The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program at Olivet University, accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), is a prestigious education program, designed to advance the candidates engaged in Christian ministries to the highest level in his or her field. The Doctor of Ministry degree is considered the terminal degree in the area of ministry, thus the graduates of the Doctor of Ministry program must demonstrate competent knowledge and insights that meets the high expectation. While maintaining its academic expectations, the emphasis of the Doctor of Ministry is the “practice of ministry”. Upon admission to the Doctor of Ministry Program, a candidate’s final goal in order to be awarded the degree , will be to design, implement, evaluate, and record an original ministry-related project at the highest doctoral standards.
The degree emphasizes mastery of advanced knowledge regarding the purpose and practice of ministry in many dimensions. Thus as a candidate undertakes doctoral studies, he or she must carefully review past achievements, current interests, and future focus of passion in God’s Kingdom. As a candidate considers a doctoral project, the goal of the degree work is to develop new knowledge about the practice of ministry. Many have chosen to view the Doctor of Ministry degree as similar to an Ed. D. in medicine or J. D. in law. The Doctor of Ministry Degree is advanced professional studies preparing graduates to become “Doctors of the Church”. People attaining this degree may be viewed as individuals responsible at the highest levels for maintaining Christ-centered values and practices within the church and its missions worldwide.
The Doctor of Ministry is a degree program culminating in the recognition of advanced professional studies pursued by practicing ministers and Christian professionals. The program sharpens the skills of those actively engaged in ministry. General seminars and supervised independent studies are designed to allow ministers to continue their ministry throughout the duration of the program. Professors will teach the most current methods of ministry in various fields through seminars, classes, and dialog with students. The incorporation of technology is also emphasized by the faculty. This doctorate provides an opportunity for high academic achievement, and develops intellectual and practical capability of practicing ministers and Christian professionals. The Doctor of Ministry program at Olivet seeks to satisfy the standards as defined by the Association of Theological Schools:
“…shall include the design and completion of a written doctoral level project that addresses both the nature and the practice of ministry. The project should be of sufficient quality that it contributes to the practice of ministry as judged by professional standards and has the potential for application in other contexts of ministry.
The ministry project should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to identify a specific theological topic in ministry, organize an effective research model, use appropriate resources, and evaluate the results, and should reflect the candidate’s depth of theological insight in relation to ministry. Upon completion of the doctoral project, there shall be an oral presentation and evaluation. The completed written project, with any supplemental material, should be accessioned in the institution’s library.”
All written submissions mentioned below, and any other materials for the Doctoral Committee, are to be sent to the ZSDS Administration
Olivet University is an institution of Biblical higher education dedicated to training ministry-bound men and women as Biblical scholars and leaders and to equipping them with practical skills to preach the Gospel effectively into and after the ‘network generation’. Because of the many activities students engage in that are designed to revolutionize the world, a number of doctoral projects will emerge from student activities. At Olivet University, projects in the Doctor of Ministry program are broadly grouped under four headings:
Examples of ministry projects are:
This list is a sampling of potential projects to start a candidate thinking of their respective interests and gifts. It is not an exhaustive list, but is designed to initiate creative thinking and reflection.
In the context of Olivet University's mission, completion of the D. Min program will enable students to:
The Doctor of Ministry Program consists of four phases of study.
In the first year, doctoral students take all required seminars as well as a small number of elective seminars while participating in the doctoral colloquium. The pre- and post-colloquium elements of each seminar are delivered via distance education. The residential component allows students to get to know each other and their faculty. Resulting professional relationships often last well beyond the program itself and are valuable assets in a lifetime of ministry.
The examination phase begins when the required seminars have been completed and the student completed minimum 30 units of coursework. In this phase, the student will receive his/her mentor as a personal guide and advisor during the final stages of the doctoral program. The student must submit a research paper to the doctoral committee to pass the qualifying examination. Once approved, the student is eligible for project proposal defense. The Doctoral Council is the acting Institutional Review Board for compliance with federal regulations for the protection of any human subjects involved in the ministry project.
