Students must fulfill the requirements of the curriculum of the degree to which they have been admitted that were in force at the time of their admission.
Should a student desire to change from one program to another, or to change from non-degree to degree-seeking status, a request for the change must be submitted to the Director of Admissions. The request must contain the reasons for the request. The Director of Admissions will review the request and make a decision or request additional information
7.1 Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
7.1.1 Purpose Statement
The Master of Divinity (M.Div.) is a professional degree designed to help men and women preparing for Christian ministry and especially congregational ministry.
7.1.2 Program Learning Goals
- Students will gain the skills and knowledge in the fields of Interpreting the Scripture for the Church, Interpreting the Past for the Church, Interpreting the Faith for the Church, and Interpreting the Behavior For the Church that are needed for effective ministry in the Christian community.
- Students will gain the skills and knowledge in the fields of Leading the Church in Worship (including preaching), Leading the Church Through Care, Leading the Church Through Formation, and Leading the Church Into Mission that are needed for effective ministry in the Christian community.
- Students will learn to think critically and creatively about the Christian faith, including how that thought affects their own theology and life of faith.
- Students will learn to appropriate the Gospel for their varying socio-cultural and ecclesial contexts.
- Students will learn to integrate the spiritual, intellectual, and practical aspects of ministry.
7.1.3 Time Limit
The Master of Divinity degree must be completed within ten years.
7.1.4 Curriculum Requirements
The total number of credits required to complete the M.Div. degree is 76. These are allocated in specific ways as spelled out on the M.Div. curriculum worksheet and the web page with a M.Div. Curriculum Overview.
7.1.5 Residency Requirement
Twenty-four credits of the work required for the M.Div. degree must be completed through courses taken at the seminary’s Lexington campus.
7.1.6 The Congregational Requirement
A major component of the Master of Divinity degree is the participation in the life of a congregation. The congregational requirement is designed to support the intellectual, practical, and spiritual goals of the M.Div. curriculum. The Seminary’s curriculum recognizes the congregation as the primary context where students integrate what they have learned in courses, their growing familiarity with and basic competence in the skills of ministry, and the practical wisdom about ministry generated by their participation in the life of the congregation. In turn, this integration in the congregational setting contributes to their learning in courses. Therefore, all M.Div. students at LTS are required to engage in an accountable work role in a congregation for a minimum of ten hours a week through all levels of the M.Div. program when they are enrolled in courses.
A student who wishes to have a fulltime chaplaincy position recognized as the context for this requirement must petition the Dean for an exception to this policy. Renewal of this exception must be requested annually, and will be limited to one third of the student’s program. Being granted this exception does not release the student from congregation-based course assignments.
Each M.Div. student will submit a Congregation Information Form signed by a congregational representative each year the student is enrolled in courses. The form will be submitted upon initial enrollment in the M.Div. program, and no later than the completion of three credit hours of coursework. Students will update and submit signed Congregation Information Forms every year they are enrolled in courses by a date determined by the Coordinator, verifying their continued accountable work role in a congregational context. Failure to submit a form will make the student ineligible for enrolling in further courses at LTS. Students must continue to meet the congregational requirement so long as they are enrolled in the M.Div. program. If they find it necessary to leave their service in one congregation before starting in another, they will be granted a “grace period” of three credit hours during which they may continue to enroll in courses without a congregational context. After the end of the grace period, they will be ineligible for enrolling in further courses at LTS until they have a new congregation. Only one “grace period” during the course of the M.Div. degree program, beyond the initial three credit hour period, will be allowed.
Details of how to fulfill this requirement are given at the website page, “The Congregational Requirement.”
Each Master of Divinity student will be partnered with a local mentor during his/her degree program. The mentors help students reflect upon the ministry in which they are participating as well as participate in the evaluation of the students’ competency exercises and consult with them in the development of their capstone project in Level III of the degree program.
7.1.8 Covenant Groups
Master of Divinity students are required to participate in four covenant group during their course of study. Each covenant group lasts three months and earns 0.5 credit hour toward the degree. The covenant groups meet twice a month and are co-led by a professor and an experienced pastor. Students will participate in two covenant groups during Level I of their program (CO 501) before their competency exercises are completed, one while taking 600-level electives during Level II (CO 601), and one while working on their capstone project during Level III (CO 701).
7.1.9 Competency Exercises – Requirements
- The competency exercise integrates two subject areas, ordinarily one from the Interpreting area and one from the Leading area.
