Doctor of Ministry Degree (DMin)

Liberation Hermeneutics, Student Centered Success, Academic Quality, & Professional Renewal


For more than 50 years, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary has offered a world-class Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree to strengthen the connection between theology, ethics, and ministry practice either in the church or in fields closely related to the mission and witness of the church.

A world-class program offered at a considerably lower cost that D.Min. programs elsewhere, our low tuition and block scheduling offer the financial and personal flexibility that busy practitioners need. Under the guidance of outstanding faculty, candidates study cutting-edge theological, biblical, and practical bases of ministry, and complete a Research Project Report that strengthens their current ministry even as they earn their degree.

An advanced, professional degree, the D.Min. degree is for experienced practitioners who have a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent from an ATS-accredited school, along with significant ministry experience (either three years post-MDiv ministry experience or five years of consistent professional ministry prior to the time of application).

Our program is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).


Interested in learning more about our Doctor of Ministry program?

Join Rev. Dr. Dianne Reistroffer, Interim Director for the Doctor of Ministry programs and Special Projects Coordinator to the Dean, and Tyler Mayfield, Interim Dean of the Seminary, for a 60-minute information session. Zoom links will be emailed to all those who register prior to the event.

  • Monday, July 22, 2024, at 3:00 PM (ET)

Please bookmark and revisit this page or contact the Office of Admissions if you would like to arrange a visit or learn more about the program.



  • Whosoever formation for leadership adopts an inclusive approach, open to persons from diverse backgrounds and identities. We cultivate and nurture leaders who will be able to do ministry with a full understanding of the race, class, gender, and sexual orientation frames in which they do ministry.

  • Ongoing practical and grounded research, action, and reflection to help congregations and other institutions reorganize and rebuild vitalizing ministries for the 21st century challenges we face.


  • Affordable online and in person instruction with a high rate of completion in the last cohort to complete.

  • We are a 100% student-centric program tailoring resources, support services, and curricula to meet individual student interests and needs.

  • Intentionally small cohorts which foster an intimate and collaborative learning environment allowing for personalized attention, meaningful interactions, and deeper connections between students and instructors.

Academic & Professional Renewal

  • In forming Doctors of the Church, we passionately pursue academic excellence for the sake of the Gospel and the healing of humankind.

  • We provide comprehensive training and expertise in Advanced Practice of Ministry, Pastoral Care and Counseling, and Black Church Studies, equipping leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to provide Gospel focused leadership and care to diverse individuals and communities.

  • We use multiple approaches to qualitative research, which consistently yield doctoral projects of benefit to church and society.


The Application deadline for:

  • Early admission: April 1.
  • Regular admission: September 1.

The application and reference forms can be completed and submitted with the $75 application fee.

Transfer Students

Transfer credit from another Doctor of Ministry program or other post-Master of Divinity course work normally cannot exceed three (3) credit hours and cannot replace the four required DMin seminars. For more details, please see the DMin Handbook.


The Doctor of Ministry application requires 4 references submitted on the reference forms:

  • A peer in ministry
  • A layperson from your ministry site
  • An ecclesiastical (or clinical) supervisor
  • Former professor

Applicants will be asked to provide an email address for each recommender. Doing so will allow our software to automatically email your reference an online form. Please alert your reference to look for the email sent from Louisville Seminary ( and ensure they are able to access the form. One reference must be by a former professor from a seminary or graduate educational institution you have attended. Recommenders may not be related to the applicant.


The Doctor of Ministry Degree Committee bases its admission decisions on the following criteria (not necessarily in this order or priority):

  • An accredited BA or BS and a MDiv or its equivalent.
  • View the MDiv Equivalency Requirements (provisional policy).
  • “B” average (3.0 of 4.0 scale) or higher in MDiv work.
  • Significant ministry experience (either three years post-MDiv ministry experience or five years of consistent professional ministry EXPERIENCE prior to the time of application).
  • Currently engaged in a recognized form of professional ministry.
  • References from a peer in ministry, a layperson, an ecclesiastical (or clinical) supervisor, and former professor.
  • Clarity, viability, need, and seriousness of objectives (why the candidate is pursuing the DMin).
  • Availability of Seminar I openings.
  • An interview with the Doctor of Ministry Committee may be required.