The student must submit a research paper of at least 20 pages to the Doctoral Committee in order to move on to the next phase. Ideally, this research paper should be identical to the eventual project proposal. The student should prepare their research paper/project proposal in close consultation with the mentor.
A research paper of less than 4,000 words will not be considered. It must show an ability to synthesize prior learning on graduate level and beyond, have an appropriate thesis statement (or equivalent), contain a review appropriate literature related to the subject, and have a topic constituting “a research contribution to the field.”
The Doctoral Committee will review of the paper and gives a pass/fail based on the criteria above. If the student passes the review, a date for an oral defense will be set for the student. It is the responsibility of the student to submit the final draft of the research paper, at least 21 days before the oral defense.
Once the student has passed the qualifying examination paper, they are eligible to proceed to the project proposal stage. In this stage, the student defends their project proposal in front of the Doctoral Committee.
The Doctoral Committee examines the student’s proposal based on theories and methods of the field addressed in the project proposal. The committee also reviews the feasibility of the proposed project, its breadth, depth and appropriateness for the Doctor of Ministry program.
The committee makes a decision on whether to pass, pass conditionally, or fail the project proposal oral defense.
If the student passes, then the student is officially declared as “Candidate” status and may begin the project phase.
If the student passes conditionally, then the student is officially declared as “Candidate” status, but must reviews certain aspects of their project. A written report of implementation of all required changes and additions is submitted back to the Doctoral Committee by a set deadline (no more than 6 months). The Doctoral Committee will acknowledge receipt in writing and permits commencement of project implementation with no further oral proposal defense necessary.
If the student fails, the student should resubmit their project proposal after substantial revisions and guidance by their mentor.
Why conduct this Project in your setting? What do you understand about the social and cultural realities of your setting that have helped you think about how to lead toward change? Here you should be drawing on your seminars as well as additional knowledge in missiology and cultural studies. 4-6 pages are required for this section.
If it is written in a language other than English, your doctoral committee must be sufficiently proficient in that language and a 5 page English summary should accompany the Project Proposal
If the final research project or dissertation involves human research, OUI requires formal review and approval through the Doctoral Council, which is the acting institutional review board (IRB). It has been designated to approve, monitor, and review all research involving human subjects in the Doctor of Ministry program. The IRB ensures that the any human subjects are not placed at undue risk, that they have voluntarily agreed to participate and that they have received appropriate informed consent. The IRB is responsible to meet all federal regulations and that all IRB members have had appropriate training. (Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 46)
In general, research conducted by candidates for the D.Min degree falls into the category of “exempt” research, that is, the proposed research project was reviewed and it was determined that the only involvement of human subjects is in one of the categories listed under 45 CFR 46 Section 101(b)(1)-(6) and 21 CFR 56. 104(d). Recently announced changes make exemptions even more likely.
The student completes and submits to the Doctoral Committee the “Application for Human Subjects Review” and all relevant accompanying documentation. The Doctoral Committee Chair reviews the submission for completeness. Corrections and/or additional information may be requested as appropriate. If the determination is that the research is exempt from further review, the Chair sends an email to that effect to the student and the student is free to proceed with the project. If the determination is that it is eligible for expedited review, the Chair is the person who also handles expedited reviews and notifies the student of the results of the review. If the project requires review by the full board, it is placed on the agenda of an upcoming meeting and the application packet is provided to all board members. The Chair notifies the student of the outcome of the review.
The student must get approval from the IRB for any change in a protocol that affects human subjects and submit a Request for Change in Protocol to the IRB. Approval must be obtained before proceeding.
Candidacy for the Doctor of Ministry degree is declared when the student has an approved D.Min Project Proposal, has passed Project Proposal Defense, and has the approval of their Mentor for candidacy. Candidacy permits the student to begin the Final Paper Project and conduct and analyze the ministry project and draft the final paper. The candidate should carry out and complete the project defined in the project proposal, and draft the final paper during this phase and electronically submit to his or her Mentor.
