The Catholic University of America

Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.)

Preparing Pastoral Ministers for the New Evangelization


Application deadline for the 2015 Summer Cohort is December 1, 2014.

Contact Information About This Degree

General informatipn may be obtained in the following areas from the following individuals:

1. The overall program: Msgr. Michael Clay, D.Min. Committee Chair  (
2. The Liturgical Catechesis Concentration: Sr. Margaret Schreiber, O.P.  (
3. The New Evangelization Concentration: Msgr. Michael Clay  (
4. The Spirituality Concentration: Dr. Joshua Benson  (
5. The application process: Ms. Abimbola Akintolayo (


Overview of Degree:

The Doctor of Ministry degree offers advanced theological education and pastoral skills for experienced pastoral ministers. The program is designed for lay, religious, and ordained ministers, and it welcomes students from all Christian communities. In service to the New Evangelization and in continuity with Catholic tradition, it gives special attention to the interlocking ministries of catechesis, spirituality, and evangelization.

All students participate in a core curriculum that serves as a foundation for advanced pastoral ministry. In addition, they choose one of three areas of concentration according to their ministerial interests: Liturgical Catechesis, Spirituality, or New Evangelization. Liturgical Catechesis concentrates on faith formation, deepening active participation in the liturgy, and the study of liturgical and catechetical documents and sacramental rites (See the Catechetics Academic Area for a listing of courses and other details). Spirituality focuses on strengthening the spiritual life of others though a deeper engagement with the Christian spiritual tradition (See the Spirituality Academic Area for a listing of courses and more details). New Evangelization centers on proclaiming the Gospel to contemporary people and then more effectively summoning others to share in the Church’s mission to evangelize (See the Pastoral Studies Academic Area for a listing of courses and more details). 
Learning is experienced through a combination of on-line education and a two-week summer residency at Catholic University over three consecutive summers. Upon completion of coursework, students prepare a ministerial project that makes a significant contribution to the development of pastoral ministry in their area of concentration. The degree is awarded after successful completion of the project, a written treatise, and a concluding oral presentation.

Basic Admission Requirements and Application Inform

1. Possession of a Master of Divinity degree or its educational equivalent (i.e., approximately 72 graduate level credits in theology and its related fields) with a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0.

2. A minimum of three years of full-time service in pastoral ministry or its equivalent (e.g., 6 years of half-time ministry, etc.).

3. GRE’s are not required.

4. There are no foreign language requirements although international students from non-English-speaking countries must have a minimum score of 92 (internet based) on the TOEFL or an overall band score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS for the English language.

5. Women and men religious, priests, deacons and seminarians must submit a letter of endorsement from their bishop or ecclesiastical superior.

6. A completed and signed application form (see link under Important Links).

7. Completion of a 1000-2000 word statement of purpose briefly presenting a history of the applicant’s academic, pastoral and vocational background, his/her purpose for undertaking doctoral studies in pastoral ministry and his/her ministerial goals as they related to the intended concentration area.

8. Official transcripts from every post-secondary school in approved, sealed envelopes.

9. Three letters of recommendation, one of which testifies to the applicant’s personal aptitude for, as well as interest in and motivation for, the field of theology and pastoral studies. The other two letters must specifically attest to the applicant’s ability to complete doctoral studies.

10. Nonrefundable application fee. (See: )

11. Submission of a graduate level writing sample (e.g., term paper, thesis, etc.).

12. International Students: Because this is a summers-only program, the Office of Graduate Admissions will issue the I-20 with the caveat that this is a summer-only program and that the student will be in the U.S. only during those periods when courses requiring residency are occurring (i.e., maximum length of time: mid-March through the end of July; minimum length of time: two-week residency, typically the first two weeks of June). (See:

Components of the Program

1. Coursework:

a. A minimum of 30 credit hours (i.e., 10 three-credit courses) beyond the M. Div. or its equivalent. At least two additional semesters of doctoral project guidance (1 credit per semester) are also required.

b. Maintenance of a grade point average of at least a 3.0 for coursework is mandatory.

c. Nine of the ten required courses are taught in the summer during a semester that runs approximately from April 1 to July 15. Students take three courses over three consecutive summers during this time period. A two-week residency is part of each summer semester and is usually scheduled around the first two weeks of June.

d. The tenth course is an online seminar course to prepare the student for their project proposal, project and treatise.

