Doctor of Ministry

School cap icon Modality icon svg Modality: Online
Program Modality
Earn your Doctor of Ministry online at your own pace at South College. Get the flexibility and convenience you need alongside mentorship and guidance that helps prepare you for opportunities in religious leadership.


If you already work in ministry, our Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program is designed to help you expand your skills and impact. In this competency-based program, you’ll move at your own pace by demonstrating mastery of key ministry competencies via course activities and practical assessments. In your courses, you’ll work to analyze real-world ministry problems and opportunities and develop solutions using research and best practice. With frequent faculty interaction, you’ll also focus on growing your spiritual maturity. Motivated students may be able to finish this degree in an accelerated format and for less cost as compared to many other doctoral programs. Many students will complete our DMin program within 18-30 months.

Our Ministry program is non-denominational and will not result in ordination in any specific church or denomination. By interacting with peers from outside your own faith traditions, you’ll have the chance to embrace ministerial diversity and work across differences in theology, race, ethnicity and gender.

Specialties in:
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Worship Ministry
  • Youth & Family Ministry

Develop Essential Skills In
  • Biblical interpretation and theological reflection
  • Conflict mediation and reconciliation
  • Ministry research and analysis
  • Communication and spiritual guidance
  • Ministry leadership and mentorship
  • Professional ethics
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The flexibility to learn at your own pace and to study anywhere you are on your own time.

1:1 Mentoring

A 1:1 partnership with our supportive community of faculty, advisors, staff, and you in an effort to create a collaborative environment in your pursuit of academic excellence.

A Unique Subscription-Based Approach to Higher Learning

A subscription-based tuition structure which allows for a 6-month “All You Can Master” approach. This flexible tuition allows for students to go as fast or as slow as your lifestyle dictates. Specific information about student pacing and course sequencing can be found in the program handbook for each program.

Use Your Expertise

Move quickly through the areas you know and spend more time on the ones you need deeper study.

Work towards “Mastery”

Each course requires successful completion of specific formative/summative tasks per competency that must meet or exceed Mastery level in order to progress to the next course . (Doctoral degree programs require a dissertation and successful defense of the dissertation earning a “Pass.”)

Concentrations in this Program

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You May Enjoy This Line of Study If…

  • You have a strong ethical sensibility and a sincere belief in the power of faith
  • You want to integrate more theological reflection into your life and ministry
  • You are committed to your personal and spiritual growth
  • You possess a penchant for lifetime learning and service
  • You desire to apply your leadership and ministry skills to help others
  • You want to use ministry research to guide decisions and problem-solving

The mission of the Doctor of Ministry degree program is to provide students with advanced theological, theoretical, and practical knowledge required by the growing demands of religious leadership. Building on the foundation of the MA in Ministry or other graduate programs in theology and ministry, graduates are equipped to provide executive level leadership in ministry as “reflective practitioners” with a demonstrated ability to reflect theologically on the practice of ministry and to articulate their understanding for the benefit of others as mentors, coaches, or trainers.

Admission Requirements

The following items are required for consideration of admission:

  • Submit completed South College application for admission and application to the program.
  • Submit an official transcript evidencing earning of a minimum of a master’s level degree in biblical studies, theological studies, ministry studies, or other related religious-based discipline approved by the department from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Evidence earning of a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale in post-baccalaureate degree coursework.

International Student Admission
International students may be citizens of the United States with foreign academic credentials, permanent residents of the US, or non-resident students who must study from their home country. South College cannot issue paperwork for students in the Doctor of Ministry program to obtain a student (F-1) visa.

In order to be considered for admission, international students must meet the admissions requirements for the Doctor of Ministry program, subject to the following:

  • Official College and/or University Transcript(s): Official transcripts (written in English or translation, if not originally in English) of students’ college or university work must be sent directly from the college or university to the Admissions Office at South College. If original documents are not available, certified copies will be accepted. The certification must clearly state that the degree completed is equivalent to a two-year graduate degree from a U.S. institution. Credentials earned outside the United States must be evaluated by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member credential evaluation service.
  • English Language Proficiency Documentation: Since all instruction, reading, and research in the Doctor of Ministry program is in English, it is essential that all international students be able to understand and speak English fluently. In light of this, the college requires for graduate admission a paper-based TOEFL score of 575, computer-based TOEFL score of 233, or an Internet-based TOEFL score of 90 for students whose native language is not English, or whose primary language of instruction on the undergraduate level was not English. A student’s TOEFL requirement may be waived if he or she is enrolling in a bilingual cohort or has scored above the minimum score for acceptance on either the GMAT or GRE.

It is highly recommended that international students applying to South College submit an application at least four months prior to the desired date of enrollment.

Program Purpose & Student Learning Outcomes

The Doctor of Ministry degree is designed to equip ministry leaders with advanced theological, theoretical, and practical knowledge needed to provide executive level leadership in their specific ministry settings. Graduates can become “ministry mentors” who are proficient in articulating practical theological perspectives, analyzing, and describing problems and opportunities in their setting, and using research to develop and implement solutions and initiatives that reflect knowledge of best practices.

Goal 1: Students demonstrate reflective practice by integrating theological reflection with the practice of ministry and articulating it for the benefit of others.

  • ​Objective 1.1: Students articulate the biblical foundation for the practices of ministry related to their specific callings.
  • Objective 1.2: Students address the theological issues generated by the practice of ministry.
  • Objective 1.3: Students are equipped to teach and mentor emerging leaders within their field of ministry.

Goal 2: Students engage practices of personal and spiritual growth that promote longevity in ministry.

