Doctor of Ministry
3Years Full Time
Payments Centrelink Approved
6Max Years Part Time
Cricos code: 054710A (English)
The Doctor of Ministry is an AQF level 10 research doctoral award whose graduates make a significant and original contribution to knowledge as applied in the context of professional Christian ministry practice.
The degree is designed to enable men and women to produce significant and original research outcomes and as beginning researchers demonstrate the capacity to design, implement, gather and interpret data, and communicate the results of the research for theses undertaken in specific fields of knowledge applied to various areas of professional ministry.
The degree would be for theological and non-theological graduates already in significant leadership positions in churches, denominational offices, para-church agencies and non-church agencies and institutions where people wanted to enhance their research by also applying insights from Christian traditions.
Graduates with a Doctor of Ministry have already been employed in significant denominational positions for strategic planning as well as teaching pastoral and missions courses at theological colleges, bible colleges and seminaries in Australian and overseas and would continue to do so.
Colleges permitted to offer the Doctor of Ministry course:
A. Where a single college wants to offer the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) course it must meet the following requirements:
- The college should normally have a minimum of 5 candidates in a cohort. A cohort comprises all candidates commencing in the same semester. Normally DMin candidates will only be admitted to the DMin course in first semester of any calendar year. Normally, if in the second semester there are a minimum of 5 candidates eligible for admission to the DMin course a second cohort will be permitted in that calendar year.
- The college with the minimum candidates for a cohort must be willing and able to provide suitably qualified principal supervisors for the cohort of candidates at their college. Co-supervisors may be drawn from the supervising college or from any other source as long as the co-supervisor is registered by the ACT as a co-supervisor.
- The college must have adequate library and other resources or other formal arrangements in place to ensure candidates are able to undertake the research, analysis and writing to submit a project for examination.
- Where a college agrees to be part of the Doctor of Ministry program it also agrees to share their library resources with the other Doctor of Ministry candidates of approved colleges.
- The college must have the digital capability to host the DMin collaborative component of the DMin course.
- The college must nominate a broad field of research in which it proposes to offer the DMin course, e.g. Leadership, Preaching, Mission.
B. Where a single college is unable to meet the minimum requirements in section A, it may formally join with one or more colleges to establish a collaborative group to meet the requirements of section 1 above.
- Each member college of the collaboration group must provide the principal supervisor for candidates it has sponsored for the Doctor of Ministry course.
- Where a single college has a candidate(s) who qualify for admission to the DMin and has the capacity to provide the principal supervise but is unable to form a collaborative group with other colleges, that college should negotiate with a college or collaborative group of colleges to enroll their candidate with a DMin approved college or collaborative group of colleges and has permission for their supervisor to become the principal supervisor of the candidate. The principal supervisor to be remunerated as per the HDR Supervisor Remuneration Policy.
C. Where a candidate meets the admission criteria for the DMin course but is unable to find a sponsoring college or supervisor, the ACT reserves the right to enroll that candidate as an ACT candidate and negotiate with colleges to meet the requirements of section A.
288 credit points over 3 years (F/T)
Overall cps: 288
Length: 3 year F/T (6 semesters) or P/T equivalent up to 6 years (12 semesters)
Foundation Units (84cps)
- 1 x Research Methods unit (12cps) or exemption
- 3 x 12cps elective units (36cps) -
- 2 x Personal Formation year long units (12cps each)
- 1 x Personal Formation Portfolio year long unit (12cps)
All coursework units will be based on level 9 units. They will provide opportunity for advanced level development in relevant fields of study to a candidate’s proposed project. The foundational elective units are to form a coherent program of study developing content knowledge and skills in a recognised area of ministry practice. They may come from one or a mixture of fields of study, Developmental Ministries, Evangelism & Mission, or Pastoral and Church Focused Ministry. Examples of recognised areas of ministry practice supported by ACT level 9 units are Leadership, Mentoring, Cross-cultural mission.
Research Units (204 cps)
- 40,000 to 50,000 word project (192cps)
- 1 x Conference participation unit at level 9 (12cps)
- MTh, OR
- BTh/BMin Hons, with at least Upper Second Class Honours and at least a Credit in the thesis, OR
- BTh or BMin plus a Graduate Diploma with an overall GPA≥2.0 and ≥Credit in a major project of at least 12,000 words, OR
- BTh or BMin plus a Coursework Masters (such as MA(Th/Min) or MTS), with an overall GPA≥2.0 and ≥Credit in a major project of at least 12,000 words in FoR, OR
- MDiv or MMin with an overall GPA≥3.0 and ≥Credit in a major project of at least 12,000 words in FoR, OR
- MDiv or MMin plus a Coursework Masters (such as MA(Th/Min) or MTS) with an overall GPA≥2.0 and ≥Credit in a major project of at least 12,000 words in FoR, OR
- MTS, MA(ChrStuds) or MML with an overall GPA≥3.0 and ≥Credit in a major project of at least 12,000 words, OR
- Theological and non-theological qualifications deemed by the Research and Research Studies Committee to provide a suitable grounding for Doctor of Ministry study.