2. Project, Treatise and Oral Presentation:

a. During coursework, the student begins the process of identifying a significant ministerial problem or pressing pastoral issue in need of resolution or development that will become the basis for a project and treatise. The project and treatise will incorporate appropriate interdisciplinary resources and theologically and pastorally relevant methods for its resolution.

b. Preparation of the Project Proposal: After completing the Doctor of Ministry Seminar, possessing 21 credit hours and being admitted to doctoral candidacy, the student submits a project proposal to the D. Min. Proposal Committee for approval.

c. Completion of Project: Upon receipt of a formal letter of approval of the project from the Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies, the student conducts the project in ministry within the specified time period approved by the Dean.

d. Treatise: The student writes a treatise describing the pastoral issue explored in the project, the rationale for the project, the theological basis for the project, an evaluation of the project, what was learned from the project and what future steps might be taken to continue the development of effective ministry in the area examined.

e. Oral Presentation: Once the treatise is approved by the project director and reader, the student makes an oral, on-campus presentation. The student has three years from the date of admission to candidacy to complete and present the project and treatise. The Dean may grant an extension of up to one year with cause.

The Ten Courses Associated With The Degree

For a listing of these courses by concentration area, please click the links below:

Liturgical Catechesis:

New Evangelization:



Nature and Goals

The Doctor of Ministry degree with concentrations in liturgical catechesis, adult spiritual formation, and pastoral care is a professional doctorate offering students advanced theological and pastoral formation for competent and effective ministry. The program combines theory and pastoral experience and focuses on the integration of biblical, theological, and pastoral knowledge for excellence in ministry. It draws upon the resources of the School of Theology and Religious Studies and other departments and schools at The Catholic University of America, as well as the schools of the Washington Theological Consortium and the Consortium of Universities.

Components of the Program

The Doctor of Ministry degree may be obtained through one of the following models:

  1. Blended Learning Model:  A total of nine courses are taught over three consecutive summers.  Students begin each semester online approximately six weeks before the residency.  It is followed by a three-week residency and concludes with six more weeks of online work. 

  2. Blended Learning and Residential Model:  Some students may elect to take regular graduate courses during the academic year at CUA in their area of concentration.  These students also enroll in the six required core courses offered only during the three-summer program. 

All students are required to take the D. Min. Seminar, an online course offered in the fall semester.

Students complete the program by designing and implementing a project in ministry within their area of concentration.    

Requirements for Admission

  1. Possession of the M. Div. degree or its educational equivalent of approximately 72 credits with a cumulative average of 3.00 or better.  GREs are not required.
  2. A minimum of three years of full-time service in pastoral ministry.
  3. Completion of the Personal History Form, which includes a brief history of the academic, pastoral, and vocational background of the applicant and an essay of 1,000 to 2,000 words presenting the applicant's personal history and goals in ministry.
  4. Three letters of recommendation, with at least one testifying to the applicant’s ability to do doctoral work. The others should testify to the applicant’s exemplary ministry.

For International Students Applying to the D. Min. Program

Graduate Admissions will be able to issue I-20s to international students who are going to enroll in the D. Min. program.  The I-20 will be issued for the program’s 3 year length with remarks stating that this is a summer only program and that the student will be in the U.S. only in the summer time (April through July). They will need to terminate the I-20 each July and reactivate a new I-20 for the following April. 

IMPORTANT:  Students will not be able to remain in the U.S. with this version of the CUA I-20 other than between April and July, unless they are fully enrolled in the fall and spring semesters for additional courses to apply to the D. Min. degree with the permission of the School of Theology and Religious Studies.

Degree Requirements

Course Work:

A total of 30 credit hours (i.e., 10 courses) beyond the M. Div. or its equivalent and at least 2 additional semesters of doctoral project guidance are required.  A maximum of six credit hours may be transferred for work completed elsewhere.  Continuous enrollment is required until graduation once the project has been approved in writing by the university. 

Grade Point Average:

Students are expected to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.00 in their course work to be eligible for the D. Min. degree.


A student may apply for candidacy after completing 24 credit hours of doctoral level course work. The student may not receive candidacy and deliver the oral presentation on the D. Min. Project during the same semester.  The student must be in at least two semesters of D. Min. Project Guidance (1 credit per semester).

D. Min. Project:

The D. Min. Project, with its treatise and oral presentation, concludes the program and is ordinarily related to the concentration in which the student is enrolled. It is intended to demonstrate the student's ability to identify a problem in ministry and to discover appropriate interdisciplinary resources and theologically and pastorally relevant methods for its resolution.

Phases of the Project:

The project has four components:

  1. A proposal is developed and then approved by the D. Min. Proposal Committee.  Students work with their director in preparing it.

  2. A project is implemented after the student receives official approval in writing of the proposal from the university.

  3. A treatise is written which integrates the theological and pastoral knowledge students have incorporated into the project and how the project furthers an understanding of ministry in the area of concentration.

  4. An oral presentation is delivered on the project and what has been learned from the project to advance ministry in the area of concentration.