25 Best Online DMin Programs [2020 Guide]

We've ranked the 25 Best Online DMin Programs for 2020. Get your Doctor of Ministry faster with accelerated online courses.

We’ve ranked the 25 Best Online DMin Programs for 2020. Get your Doctor of Ministry faster with accelerated online courses.

online dmin programs

Working in the faith-based field as a minister or pastor is all about applying your knowledge of Scripture and theology to the daily lives and proceedings of both your congregation and the local community-at-large.

From this perspective, it makes perfect sense to take your understanding of these applications and theories to the next level via a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree.

Types of Online Doctor of Ministry Programs

professional minister leading the marriage ceremony of a couple

These are the most popular types of doctoral programs in ministry offered online. Click on the one you’re most interested in to jump to that section of the guide.

In addition to your regular courses, some universities will require a dissertation. This allows you to prove expertise and mastery in your field by compiling a large body of research, along with your own original conclusions. If this doesn’t interest you, we’ve compiled a list of universities without a dissertation requirement.

Doctor of Ministry

A general DMin degree is for church and ministry leaders who don’t need or want to specialize in one particular area. Instead, you’ll either take a set course of study or tailor your degree based on your interests but without concentrating on one topic.

You might take a class on Pastoral Care for the Elderly, one on Expository Preaching, and one on Urban Evangelism to fit the variety of your ministry setting.

When you graduate with this generalist’s degree, you’ll be more qualified to lead your local congregation, serve as a denominational officer, direct a non-profit or missionary organization, or teach others preparing for ministry.

Many DMin graduates discover a love of research and writing and use their degree as credentials to become an expert author, blogger, podcaster, radio personality, or speaker in their chosen field.

DMin in Biblical Studies

If you have a special interest in the Scriptures, you might want to focus your doctoral degree in Biblical Studies. Depending on your university, you’ll take classes on both the Old and New Testaments and could zero in on certain types of books, such as the Prophets, Gospels, or the writings of Paul.

You’ll also learn how to interpret and apply the biblical texts in the pastoral or ministry setting. You might take classes on how to build a series of lessons or sermons following themes from various books or topics in the Bible.

Whereas every minister or ministry professional can benefit from a more thorough understanding of God’s Word, the most common career path following a DMin in Biblical Studies is author, professor, or head/discipleship pastor.

DMin in Church Leadership

A doctoral degree in Church Leadership is geared for three types of ministers: those who feel called to lead congregations, those who want to focus on growing or revitalizing their church, or those who want to plant new churches.

In your classes, you’ll likely learn about organizing and leading staff and volunteers, conflict resolution, financial planning, and strategies for growth. You’ll hone your skills for being a leader who receives a casts a vision for the ministry but also a steward who manages the resources God and your congregation entrusts you with.

This degree track is also ideal for those who would like to lead other types of ministries. Common careers after graduation include head pastor, church administration, ministry director, author, and professor.

DMin in Preaching

This degree track is for the preaching pastor, traveling evangelist, or public speaker. You’ll learn new techniques for crafting your messages in the context of the life of your congregation or the setting in which you speak. This is the degree for those who want to hear and communicate God’s message more clearly and with plenty of real-life application.

Along with this course of study, you’ll likely have the opportunity to practice preaching and receiving professional feedback from your professor and peers. You’ll also gain a deeper understanding of how the Scriptures speak as a whole so that you can draw themes from each part to inform your listeners about the Lord’s consistent commands and offer of redemption.

Finally, you’ll likely experiment with new methods of writing and speaking sermons or other types of messages.

DMin in Theology

With a Doctorate of Ministry in Theology, you’ll be better prepared to teach your congregation from the perspective of the sound, coherent, logical body of Christian teaching.

Perfect for any minister or counselor who finds themselves having to answer hard questions, your coursework will educate you on the history of Christian thought and give you the confidence you need to guide your parishioners.

This degree is also ideal for apologists and authors who need a deeper understanding of Christian doctrine to be able to speak about, write about, and answer those who hold differing opinions. Your classes may focus on particular topics, such as miracles, cultural evangelism, or the theology of the Trinity.

