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Graduate School of Theology FAQs

As you prepare your application for the ACU Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program, you may have questions very similar to those of other applicants. Below are answers to a list of commonly asked questions.

Can I pursue a Doctor of Ministry without a Master of Divinity? 
To be admitted to the program, we do require a Master of Divinity or it’s equivalent. However, we offer a Master of Divinity equivalency program that allows students to take some leveling courses to bring their theological master’s degree (i.e. MTS, MACM, MAR, etc.) to the Master of Divinity level. We will review your graduate transcripts and determine which of the courses you have already taken will fit into the M.Div. equivalency plan, granting as many credits as possible. Learn more about Master of Divinity equivalency.

What is the structure of the Doctor of Ministry? 
Doctor of Ministry cohorts begin every June where they meet for an initial summer residency.  After this initial residency, students can choose to come to Abilene, TX in June or January for 1-2 weeks each June and July until they complete the program. For a more detailed layout, check out this sample completion schedule. We also have a few courses that are taught in special locations and times throughout the year. We will be sure to let you know of these courses well in advance.

What are the Doctor of Ministry track options at ACU?
1)     Christian Spiritual Formation- The Christian Spiritual Formation track is designed to form leaders who are forming others in the way of Jesus. Rooted in the deep resources of Scripture and Christian tradition, this track allows students to probe more deeply what it means to form disciples in various ecclesial contexts. Additionally, students in this track will design their project/thesis to address some concrete approach to formation within their ministry context.
2)     Leadership for Missional Renewal- Leadership is an important word. Churches, organizations, families, and communities all need leadership. But leadership left to its own devices can become unwieldy and counterproductive to the well-being and health of a family, non-profit, or church. Thus, the Leadership for Missional Renewal track grounds the pursuit of leadership excellence in the missio Dei--God's mission in the world. Within this track students will engage in critical theological reflection in missional theology, develop skills in cultural hermeneutics, and nurture leadership models that serve congregations in the pursuit of God's preferred future.
3)     Preaching for Community Transformation- Preaching plays a significant role in the life of the church. But what does that role look like? This track seeks to integrate homiletic discipline with the particular reality of the ecclesial community. To study preaching for its own sake certainly is valuable; but in this track the focus is on the practice of preaching as it shapes the life of congregations in service to God's mission in the world. Attention is given to homiletic theory, the exegetical work with both text and congregation, cultural contexts, and the church as a worshipping community of faith.
4)     Generalist Program- For students who have particular learning interests not addressed by one of the tracks, or whose ministry contexts suggest other areas of attention for a D.Min. program, a generalist program is available. In consultation with the D.Min. director, a student can customize a program to fit their desired research goals and ministerial practices. Drawing from the courses offered, a student could pursue any number of directions for inquiry.

Can I afford a doctorate at ACU?
Recognizing that doctoral studies can be an intimidating expense, we are dedicated to helping you pursue a degree without a heavy financial burden. We recently reduced our tuition costs to make the financial investment in a ministry degree at ACU comparable to similar programs at other schools.

Before any scholarships or financial aid, the Doctor of Ministry program is only $12,000 for all three years of the program. Students usually opt to pay in monthly installments of $333 throughout the program. We do offer competitive scholarships that can lower the cost even more. Be sure to fill out the scholarship application and we will let you know about a scholarship offer after the January 31st application deadline.

How and when should I apply to the ACU’s Doctor of Ministry?
You can begin the application process at any time. Within the application portal you can send recommendation requests, upload documents, and check your admission status. Applications for Summer 2019 are due by January 31, 2019. This application process can take some time, so we recommend getting started as early as possible.

What types of recommendation letters is the department looking for?
We require four recommendation forms from people that know your personal character and performance in ministry. At least one recommendation should provide an academic reference.

When will I be notified of my admission decision?
With a rolling-admissions process, you will be notified of your admission decision usually within two weeks of submitting your completed application materials.

Can I attend an open house or schedule a campus visit?
Yes! Please contact Emily Childers, the Graduate School of Theology recruiter ( or 325-674-3735) to learn more about upcoming Open Houses and/or to schedule a campus visit.

What is Abilene like?
Please click here to learn more about Abilene, TX!