FoR = Field of Research
- All candidates must use the required ACT Doctor of Ministry application form.
- All applicants with non-ACT qualifications must submit original or certified copies of transcripts or certificates of all tertiary study completed in theology or ministry to the Research and Research Studies Committee (R&RSC), which will determine granting candidature.
- The Doctor of Ministry course is available to off-shore candidates if the off-shore candidate meets the additional criteria for off-shore study.
Recognised Prior Learning:
- The R&RSC will consider applications from those who do not meet the academic prerequisites where extensive experience and expertise have been developed by the candidate. The normal rules for establishing RPL will apply.
Ministry Experience Prerequisites:
- All applicants must be able to demonstrate a minimum of 5 years of significant contribution in their ministry context since completion of their first degree. All applications should include a curriculum vitae, outlining various roles they have undertaken, positions held, major goals, their most significant achievements and an annotated list of 10 books and/or articles that have informed their ministry.
- Applicants would normally currently be ministry practitioners in positions of significant ministry responsibility, aspiring to positions such as senior pastors, mission/denominational board representatives, tertiary educators, denominational leaders, church planters, mission directors, church consultants, department leaders, or senior positions or researcher positions in work contexts where a specific Christian reflection on their work would be beneficial to their employing organisation.
- All applicants must submit with their application a letter of commendation from their current employing organisation that comments on the character of the applicant and their capacity to contribute to their denomination, church or institutional employer. This letter must also provide evidence from their employing organisation that the organisation understands the extent of the commitment required over the six years part-time or three years full-time of the degree and agrees to support the candidate to enable them to complete the course.
Language Qualifications for NESB:
- Language Qualifications for NESB: IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 7.5 in reading and writing, with 7.0 in listening, and 6.5 in speaking.
This course is registered on CRICOS and is available to overseas students at selected delivery locations. See here for more information.
The Course Learning Outcomes of the Doctor of Ministry aligns with AQF level 10 professional doctoral award whose graduates make a significant and original contribution to knowledge as applied in the context of professional Christian ministry practice and with the ACT’s seven learning outcome domain descriptors (ACT CLO).
- Discipline knowledge and understanding
- Inquiry and analysis
- Problem solving and integration
- Teamwork and professional practice
- Engagement with the world
- Continuous learning and professional development
Knowledge and Understanding Aspects
- Systematic and critical understanding of a substantial and complex body of knowledge of theological, biblical-hermeneutical and, sociological methods as related to specialised aspects of Christian ministry (ACT CLO 1).
- Independently and systematically engage in critical reflection, synthesis and evaluation of the body of knowledge related to specialised aspects of Christian ministry (ACT CLO 2).
- Develop, adapt, integrate and implement research methodologies to extend and redefine existing professional practice (ACT CLO 3, 5).
- Disseminate and promote new insights to peers and the community (ACT CLO 4, 6).
- Generate original knowledge and understanding to contribute to the professional practice of specialised aspects of Christian ministry (ACT CLO 5).
Applied knowledge and skills
- Demonstrate their autonomy, authoritative judgement, adaptability and ethical responsibility as an expert and leading practitioner in specialised aspects of Christian ministry (ACT CLO 1, 2, 3).
- Demonstrate their capacity to collaboratively plan, execute, and evaluate research (ACT CLO 5).
- Demonstrate their skills as communicators by disseminating their findings to their peers and the wider community (ACT CLO 4, 5).
Personal Developmental Aspects
- Doctor of Ministry graduates should demonstrate the capacity of lifelong learners committed to their on-going development with particular emphasis on their own personhood as Christians within a professional ministry context (ACT CLO 7).
$9,280 per semester for full-time (48cp) domestic students (2021 course fees and credit points).
For more information about tuition fees, FEE-HELP, and student payments, view tuition fees.
- Only ACT DMin approved colleges are permitted to enrol DMin candidates.
- Only level 9 coursework units can be used as part of the DMin foundational units.
- No level 9 project is permitted as a DMin foundational unit.
- Only 1 level 9 Independent Reading Unit will be allowed as a DMin foundational unit. Each such unit proposed for a candidate’s DMin programme must be approved prior to being included. The process for approval is as follows:
- The supervisor or supervising college prepare a UQAF for approval in the usual way.
- This UQAF shall be sent to the EO who shall consult with the relevant moderator, another member of the R&RSC with expertise in the field of study, or a faculty member with expertise in the field of study. The consultant must be from an institution different from the candidate’s supervising college.
- The EO and the consultant shall consider whether the proposed Independent Reading Unit advances the candidate’s knowledge and skills towards the candidate’s proposed research topic. If they agree that this is the case, the unit will be approved as part of the candidate’s DMin foundation units.
- Where a level 9 unit is being taught in conjunction with level 7 and/ or level 8, the DMin candidates will be mentored by either the unit coordinator or the DMin coordinator to reflect on how the unit prepares them for their proposed research topic; this aspect of the unit to be explicit in the UQAF for the level 9 version of the unit where DMin candidates are present.
- Where Bible units are taught at level 9 and include DMin candidates, the UQAF must include specific detail in at least one assessment task where DMin candidates are required to demonstrate application of content to a ministry setting and integration across disciplines.