Theology DMin students will also look at how the themes of each book of the Bible mesh together to form a unified message.

Doctor of Ministry Career Outlook and Salary

Doctor of Ministry Career Outlook and Salary

Jumping back to the research provided by the BLS shows that while the ministry field isn’t growing as fast as other professional sectors, it’s still home to a healthy 10% increase in available jobs over the next several years.

This means that whether you remain at school as a professor or continue to help foster religious growth and understanding in your area as a pastor or other denominational leader, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the career that fits your faith-based goals and aspirations.

Here are a few career paths you could choose, along with the average annual salary for each.

Job Title Salary
Executive Director $79,000
Senior Pastor $74,000
Church Administrator $58,000
Hospital/Hospice Chaplain $53,000
Associate Pastor $52,000
Professor $51,000

Note that salary is largely dependent on the size and demographics of your congregation or ministry, as well as your location.

Doctor of Ministry Admission Requirements

Doctor of Ministry Admission Requirements

When it comes to actually earning entry into a DMin program, the admissions requirements for this post-graduate opportunity are a little different than what you’ll see from other similar doctoral application processes.

While transcripts for relevant undergraduate and master’s work still enters the picture, many universities also require an in-depth and autobiographical look at your work in the religious fields, as well as references and recommendations from established leaders within your chosen denomination.

In some cases, professional references and an updated resume also serve as indicators of your capabilities, so be prepared to offer up a complete review of your academic and work-related history during the admissions process.

Accreditation for Online DMin Programs

logos of The Association of Theological Schools and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

It’s important to attend a university or college that is accredited by an independent third party to ensure the quality of the program. Your university, seminary, or Bible college could be accredited nationally or regionally.

The Association of Theological Schools verifies and accredits many theological programs, as does the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Your university as a whole may be accredited by one of these regional boards:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Accreditation ensures that your degree will be recognized and respected by other high-quality educational institutions and by potential employers.

Is There Financial Aid Available for DMin Students?

screenshot of FAFSA website

Yes, DMin students qualify for the same financial aid opportunities as students in secular fields. You can start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what grants and loans you qualify for.

Your denomination or other private organizations may also be able to assist you with scholarships or tuition reimbursement. Your university may offer you scholarships or fellowships to attend its program.

Questions Related to Earning Your DMin

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have about earning a Doctor of Ministry degree online.

What Does DMin Mean?

The degree initials D.Min. stand for Doctor of Ministry.

What Is a Doctor of Ministry Degree?

A DMin degree serves as a practice-oriented doctorate for current ministry leaders that represents expertise in theological studies and the ability to communicate these studies to practitioners and community members alike.

Obtaining this kind of post-graduate degree serves as a capstone for your spiritual learning, as well as the springboard for advancement within religious organizations and the world of academia. In total, you’ll have to commit to around 30 credit hours – depending on your chosen institution – if you plan on completing this program.

What Is a Doctor of Ministry Program?

A Doctor of Ministry Program is designed for church leaders to further their expertise in the general field or a specific area of ministry. Much like any other doctorate degree, it requires a set number of credit hours and a standard curriculum and possibly a dissertation.

Can You Teach with a Doctor of Ministry Degree?

Yes, you can teach with Doctor of Ministry Degree. Many universities will hire you teach classes in your area of expertise. Some schools, however, may require you to have a PhD vs. a DMin.

What’s the Difference between a DMin and a PhD in Ministry?

If you’re wondering what the difference between a DMin and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Ministry is, then the answer is in what you plan to do with the degree once you graduate.

PhD students often remain within the collegiate setting as full-time professors and department administrators, while DMin graduates can either follow this route or seek to apply their knowledge to the real-world as chaplains, senior pastors, and via other hands-on positions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you can expect to earn up to $112,751 as a senior pastor or another church official. On the academic side of things, DMin and PhD students that become professors have the potential to earn between $62,300 and $95,000 in annual compensation.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Ministry?

How long a Doctorate of Ministry will take to earn depends largely on the university program and you choose and whether you will be required to present a dissertation. Some universities offer accelerated programs that take only one year to complete. Others follow the traditional 3-year track.