- The core of a competency exercise is an event or series of events in a student’s accountable ministry site that displays a coherent pastoral practice or set of practices.
- Competency in each of the two subject areas, as well as their integration, is to be exhibited in this pastoral practice or set of practices.
- The student builds a portfolio of materials around this event or events that displays the pastoral practice(s). This portfolio is the basis for instructor evaluation of the student’s competency. The portfolio includes the following types of materials:
- advanced writing about the pastoral practice from the perspective of the two subject areas as a preparation for the event(s) that display the pastoral practice;
- a recording of the event(s), e.g., a videotape of a worship, a pastoral care verbatim, or an audio tape of a meeting;
- written evaluations by the church, the student, and the student’s mentor of the efficacy of the pastoral practice displayed in the event(s).
- The instructors will prepare a description of the work the student must do to complete the exercise and an assessment rubric identifying the specific knowledge, skill, and character competencies on which the student will be assessed. This rubric should be structured in correlation with the five curricular goals for the M.Div. The instructors also design the assessment instruments used by church, student and mentor to record their evaluations of the student’s performance.
- The faculty member in each subject area assigns the grade for that subject area.
- If a student fails a competency exercise, he or she is allowed to re-take that same exercise once. If the student fails the second time, he or she may not continue the M.Div. program. The student is eligible to be considered for transfer to another of the seminary’s programs.
7.1.10 Competency Exercises – Procedures
- The Dean will review competency exercises designed by adjunct faculty to ensure consistency with the above framework and its implementation by regular faculty.
- The subject areas paired in each competency exercise are chosen by the student.
- Students will both register separately, and receive separate grades, for each area of a competency exercise. For example, an IF-LM competency exercise is actually registered as two separate items, an IF competency exercise and an LM competency exercise, for which the student receives separate grades.
7.1.11 Competency Exercises – Effect of Waivers
Students may receive a waiver for competency exercises in specific subject areas by virtue of transfer credit. Since competency exercises normally integrate one Interpreting subject area and one Leading subject area, waivers may create two kinds of exceptional situations that this policy addresses.
- If, due to waivers, a student is left with a single subject area that cannot be paired with another to create a competency exercise, the student is not required to complete a competency exercise in that subject area, but must take 500-level courses in the subject sufficient to complete the credit hour requirement in that area, and must take a 600-level (Level II) elective that integrates that subject area with another.
- If, due to waivers, a student cannot match Interpreting and Leading subject areas for every competency exercise, the student may complete one competency exercise matching two Interpreting subject areas or two Leading subject areas. However, the student must take a 600-level (Level II) elective in the subject areas that were waived initially.
7.1.12 Policy for Moving from Level I (Apprenticeship Stage; 500-level) to Level II (Journeyer Stage; 600-level) Coursework
Students may begin to take Level II courses when they have passed one Competency Exercise. In order to take Level II courses in a subject area in which they have not passed a Competency Exercise, students must have completed at least 60% of the Level I credits in that subject area, Students may take no more than eight credits of Level II courses before passing all competency exercises. Students who fail a competency exercise will not be able to take Level II courses until that competency is completed successfully.
7.1.13 Capstone Project
The Capstone Project constitutes the Master level of the M.Div. curriculum. This 6-credit project begins with a proposal from the student defining a project to be carried out in the student’s congregation and around which the student builds a portfolio of materials. The portfolio provides the basis for evaluating the student’s performance.
- The Capstone Project is usually carried out in the student’s congregation. Students may petition the Dean for an exception to this requirement. The student will develop this petition in consultation with her or his faculty advisor.
- Students will usually complete the project and submit the portfolio to the evaluators no sooner than 3 months and no longer than 6 months after the proposal is approved. Students should expect to spend at least 240 hours of work to complete their projects successfully. Those who intend to complete the Capstone in 3 months should therefore anticipate spending no less than 20 hours a week working on this project. Those who anticipate completing it in 6 months should expect to spend no less than 10 hours a week. Work combines reading, research, congregational activities, and writing.
- Students develop proposals for their Capstone Projects in consultation with their faculty advisors (as well as other persons the advisor deems appropriate), who gives approval when they judge proposals to be sufficiently well-developed. A completed proposal should include at the following items:
- A hypothesis about the issue faced by the congregation that will be the focus of the project. This issue should an on-going problematic calling for adaptive change rather than a problem for which an immediate, technical solution can be constructed.
- A brief sketch of a multi-faceted strategy for responding to the issue, including a definition of progress in addressing it.
