Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership

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Program Snapshot

32 Credit Hours 10 Classes
3 Years to Complete
Modular Learn more

Your church deserves the very best leaders.

The Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership is designed to better equip ministry leaders as they guide God’s church. In this program students will spend time examining biblical and contemporary models of leadership as they relate to church administration, leading change, and assessing ministry effectiveness at the local church level.

Modular format – relocation to Louisville not required.

Students will complete this program with trips to campus twice each year for doctoral seminars in January and July.

You can view the program schedule here.

Advance your leadership skills. Grow in your love for God.

Foundational Seminars
Course Number Description Credit Hours
80610 Intro to Doctoral Research and Writing 1
80600 Project Methodology 1
Total 2
Church Leadership Seminars
Course Number Description Credit Hours
80809 Leadership in the Local Church 4
80472 Ecclesiology 4
80612 Cross-Cultural Leadership 4
80804 Leading Change 4
Total 16
Writing and Project Stage
Course Number Description Credit Hours
Contextualized Writing Seminars 8
Ministry Research Project or Thesis 6
Total 14

Total Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership: 32

This program of study is also offered as a 46 hour Doctor of Educational Ministry degree.

Church Leadership faculty include:

Justin A. Irving

Professor of Leadership

David Bosch

Professor of Business Administration

Jon Austin

Assistant Professor of Law

Frequently Asked Questions

Student wearing cap and gown on graduation day

The D.Min. degree at Southern Seminary exists to train leaders to be expert practitioners in their area of study.

The degree culminates in a Ministry Research Project (100-125 pages) where students will apply professional knowledge and documented research into the context of their ministry.

This concentration requires a regionally-accredited master’s degree (M.Div., MACE., or M.A.) totaling no fewer than 48 hours, with at least twelve hours in biblical or theological studies and at least twelve hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies, with a GPA of at least a B (3.0).

If you have previous masters-level credit but do not have the required hours for admission, you may submit a doctoral equivalency evaluation to the admissions office to find out if you qualify for SBTS D.Min. programs.*

For a complete listing of D.Min.  admissions requirements, see the “Admissions” tab.

*International transcripts must be evaluated by a NACES approved organization for both admissions consdiration and for equivalency requests.

Our unique structure ensures the timely and successful completion of your degree program, as you begin work on your doctoral project writing from day one.

Students will visit campus twice a year for seminars during their first 2 years in the program. Click here to view a sample schedule.

Students receive program advising from the Office of Professional Doctoral Studies throughout the entire program of study. Upon completion of Project Methodology (80600), the student is assigned to a faculty supervisor. The supervisor is responsible for guiding the student’s progress through the Ministry Research Project or Research Thesis.

D.Ed.Min. students will follow the same curriculum as the D.Min., but will also take 14 additional hours of educational and pedagogical seminars (for a program total of 46 hours).

Note that program costs differ between the D.Min. and D.Ed.Min.


Admissions Prerequisites

To be considered for the D.Min. or D.Ed.Min. program, we require the following for applications:

  • Unless otherwise stated below, most D.Min. and D.Ed.Min. degrees require a regionally-accredited master’s degree (M.Div., MACE., or M.A.) totaling no fewer than 48 hours, with at least twelve hours in biblical or theological studies and at least twelve hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies, with a GPA of at least a B (3.0).
    • The D.Min. and D.Ed.Min in Biblical Counseling requires a regionally-accredited master’s degree (M.Div., MACE., or M.A.) totaling no fewer than 48 hours, with at least twelve hours in biblical or theological studies, at least nine hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies, and at least three hours in counseling, with a GPA of at least a B (3.0).
    • The D.Min. and D.Ed.Min. in Biblical Theology, Expository Preaching, New Testament Exposition and Old Testament Exposition require a 72 hour Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. The M.Div. degree, or its equivalent, must be from an accredited institution including the study of both Hebrew and Greek, with a GPA of at least a B (3.0).
  • Students who do not meet the criteria listed above but have existing masters-level credit may submit a doctoral equivalency evaluation to the admissions office. They may then attend Southern Seminary as a Doctoral Leveling student, complete the appropriate courses, and may then qualify for admission consideration into the program.
  • International transcripts will require an official evaluation from a NACES approved organization (World Evaluation Services is preferred).

Application Requirements

  • All applicants must receive a reference from the local church where they are a member. Family members may not complete this reference. If you are the pastor of your church, please select another church leader (associate pastor, elder, deacon, etc.) to complete the church recommendation. You will enter your recommender’s information on the “Recommendations” tab of the application.
  • Two additional recommendations. We suggest that a professor or a business acquaintance who can speak to academic performance complete the 2 additional recommendation forms required for doctoral students.
  • Transcription from the educational institution or institutions that conferred any required degrees should be submitted to the Admissions Office. Contact the registrar or academic records office of your previous institution(s). They may e-mail the transcripts (directly or via 3rd party such as Parchment) to or mail copies to our physical address. Transcripts must come directly from schools either electronically or in sealed/unopened envelopes.
  • Complete a Ministry Field Essay (click here to access Ministry Field Essay prompts) of 750-1,000 words in response to a case calling for the application of biblical and theological insights into a ministry situation. You may upload your field essay directly onto the application.
  • Submit a Ministry Resume outlining your present and past ministry experience. You may upload your ministry directly onto the application.
  • $40 application fee – paid after application submission.
  • Non-native English speakers, including those who have graduated from any U.S. school, must submit an official score report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores must meet a minimum of 90 for DMin or DEdMin programs.

Application Deadlines

  • March 15 – Summer entry
  • October 15 – Winter entry

Ready to Learn More?

Prospective doctoral students are invited to visit Southern Seminary.

Doctoral Visit Opportunities

Program Cost

$1,000 down payment, and remaining balance due equally over 36 months.*

Total CostMonthly Payment
Total cost for SBC students$12,748$326.33
Total cost for non-SBC students$16,657$434.92

*Program tuition shown is for the 2024-2025 academic year. Additional fees are subject to the current fee schedule.

Textbooks, lodging, food, travel, and graduation costs are not included in the program fee. Any remaining balance of the program fee is due upon graduation. Students who take longer than six semesters to complete the degree will be charged a continuation fee each semester.

Male student smiling in classroom


Contact Admissions

Phone: (502) 897-4200

Text: (502) 305-3554


Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

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Apply now for fall studies

Classes begin in August