Doctor of Ministry

Course structure

The Doctor of Ministry is a 108 credit point course requiring six years of part-time study.

It comprises:

36 credit points of coursework including core coursework and Guided Study units;
72 credit points of research including 18 credit points of Community Research Folios;
54 credit points of research by means of a Ministry Practice Thesis.

Some units for the Master of Ministry and the Doctor of Ministry are shared, eg the Research Methods and Community Research Folio 1 and 2 units. Where units appear in both courses a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry will be expected to perform consistently at a higher level than a candidate for the Master of Ministry.

Coursework Units
(13.5 credit points)
These prepare students for specialist thinking and skills use in the area of Ministry Practice, engagement with current research in the field, and theological reflection upon their own ministry practice and leadership in the Australian context.

The required coursework units are:

  • Reflecting on Best Practice in Ministry
  • Introduction to Community Research, and
  • Theology for Ministry Practice.

Guided Study Units Years 1 and 2
(22.5 credit points)
With the approval of the course coordinator students study and are assessed in selected areas interest for professional development under the guidance of an appropriate supervisor. Students may read an agreed select bibliography as individual study or as part of a group, build their study around interviewing experts, attending a conference, or conducting a field trip, complete an approved postgraduate unit, or undertake an agreed project set within the student’s ministry context.

Each year one or two intensives are offered at postgraduate level, which students may choose to attend and complete as a Guided Study unit.

Community Research Years 2 to 5
(18 credit points)
These allow students to develop expert skills in engaging current peer and scholarly research in, and specialist knowledge of, the field of Ministry Practice. Participants also have the opportunity to present and have their own research critiqued in a collegial environment.

The required coursework units are:

  • Introduction to Community Research and three Community Research Folio units.

Ministry Practice Thesis Years 3 to 6
54 credit points)
Students will be expected to complete a ministry practice thesis of 54,000 words (equivalent to 54 credit points).

The Ministry Research Thesis will be made up of either:

  • a thesis on an area of ministry practice;
  • OR a creative project (eg a change management plan and report of its execution, all to a professional standard) approved by the postgraduate committee and an exegetical essay totalling no less than 60% of the whole (ie approx. 32,000 words);
  • OR a collation of three or four articles and/or book chapters all submitted and accepted for publication by a peer-reviewed journal or a reputable and approved publisher during the period of enrolment in the degree, accompanied by an exegetical essay totalling no less than 40% of the whole (ie approx. 22,000 words).

Goals for each part of the Ministry Research Thesis will be set with the student’s supervisors, two of whom will be appointed at the commencement of the Thesis.

Students are required, in order to satisfactorily pass Ministry Research Thesis II to submit a Research Proposal to a committee made up of the student’s supervisors, the course coordinator or a person they nominate from the postgraduate committee, and an outside expert in the field. The focus will be on the student’s chosen methodological approach. The committee may recommend that as part of Ministry Research Thesis III the student be required to do focused work on developing their methodology further, via reading or attending training in the chosen method(s).

The thesis must embody a piece of original research that makes a substantial contribution to the theological and practical understanding of Ministry practice. The thesis will be examined in accordance with the ACD Policy Research in Postgraduate Courses.

Entry to Doctor of Ministry by transfer from Master of Ministry

Students studying a Master of Ministry must indicate by the end of their third year (or after studying 54 credit points) whether they intend to graduate with a Masters or apply to transfer into the Doctor of Ministry.

Requirements for transfer are:

A current enrolment in the ACD Master of Ministry course; and

A grade average of Distinction in the ACD Master of Ministry study in units totalling at least 18 credit points calculated on the last 18 credit points taken; and

At least three years relevant ministry experience; and

Approval of the ACD Postgraduate Committee and the Postgraduate Course Coordinator.

Transfer of Status from Master of Ministry to Doctor of Ministry

A candidate for the ACD Master of Ministry, if accepted into the Doctor of Ministry, will be granted status for units completed in the Master of Ministry provided each unit has been completed with a grade of Credit or better according to the following:

  • Reflecting on Best Practice in Ministry
  • Theology for Ministry Practice
  • Guided Study units
  • Research Methods
  • Introduction to Community Research and Community Research Folio 1
  • Ministry Practice Dissertation units I and II.

Ministry Practice Dissertation III and above is not transferable.

Transfer of status for students who have completed most of their study under the pre-2014 Master of Ministry course structure will be determined on an individual basis.

Advanced Standing for Master of Ministry Graduates

A candidate who holds an ACD Master of Ministry degree and who is granted entry to the Doctor of Ministry may be granted advanced standing.

Candidates who are granted advanced standing of up to 49.5 credit points will be required to complete the following Doctor of Ministry course components:

  • Community Research Folio 3 (4.5 points)
  • Doctoral ministry practice research project study (54 credit point).

A candidate who holds a Master’s degree deemed equivalent to the ACD Master of Ministry degree may also be granted advanced standing. The required Doctor of Ministry course components will be determined on a case by case basis in order to achieve consistency across the programs of study of those graduating from the Doctoral course.

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