- A brief description of the student’s initial understanding of the biblical, theological, historical, and ethical foundations for analyzing the issue.
- A brief description of pastoral leadership approaches for addressing the issue, including liturgical, educational, programmatic, pastoral, administrative, and leading.
- An initial annotated bibliography of resources related to the issue.
- The contents of the portfolio that will be submitted for evaluation at the end of the project.
- The name of the local expert (e.g., local clergy mentor, work supervisor) who will serve as a consultant for the student during the project and who will join the faculty advisor in evaluating the portfolio upon its submission.
- Students register for the Capstone Project in the month after their proposal is approved.
- Students submit a portfolio by their chosen submission date (see above). Portfolios contain the following contents and are submitted as follows:
At least one week before ministry events the student must submit:
- A 4,000-5,000 word analysis of the issue being studied. An analysis incorporates research in the relevant literature and data gathered in the congregation and/or community. It looks at the general problem and how it is manifested in the student’s location. It also includes the theological affirmations (with appropriate justification) that ground the student’s understanding of the issue. This paper demonstrates how the student’s learning in seminary contributes to her or his understanding of the issue.
- A 4,000-5,000 word description of the approaches the student has taken to address the issue and a justification or rationale for taking that approach. The justification/rationale must draw on various disciplines and show how they are used in a coherent fashion. This description includes the concrete steps taken in applying these approaches to the issue being addressed. It also includes the theological affirmations that ground the student’s approaches to the issue. This paper demonstrates how the student’s learning in seminary contributes to his or her understanding of the issue.
- An annotated bibliography that includes all literature cited in other materials included in the portfolio. It is divided by discipline and includes resources the student has utilized in his or her seminary studies.
After pastoral events the student must submit:
- Any surveys, questionnaires, programs, literature, sermons, lessons, etc. that were used in carrying out the project in the congregation.
- Evidence of work within the congregation approximating the amount of such work in four competency exercises. Work may include video recordings of 3-4 pastoral events (e.g., sermons, lessons, etc.) as examples of how the student’s ministry addressed the issue. Pastoral events will have reflected the diversity of disciplines used in the approaches taken to address the issue. Pastoral events should reflect the same depth of work as the written work.
- A 750-1,000 word assessment of the effectiveness of the project. This consists of evaluation of the degree to which the progress aimed at was achieved and what the next steps for pastoral action might be.
- Evaluations of the project’s reception by the recipients of the ministry, normally including data gathered from the recipients and “exit data” gathered from the congregation gauging the project’s effectiveness.
- The project is evaluated by the local expert named in the proposal and the faculty advisor. Upon initial evaluation, the evaluation team may ask the student to re-work some part of the project or portfolio before assigning a final grade. The faculty advisor assigns the final grade for the Capstone Project. A passing grade for the Capstone Project is C (i.e., 73 or higher). A student who receives a lower grade may re-take the Capstone Project once. A student re-taking the Capstone Project may be asked to re-write all or part of their proposal. The Capstone Project is evaluated using a rubric based on the learning goals of the M.Div. program.
7.2 Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)
7.2.1 Purpose Statement
The Master of Theological Studies is a program designed to prepare men and women for a wide variety of ministries including advanced graduate study in one of the theological disciplines. It introduces students to the main theological disciplines, provides opportunity for some specialization, and requires a thesis relevant to the student’s goal. It is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate preparation for a variety of vocational goals.
7.2.2 Program Learning Goals
- Students will gain graduate level knowledge in the areas of biblical studies, church history, theology, Ethics and Society, and Educational Ministries.
- Students will sharpen their ability to think theologically.
- Students will gain knowledge and skills that can be of use in local congregations and religious organizations, as well as in further academic (e.g. Ph.D.) work.
7.2.3 Time Limit
The Master of Theological Studies degree must be completed within ten years.
7.2.4 Curriculum Requirements
The total number of credits required to complete the M.T.S. degree is 48. These are allocated in specific ways as spelled out on the M.T.S. curriculum worksheet and the web page with a M.T.S. Curriculum Overview.
7.2.5 Residency Requirement
There is NO requirement that credits earned for the M.T.S. degree be completed on the seminary’s Lexington campus. Thus, if a student wishes, the degree may be completed entirely online.
7.2.6 Ministry Site Course
Students may receive credit for a single course for work in a ministry site after completing 20 credit hours of work in the program. The student will register for this work as a Directed Study with the Professor of Pastoral Leadership.
