DMin Award Summary

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
CRICOS : 063714M

 

Qualifications for Admission to Candidature

A person may apply for admission to the DMin if he or she has obtained or is qualified to obtain a four-year Bachelor degree, or the equivalent, in an appropriate discipline, to at least a High Credit standard, AND has at least four years’ full-time or equivalent part-time certified experience in ministry. For details see Regulation C.4.1 below.

In all cases, prior studies should include sufficient preparation to undertake the proposed research in an area of ministry.

In exceptional cases, candidates may be admitted on the grounds of academic and/or professional attainments, including publications, in the theologically related area in which they wish to pursue research for the degree.

Notwithstanding the provisions above, the Sydney College of Divinity may require suitability for candidature to be demonstrated by such examination or other work as determined by the Sydney College of Divinity.

The Sydney College of Divinity will decline to accept an applicant if it cannot offer supervision in the proposed field of research.

Duration : 3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time.
Students on an Australian Student Visa are required to study full-time.

Structure : The award is by coursework (20%) and research (80%).

Coursework Component

Two core 18 cpt units each, to be completed with at least a High Credit average before proceeding to the research component.

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
compulsory participation in the Research Degree Workshop and the Research Seminars.

Some thesis topics may require competence in ancient and/or modern foreign languages or other relevant areas of knowledge such as statistics.

English Proficiency : 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.

Enrolment

Contact the Research Director at [email protected] Office of the Dean, Graduate Research School.

C.1    RATIONALE

The Doctor of Ministry meets the specifications for a Doctoral Degree (Professional) set by the Australian Qualifications Framework. It provides men and women with 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.

C.2    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:

Knowledge

  • 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

Skills

  • expert and specialized 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.
C.3    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
  • Recognize 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 SCD 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 recognize learning opportunities for themselves
  • Be willing to assume high-level leadership in their academic, professional and social communities as needed
C.4    ACADEMIC REGULATIONS

The Academic Regulations below must be read in conjunction with Common Elements for Research Awards.

C.4.1    Admission to Candidature

C.4.1.1       The Sydney College of Divinity may admit to candidature in the DMin those persons who have attained:

(a)  A Bachelor (Hons) degree or equivalent with results at Class II from the Sydney College of Divinity or an equivalent institution; or

(b)  A Graduate Diploma with a GPA of 2.8+ and one 18 cpt research unit at High Credit level from the Sydney College of Divinity or an equivalent institution; or

(c)  Qualifications deemed by the Sydney College of Divinity to be equivalent to or higher than those above;

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

In all cases, prior studies should include sufficient preparation to undertake the proposed coursework and research related to Christian Life and Ministry.

C.4.1.2       In exceptional cases, candidates may be admitted on the grounds of academic and/or professional attainments, including publications, in the area of Christian Life and Ministry to which their coursework will be aligned and in which they wish to pursue the research.

C.4.1.3       Notwithstanding the provisions above, the Sydney College of Divinity may require suitability for candidature to be demonstrated by such examination or other work as determined by the Sydney College of Divinity.

C.4.1.4       The Sydney College of Divinity will decline to accept an applicant if it cannot offer supervision in the proposed field of research.

C.4.1.5       Applicants must submit together with their application:

(i)   a Summary of Research Intentions, sufficient for the Research Committee to determine the general suitability of the topic and availability of appropriate resources and supervision;

(ii)  a Certification of Experience in Ministry.

C.4.1.6       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.

C.4.1.7       Applicants will be required to show evidence of competence in ancient and/or modern languages, in order to access primary sources and/or significant secondary works relevant to their thesis topic, and competence in any other relevant area of knowledge, such as statistics. Any language or other requirements will be determined after advice from the Research Committee at the time of application and subsequently in consultation with the proposed supervisor.

