The DMin project is the culmination of a professional degree in ministry.
Timothy Lincoln, in an article in Theological Education describes the DMin project in ATS-approved schools: "Written for an audience of persons engaged in ministry, the project should address an issue arising out of ministerial practice, use an appropriate research model informed by the social sciences, and interpret itself from the point of view of a Christian minister." Further, he notes: "The project is an exercise in phronesis, practical Christian wisdom."
The Doctor of Ministry In-ministry Project blends the theoretical and the practical, theology and ministry. The objective is to provide materials for the benefit of the church and to help pastors grow. The emphasis blends research, academic writing, skill development and personal reflection. After presenting personal spiritual and theological reflection, analysis of the context, a theoretical and theological basis for the project itself, evidence of relevant literature and description of appropriate research methods, the writer narrates and evaluates an intervention implemented over time, usually in a local church. The project report is typically 100 to 120 pages, excluding appendices. Criteria used to judge a DMin project are:
The Doctor of Ministry program has adopted the most recent version of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) as the writing style guide for Andrews Seminary Doctor of Ministry projects.
Each concentration is to reflect the following shared essentials in the project:
DMin students take GSEM790 DMin Project Seminar for four credits early in their program. Under the guidance of the professor of that class, a student develops a suitable proposal and selects an advisor. Guided by the advisor, the student refines the proposal until it is deemed ready for submission to the DMin Proposal Sub-committee.
The student submits a copy of the project proposal to the chair of the DMin Proposal Sub-committee one week before the meeting of the committee when the proposal will be considered. This committee analyzes the proposal and determines whether it meets Andrews standards.
In evaluating the proposal, the DMin Proposal Sub-committee will consider the clarity, logic, organization, language, and presentation of the proposal. The DMin Proposal Sub-committee will pay special attention to the method of research proposed. While they recognize that the reference list is preliminary, sub-committee members will consider whether or not there is evidence of familiarity with appropriate sources. The proposal may be accepted as presented, accepted with modifications to be certified by the project coach, or rejected. The revised version of the proposal is approved by the advisor and DMin Proposal Sub-committee, then placed in the student's file. When a proposal is deemed satisfactory and has been officially accepted by the Doctor of Ministry Committee, the student will receive a letter conveying such approval. The student chooses a second reader after the proposal is approved. After this, the student formally begins the project.
With approval of the proposal, the research process begins in earnest. Closely following the approved proposal and under the supervision of the advisor, the student carries out the needed research, both theoretical and field-oriented.
The student begins writing from Chapter 3. As soon as a chapter is written, the student submits it to the advisor for revision and approval. Normally, the advisor requests modifications, which the student must make before resubmitting the chapter. The process usually takes at least three rewrites. Then the advcisor sends the chapter to the second reader for review. Each chapter is written following the same process (see Project Map).
The advisor and reader should consult on the document, determining together when it is ready for assessment. Some of the questions they will ask regarding the project are the following:
When advisor and second reader agree that the project is ready for assessment, the advisor informs the administrative assistant for learning, who chooses a third reader and sets a date for the assessment event.
The student supplies a copy of the project document to the administrative assistant for learning, for technical editing. See the "completion deadlines" on this website for more details.
The purpose of the assessment is to evaluate the candidate's ability to integrate what he/she has learned into improved ministerial practice, and to provide an opportunity for the candidate to explain the research. The assessment event is open to the public. The DMin director, advisor, second reader, and third reader constitute the assessment committee.
After the candidate presents his/her research, the examiners take turns asking questions. In an executive session, the four examiners decide the results of the examination, which can be acceptance, acceptance with revisions, or rejection.
When revisions are requested (as normally happens), the committee usually empowers the advisor to supervise the changes and provide certification that they have been accomplished. The advisor will meet with the student and communicate the needed changes. The student will make the revisions and then submit a revised copy to the advisor. If the advisor approves of the revisions, a copy will be sent to the administrative assistant for learning for approval and editing. A student may not receive a diploma until the revisions are completed.
The DMin Project Coach should:
The role of the advisor regarding the proposal and the project is as follows:
The responsibilities of the DMIN student are the following:
Students come from varied backgrounds. Patterns of thinking vary with culture; sometimes that complicates the research/writing mode of a doctoral program. Language difficulties often hinder progress.
Many students find it difficult to approach faculty members and advisors requesting help. In some cultures it may be considered too "bold." Students should remember that teachers expect them to initiate contact.
Professors do not correct typographical errors or edit. The appropriate response from an advisor when grammar, spelling, or format are unacceptable is to return the paper after correcting the first three pages (and scanning the whole) with instructions for rewriting it. These instructions might include directions for reorganizing, advice on cutting or lengthening sections, and even a mandate to find an editor.