  • Objective 2.1: Students demonstrate mature understanding of their unique skills and gifts, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Objective 2.2: Students articulate the ethical standards of ministry leaders in their settings.
  • Objective 2.3: Students model sustaining personal and spiritual practices.
  • Objective 2.4: Students articulate a sustainable professional career trajectory.

Goal 3: Students practice ministry skills required by advanced levels of leadership and responsibility.

  • Objective 3.1: Students practice the skills of effective conflict mediation and reconciliation.
  • Objective 3.2: Students demonstrate an advanced level of leadership in individual, small group, and large group/organizational settings appropriate to their calling.
  • Objective 3.3: Students identify and address challenges and opportunities in their ministry settings.

Goal 4: Students utilize research in ministry and analysis of information to guide decision-making and problem-solving.

  • Objective 4.1: Students conduct research using digital and print resources and locate resources that inform analysis and decision making for their ministries.
  • Objective 4.2: Students develop a ministry initiative that addresses a specific need or opportunity in their ministry settings.
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Tuition & Fees
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Tuition and fees for South College students vary by program, and tuition rates are tiered based on the number of credits taken each quarter. For example, in our undergraduate programs, students taking 10-20 credits per quarter are charged one quarterly tuition rate based on their program, while students in the same program taking 1-5 or 6-9 credits are charged different tuition rates. Our tuition rates are designed such that South College students who take a high number of credits per quarter may be able to complete their program at a lower total cost than students who take fewer credits per quarter. Contact our admissions team who can help you prepare the budget for the field of study you want to pursue. And don’t forget we also offer numerous grants, scholarships, and financial aid packages to those that qualify.

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Yes! Financial aid for South College is available to those who qualify. Students at South College have access to a range of financial aid to provide the economic assistance they need to pay for college. Aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants and awards, work-study programs, and loans. We’re happy to participate in numerous federal, state, and private student aid programs, and to offer funding directly. In addition to federal and state financial aid, South College institutional grants can reduce out-of-pocket expenses for qualified military-affiliated students, first responders, and recent high school graduates. Visit our financial page or contact our admissions team. We want you to succeed! Let us help you give your dream direction and address your financial aid questions.

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Yes! South College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the doctorate, educational specialist, master's, baccalaureate, and associate levels, as well as certificates. With over 100 programs and concentrations and campuses on multiple states the state authorizations have been obtained. Visit the link to see the full listing. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the appropriate licensing board to confirm whether a South College program will meet the requirements for professional licensure in that state. South College will assist with this information for fully online programs. For onground/hybrid programs, the institution ensures that the program meets requirements for the state in which the campus is located.

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South College offers a wide range of degree and certificate programs in areas such as business, healthcare, legal studies, education, criminal justice, and technology. At this time, we do not currently offer housing options. Our expansive online study and hybrid options allow our students to learn wherever they are located, and often with the flexibility of their own convenient time. With academic advisors that support the students throughout their tenure at South College, along with tutors, study groups, and a student success team, students at South College have resources at their fingertips to assist them in their educational pursuits and may be able to guide towards housing areas close to the campus of their choice. The individual attention and support provided by our faculty and staff helps to set us apart. Students interested in a more personalized learning experience are often attracted to South College over other larger universities and colleges in our campus locations. Request more information about South College today!

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Does South College accept Transfer Students?

Yes! Credit for transfer work may be given if it was taken at an accredited collegiate institution, if it is equivalent to courses offered at South College, and if it carries a grade of C or better. Any coursework taken over seven years ago may be denied transfer credit if the material is outdated. Policies for the acceptance of any graduate level transfer credit are determined by the associated program faculty within guidelines determined by the institution. We want students to succeed and will do our best to help you in your journey to apply transfer credits to those who qualify. Contact admissions for assistance for your transfer individualized plan and consideration and learn about transfer specifications and time limits by course here:

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South College is a regionally accredited private co-educational, institution with non-residential campuses in Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Orlando, Florida. Students can pursue academic programs at all levels, including professional certificates and associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. New academic programs are added frequently in response to local, regional, and national employment trends, and South College is committed to providing programs at all levels with innovative course content and teaching platforms. Explore all the programs and come back often as we regularly add new programs that may spark your interest!

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Online vs On-Campus – What Is Best?

Since its founding 140 years ago, South College‘s mission has been to serve students who want a hands-on, professional focused education. Today this means offering traditional classroom experiences along with accelerated, hybrid, and online learning options. It means small class sizes, modern labs, and campuses that are convenient to large numbers of students. Most of all, it means experienced instructors who provide real world experiences in their classes and lead in-depth discussions on the concepts taught. South College also offers non-traditional distance-learning programs, allowing students to earn a college degree online providing more flexibility with the same level of quality education and experience from all academic programs offered. This option is great for potential students who are working a full-time job or are not in travel distance to one of the learning sites. Online vs. campus? You decide. Get the student experience you desire in the program that fits your style best on your road to success!

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Does South College Have Programs for Active or Retired Military?

As an institution of higher education, South College recognizes its responsibility to society and supports both institutional and individual commitments to service. South College encourages its administration, faculty, and staff to invest their knowledge, experience, and expertise in community, professional, and institutional service. South College’s core values of excellence, responsibility, and integrity serve as the foundation for assessing the quality of institutional, school/departmental, and individual performance in achieving this mission. South College is grateful for the service and sacrifice of our military and their families. We are happy to provide the South College Military Grant to support our military – past and present – in the pursuit of their education and skill development. The South College Application Fee is waived for all active-duty military members, veterans, their spouses, and their dependent children who receive this Grant.

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