Each credit hour of supervised practice must include:
1) at least 100 hours of supervised practice,
2) under the supervision of that faculty member before the supervised practice begins, an articulation of the learning goals to be accomplished,
3) a final evaluation from the supervisor of the practice, and
4) a structured reflection with that faculty member about achieving the learning goals.
This course may be taken for between 1 and 3 credit hours. Students will receive only Pass/Fail grades for the directed study in a ministry site.
7.2.7 M.T.S. Competency Exercise
- The competency exercise integrates two or three subject areas. These areas will be selected in conversation with the student’s advisor.
- The core of the competency exercise will be the production of a body of work that demonstrates an appropriate level of understanding and facility with the chosen areas. In addition to competency in each of the chosen subject areas, facility in their integration is to be exhibited in this body of work. If one of the areas is from the Leading areas, the exercise will include an event or series of events that displays a coherent set of leadership practices.
- When the competency exercise includes only Interpreting areas, it will consist largely of an integrative written project. The student may be asked to demonstrate competency in some manner beyond the production of written materials. Such expectations may include teaching a class or other activities in which their understanding is shared with a non-specialist audience.
- When the competency exercise includes a Leading area, the student builds a portfolio of materials around an event or events that displays the leadership practice(s). This portfolio is the basis for instructor evaluation of the student’s competency. The portfolio includes the following types of materials:
- advanced writing about the leadership practice from the perspective of the chosen subject areas as a preparation for the event(s) that display the leadership practice;
- a recording of the event(s), e.g., a videotape of a worship, a pastoral care verbatim, or an audio tape of a meeting;
- written evaluations by the church and the student assessing the efficacy of the leadership practice displayed in the event(s).
- The instructors will prepare a description of the expectations of this exercise. They will also complete an assessment rubric identifying the specific knowledge and/or skill competencies on which the student will be assessed. This rubric should be structured in correlation with the curricular goals for the M.T.S. When the exercise includes a public event (e.g., teaching a class, etc.), the instructors also design the assessment instruments used by church and student to record their evaluations of the student’s performance. The student will propose a project that fits these parameters.
- The faculty member in each subject area assigns the grade for that subject area.
- To pass a competency exercise the student must pass all parts of the exercise with a score of 73 or above. If a student fails a competency exercise, he or she is allowed to re-take that same exercise once after a three-month waiting period and appropriate study as recommended by the faculty setting the exercise and/or the student’s advisor. If the student fails the second time, he or she may not continue the M.T.S. program. The student is eligible to be considered for transfer to another of the seminary’s programs.
7.2.8 Master of Theological Studies Thesis
The M.T.S. thesis is the culmination of the Master of Theological Studies degree at LTS.
Standards for an M.T.S. Thesis: The thesis should not be less than sixty pages in length. It must follow MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association, 2009 in matters of form and style. The thesis should build upon coursework and demonstrate an advanced level of research and thought.
The M.T.S. thesis is normally an academic research project, though the student may choose to relate the research to a question or issue in a religious community. It is expected that the M.T.S. thesis will demonstrate an advanced level of thought and facility in a field of religious studies.
The project provides an opportunity for candidates to engage in an inquiry which will:
- Develop and demonstrate a deep and coherent understanding of an area of religious studies;
- Further refine and integrate various elements of candidates’ academic work;
- Represent an advanced degree of knowledge and skill in a particular area.
Thesis Proposal Due Dates: The process of thesis submission begins with the thesis proposal. Master of Theological Studies students must submit a thesis proposal to the faculty for approval. The following guidelines apply:
- Proposals are due after students complete thirty-three credit hours and no later than the completion of thirty-nine hours.
- Proposals are due in the Office of the Dean on the third Friday of the month proceeding the month the proposal is being presented to the faculty.
- Students who do not submit their proposals by the time they complete thirty-nine hours will not be allowed to register for subsequent coursework. The Registrar’s Office will be responsible for identifying students who are not allowed to register for further coursework.
Thesis Proposal Preparation and Submission: Before beginning to write the proposal, a student must select a proposed Thesis Advisor from among the faculty and that faculty member must agree to advise the student. The student should confer with his/her proposed Thesis Advisor about procedures and faculty expectations. The proposed Thesis Advisor will engage the student in a discussion of the main considerations in the proposal.
Before the proposal is submitted for approval, the student will:
- Review the thesis proposal with and receive approval from the proposed Thesis Advisor.