Programs with no dissertation requirement grant you graduation once you complete the required coursework. Writing a dissertation could take another 1-3 years after you complete your classes.

List of Schools Offering Online DMin Programs

Rankings Methodology

Each of these universities, colleges, and seminaries maintains proper accreditation and offers Doctor of Ministry programs via an online platform.

#1  Anderson University

Anderson University campus

Established in 1917 as the Anderson Bible Training School, Anderson University is affiliated with the Church of God, and it is a private Christian liberal arts university in Anderson, Indiana. It is one of the independent colleges in the community.

Aside from campus ministries, this school also has a variety of athletic teams and social clubs, similar to fraternities and sororities.

  • DMin in Preaching

Anderson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#2  Apex School of Theology

Apex School of Theology campus

Apex School of Theology prides itself on making theology accessible. They offer a $100 registration fee per semester as well as financial aids and disability services.

It is located in Durham, North Carolina, where the institution’s history is grounded in the African-American religious experience, making their education centered around the accessibility of spiritual teachings and diversity.

  • DMin in Biblical Studies
  • DMin in Christian Counseling
  • DMin in Church Leadership
  • DMin in Preaching

Apex School of Theology is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

#3  Bethel University

Bethel University campus

Bethel University is an evangelical Christian university located primarily in Arden Hills, Minnesota, although it began in Illinois. It was founded in 1871 as a Baptist seminary, and it is currently part of the Council for Christian Colleges.

The Higher Learning Commission accredited this school in 1959. Today, there are 5,600 students enrolled in its various programs, which are composed of 90 majors. Also, the university has multiple student activities, like covenant groups and publications, and its athletic teams are called the “Royals.”

  • DMin in Church Leadership
  • DMin in Congregational Care
  • DMin in Theology

Bethel University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#4  Boston University

Boston University campus

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston University has been known to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It has a total enrollment of nearly 33,00 students, and it is one of Boston’s largest employers.

U.S News & World Report has ranked this university as 40th and 46th among undergraduate programs at national and global universities, respectively.

  • DMin in Church Leadership

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#5  Catholic University of America

Catholic University of America campus

The Catholic University of America was established in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII, and it began offering undergraduate programs in 1904.

Located in Washington, D.C., this private Catholic university is a pontifical university of the church funded by the U.S. Catholic bishops. The neighborhood where it is located also contains 60 other Catholic institutions.

The university has been ranked as one of the nation’s best colleges, one of the best values of private schools, and one of the most eco-friendly schools in the country.

  • DMin in Evangelization
  • DMin in Liturgical Catechesis

The Catholic University of America is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

#6  Clarks Summit University

Clarks Summit University campus

Clark Summit University does not only pride itself as a christ-centered institution. This school also prepares its students to be career-ready.

Located in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, this university currently covers 40 states and 21 countries, with nearly 17,000 alumni serving and working around the globe because of the university’s biblical formation.

This university was ranked as the number one faith-based online college, the second safest college in America, and the third best online master’s program in counseling.

  • DMin in Biblical Studies
  • DMin in Ministry
  • DMin in Pastoral Ministry

Clarks Summit University is accredited by the Commissions on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

#7  Drew University

Drew University campus

Drew University is located in Madison, New Jersey.  Aside from its theological school, this university also offers undergraduate programs through its College of Liberal Arts.

Graduate programs are also available, but they are limited to theology. Currently, it offers 39 disciplines to more than 2,000 students. They also house the center of religion and center for holocaust/genocide study.

The school was established in 1867 as a seminary. Today, it is featured in The Princeton Review for being one of the best colleges, best value colleges, and greenest colleges.

  • DMin in Church Leadership
  • DMin in Korean Leadership
  • DMin in Spirituality
  • DMin in Women’s Leadership

Drew University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#8  Duke University

Duke University campus

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University was founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, and it moved to Durham in 1892.

As of 2019, 15 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with the university. Around 50% of its students also received financial aid, ranging from need-based, athletic, and merit aid. Lastly, it offers 46 arts and sciences majors and 52 minors.