Candidacy for the Doctor of Ministry degree is declared when the student has completed the 20 credits of modular Seminars, 12 credits of Research Design courses, 4 credits of the Ministry Mentoring and Reflection course, has maintained at least a 3.0 grade point average, has an approved D. Min Project Proposal, has passed the Project Proposal Defense, and has the approval of their Mentor for candidacy. Candidacy permits the student to begin the 8 hours of Final Paper-Project and conduct and analyze the ministry project and draft the final paper. The Doctor of Ministry program requires a total of 44 quarter credits including and 8 credits of Final Paper Project. Refer to ‘Curriculum’ of this handbook for more information for the course requirements.
In the third phase, the candidate should carry out and complete the project defined in the project proposal. The completion of this project and gathering of data is an important part of this phase. Research should be completed by the candidate realizing a limited ‘controlled’ sample of data will be generated for analysis and reporting. The candidate should also draft chapters 1-3 during this phase and electronically submit to his or her Mentor. The First three chapters will roughly cover the motivation for this project, background information, and they might also cover the description of the project (for an example of a 6-chaptered Final Paper outline, please refer to Final Paper Sample Outline in this handbook). For candidates writing in a language other than English, they should also submit a 5-page synopsis of the first three chapters to the Mentor. Notice, the assignments from Phase 1 and Phase 2 may be useful in writing chapters 1-3. In writing the paper, the candidate should adhere to the Turabian style and Olivet University’s Doctoral Paper Format Manual, available on the Doctor of Ministry website. The candidate is also encouraged to use the doctoral paper sample forms with pre-configured styles, also available on the website. If the candidate is writing in a language other than English, then he or she should also follow the supplement manual for their language of choice. The candidate should closely work with his or her Mentor in finishing the paper and make any necessary edits and refinements. The main content of the completed paper should be approximately 100-175 in length, not counting the front and back matters. Papers written in other than English should be accompanied by a 15-20 page English summary.
In the fourth and final phase of the Doctor of Ministry program, the candidate is to analyze the data gathered by the project and complete the Final Paper. The Final Paper must be submitted to the Doctoral Committee at least one month prior to the Oral Defense. The Mentor schedules the date of the oral defense, conducted by the Doctoral Committee. Once the candidate completes the Oral Defense, he or she then completes changes suggested by Doctoral Committee in the Final Paper. Then he or she submits the modified final paper with mentor’s approval to Doctoral committee. Once the doctoral committee approves it, the doctoral Committee will notify his/her eligibility of graduation to the Graduation committee in Olivet University International. And the candidate receives a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Olivet University International. Three bound copies will be published and submitted to Olivet University International.
The Doctor of Ministry program requires a total of 45 credits on the quarter system. It is very important to realize that each course or seminar credit normally calls for ten clock hours of interaction with faculty in a classroom setting or its equivalent and at least twenty clock hours in preparation for and follow-up to this interaction. The 45 credits are divided this way:
Elaboration on how credits are earned.
These colloquia are opportunities for online students to meet face to face with faculty and fellow students, and fulfills a major portion of required and elective seminars. Work for the seminars is often started before the colloquium and continues throughout the academic year.
The Annual Colloquium Fee is $650 USD, a separate fee from tuition.
Housing and meals are included. In addition, students are responsible for travel costs to and from the colloquium location. This amount varies, according to where the student is traveling from.
Colloquia are typically held at the Riverside, CA (USA) campus*:
36401 Tripp Flats Rd
Anza, CA 92539
*This location is subject to change under special circumstances.
The following dates have been established for the 2016 and 2017 colloquia.
2016 Doctoral Colloquium November 3-11: Riverside Campus, California (USA)
2017 Doctoral Colloquium November 6-16: Riverside Campus, California (USA)
These are normally offered in the classroom for ten clock hours each at the annual doctoral colloquium and then followed up throughout the academic year in the online classroom. The seminars are entitled “Global Theological Foundations”, “Global Missiology”, “A Study of Modern Day Strategies for Growth”, and “Doctoral Research and Presentation”. “A Study of Modern Day Strategies for Growth” is available entirely online for registering during the academic year that the student intends to complete it.
A. At the annual doctoral colloquium elective seminars for two credits (meeting twenty hours) or one credit (meeting ten hours) are offered. At the colloquia, students will normally enroll in four seminars, whether required or elective. Elective seminars will be offered contingent upon a sufficient number of students registering in advance to participate in them.