- Select proposed thesis readers from a related field. One of the readers may be from an institution other than LTS. Any outside reader must be approved by the Thesis Advisor and Dean. M.T.S. thesis readers must be faculty or retired faculty members of LTS or another institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and/or have their accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education (or international equivalent), and must be involved in a discipline related to the content of the thesis.
- Secure from the readers their consent to serve.
The thesis proposal is an 800 to 1,300 words, 12-point font, double-spaced document which shall contain the following elements:
- Thesis Statement
- Methodology to be applied
- Brief discussion of the existing scholarship on the topic
- Statement of the nature and purpose of the thesis
- Outline of the basic content of the thesis
- Working bibliography, and
- Names of two readers who agree to serve along with the Thesis Advisor as the Thesis Committee.
When the Thesis Advisor has approved a satisfactory draft, the student will prepare the final copy. The top of the first page of the proposal should contain the student’s and the Thesis Advisor’s typed names, signatures, and date signed.
The proposal is handed to the Dean’s office according to the above timetable.
The faculty will review the proposal at the faculty meeting following the due date of the proposal. Faculty meetings are generally the first Monday of each month. Faculty reserve the right to postpone review of any proposal to balance the distribution between meetings. Students will be advised of postponed proposals.
When the proposal comes before the faculty, it may be approved, returned for revision (of either content or designation of readers), or rejected. Should the proposal be rejected, the student must begin formulating another thesis proposal. All thesis proposals must be approved by the faculty.
Thesis Writing, Completion and Defense: When writing the thesis the student must work closely with his or her thesis advisor sending portions or sections of the thesis to the advisor for feedback and modifications.
When the student and advisor agree that the thesis is close to completion the student may register for the thesis course credit. Students should register for their thesis only in the month in which they expect to defend it. Those who do not complete the thesis in the expected month will receive an NC as a grade until the thesis is completed and defended.
- Students will submit a copy to each of the faculty members on their thesis committee.
- Students will schedule a time for the thesis defense that is no less than 1 month before the date of graduation.
The defense is open to the entire faculty and is chaired by the Thesis Advisor. Should others beyond faculty members wish to attend a thesis defense, they may do so only with the consent of the Thesis Advisor and Dean of the Seminary and only under whatever conditions the Advisor and Dean choose to impose.
Thesis Grade and Final Requirements: As soon as possible after the defense, the student’s thesis committee will communicate the results of its evaluation. The thesis committee will normally convene immediately following the defense so that they may convey the results of their deliberations to the student without delay.
Students may receive a grade on the thesis, a grade dependent upon revisions being made and approved by the Thesis Advisor or thesis committee, or, instructions to make substantial revisions and appear again to present a defense.
When the thesis is approved, the thesis committee members will sign the title page of the thesis in the appropriate place and the thesis advisor will submit the grade to the Registrar. A thesis will receive a grade of Credit or No Credit.
- A minimum of a C performance is required for a thesis to receive a mark of Credit.
- A thesis may also receive an “Honors” designation if the thesis committee determines that it is of superior quality.
- For an M.T.S. thesis which is not complete at the end of the month for which it was registered, a No Credit (NC) will be reflected on the transcript until the thesis is successfully completed.
When the thesis committee has accepted the thesis, the student will submit it electronically according to standards and formats prescribed by the Director of the Library. No credit will be given for a thesis that does not conform to the correct form and style. The Library will retain the approved thesis in electronic format according to its policies for retention and circulation of such works.
7.3 Master in Pastoral Studies (M.P.S.)
7.3.1 Purpose Statement
The purpose of the degree is to prepare Roman Catholics for lay ministry at a diocesan or parish level. The degree is designed only for Roman Catholics who do not seek ordination.
7.3.2 Program Learning Goals
- Students will gain the skills and knowledge in the fields of interpreting Scripture, interpreting the Church’s past, and Catholic studies that are needed for effective ministry in non-ordained positions within a parish or diocese.
- Students will develop their ability to think theologically within the framework of the Roman Catholic Church.
- Students will gain the skills and knowledge in the fields of leading the church through care, leading the church through formation, and leading the church into mission that are needed for effective ministry in non-ordained positions within a parish or diocese.
7.3.3 Time Limit
The Master in Pastoral Studies degree must be completed within ten years.
7.3.4 Curriculum Requirements
The total number of credits required to complete the M.P.S. degree is 48. These are allocated in specific ways as spelled out on the M.P.S. curriculum worksheet and the web page with a M.P.S. Curriculum Overview.
7.3.5 Residency Requirement
Sixteen credits of the work required for the M.P.S. degree must be completed through courses taken at the seminary’s Lexington campus.