- Only one course work unit from the foundational units can be replaced with a cross-institutional credit. Prior to commencing the unit at another institution, the candidate and supervising college must demonstrate to the Director of Research and gain approval that the unit contributes to the candidate’s preparation for their research units.
Coursework units general comments
- There will be no advanced standing for completed coursework units from either completed or incomplete awards.
- Awards prior to 2020: Advanced standing will be granted only for Research Methods that are social science-based and if it is less than 10 years since the unit was completed, or from an incomplete ACT RTP course of study.
- Awards from 2020 that include RTP: Advance standing only for Research Methods.
- Where advanced standing has been granted for Research Methods, candidates are to replace the Research Methods unit in the foundation units section with another level 9 coursework unit.
- Applicants for the DMin should submit with their application an indicative list of coursework units that are deemed by the R&RSC to form a coherent course of study preparing the candidate for the research units of the DMin
- In the research section of a candidate's course, the candidate will be automatically enrolled into either a part-time recurring research enrolment of 24cps per semester, or a full-time recurring research enrolment of 48cps per semester.
- The Research Project may be completed in the following ways:
- 40-50,000 words of text;
- an artefact that is clearly integrated in the project so that it is included in the word 40-50,000 word count;
- an artefact included as an appendix but not included in the 40-50,000 word count.
- Where an artefact is proposed as part of the research project the supervisor and candidate should provide a rationale for the inclusion or exclusion of the artefact in the 40-50,000 word count when the research proposal is presented as part of the Confirmation of Candidature portfolio.
Notes on compulsory units
- Personal Formation Portfolio – A unit only for DMin candidates. Successful completion of the will enable candidates to: know and understand the rationale for, theory of, and integration of lifelong learning principles and the action-reflection method as the basis of personal formation in a learning community; 1. Develop and communicate to their cohort a plan for lifelong learning, 2. Critically Reflect in a personal and learning community context on the contribution of their Doctor of Ministry studies to their personal ministry and spiritual formation; and be able to 1. Implement a plan to develop their own personhood as Christians within a professional ministry context, 2. Operate as “Christian people” of integrity in their ministry including engagement with the world.
- Conference Participation Unit. – This unit is normally completed concurrently with submission of the project for examination. Candidates completing this unit will : 1. Demonstrate Specialised knowledge and understanding of, and the research principles and methods used in investigating a conference topic or theme not otherwise covered in the candidates’ course; be able to 1. Evaluate Specialised methods and issues in a topic/theme not otherwise covered in the candidates’ course; 2. Integrate diverse scholarship and ministry experience in a Specialised conference relevant to the candidates’ research topic/theme; 3. Present independent Research-Driven perspectives on a Specialised conference topic/theme relevant to the candidates’ research, including the preparation of a conference paper; 1. Apply research-based perspectives and skills from the Specialised conference topic/theme not otherwise covered in the candidate’s research to ministry practice and Christian living as a reflective practitioner.
- All candidates initially have provisional status. Candidates must satisfactorily complete all Confirmation of Candidature requirements by the end of their first full-time year (or part-time equivalent) of candidature to progress to full candidate status.
- Candidates will be supervised at an affiliated college of the ACT approved to prepare candidates for doctoral courses.
- Supervisors must be registered as either principal supervisor and /or co-supervisor on the ACT Register of Supervisors.
- Candidates and their supervisors must complete and submit the Higher Degree by Research Annual Progress Report to the Research Student Administrator of the ACT via the postgraduate coordinator in the candidate’s supervising college by the due date. Where unsatisfactory progress is reported the Research and Research Studies Committee may require the candidate to ‘show cause’ why candidature should not be terminated.
- It is the candidate’s responsibility to be aware of and fully comply with all rules and regulations related to their course. The online version of the ACT HDR Candidate’s Handbook provides the most up to date version of the rules and regulations.
- The candidates must be aware of the prescribed word limit for theses. See Guidelines for Theses in the ACT Higher Degree by Research Handbook.
- Candidates should expect to submit to the supervisor coherent accounts of the research to date according to the agreed Research Plan.
- Candidates should accept responsibility for maintaining negotiated regular communication with the supervisor and the progress of research agreed upon. If impediments arise, these should be immediately discussed with the supervisor.
- Higher Degree Research candidates may not be granted more than two (2) semesters of suspension of candidature during the term of their candidature, and may be granted no more than two semesters of extension of candidature prior to the examination phase of their candidature. The R&RSC will accept applications for suspension beyond the two semester limit on a case by case basis only for extraordinary circumstances, supported with written evidence.
- Under exceptional circumstances, the Research and Research Studies Committee may vary the period of candidature.
- Normally a Credit average grade across all the coursework units is required to progress to research units.
- A DMin candidate who chooses to withdraw or required to withdraw from the DMin will receive cross-credit in an ACT level 8 or 9 course for each coursework unit passed.
Doctor of Ministry graduates will exemplify the Australian College of Theology graduate attributes at the highest level, being Christian people, scholars, professionals and leaders of integrity.