Doctor of Ministry

The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake (USML) is tailored for seasoned ministers holding a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or equivalent qualification. Positioned as a terminal professional degree distinct from a Ph.D., it emphasizes the refinement of practical skills and leadership acumen essential for effective ministry.

This degree allows you to bring your ministry into dialogue with the best insights from Scripture, Tradition, and the human sciences. The degree program’s goal is to develop pastoral leadership skills that meet the missionary needs of the church in today’s challenging cultural environment.

Designed to accommodate the schedules of busy professionals, the program features a hybrid delivery format. This structure caters to working individuals balancing professional responsibilities with academic pursuits.

Through case studies and projects drawn from ministerial experiences, scholars engage in integration and processing with the goal of acquiring advanced competency in ministerial leadership. To achieve this goal, the program provides scholars with a community of practice where ministerial integration is combined with formal coursework and research supervision.

Specialized concentrations within the program cater to distinct career paths: Pastoral Leadership, which emphasizes leadership development without a project requirement, and Ministry of Ignatian Spirituality, which offers a certificate in spiritual direction.

Who Benefits from the D.Min Program?

  • Experienced ministers, both lay and ordained, seeking career enhancement.
  • Professionals aspiring to leadership roles in ministry, including Catholic school presidents or high school theology educators transitioning into administrative positions.
  • Individuals aiming to strengthen their leadership effectiveness within their current ministry contexts.
  • Aspiring to be a college professor or teach at the university level.

Course Work

The Doctor of Ministry program is a part-time, online program with a residential component. The residential component can be completed in just a few weeks each year.

In addition to studying during your life, you’ll take a week away to stay at our serene campus for the residential courses. Here, you can pray, reflect, and integrate your study with your ministry along with your classmates.

Choice of concentration:

  • Post Masters Certificate in pastoral Leadership
  • The Ministry of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises


  • Completed three years of full-time ministry or its equivalent
  • Presently employed in full-time ministry
  • The regular expectation is the completion of an MDiv degree or its theological equivalent, however, students with an accredited masters in an area connected to their ministry setting or vocational calling may also be considered based on meeting the following criteria:
    • The ability to thoughtfully interpret scripture and the theological tradition of one’s ministry context.
    • The capacity to understand and adapt one’s ministry to the cultural context.
    • A basic self-understanding of one’s ministerial identity and vocational calling.
    • A readiness to engage in ongoing personal and spiritual formation for one’s ministry.
    • Significant ministerial experience that enables the applicant to engage as a ministry peer with other students in this advanced professional doctorate.
    • Additional information will be asked of students without an M.Div. or equivalent to assess readiness. Exceptions can be made to these requirements at the discretion of the director.
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