The Doctor of Ministry is the highest professional qualification in the practice of Christian ministry, signifying strategic leadership in a specialized field. It is for people who have professional experience in Christian ministry and who wish to prepare for strategic leadership.

Students will be able to give strategic leadership, being able to plan and implement a major strategic change in an area of Christian ministry. This involves demonstrating leadership and initiative, and managing local implementation.

A successful graduate of the VCI Doctor of Ministry has made a significant contribution to the professional practice of Christian ministry.

In line with the educational philosophy of VCI, the Doctor of Ministry program takes an integrative approach in which all units support the dissertation.

Educational Objectives

The Doctor of Ministry degree is earned on the basis of the successful completion of prescribed advanced coursework and a significant project of applied research in the field of Christian ministry to be reflected in a dissertation.

Students must be able to:

  1. identify a significant, complex need in a ministry training context
  2. systematically address the need with an original project of applied research that reflects the highest level of professional practice
  3. provide evidence of initiative and independent thought
  4. contribute significantly to professional practice of Christian ministry
  5. show proficiency in methods and techniques of applied research
  6. present formal written work using scholarly style and presentation appropriate to a publishable manuscript.

The dissertation has the following characteristics:

  1. It is based on a specialized topic and an original research problem or question.
  2. The dissertation has wider application in ministry practice, beyond the student’s own context.
    • It should be useful in the practice of ministry.
    • It contains appropriate theoretical content and reflection.
      It contains a review of similar cases and practices beyond the student’s own context.
    • It is presented according to academic standards for publishable work.
    • It is either published as a model for other ministries to implement or contains a guide for wider implementation.

The Doctor of Ministry must be done over a period of not less than two years from initial enrollment and not more than six years.


To be considered for admission, a student should have all of the following:

  • at least three years' experience in Christian ministry
  • the Master of Divinity or its equivalent with an average grade of at least an A-
  • satisfactory completion of the VCI Foundation Training
  • be staff or volunteers of VCI ministry training programs, and/or be active in a senior leadership position in Christian ministry in their local church or Christian ministry organization.

For general requirements: See General Admission Policies and Procedures in the Catalog.