C.4.1.8       Candidates for the DMin are admitted directly into the coursework component. When this is completed with at least a High Credit average, candidature continues into the research and thesis component on a provisional basis until approval of the formal Thesis Proposal, which should be submitted no later than one semester from completion of coursework for a full-time candidate or two semesters for a part-time candidate for approval by the Research Committee in order to continue their candidature. This proposal may not be substantially changed after acceptance without application to the Research Committee.

C.4.1.9       No candidate for the DMin may be concurrently enrolled in any other undergraduate or postgraduate course within the Sydney College of Divinity or any other tertiary institution, except in the case that, on the recommendation of the supervisor, a candidate may be directed to undertake one or more individual units of study on a non-award basis in order to attain a competence emerging as appropriate to the most effective pursuance of the DMin research.

C.4.1.10     Candidates for the program are registered with the Sydney College of Divinity through the Office of the Dean.

C.4.1.11     A candidate for the degree will be designated as full-time or part-time based on time to be given to the coursework and research. 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. Clear progress is expected in each semester of enrolment.

C.4.1.12     A candidate enrolled in the MPhil may apply for transfer to DMin candidature, following discussion with the Research Director, using the Application to Transfer to a Different Research Degree, following satisfactory completion of 20,000 words of the thesis under the direction of the approved principal supervisor and associate supervisor; a record of having met MPhil regulations; and demonstration that the research is of a sufficient scope and depth to sustain a doctoral thesis. The application should be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from the principal supervisor. Applications are determined by the Research Committee. In the event that an application is refused and the student wishes to appeal the decision, the appeal will be referred to the Dean. In the event that the student remains unsatisfied with the outcome, the student may have recourse to formal grievance procedures available through the Dean, as set out in the Student Grievance Policy and Procedures. Period of candidature provisions for the DMin degree apply from the time of transfer. Allowance for time already spent in MPhil candidature will be determined by the Research Committee in relation to the stage already reached in the research, but the remaining period of doctoral candidature will be at least two semesters for full-time candidates and at least four semesters for part-time candidates.

C.4.2    Course Structure

C.4.2.1       (a) All DMin candidates proceed to the award by coursework (20%) and research and thesis (80%).

(b) The coursework component consists of two 18 cpt units, which must be completed with at least a High Credit average. The two units are designed to familiarize students with:

  • contemporary theology of ministry at specialist level;
  • contemporary scholarship in key areas of ministry at specialist level;
  • applied research methodologies;

and to provide students with the tools to develop their Summary of Research Intentions into a formal Thesis Proposal.

The two units are:

R10001   Pastoral and Practical Theology: Hermeneutics and Methodological Paradigms
R10002   Research Settings in Pastoral and Practical Theology

All candidates begin the coursework at the beginning of the academic year. Full-time candidates do both units in the first semester of enrolment; part-time candidates do R10001 in the first semester and R10002 in the second semester.

(c) If the required result is not achieved in the coursework, the candidate will be informed that he or she may not proceed to the research and thesis stage. If the coursework has been passed the candidate may be offered transfer to a postgraduate coursework program with credit for the two 18 cpt units or, if appropriate, the MPhil (without credit). Period of candidature provisions for the award apply from the time of transfer.

C.4.2.2       Candidates who have achieved the required result continue their candidature with research approved by the Research Committee and submit a thesis embodying the results of the research. The thesis will form an original contribution to research in the area. The thesis is to be 60,000 words maximum, including footnotes/endnotes but excluding bibliography and appendices.

C.4.2.3       A candidate may not submit as the main content of the thesis any material that has previously been submitted for a degree, unless that material has been significantly reworked in the context of the thesis being submitted.

C.4.2.4       Not later than one semester after satisfactory completion of the coursework component for full-time candidates or two semesters for part-time candidates, the candidate will submit a formal Thesis Proposal for approval by the Research Committee. Following approval, the thesis topic may not be substantially varied except with the permission of the Research Committee.