International Admissions

The Doctor of Ministry at Louisville Seminary offers short-term, intensive seminars twice a year for the first two years of the program. Because of this schedule and the part-time nature of the degree program, international students would not meet requirements needed to maintain F-1 visa status. Accordingly, the Doctor of Ministry program does not accept international students.


The faculty at Louisville Seminary is comprised of 14 full-time professors and a number of adjunct faculty with credentials from some of the world's leading theological institutions and universities.

  • 48% of the faculty are female.
  • 60% are ordained/rostered
  • 62% of the faculty are members of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Faith traditions represented include: United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Baptist (American Baptist, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Alliance of Baptist, Progressive National Baptist Convention), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, and Lutheran (ELCA)
  • Average length of service is 15 years

DMin Tracks

Advanced Practice of Ministry

The DMin in Advanced Practice of Ministry is designed to offer a flexible advanced program of training that leads to doctoral-level competence in a wide variety of areas: preaching, pastoral care, Christian education, evangelism, mission, worship, congregational development and redevelopment, and community engagement. The program is designed to enhance critical theological thinking and reflection skills that are then used to inform current or proposed ministry practice.

Pastoral Care and Counseling

The DMin in Pastoral Care and Counseling (PCC) track is designed to offer a flexible advanced program of training that leads to doctoral-level competence in the practice of pastoral care and counseling. The DMin in Pastoral Care and Counseling requires that students use one of the three Advanced Practice Courses (APCs) in the program to improve their skills in some clinical area. Student goals for the PCC track may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Improving skills in parish counseling or pastoral care;
  2. Completing requirements for certification as a chaplain (Association of Professional Chaplains);
  3. Expanding theological and spiritual reflection skills as an already licensed marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, social worker or psychologist; and
  4. Completing requirements as an ACPE supervisor or AAMFT Approved Supervisor, or completing other professional credentials.

Black Church Studies

Building on the historic commitments and traditions of Black churches in the United States, the primary purpose of the Black Church Studies program at Louisville Seminary is to find and develop leaders by educating, equipping, and preparing leaders—of all ethnicities and races—to lead African American churches and communities in ways that are just, visionary, practical, and powerful. Equally important is our commitment to rigorous conversation and relationships of power, community, and respect between Black churches, Black communities, and the wider Church in the world.

The DMin in Black Church Studies is designed to offer students a rigorous, advanced program of teaching and training that leads to doctoral-level competence in a wide variety of areas: preaching, pastoral care, Christian education, evangelism, congregational development/redevelopment, and community organizing. The program is designed to build a strong foundation of critical research, action, and reflection on the ways that race, class, and gender act in ways to advance some and disadvantage others and on what should be the public and prophetic role of Black Churches and the wider Church in leading, not following, in the transformation of people, institutions, and cultures—for the world, for the salvation of the whole world.

Learn More about Black Church Studies

Nehemiah Project

The Black Church Studies program at LPTS is the chief agent for the Nehemiah Project: Strengthening Historic African American congregations. This project seeks to advance the relationships with participating congregations and denominational leaders through an interactive teaching and learning process that Black Church Studies have fostered over the years.


The multidimensional strategy to engage a network of historic African American congregations in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana will support secure relationships with God, enhance connections with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of their communities and the world. The selected congregations offer their members life-giving, life-sustaining ministry even while being historically under-resourced and under-served.

Program Goals:

  • Engage in research, action, and evaluation of changing social and cultural context that impact congregations and their ministries;
  • Conduct congregational assessments of mission and values; and
  • Explore innovation and risk-taking through new Christians practices, stewardship, and ministry models.


