DMin Program Entry and Advancement

The Doctor of Ministry program at Houston Theological Seminary is designed for Christians leaders to pursue specialization to further their ministry capacity. This doctoral program builds upon previous theological graduate study. For entry, students need 1) a masters degree, 2) particular graduate theological coursework, and 3) normally will have 3+ years of ministry/leadership experience. Application requirements are listed below.

Entry and Advancement Scenarios

Entering with a Master of Divinity (MDiv) or equivalent

Students with an MDiv or equivalent can enter the 30 hours of doctoral classes directly. Some who have completed an MDiv have not taken Greek, so they will be required to take 6 hours of Greek at the masters level as part of the DMin program. These Greek hours can be taken concurrently with the first year of doctoral classes.

Example Scenarios:

  • MDiv (with Greek): 30 doctoral hours
  • MDiv (without Greek): 6 masters hours of Greek + 30 doctoral hours

Entering with a Master of Arts or equivalent

Students entering with an MA will fulfill two requirements before beginning doctoral level classes: 1) a minimum of 54 hours of masters level classes, and 2) particular base coursework at the graduate level so they are adequately prepared for doctoral level theological study. We call this base coursework “bridging” courses, and they include a minimum of 21 hours of graduate theology courses, which include 6 hours of Greek as well as Hermeneutics, Systematic Theology, Church History, New Testament Theology and Old Testament Theology.

Each entering student with an MA will receive a personal assessment of their previous preparation to determine the number of hours and the particular masters level courses that will be necessary to complete before beginning doctoral level courses. These additional masters-level bridging classes will be included in the initial part of the DMin program. That is, students will formally enter the DMin program on a provisional basis and will complete these masters requirements within the program before beginning doctoral level classes. The one exception is that Greek may be taken concurrently with the initial doctoral level classes.

Example Scenarios:

  • MA (with the prescribed classes): 6-18 masters hours theology electives first + 30 doctoral hours
  • MA (with some prescribed classes): 12-18 masters hours of prescribed classes first + 30 doctoral hours
  • MA (with no/few prescribed classes): 18-24 masters hours of prescribed classes first* + 30 doctoral hours

Note regarding fees: Since the DMin degree is considered a “residential” degree, HCU charges an additional $80/hr “online” fee when students take their bridging hours online as part of the DMin program degree plan.

Note regarding Ministry Experience: The bridging option is designed for those who have formal ministry experience and/or experience with leading a religious non-profit, such that they are just adding supplemental theological education to pair with that experience.  Normally, the shorter bridging work is designed for those that have 3+ years of formal ministry experience, that is, this ministry needs to be full-time and performed after completion of one’s masters degree. If someone has more informal experience (and/or less than 3 years after completing a masters), at least a full MATS degree will be required (and potentially additional bridging hours), which will be 40 MA hours rather than 24 hours.

Application Requirements (Graduate Application)

Note: When you apply, the Doctor of Ministry is considered an “on campus” degree, but you only have to come to campus one week each semester.

*Master’s degree required*

  • Official Transcripts – Official transcripts should be sent directly to The Graduate School from the college or university that awarded your master’s degree.
  • Ministry/Leadership Experience – Applicants normally must have three (3) or more years of full-time ministry or leadership experience.
  • Personal Statement – Applicants should submit a personal statement, at least 800 words, addressing the following prompts:
    • Please describe your relationship with Jesus Christ.
    • Please describe your calling to ministry and how you have followed that call.
    • Why are you interested in HCU’s DMin program?
    • Which track do you intend to pursue—New Testament or Faith & Culture?
    • Do you have an intended area of focus for your studies? If so, what is it?
  • Résumé/CV– Applicants should provide a current résumé or CV to The Graduate School at
  • References – Applicants must provide contact information for two (2) references on their application. One of these MUST be a pastoral reference or from a commanding officer (for military chaplains). The other reference must be a professional or academic contact. Friends and family members should not be listed as references.
  • Processing fee – Applicants will be required to submit a $35.00 processing fee, payable online at, or by check or money order.
  • Other items, including an admission interview, may be requested.

More Information

Explore more detailed information about the DMin program:

We would love to have you join our community of faith, as you take this next step in your leadership development. Please contact Richard Olds, the administrator of the DMin program, for more information,, or call the DMin office at 281-649-3383.