C.4.2.5       The Research Committee appoints a principal supervisor and an associate supervisor to oversee the development of the thesis, and may determine any special arrangements for supervision. Normally, the principal supervisor will be a faculty member of the Sydney College of Divinity. In some cases the Sydney College of Divinity may appoint an external supervisor based in another reputable theological college or university. The associate supervisor may likewise be internal or external to the Sydney College of Divinity. In either case the principal supervisor must be research active according to the Research Active in the SCD Policy The associate supervisor may be either an academic, normally identified as research active according to the Research Active in the SCD Policy, or a recognized expert professional in a field of ministry.

C.4.2.6       As part of the program for the award of the DMin, upon entering the research and thesis component of the program the candidate is required to participate in the Research Seminars listed for each year of their candidature, and to present a paper at least once a year for full-time candidates and at least once every second year for part-time candidates. Ongoing enrolment in the award is subject to completing these requirements.

C.4.2.7       Candidates in their first year of enrolment must attend a Research Degree Workshop in addition to the Research Seminars, provided that they have not previously attended such a seminar with the Sydney College of Divinity as part of a previous award. Regardless of such previous attendance, they may be required to attend those parts of the Workshop considered relevant to their current research.

C.4.2.8       All thesis proposals involving the gathering of personal information from people by surveys, interviews or case studies will be dealt with according to the policies and procedures of the Research Ethics Committee, which makes a recommendation to the Academic Board in consultation with the Research Committee. Ethics clearance is normally sought at the same time as submission of the formal Thesis Proposal. If the need to seek ethics clearance arises subsequently, as the need to gather personal information arises belatedly, the application for ethical clearance should be lodged promptly. Under no circumstances may those elements of the thesis relying on the gathering of personal information proceed before ethical clearance is granted.

C.4.2.9       All candidates are to nominate a ‘home library’ from amongst the libraries of the Member Institutions of the Sydney College of Divinity. The library will regularly receive a research grant to supplement its collection in the topic area of the candidate.

C.4.3    Period of Candidature

C.4.3.1       (a) The period of candidature for the degree is normally be three to four years full-time or six to eight years part-time. The coursework units will be completed with at least a High Credit average before the thesis may be undertaken. The two units will both be taken in the first semester of enrolment in the case of full-time candidature or successively in the first and second semester of enrolment in the case of part-time candidature.

(b) If the required result is not achieved in the coursework, the candidate will be informed that he or she may not proceed to the research and thesis stage. If the coursework has been passed the candidate may be offered transfer to a postgraduate coursework program with credit for the two 18 cpt units or, if appropriate, the MPhil (without credit).

C.4.3.2       In certain circumstances the Research Committee may grant limited extensions of candidature upon application. The normal upper limits for extension are one semester for full-time candidates and two semesters for part-time candidates.

C.4.3.3       For serious reasons the Research Committee may grant a candidate leave of absence from the program. This leave will not normally exceed one semester. The period of leave is not counted in the period of candidature.

C.4.3.4       If the candidate discontinues or does not re-enrol, the candidate is required to apply for re-admission to the DMin program. The Research Committee will process the application and may specify conditions for enrolment.

C.4.3.5       A candidate resuming after an absence will be enrolled for not less than one semester before being permitted to submit a thesis.

C.4.4    Monitoring of Candidature

C.4.4.1       Once a semester, and at any other time considered appropriate, the principal supervisor of the thesis will report to the Research Committee on the progress of the candidate using the Research Degree Progress Report form.

C.4.5    Termination of Candidature

C.4.5.1       If the Research Degree Progress Report describes the candidate’s progress as unsatisfactory and there is no advance within a semester, the Research Committee will ask the candidate to show cause why candidature should not be terminated. Unsatisfactory progress occurs when there is no evidence that production of the thesis has been advanced by identifiable further research, constructive meetings of the candidate with the supervisor, or written drafts, and where there are insufficient grounds for special consideration.

C.4.5.2       Any show-cause submission by the candidate will be considered by the Research Committee and the Committee’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Academic Board. The Committee may recommend the termination of candidature, continuation of candidature, or imposition of conditions on continuation of candidature.

