote that the only hermeneutic of the gospel is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it. The only church that makes a difference in culture is a real, tangible, visible church. Too many congregations have very little impact on culture, choosing instead to live in isolation and irrelevance. Any congregation in any setting has the opportunity, and the obligation to be a Missional outpost. But beyond that, the local church must begin to see itself in terms of being a dynamic movement rather than a static organization. This course will explore movement dynamics and will investigate how the church can re-conceive and structure itself for multiplication and influence. We will explore the theological, missiological, as well as the sociological basis for Missional movements and how that identity emerges and is lived out in the practices of a local congregation. (8 units) 

TM 716 Missional Ecclesiology. Jürgen Moltmann said “It is not the church that has a mission of salvation to fulfill in the world; it is the mission of the Son and the Spirit through the Father that includes the church.” (The Church in the Power of the Spirit, London, 1977, p. 64). This articulation breaks down many traditional patters of thinking about and practicing the church. It presents many challenges to those who would lead their churches into His Mission. It calls for a new posture for the church in the world. This course explores how to think about, practice, lead and embody the church in the world as a participant in God’s mission. (8 units) 

YF 721 Strategic Issues In Youth And Family Ministry. At last a course of study that addresses youth and family issues together. Students will survey the current models and assess the state of youth and family ministry. In order to acquire the skills to craft an individualized approach to youth and family ministry, students will examine the state of youth and family ministry programs and strategies, the many profiles of youth today, the impact of the family, the development of the adolescent, intergenerational relationships, and the challenges of cultural diversity. (6 units). Youth and Family Ministry Cohort class. 

YF 722 Theology of Youth And Family Ministry. Why think theologically about youth and family ministry? Isn't all you need just a fist full of "Idea" books to provide creative "fun and games"? No! This course will bring theological reflection on culture, growth and development, the family, adventure, risk, and abandonment. Programmatic and strategic youth and family ministry at its best is driven by theological imperatives. (6 units). Youth and Family Ministry Cohort class. 

YF 723 Developing the Spirituality of Adolescents. Contemporary youth ministry has developed models and philosophies that often create a dependency upon the group for spiritual growth. As a result, many students graduate from a youth ministry program only to discover that they are mere spiritual infants when it comes to a vibrant personalized faith. This course will explore the spiritual development of adolescents, as well as wrestle with models and methodologies which may effectively enable the kind of environment where the Holy Spirit can do the work of growing young people up in Christ. Youth and Family Ministry Cohort Class. (6 units). 

YF 724 Psychosocial Development of Adolescents. Because adolescence has been a relatively new identifiable sociological phenomenon, how adolescents grow into adults as a unique process has received far less attention than the more traditional models and theories of child development. In a changing cultural environment, where even the definition, length, and "life task" of the adolescent is hotly debated by researchers and scholars, this course seeks to help the student to: (a) understand the issues that govern adolescent development, (b) recognize the points of discussion, (c) intersect the familial literature with the adolescent literature, and, most importantly, (d) create a ministerial response to the developing adolescent and her family. Youth and Family Ministry Cohort Class. (6 units). 

YF 725 Youth Ministry: An Integrated Approach to Total Church Life. The relatively new emphasis on "Youth and Family Ministry" has brought to the forefront a debate between those who view youth ministry as a focus on adolescents and those who view youth ministry as focus on adolescents within the context of the family system. While these generally divide youth ministry into two relatively distinctive camps, there are numerous model variations in each camp. This course takes a broader view of the task of youth ministry by claiming that the future of youth ministry rests in the hands of the entire church body, not just with a few professionals and a team of volunteers. In contemporary practice this is a relatively unique, but clearly not new, way of thinking. This course will bring together thought and study on the theology of church life as well as a sociological/psychological analyses of many of the factors that impact adolescents and their families. Youth and Family Ministry Cohort Class. (6 units). 

YF 726 Emerging Models of Youth and Family Ministry. Recent decades have deified the power of the "model" in parish ministry. Youth ministry has led the way, with such well-known models as the Young Life club, the FCA huddle, "Son City", "Son Life", Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, and a myriad of other "definitive" ways to do youth ministry. This course will have three goals: 1) examine and critique through a theological and psychosocial grid the history, philosophy, methodology, and relative strengths and weaknesses of major youth ministry models that are likely to shape the coming years; 2) create a comprehensive schema for evaluating future models as they emerge in the youth ministry literature and world; and 3) use the data from the various models to summarize and clarify the basic elements of the Youth and Family Ministry cohort classes. Youth and Family Ministry Cohort Class. (6 units). 

(626) 584-5200
(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182