B. The elective seminars to be offered at the November 2015 colloquium for two credits each are: (1) Spirituality and Missions (2) The Emergence of National Mission Movements in the Global South (3) Women in Christian History & Theology (4) Educational Mission of the Church (5) Evangelizing University Students (6) Epistemology and Ontology in Discipleship (7) Hinduism.
C. At their own initiative, students may also petition the Doctoral Committee, using the Official Form for that purpose, to approve, in advance, an appropriate independent study with varying credit. If approved a member of the faculty would be appointed as supervisor. Each credit would represent at least 30 clock hours of work. These independent studies can take a variety of approaches. One kind would be to do an in-depth study, concluding with a research paper (which may or may not be included in some way in the Final Project). Another kind would be to participate in an appropriate conference, usually one with a very practical theme. It may be conducted by some group besides Olivet, although the Doctoral Committee would appoint a member of the faculty (who would not necessarily attend the conference) to receive the student's report on the conference and evaluate a project or paper associated with it. Other ways of earning these independent credits are possible. As students do so, examples will be posted and provide guidance for seeing what might be available in one's own region and area of interest.
These credits have some similarities with the above independent studies, in that they are to be initiated by the student on the official Supervise Ministry Proposal Form submitted to the Doctoral Committee. They need to be approved in advance by the committee, and they will have a member of the faculty either assigned as the supervisor or assigned to receive the reports of the approved on-site ministry supervisor (OMS). Each credit must represent at least thirty (30) clock hours of practical ministry, including the time in preparing for and reporting on it. A formal academic paper would not normally be expected. The practical ministry may relate to one’s intended Final Project, but it does not have to. It will normally involve contact with those to whom one is ministering. However, it could also include many hours of preparation such as creating computer resources as curricula or other forms of outreach for varying target ages or groups.
Supervised Ministries can be set in churches, schools, vocational workplaces, and other places where ministry takes place, as long as the setting makes a contribution to the student’s doctoral program. Students may want to choose supervised ministries that will provide opportunities to explore the areas of practical research that can be useful in developing the project for their final paper.
Ideally, the student’s on-site ministry supervisor (OMS) encourages interactive learning within ministry by becoming an advisor, friend, and objective evaluator. The OMS should have experience and competence sufficient to evaluate the ministry performance from both practical and theological perspectives. The OMS’s resume or should be attached to the Supervised Ministry Proposal for evaluation by the Doctoral Committee.
The object of this aspect of the program is to provide intensive mentoring to the participant in his or her place(s) of ministry and to encourage the student to reflect theologically and practically on his or her ministry(s) and life. It will promote a very contextualized learning experience to the student.
Upon satisfactory completion of all seminar and other requirements, students register for their Final Project and are assigned a Mentor from the Faculty. At the beginning of this section of “Program Information” there is a major summary of what the project is to do and many examples of them. As to style, and format, the Final Project and any formal papers for earlier credits, when in English, must conform to A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations:Eighth Edition; (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013) by Kate L. Turabian, revised by Wayne C. Booth, et.al.. Also valuable because it is more specialized is Quality Research Papers for Students of Religion and Theology: Third Edition; (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2014), by Nancy Jean Vyhmeister. When approved to write in another language, comparable authoritative guides must be used.
The D.Min. program of Zinzendorf is served by a faculty comprising (1) Professors who offer the seminars and may serve as supervisors for independent studies, and (2) Mentors who work closely with students on their final projects and may serve as supervisors for the credits for approved ministries. The professors may also serve in the role of mentor. See the current list of faculty at the end.
The Doctoral Committee administers the D.Min. on behalf of its entire faculty and of the Board of Trustees of Olivet University.
The Doctoral Committee will meet as needed to oversee the program, usually monthly. It acts on completed applications to the program to decide who will be admitted. It has to approve the applications for independent studies and supervised practica. It approves proposed Final Projects, designates the mentors for them, and then evaluates them on completion It is responsible for making policy decisions involved with administering the doctoral programs.
