Program Format

The Doctor of Ministry is a 33-hour degree including 27 hours of course work, a project/thesis (6 hours), and two spiritual formation retreats. Although the program requires residency periods (face-to-face class time), the majority of our students live all over the country--some even outside the United States--and simply travel to Abilene once or twice a year.

Course Format

Each course consists of pre- and post-class assignments in addition to a residency on ACU’s campus or at designated learning sites. Some courses utilize a hybrid format, incorporating both online and face-to-face learning and assignments; no courses are offered in a fully online format. 

Residency Periods

D.Min. residency periods occur twice a year--for one week in January and two weeks in June. While students' initial June residency is set, subsequent residencies may include either one or two courses, depending on the student's desired completion timeline. For sample degree plans, see the Focus of Study section of this website.

Length of Degree

The Doctor of Ministry degree can be completed in as few as three years, including as few as five residency periods. A maximum of six years are allowed for completion of the degree. A sample three-year completion schedule is provided below; see also a comparison of sample three- and four-year completion schedules (PDF).

Year 1, June

  • DMin Orientation (0 hours)
  • BIBM 702: Theological Foundations for the Practice of Ministry
  • Spiritual Formation Retreat I
Year 1, January
  • Elective or track-specific course
  • BIBM 724: Project/Thesis Seminar I (1 hour)
Year 2, June
  • Elective
  • Elective or track-specific course
  • BIBM 725: Project/Thesis Seminar II (2 hours)
Year 2, January
  • Elective or track-specific course
Year 3, June
  • Elective
  • Elective or track-specific course
  • Spiritual Formation Retreat II
Year 3, Spring/Summer
  • Project/Thesis writing (6 hours) (non-residency)
  • Graduate in May or August

"At its core stands a wise, imaginative, and well trained faculty that care deeply about ministers and the church. To enter the D.Min. program is to become part of a conversation with fellow ministers and faculty that will energize and equip you for the challenges of service to the church and the world." 

  • Jerry Neill, class of 2009

"ACU's Doctor of Ministry program changed my life and ministry. It gave me a greater understanding of myself as a leader and fresh ideas for serving God. A synergy developed in each class which led to a new level of creativity for serving God and people. A couple years after graduation I am still unpacking things that accumulated during my time in the program."

  • Allen Burris, class of 2006

    Application Deadline:
 Summer 2017
  • January 15, 2017

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Featured Spotlight

For some, the journey to victory can be pretty grueling. Such was the case for Danny Mercer, preaching minister for Friendswood Church of Christ near Houston. After suffering from a cancerous brain tumor, he beat the disease and completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at ACU in 2013.


Read more about 
Danny's journey


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