Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Doctor of Ministry degree for pastoral care training

For the religious professional engaged in ministry today, the Doctor of Ministry degree (DMin) program as SFTS offers:

  • academic engagement in a collaborative learning environment
  • professional growth, spiritual renewal and personal refreshment

The DMin program brings together working professionals in a wide variety of active ministries, including congregational leadership, pastoral and spiritual care, chaplaincy, education and community-based ministries, to learn, explore and vision creative approaches to ministry.

Established in 1970, our Doctor of Ministry program is one of the oldest and most respected of the many DMin degree programs in the United States. Throughout its history the program’s hallmark has been the ecumenical and international character of the student body and faculty, its engagement with forward looking scholarship at the intersections of spirituality and social justice. The DMin program is committed to excellence and innovation, combining academic rigor with a pragmatic focus on the practice of ministry.

The DMin degree is designed to equip practitioner scholars to:

  • Reflect independently, critically and theologically upon the issues in society, mission, and ministry today.
  • Build collegial relationships based on trust and cooperation among peers in ministry.
  • Use interdisciplinary research skills to develop innovative approaches to ministry and pastoral work.

The DMin course schedule offers students low-residency and online options.  Most courses can be completed in the Summer and January sessions, in one- and two-week formats.  Hybrid courses – combining 15 – 20 hours in the classroom and online course work allow students to combine the collegiality of the classroom with the flexibility of online scheduling.

Admissions Deadlines

Summer/Fall: April 1
January/Spring: November 1

Late Admission: This is possible in some cases. Please contact the APS program office for more information.

Admissions Requirements

Students are expected to meet all of the following standards:

  • MDiv degree or equivalent (e.g., other master’s degree in a religious subject)
  • Active engagement in a recognized, traditionally ordained ministry
  • Three years of ministry experience after completion of the MDiv
  • All applicants for whom English is a second language, must have a TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper version) or 80 (internet version).

Degree Requirements

  • Six 3-unit Seminars
  • Dissertation/Project Orientation and Proposal Seminars
  • A Final Dissertation/Project

Program Options

Students take a combination of required Foundational Seminars and elective Resource Seminars to prepare for their research and dissertation/project. Students may opt for one of the following concentrations:

New – Chaplaincy/Spiritual Care Research Literacy
Designed for clinical pastoral educators, board certified chaplains, and those seeking professional chaplaincy vocations, core courses in this track provide a framework for evaluating existing research, understanding methods of data collection, quality, and usage, and theological reflection on the history and politics of research. Download complete information here (PDF).

Interdisciplinary Contextual Study of Ministry
The interdisciplinary and contextual focus of the DMin degree enables students to explore their own leadership style and ministry context, develop skills for critical reflection on ministry-based issues, explore current research in the social sciences, and engage in critical theological reflection to seek creative responses to the challenges of ministry today. Download information here (PDF).

Pastoral Care and Counseling
Designed for chaplains, pastoral counselors and pastors specializing in pastoral care ministries, the courses in this concentration explore the intersections of theology and psychology.  Download emphasis information here (PDF).

The Pastor as Spiritual Leader
Designed for persons who seek to lead congregations and organizations from a posture oriented toward the dynamics of spirituality, spiritual formation, and the practice of spiritual disciplines. This concentration includes courses offered jointly by the DMin program and the Program in Christian SpiritualityDownload concentration information here. (PDF)

Executive Leadership

This concentration is especially useful if your role includes executive roles and responsibilities in congregational ministry, denominational and judicatory staff, and community-based or non-profit agencies. Focused on the unique dynamics of leadership in communities of faith, courses in this concentration explore current theory in adaptive leadership, organizational change, and spiritual discernment and visioning. Download concentration information here. (PDF)

Financial Aid

SFTS does not offer financial aid to Doctor of Ministry students. DMin students needing financial assistance may be able to access private sources, including their employer (church, hospital, or military) or denominational resources.

Students who qualify, may want to apply for a Federal Stafford Student Loan.  More information about federal loans and other opportunities is available here.


Tuition is charged per course in the first phase of the DMin program.  After completion of coursework, student pay tuition per semester for DMin Supervision.

Tuition is due at the start of each term. If you wish to make a payment plan for your tuition, the SFTS business office is available to assist you (415.451.2827).

Tuition fees:

$1840 per course

$500 per semester for DMin Supervision

Rev. Dr. Teresa Chavéz Sauceda, Director of Advanced Pastoral Studies, Assistant Professor of Ministry
For more information, please contact:
Rev. Dr. Teresa Chavéz Sauceda, Director of Advanced Pastoral Studies, Assistant Professor of | 415.451.2865
Rev. Ruth T. West, Program Manager, Advanced Pastoral Studies
Rev. Ruth T. West, Program Manager, Advanced Pastoral | 415.451.2838

“For the student using dance as part of their therapy with Alzheimer’s patients, or the one developing a new style of music, a written research paper won’t adequately cover the body of their work. If we’re going to be responsive to new ministry, we have to reconceive our program to not just be print oriented.”

– Rev. Dr. Virstan Choy, Adjunct Faculty, Advanced Pastoral Studies