$15,950 Total Tuition for the entire program*
$2,000 Books and incidental costs for 4 seminars and 3 elective courses
$750 Technology Fee ($250 per year × 3-year program)
$45 DMin Project Report Binding (Reference the DMin Project Report Formatting Guide & Schedule for fees based on additional options)
$18,745 Total

A $750 Continuation Fee will be assessed each semester beyond the sixth semester of study if the student's Research Project Proposal is not on file with the Registrar's office.

*Tuition rates are locked in based on entering cohort year. Subsequent cohort tuition subject to change. The total above does not include costs for programs, conferences, or other classes not associated with Louisville Seminary. Students should also consider other costs such as travel to and from Louisville, housing costs, food, etc.

Tuition Deposits

Once you have been approved for admission, your enrollment will be complete when we receive your non-refundable $200.00 tuition deposit which can be paid online (additional processing fee added). This deposit will be applied to your student account after you matriculate for seminar I.

You may also submit your application fee (refer to the application form) and/or tuition deposit with a check or money order made payable to:

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Attention: Office of Admissions
1044 Alta Vista Road
Louisville, KY 40205-1798

Financial Assistance

Admitted Doctor of Ministry students are eligible for Title IV-related federal student loan programs. If making appropriate progress in the degree program, DMin students may also be verified as such by the Registrar in order to defer prior educational loans. DMin students who are interested in applying for federal student loans should contact Jennifer Anderson, Financial Aid Coordinator, for details at


Year 1

  • 6 Credits:
    Seminar I (Jan.) 2 Weeks
  • 4 Credits:
    Seminar II (June) 1 Week
  • 3 Credits*:
    Independent Study OR APC Course

Year 2

  • 4 Credits:
    Seminar III (Jan.) 1 Week
  • 6 Credits*:
    Independent Study AND APC Course**
  • 6 Credits***:
    Seminar IV (June) 2 Weeks
  • Research Proposal Approved

Year 3

  • 7 Credits:
    Project of Ministry (Completed by Mar. 1 or Oct. 1)

    Begin field research, write up findings, successfully defend your research and findings, graduate in either May or December.

*Advanced Professional Ministry Courses (APCs) may be taken anytime throughout the year and do not necessarily have to correspond with the DMin Seminars. APCs may not be taken prior to DMin Seminar II without the written permission of the Associate Dean.
**The student must take two courses in any combination (i.e.. two APCs or two Independent Studies or one of each).
***All coursework must be completed before the Research Proposal can be approved.

DMin Fact Sheet

DMin Graduation Rates

Cohorts Graduation percentages
Cohorts 2015 50%
Cohorts 2016 70%
Cohorts 2017 70%
Cohorts 2018 89%

Doctor of Ministry students must be currently engaged in a ministerial vocation for admission to the program. As a result, traditional placement statistics are not kept for this program. Surveys of recent D.Min. graduates indicate that the degree has afforded them significant professional opportunities: new pastorates, teaching in the academy, denominational leadership positions, publishing for the church, new ministry careers, and the impetus to pursue other educational degrees (Ph.D., J.D., and MAMFT).

DMin Gender Statistics [2020-2023]

Gender Number Percentage
Male 15 45%
Female 18 55%

DMin Race Statistics [2020-2023]

Race/Ethnicity Number Percentage
African American 11 33%
White 19 57%
Asian American 2 7%
Hispanic 1 3%


(effective April 26, 2023)

Seminars Courses

Seminar I*: Introduction to Social Science Research Methods and Liberation Hermeneutics
Seminar II**: The Minister as Biblical Interpreter
Seminar III**: The Minister as Theologian
Seminar IV*: Advanced Social Science Research Methods and Completion of Research Project Proposal

*Ordinarily taught in-person with an online option.
**Ordinarily taught either online or in-person as determined by the cohort.

Advanced Practice Courses [APCs]

Ordinarily will be taught fully online.

Independent Studies [individual or group]

Ordinarily will be taught fully online.