7.3.6 Pastoral Studies Practicum (LM 677)
The pastoral studies practicum is a 15 week, 10 hours a week hands on learning experience with supervision in a parish or pastoral setting. The practicum will provide students with opportunities to observe and then practice pastoral ministry and the spiritual and relational skills needed for this ministry.
1) Meet with supervisor and draw up a list of goals and tasks
3) Incrementally take responsibility
4) Keep “planning book”
- Keep track of hours and how they are spent
- Keep a record of reflections: what worked, what went wrong, what you think and feel about this experience
6) Final Assignment
After having a conversation with your supervisor about your practicum experience, write a paper (8-10 pages, double spaced) that sums up in hindsight answers to the questions:
- What did you learn?
- How did you grow?
- In what areas do you want to grow?
- From a philosophical and practical viewpoint, how did the practicum further (or fail to further) your formation?
1) Keep in touch with the student.
2) Have conversations with the student and the supervisor twice during the practicum: as the student assumes responsibility and at the end.
3) Read the journal and final paper. Inform the Registrar when the practicum has been completed. The Practicum receives a pass/fail grade.
7.3.7 Masters in Pastoral Studies Research Paper (MPS 770)
The Masters in Pastoral Studies Research Paper is to be written after coursework is completed. The student will choose an area in which to write the paper that is relevant to his/her studies and interests. The topic of the paper must be related to the student’s discipline. The topic will be approved by the Director of the M.P.S. Program. The faculty advisor in the disciple will be assigned by the director in consultation with the Dean.
The student will submit a proposal to the faculty advisor. The proposal will be 1,000-1,300 words, using a 12-point font, double spaced and will contain the following elements:
- Thesis statement
- Methodology of the existing scholarship on the topic
- Statement of the nature and purpose of the paper
- Working bibliography
The paper is to reflect substantial research. Through researching and writing the paper students will show evidence of being able to find relevant material and being able to express themselves logically and clearly. Students will bring abstract concepts to bean on concrete ministerial settings. The length of the paper is 18,000-27,000 words (40-60 pages). The MLA Handbook for Writes of Research Papers,7th edition (NewYork: The Modern Language Association, 2009) is to be followed.
The overall process (proposal, paper, and grade) is to be completed in a 15 week period. Students should register for the M.P.S. research paper at the beginning of the 15 weeks in which they expect to undertake and complete the paper. The proposal for the paper is due after 7 weeks and the final paper is due after 13 weeks. The faculty advisor has two weeks to grade the paper. The M.P.S. research paper receives a letter grade.
7.4 Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.)
The Doctor of Ministry program at Lexington Seminary, a graduate professional degree, is designed to enhance pastors’ capacity to critically interpret and engage contemporary cultures as a means to give fresh expression to the gospel and to transform congregations for effective ministry in the twenty-first century.
7.4.1 Program Goals
A graduate of LTS D.Min. program will:
Have a basic acquaintance with a range of approaches to interpreting contemporary cultural contexts, and facility in at least one approach;
Have facility in integrating advanced work in the classical theological disciplines with the critical interpretation of culture in service to the church’s articulation of the gospel;
Have a basic acquaintance with a range of approaches for re-imagining organizations and institutional practices that are informed by the critical interpretation of cultures, and facility in at least one approach;
Have a basic acquaintance with approaches to leading organizations through adaptive change, especially those relevant to empowering congregations.
7.4.2 Residency Requirement
Twelve credits of the work required for the D.Min. degree must be completed through courses taken at the seminary’s Lexington campus.
7.4.3 Course Work
Students will enter the D.Min. program as a cohort with a minimum of twelve students and work through three phases of coursework. All classes receive two hours of credit and follow the letter grade scale of the Master’s-level programs.
220.127.116.11 Initial Required Courses
Scheduled over approximately eighteen months, an entering cohort of students will take the following courses (for a total of ten hours of credit) in order:
- DM 811, Introduction to Doctoral Studies: Research, Writing, and Critical Theological Reflection (online)
- DM 812, Interpreting Contemporary Cultural Contexts (on-campus intensive)
- DM 813, Interpreting Contemporary Congregational Contexts (on-campus intensive)
- DM 814, Interpreting the Resources of the Faith for Contemporary Contexts (online)
- DM 815, Leading Congregations through Adaptive Change (online)
Following successful completion of the initial required courses, students will take electives individually based on their own interests (for a total of twelve credits). A minimum of two electives must be taken on campus. The others may be taken online.