  • Doctor of Ministry

Duke University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#9  Emory University

Emory University campus

Emory University is known across the world for its College of Liberal Arts and graduate and professional schools. This university was also internationally recognized as one of the world’s leading healthcare systems.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, this school has a total of 15,500 graduates, with billions of economic impact on the country as they have generated $689 million for research.

  • DMin in Biblical Studies
  • DMin in Church Leadership

Emory University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#10  Fordham University

Fordham University campus

Fordham University is located in New York City, and it is one of the private research universities in the community. It is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the northeastern United States and the third oldest university in New York.

Jesuit presidents have run the school since 1846, and it has been governed independently from the Church since 1969. Today, this university has a total enrollment of approximately 15,300 students.

  • Doctor of Ministry
  • DMin in Latino Ministry
  • DMin in Spirituality

Fordham University is accredited by the Middle States Association of the Commission of Higher Education.

#11  Fuller Theological Seminary

Fuller Theological Seminary campus

Founded in 1947, Fuller Theological Seminary is a multi-denominational Christian evangelical seminary. It is located in Pasadena, California, and it has regional campuses in the western region of the United States.

The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada has accredited this university. Currently, the school has 2,800 students from 90 different countries belonging to 110 denominations.

  • Doctor of Ministry

Fuller Theological Seminary is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

#12  George Fox University

George Fox University campus

Gorge Fox University was founded in 1891 and was originally called Friends Pacific Academy. It promotes personal, academic, and spiritual growth in each of its students.

Currently, it has a total enrollment of 4,070 students, and it has various campus locations in Newberg, Portland, Salen, and Redmond. Also, it was included in Forbes’ Top 100 America’s Best Colleges, where it ranked 58th.

  • DMin in Church Leadership

George Fox University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#13  Grace School of Theology

Grace School of Theology campus

The Grace School of Theology, originally known as Houston Theological Seminary, was established in 2001 by Dave Anderson, a former student and professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. This institution’s vision is to develop spiritual leaders in every nation.

There are 36 faculty members working in the school, eight of which were trained at Dallas Theological Seminary, much like their founder.

  • Doctor of Ministry
  • DMin in Church Leadership
  • DMin in Counseling
  • DMin in Ministry
  • DMin in Theology

Grace School of Theology is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

#14  Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University campus

Headquartered in Marion, Indiana, Indiana Wesleyan University is the largest private Christian university in the state.

The university is home to 13,000 students, and the school’s athletic program houses 18 varsity teams, participating in Division I and II of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics(NAIA) and the National Christian College Athletic Association(NCCAA).

  • DMin in Church Leadership
  • DMin in Preaching
  • DMin in Spirituality

Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#15  Knox Theological Seminary

Knox Theological Seminary campus

Knox Theological Seminary was named after the Scottish reformer, John Knox. In 1989, the school was founded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by D. James Kennedy, a senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

As an independent evangelical seminary, the school offers ministry training either in its facility in Fort Lauderdale or through its online campus, the Knox online.

  • DMin in Church Leadership
  • DMin in Ministry
  • DMin in Theology

Knox Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

#16  Lancaster Bible College

Lancaster Bible College campus

Formerly known as Lancaster School of the Bible and the Lancaster Bible College & Graduate School,  Lancaster Bible College was established in 1933 by Henry J. Heydt in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

This private bible college, seminary, and graduate school is affiliated with the Association for Biblical Higher Education and the Middle States Association, and it has four additional affiliated sites from which they serve.

  • DMin in Church Leadership

Lancaster Bible College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

#17  Lexington Theological Seminary

Lexington Theological Seminary campus

Lexington Theological Seminary was technically established in 1865, and it was originally known as the Department of Hebrew Literature at Bacon College, which was established in 1836.

In recent years, this private institution has moved most of its instructions online, and therefore no longer requires as much physical space. The seminary is now located in Lexington, Kentucky.

  • Doctor of Ministry

Lexington Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

#18  Liberty University

Liberty University campus

Liberty University is a private evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. It is one of the largest Christian universities in the world and also one of the largest private non-profit universities in the United States, based on student enrollments.