DMin COMPETENCY ASSESSMENTS: Program Goals (PG) and Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

Louisville Seminary intends that students in this program:



Demonstrate an advanced understanding and integration of ministry in relationships to several theological disciplines, the social sciences, and a focused area of study or track [Advanced Practice of Ministry, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Black Church Studies].


Demonstrate an advanced understanding and integration of ministry in relationships to several theological disciplines, the social sciences, and a focused area of study or track [Advanced Practice of Ministry, Pastoral Care and Counseling, Black Church Studies].


Develop and acquire skills and competencies in advanced theological reflection on the practice of ministry and in methods of research in practical theology that are required for pastoral leadership at its most mature and effective levels.


Contribute to the understanding and practice of ministry through the completion of the Doctor of Ministry Research Project Report, conducted in a particular context, and the writing of a form Research Project Report.


Identify areas of personal growth in spiritual awareness and theological and ethical sensitivity informed by their vocational commitments as people of faith and church leaders to a life in the Spirit, nurtured by participation with others in Christian practices and the work and life of ministry.



Students will demonstrate an advanced (comprehensive, appreciate, and critical) understanding and integration of ministry in relationship to several theological and social scientific disciplines, including practical theology.


Students will demonstrate skills and competencies in methods of research in practical theology by successfully completing the D.Min. Research Project Report and presenting an acceptable written Research Project Report (Goals 3 and 4).


Students will be able to identify areas of personal and vocational growth in spiritual awareness by the development of a personal-professional plan for self-care, spiritual nurture, and lifelong learning (Goal 5).


We invite you to watch the 2024 Black Church Studies Consultation below. For more information about the program, click here!

February 2019, Rural Ministry in the African-American Context
February 2020, African-American Rural Ministry: Hopeful Ministries in Hopeless Times
February 2021, Power, Action, and Justice: African-American Rural Ministries for the 21st Century
February 2022, A New World: Black Churches in American Now
February 2023, Ministry in High Definition: Healthy, Holistic, and Holy Approaches to 21st Century Ministry/Mental Health in the Black Church


01:20 DMin Showcase 1: Rev. Amy Stoker “An Exploratory Phenomenological Study of an Antiracism Program Specifically for Three White Clergy Women in the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee.”

31:47 DMin Showcase 2: Rev. Emily Holladay "Embracing Beloved Community."

2:13:04 "The Relationship Between Racism and the Spiritual Experience of Lament at St. John's Lutheran Church (ELCA), Knoxville, TN" -Rev. Amy Figg Ley

2:48:05 "How the Covid-19 Pandemic is Currently Affecting the Well-Being of Four African-American Pastors in Historically Black Churches in the Washington, D.C. Area" - Rev. Sheila McNeill Lee

3:15:18 Reimagining Congregational Stewardship and Ministry Mission: "How to Financially Thrive into the Future" - Rev. Brian W. Smith MS., MDiv.

3:58:20 "Becoming Faithful to the Gospel: Leading a Sample of Progressive White Protestant Congregations in the Work of Racial Justice: Learnings" - Rev. Brian Harrington

36:27 - "Skin in the Game: White Teaching Elders Seeking to Carry the Historic Abolitionist Mantle of Prophetic Leadership for Racial Justice in the Presbytery of Cincinnati" - Rev. Amy Snow

1:16:27 - "Louisville, KY-based African American Protestant Pastors: Case Studies of How These Pastors Understand and Treat the Mental Health Needs of their Congregants" - Rev. La'Shonda Fletcher

Contact LPTS

Office of Doctor of Ministry Programs
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Rev. Dr. Dianne Reistroffer

Interim Director for the Doctor of Ministry programs and Special Projects Coordinator to the Dean
Email Dianne

Sara Babcock

Director of Admissions
Email Sara

Andrew Hillard

Admissions Counselor
Email Andrew

Charlotte Tullos

Interim VP, Enrollment & Student Success
Email Charlotte