C.4.5.3       If the candidate does not show cause, the Research Committee will recommend termination of candidature to the Academic Board.

C.4.5.4       Persons whose candidature has been terminated may have recourse to the appeals procedures set out in the Handbook under General Academic Regulations. The decision of the Appeals Committee is final.

C.4.6    Examination of Thesis

C.4.6.1       The candidate will submit to the Office of the Dean three copies of a thesis embodying the results of the candidate’s research. All copies of the thesis will be bound in temporary form. One copy in electronic form should be submitted to the Research Director, which will be placed in the SCD Institutional Repository. The length of the thesis will conform to the prescribed requirements. The thesis must be written and presented in accordance with the current guidelines for the preparation of a thesis.

C.4.6.2       The thesis must be the candidate’s own work, with no hint of plagiarism, must be written in English, and must reach a satisfactory standard of literary presentation.

C.4.6.3       Before a candidate may submit a thesis, the principal supervisor must sign a Certification of Thesis, to be submitted with the thesis, stating that the thesis conforms to the requirements of the regulations. If the supervisor does not so certify, the Research Committee will determine whether the thesis is to be submitted after having considered written submissions from the principal supervisor, the associate supervisor and the candidate.

C.4.6.4       The Research Committee appoints three expert examiners, all external to the Sydney College of Divinity, at least two of international standing, and may appoint additional examiners. Examiners will be expected to report in writing two months from the receipt of the thesis. An examiner will normally be replaced if the report is not received within three months.

C.4.6.5       The examiners will report in writing and make a recommendation that the thesis be placed in one of five categories:

a)  that the award be granted
b)  that minor amendments be made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Research Committee
c)  that major amendments be made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Research Committee
d)  that a significantly revised thesis be re-submitted for examination
e)  that the award not be granted.

C.4.6.6       In the event of a disagreement arising amongst examiners, the Research Committee may appoint a fourth examiner or may make a recommendation to the Academic Board of the Sydney College of Divinity.

C.4.6.7       The Research Committee may recommend that the candidate undergo an oral or written examination requested by the examiners or initiated by the Research  Committee.

C.4.6.8       In the case of C.4.6.5 (b), (c) or (d), the Research Committee will determine the time to be allowed for completion or re-submission. In both cases, the candidate will re-enrol for the specified period.

C.4.6.9       In the event of a re-submission, the Research Committee may appoint the same examiners or may appoint one or more different examiners. The same examination process will apply except that examiners will be asked to make a recommendation in one of three categories:

  • that the award be granted
  • that minor amendments be made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Research Committee
  • that the award not be granted.

C.4.7    Examiners’ Reports

C.4.7.1       Candidates will be given a copy of the examiners’ reports at the completion of the examination process. Examiners’ names will be included unless a written request to the contrary has been received by the Office of the Dean.

C.4.8    Submission of the Completed Thesis

C.4.8.1       When any corrections as determined by the Research Committee in light of the examiners’ reports have been completed, two bound copies of the thesis and one electronic copy are to be submitted to the Office of the Dean.  The bound copies are to conform to the guidelines for the presentation and binding of theses following examination.

C.4.8.2       One copy of the bound thesis will be deposited in the Sydney College of Divinity library designated by the candidate; the other bound copy remains with the Office of the Dean; and the electronic copy is with the SCD Institutional Repository. The copies will be available for consultation, loan, electronic distribution and photocopying forthwith. In exceptional cases the Research Committee, on application of the candidate, may determine that the thesis will not be available until after the expiry of a period, normally no longer than a year. The candidate holds copyright in the thesis and it is expected that any use made of it will be appropriately acknowledged by the user.

 C.4.9    Saving Clause

C.4.9.1       Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, the Academic Board of the Sydney College of Divinity may, in any case in which it may deem it appropriate to do so, vary, dispense with or suspend any requirement or prescription by these regulations, and report forthwith to the Council of the Sydney College of Divinity.


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