These courses will primarily (but not exclusively) be 600-level M.Div. courses with added requirements for D.Min. students. These added requirements must include individual research in which course content is related to the interpretive approaches learned in the required courses.
A minimum of four credits must be taken in the practical disciplines (Leading courses), and a minimum of four credits must be taken in the classical theological disciplines (Interpreting courses).
18.104.22.168 Concluding Required Course
Once students have successfully completed all their electives, they will take a final online required D.Min. course, DM 890, Writing the Final Project. This course will help them prepare and present for critique a proposal for their final project. The course is considered completed and passed when the D.Min. Committee approves the proposal.
22.214.171.124 Transfer Credit
D.Min. students may transfer up to six elective hours into the program. For information on allowable transfer credits see section 5.11, “Transfer Credit.”
126.96.36.199 Time Limit
Course work counted toward the completion of the Doctor of Ministry degree must have been completed within ten calendar years prior to the granting of the degree.
7.4.4 The Final Project
The final D.Min. project represents six credits of doctoral level work on a problem, issue, or question in the ministry and mission of the church in the contemporary world that defines and evaluates an appropriate response to that problem, issue, or question. The project will contribute new knowledge about the nature and practice of ministry in contemporary church and society at a level of significance that the student’s peers would want to see shared in professional contexts. The audience of the project is the student’s peers in ministry. The project will employ a reflection-action-reflection methodology, and use the approaches to cultural analysis, congregational analysis, theological reflection, and leadership through adaptive change developed in the program.
188.8.131.52 Project Proposal
184.108.40.206.1 DM 890, Writing the Final Project
Once D.Min. students have independently completed their electives, a new DMIN cohort will be created to form a community of co-journeyers through the final phase of the program and help them prepare and present for critique a proposal for their final project.
- The instructor will guide the cohort through the specific expectations for the final project and proposal.
- Each student will work with a project advisor in developing her or his individual proposal. The students and project advisors will be paired in advance of the class.
Proposals must be submitted to and approved by the Doctor of Ministry Committee. The course is considered completed and passed when the D.Min. Committee approves the proposal.
220.127.116.11.3 Proposal Contents
- The project proposal should demonstrate to the D.Min. Committee that the student:
- has developed a critical assessment of a serious and weighty problem, issue, or question in the ministry and the mission of the church to be addressed;
- has developed a sound approach drawing on methods of cultural analysis, congregational analysis, and contextual theological reflection learned in earlier coursework for studying the problem, issue, or question;
- has developed a plan to employ leadership for adaptive change in addressing the problem, issue, or question;
- and has engaged the scholarly literature related to the problem, issue, or question sufficiently to be able to identify the new and valuable contribution to the discussion that he or she hopes to make.
- The proposal should include the following four elements:
- a title page with the project title, student’s name, project advisor’s name, and date of submission;
- a 1500 word presentation of the project including the elements described in the preceding paragraph;
- an outline of the chapters of the project following the format described below in 18.104.22.168.2, with each chapter described in 100 words;
- an annotated bibliography of scholarly and practical books, journal articles, and online resources related to the problem, issue or question being investigated consulted in the literature review required in the preceding paragraph.
- The proposal should be formatted in the same style as the final project as named in 22.214.171.124.3.
126.96.36.199.4 Submission of the Proposal
- Students may only submit the proposal to the D.Min. Committee with the approval of their project advisors.
- When such approval has been gained, students should email a digital copy of the proposal to the D.Min. director, who will present it to the D.Min. Committee.
- After reviewing the proposal, the Committee will take one of the following actions:
- approve the proposal, so that students may move forward on their project with their advisor without any further oversight by the Committee;
- approve the proposal with suggestions, so that students may move forward on their project with their advisor without any further oversight by the Committee, but with the expectation that the work will take into consideration and make adjustments for concerns raised by the Committee;
- require the submission of a revised proposal, in which case students, with their advisor, must address concerns raised by the Committee before moving forward; or
- reject the proposal, in which case students must seek a different problem, issue or question to address and develop a completely new proposal to be considered by the Committee.
The project will follow a reflection-action-reflection logic.
- Using methods of cultural analysis, congregational analysis, and contextual theological reflection, students will reflect on a problem, issue, or question that arises out of their ministerial experience and is in conversation with scholarly literature.
- Students will develop a strategy aimed at adaptive change in addressing the problem, issue, or question and carry out the strategy in their ministerial context.
- Finally, students will reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the actions taken, naming potential directions for future action.