With over 15,000 students studying in its physical campus and over 94,000 students in online courses, the school has about 110,000 students within its system.

  • DMin in Biblical Studies
  • DMin in Chaplaincy
  • DMin in Church Revitalization
  • DMin in Discipleship
  • DMin in Evangelism and Church Planting
  • DMin in Expository Preaching and Teaching
  • DMin in Next Generation Ministry
  • DMin in Pastoral Counseling
  • DMin in Ministry Leadership
  • DMin in Spiritual Formation
  • DMin in Theology and Apologetics
  • DMin in Urban Ministry
  • DMin in Worship

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#19  Luther Rice College and Seminary

Luther Rice College and Seminary campus

Luther Rice College & Seminary was founded in 1962 by Robert Gee Witty in Jacksonville, Florida. It was named after Luther Rice, an educator, missionary, and clergyman in the 1800s. Although the campus has recently moved to Lithonia, Georgia, the institution remains a private Southern Baptist college and seminary.

  • Doctor of Ministry

Luther Rice College and Seminary is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

#20  North Greenville University

North Greenville University campus

Located in Tigerville, South Carolina, North Greenville University is a private Baptist university associated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention. Established in 1891, the institution is home to 2,260 undergraduate students on its rural campus with Gene Fant, Jr. sitting as the current president.

  • Doctor of Ministry

North Greenville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#21  Piedmont International University

Piedmont International University campus

Piedmont International University is a private Christian Bible College located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was founded in 1945 by Charles Stevens and a group of North Carolina Baptist leaders who had first called it the Piedmont Bible Schools, Inc. and the Piedmont Bible Institute. Currently, it only has a total enrollment of 1,077 students.

  • Doctor of Ministry

Piedmont International University is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

#22  Providence Bible College & Theological Seminary

Providence Bible College and Theological Seminary campus

This private school was established in 1925, and it is located approximately 50 kilometers south-east of Winnipeg in Otterburne, Manitoba. Although the school has 100 acres of land to its name, it is home to only 250 undergraduates and 75 postgraduates. Its motto is “Knowledge and Character for Leadership and Service.”

  • Doctor of Ministry

Providence Bible College & Theological Seminary is accredited by the Transworld Accrediting Commission.

#23  Regent University

Regent University campus

Regent University is dubbed as one of the nation’s leading academic centers for Christian thought and action. It was founded in 1977 by Pat Robertson. Throughout the years, the institute has rapidly grown, and it now has over 11,000 students that are studying either on its physical 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia or around the world.

  • DMin in Chaplaincy
  • DMin in Church Leadership

Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#24  Southern California Seminary

Southern California Seminary campus

Southern California Seminary is a small institution with an enrollment of 12 undergraduate students and an application fee of 44 dollars. It is a private, Christian college located in Cajon, California, in the San Diego Area.

With 39 part-time undergraduates, the school only has about 51 undergraduate students all in all, with two-thirds of them being over the age of 25.

  • DMin in Biblical Studies
  • DMin in Christian Education
  • DMin in Church Leadership

Southern California Seminary is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

#25  Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Southwestern Assemblies of God University campus

Established in 1927, this private Christian university is the only Assemblies of God University that is located in Texas. It serves 2,012 students in its suburban 70-acre campus located in Waxahachie, Texas, with Kermit Bridges sitting as its president. The school’s motto is “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose.”

  • DMin in Church Leadership

Southwestern Assemblies of God University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Is a Doctor of Ministry Worth It?

church minister reading the bible

Yes, a Doctor of Ministry is worth it. After graduation, you can expect to earn between $51,000 and $79,000. But while having the opportunity to make a healthy living is definitely important, when faith and religion join the discussion, it’s only natural for the conversation to extend beyond salaries.

Do you feel the need to enhance your understanding of theology and Scripture to better serve your congregation? Perhaps you’re looking to take on a new learning challenge and enhance your own insight into your personal faith?

Regardless of what actually motivates you to enroll in a DMin program, earning your doctoral degree is both personally fulfilling and professionally successful.

This article is brought to you by
Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson
Editor
Joy Mays
Joy Mays
Director
Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen
Author
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *