Doctor of Ministry

CRICOS 063714M

About this course

The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) is an AQF level 10 research doctoral award. It meets the specifications for a Doctoral Degree (Professional) set by the Australian Qualifications Framework. It provides the opportunity to pursue advanced study in Christian Life and Ministry by research at the highest academic level in the context of professional practice, with supporting specialist coursework. It is designed for those who seek to expand their own understanding and develop new knowledge in professional ministry contexts, or for the personal transformation of the individual in academic and vocational areas.

The Doctor of Ministry is undertaken by a combination of specialist coursework (20%) and research and thesis (80%).

The specialist coursework component enhances the candidate’s capacity for academic research in the context of professional practice and prepares the candidate to develop a specific Thesis Proposal. The research and thesis component provides the opportunity for the candidate to embark on a significant, extended piece of research, which investigates an area of Christian Life and Ministry in a systematic, creative and comprehensive manner. The research will contribute to knowledge in an original way.

Together, the specialist coursework and the research and thesis equip the person for advanced leadership in ministry and would also support an appropriate academic or professional career involving research.

Course Details

The Sydney College of Divinity may admit to candidature in the DMin those persons who have attained:

  • A Bachelor (Hons) degree or equivalent with results at Class II from the Sydney College of Divinity or an equivalent institution; or
  • A Graduate Diploma with a GPA of 2.8+ and one 18 cp research unit at High Credit level from the Sydney College of Divinity or an equivalent institution; or
  • Qualifications deemed by the College to be equivalent to or higher than those above.


Candidates should have at least four years’ full-time or equivalent part-time certified experience in ministry.


English Language Requirements

Applicants whose entry qualifications were obtained in an institution where English is not the language of instruction require a minimum IELTS (or equivalent) score of 7.0 in all bands of the test.

The Doctorate of Ministry is by coursework (20%) and research (80%).


  • Coursework Component
    • Two core 18 credit point units each, to be completed with at least a High Credit average before proceeding to the research requirements.
    • The two units are:
  • R10001 Pastoral and Practical Theology: Hermeneutics and Methodological Paradigms
  • R10002 Research Settings in Pastoral and Practical Theology


  • Research Component
    • Research and thesis of 60,000 words maximum including footnotes/endnotes but excluding bibliography and appendices, under the direction of a supervisor and associate supervisor.


  • Compulsory participation in the Research Degree Workshop and the Research Seminars is required of candidates.
  • Some thesis topics may require competence in ancient and/or modern foreign languages or other relevant areas of knowledge such as statistics.
Learning Outcomes

Graduates will have systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning in Christian Life and Ministry and specialized research skills for the advancement of learning in the field. They will have:



  • systematic and critical understanding of the chosen area of Christian Life and Ministry
  • mastery of a substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of knowledge in the field, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution
  • expert understanding of theories pertaining to the field
  • substantial knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the field



  • expert and specialised cognitive, creative, and technical skills in the field of research, so that they are able independently and authoritatively to:
  • critically evaluate existing knowledge and ideas pertaining to the field of research
  • systematically investigate and integrate other information potentially relevant to that field including potentially relevant theories
  • demonstrate and apply theoretical understanding of the field
  • develop or adapt research methodologies to extend existing understanding of the field
  • generate original knowledge in the field
  • communicate results of research cogently and appropriately to specialist and non-specialist audiences, using the English language competently and effectively for the purpose


Applications of Knowledge and Skills

  • as a practitioner or learner in relation to the inter-dependent building up of the church and good of the wider community, ongoing capacity to:
  • plan and execute a coherent, significant and original piece of research with intellectual independence and authority
  • generate significant and original knowledge in the field
  • contribute expertise to academic discourses in the field
  • take initiatives, think creatively and make innovations in new situations and/or undertake further learning
  • assume full responsibility and accountability for personal outputs
  • relate the skills gained to the professional practice of ministry
  • engage in the formation of ministers
  • contribute to the professional development of ministry leaders
  • assist ministers, including ministry leaders, to relate their theological awareness to the practical needs of people in the contemporary world.


Graduate Attributes  

DMin graduates will:

  • Be able to identify, analyse and articulate problems and issues in discourses current in their academic, professional and social communities
  • Recognise the level of their own understanding
  • Demonstrate creativity and originality of thought in solving problems and dealing with complex and abstract conceptual matters, and seek resolutions in light of the common good
  • Be able to access information efficiently using the means most appropriate to purpose and context
  • Conduct themselves with academic integrity and rigour and exercise critical thinking in forming judgments
  • Work autonomously and with an open mind
  • Understand the distinction between information and argument and be adept in marshalling information as evidence in argument
  • Adopt and practise responsible values and attitudes as members of academic, professional and social communities, based in part on their experience as Sydney College of Divinity research candidates
  • Be able to communicate their thinking coherently and effectively, with appropriate English proficiency, in public debate and printed word
  • Have confidence to engage in public discussions of faith and ethics
  • Appreciate and act on opportunities for lifelong learning and encourage others to recognise learning opportunities for themselves
  • Be willing to assume high-level leadership in their academic, professional and social communities as needed

Applications for candidature are made directly to the Sydney College of Divinity. Applications can be submitted online and are accepted throughout the year.


From 1 January 2021, higher education domestic and onshore international students commencing study in 2021 will need a Unique Student Identifier (USI)

  • to be eligible for FEE-HELP (domestic students only)
  • to receive your degree, if you intend to complete your study at the end of 2022 and graduate in 2023.


The process of applying online for candidature must commence only after you have discussed your proposed study with the Sydney College of Divinity Research Director Professor James Harrison. Email Prof Harrison at [email protected] to explore your options.


An overview of the process would be

  1. Attend an interview with the Sydney College of Divinity Research Director in person or on phone
  2. Decide on the research degree taking into consideration what is most suited to your research topic. You would also need to consider the time, cost and other factors before you embark on your study
  3. Check your eligibility and know the regulations
  4. Prepare to submit your online application which includes the Summary of Research Intentions. Have all the information and supporting documentation ready. All official documents must be certified
  5. Submit your HDR Application online


The Sydney College of Divinity Research Committee will consider the application. If you are successful, you will be admitted on a provisional basis and assigned a principal and secondary supervisor. They will assist you to prepare a Thesis Proposal.  The candidature is provisional until the transition from coursework to thesis occurs following the achievement of commendable results in the two coursework units and acceptance of the Thesis Proposal by the Research Committee.

A graduate research degree provides a unique opportunity to follow and focus on an area of interest, and make an important contribution to the development of your chosen area. The decision to enter into a research degree should not be taken lightly. The study requires substantial time and financial commitment, and the capacity for innovative, independent research; critical thinking; time and project management skills; and skills of organisation and communication of information. Typically, full-time candidature requires an average of thirty hours per week and part-time candidature requires an average of fifteen hours per week. These hours should preferably be achieved through regular weekly commitment, but they may be achieved through varying periods of more and less intensive work.


International Students

International students are subject to the conditions of their Australian student visa and are required to maintain a full-time enrolment. If you are planning to enrol as an international student, you have the responsibility to ensure that you comply with your visa conditions at all times.


Fees are the same for all students. International students are not eligible for FEE-HELP, an Australian loan scheme that assists eligible full fee paying students pay their tuition fees at university and other higher education providers. International students will be required to pay the tuition fee at the beginning of each semester. The Graduate Research School may discuss payment plans if paying upfront presents difficulties.


Higher Degree by Research students are exempt from the restricted work hour conditions that apply to undergraduate and postgraduate (coursework) international students. This means that you may be able to work unlimited hours thus adding to your finances once you are in Australia. Always check the conditions of your visa before you decide to commence any work.


Applicants whose entry qualifications were obtained in an institution where English is not the language of instruction will be required to demonstrate competency in English by an IELTS result of 7.0 in all bands of the test and may be required to attend such English language courses as prescribed by the Sydney College of Divinity.