The chapter structure of the D.Min. project is to be as follows:
- Introduction to the Problem, Issue, or Question
- A description of the issue (the problem, issue, or question should be one in the student’s individual context but one which can be found more widely in the field of ministry in North America)
- A review of the scholarly literature related to the problem, issue, or question
- A description of the student’s approach in relation to literature and statement of the thesis for the project
- An introduction to structure of rest of project
The following three chapters may need to be differently ordered and/or combined for different projects, but all three approaches must be included:
- Cultural Analysis (drawing on one of the methods learned and tested in coursework)
- Congregational Analysis (drawing on one of the methods learned and tested in coursework)
- Contextual Theological Analysis (drawing on one of the methods learned and tested in coursework)
The closing two chapters should be as follows:
- A Proposal for New Action toward Adaptive Change (drawing on one of the methods learned and tested in coursework)
- A Description of the Action Taken, Lessons Learned, and Reflection on what was done including next steps.
188.8.131.52.3 Length and Formatting of the Project
- The optimum length of the final project (excluding the bibliography) is approximately 125 pages, and there is an absolute maximum of 150 pages.
- The project is to be written using 12 point, Times New Roman Font.
- Pages are to be double-spaced, with 1.5 inch left hand margins and 1 inch margins on the other three sides, printed single-sided.
- The project must follow Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013) in matters of form and style. For formatting see section 184.108.40.206.4, “Final Submission.”
220.127.116.11 Project Completion and Defense
18.104.22.168.1 Project Submission Deadlines
- Projects deemed ready for defense must be submitted to the D.Min. Director no later than February 1 in the year the student intends to graduate.
- The D.Min. Director will schedule the defense on a date that allows the readers adequate time to work through the project and allows the student adequate time to make revisions required before submitting the final copies of the project.
- Following the defense and any required revisions and final approval, the final physical and digital copies of the project must to be submitted to the Director of the Library (see section 22.214.171.124.4, “Final Submission” below) by June 1 in order for the student to participate in graduation.
126.96.36.199.2 Completion and Submission for Review
- The final project is designed as independent work that takes place under the guidance of the project advisor. The rhythm and process of advising is to be negotiated between the advisor and the student. The advisor must approve the completion of the project as ready for defense before it is submitted to the D.Min. Director.
- Once completed, the project is to be submitted in digital form as an MSWord document (.docx) file via email to the D.Min. Director. At that point the Director, in consultation with the student and project advisor, will appoint two other readers to a Project Committee.
188.8.131.52.3 Project Defense
- After being given adequate time to read the project, the Project Committee will convene for an oral defense that will last 1 to 1.5 hours. The student will open the conversation with a brief summary of the project. The Committee members will then ask the student questions concerning the project.
- The Committee evaluates the final project on a Pass/Fail basis. The Committee will give a decision on the project as soon as possible following the meeting. The Committee will take one of the following actions:
- pass the project with honors;
- pass the project as is;
- pass the project pending required revisions, overseen by the project advisor and/or the D.Min. Director;
- defer the decision concerning passing or failing the project and require the student to make significant revisions and present the project to the Committee again;
- fail the project.
If the Committee fails the project, the student may not continue to work on the problem, issue, or question that was the focus of the project toward the completion of the degree program. This leaves the student two options:
- The student may work with the DMin director to start the process for developing a new project. This does not require retaking DM 890, but does requiring working with a new project advisor to submit a proposal to the DMin Committee for approval.
- The student may choose to be awarded the Certificate in Congregational Renewal and Leadership in lieu of finishing the degree program.
184.108.40.206.4 Final Submission
- When the final project is submitted, it must be accompanied by a one-paragraph abstract of 100 words or less to be published in the American Theological Library Association’s Research in Ministry (RIM): An Index to Doctor of Ministry Theses and Projects.
- The final copies of the conform to the following formatting standards:
- title page and signature page following the template established by the Doctor of Ministry Committee;
- pages are to be double-spaced, with 1.5 inch left hand margins and 1 inch margins on the other three sides, printed single-sided;
- the paper copies submitted to the library should be laser printed on acid-free paper that meets the following minimum criteria: 20 pound weight, 92 bright, 25% cotton content.
- The student must submit two physical copies and one digital copy to the Director of the Library. Students are responsible for the binding fees for two copies. One archival copy remains in the Library and the other is returned to the student. Students may pay for additional personal copies to be bound if they so desire. The digital copy must be submitted in MSWord (.docx) format.