ACD Course


The Doctor of Ministry forms part of a nested suite of postgraduate programs that also includes the Graduate Diploma of Ministry and Master of Ministry.

It is a professional degree for those wanting to research and reflect at an advanced level. Its aim is to assist Christian leaders in developing their personal, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual capacities. As with the other postgraduate degrees, t is usually studied part-time to ensure an ongoing process of reflection-on-action and enable students to keep abreast of contemporary approaches to and research in the field of Ministry Practice.

The DMin:

  • Encourage collegiality through regular seminars with peers and occasional visiting experts
  • Enables you to pursue individually tailored study via Guided Readings which can include coursework, a private reading programme and reflection on conferences/seminars attended
  • Take you through a stocktaking journey of your life and ministry practice to date and enable you to articulate your Theology for Ministry with a view to the road ahead
  • Train you in research methods ready for a significant research project or thesis in an area you are passionate about and want to spend time delving into, making an original contribution

Entry requirements for direct admission to the Doctor of Ministry are:

  • A Bachelor of Ministry degree with first or upper second class honours or equivalent qualification or the ACD Master of Ministry degree or equivalent qualification; and
  • At least three years’ relevant ministry experience; and
  • Permission of the ACD Postgraduate Committee and the Course Coordinator.

However, the Postgraduate Committee may, under certain circumstances and subject to specific conditions, admit others who can show evidence of fitness for candidature.

A candidate who holds the ACD Master of Ministry degree or equivalent may be granted advanced standing in the Doctor 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.

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 & 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.

A Doctor of Ministry student may choose to exit early with the Master Ministry, provided that the required units are completed and there is a satisfactory outcome in examination of the dissertation.

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

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

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.

 Unit code and titleCredit points
Year 1
MINS8557 Reflecting on Best Practice in Ministry
MINS8201 Guided Study A
MINS8202 Guided Study B
MINS8203 Guided Study C
Year 2
MINS8558 Introduction to Community Research
MINS8559 Theology for Ministry Practice
MINS8204 Guided Study D
MINS8205 Guided Study E
Year 3
MINS9032 Research Methods
MINS9201 Community Research Folio 1
MINS9501 Ministry Research Thesis I
MINS9502 Ministry Research Thesis II
Year 4
MINS9202 Community Research Folio 2
MINS9503 Ministry Research Thesis III
MINS9504 Ministry Research Thesis IV
MINS9505 Ministry Research Thesis V
ExitMaster of Ministry72
Year 5
MINS9203 Community Research Folio 3
MINS9506 Ministry Research Thesis VI
MINS9507 Ministry Research Thesis VII
MINS9508 Ministry Research Thesis VIII
Year 6
MINS9509 Ministry Research Thesis IX
MINS9510 Ministry Research Thesis X
MINS9511 Ministry Research Thesis XI
MINS9512 Ministry Research Thesis XII
ExitDoctor of Ministry108