The Doctoral Committee for 2015-16 consists of:
The implementation of the decisions of the Doctoral Committee is carried out by the Dean, Donald Tinder, and the Administrator, Stacey Kim. Communications to the committee are addressed to the Administrator. Once a Mentor has been appointed for a Final Project, communications normally come through the Mentor rather than directly from the student. Until then, the administrative staff is responsible for monitoring student programs to be sure appropriate progress is being made.
The D.Min. Program emphasizes supervision and evaluation. The Doctoral Committee supervises and evaluates the program with the assistance of the administrative staff.
The student also has an opportunity to evaluate the program. The student evaluates the course offerings, and gives feedback concerning the functioning of their teachers, supervisors and mentors.
Olivet University will confer the Doctor of Ministry degree on students who have met the requirements for graduation as outlined in the Doctor of Ministry Program Handbook, have been recommended by the Doctoral Committee, and are approved by the Board of Trustees.
To graduate, the participant:
This revised seminar gives an opportunity for the entering DMin student, as well as those continuing from the 2014 seminar, to review their previous studies in cultural and theological areas, while at the same time encouraging exploration in both global and topical areas requiring doctoral level thinking and writing.
The course is designed to help graduate students develop a mega strategy for world evangelization. It includes an in depth study of eight growing contemporary global churches and movements. The study will focus on principles common to all while also making a detailed study of the following growing entities: 1.) The Southern Baptists (Evangelicals), 2.) The Assemblies of God (Charismatics), 3.) The Jehovah’s Witnesses, 4.) The Mormon Church, 5.) The Homosexual Movement, 6.) Islam, 7.) The Roman Catholic Church, and 8.) World Class Organizations including the Lausanne Movement, the World Council of Churches, and the World Evangelical Assembly.
This seminar gives an opportunity for the entering DMin student to review their previous studies in historical and theological areas generally, while at the same time encouraging exploration in both global and topical areas previously underdeveloped.
The student is introduced to the methods and materials necessary for adequate and appropriate research for producing a doctor of ministry thesis or project (biblical, theological, historical, missiological, or pastoral/practical). Additional study will be needed if the student plans a subject requiring religious sociological data. The focus will be on the nature of graduate-level research, how to present it, and practical experience with the writing of an academic article capable of being published.
This is a study of the historical background of the era prior to and during the New Testament (the 1st Century AD) to gain a better understanding of the origin of cultures, movements, places and names taken for granted in the New Testament documents.
A study of the historical emergence of Buddhism and its teaching. Major points of comparison between Christianity and Buddhism as well as communication of the gospel in the Buddhist context will be studied.
This is an in-depth study of the relationship between spiritual warfare, worldview and evangelism. The study will focus on the interplay between the spiritual powers and cultural themes as it relates to the receptivity of an ethnic-social group to the gospel. The goal of the course is to explore keys to overcoming cultural and spiritual barriers to evangelism.
This seminar will survey the advance of the Church in the non-western world, which has greatly impacted mission of the Church worldwide. It also seeks to demonstrate and interpret the rapid globalization of the church. The dynamics and characteristics of the churches in global south and east will also be discussed.
This seminar provides an overview of the study of women in Christian history and theology, including their roles, understanding of attitudes toward women and their participation in Christian movements and traditions.
This course discusses the nature and mission of how the Church best nurtures faith in its adherents. Educational theory and philosophy is applied to the theological task of educating God's people.
This seminar deals with Biblical principles and methodologies of effective evangelism campus students and instructs the student in the principles, methods and content of disciple-making, fostering continuous growth and maturity in college students. This course helps students develop the practical skills of communicating the Gospel in campus and mentoring new student Christians.
In Acts11:26 disciples were called Christians for the first time: a quality gave them a descriptive name. Today we have a name, often without the required quality. This course attempts to critically reflect on the relationship between the epistemological and ontological aspects in a dynamic interplay in Discipleship, by providing a sequential, developmental and interactive personal framework for life and Christian witness.
This seminar offers an advanced survey of the Hindu tradition, including historical development of Hinduism through the use of texts, archeological finds and modern scholarship.