Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership

The Doctor of Ministry degree (D.Min.) is a professional doctoral degree meant to enrich religious leaders in traditional and non-traditional settings, to deepen their understanding of and commitment to ministry, and to refine its practice. The focus of the Boston University DMin is Transformational Leadership, and persons admitted into the degree program may develop a specialization within this track based on their particular interests.

Boston University School of Theology’s Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership seeks leaders who are called to transform their communities, their churches, their ministries, and their world.

  • Are you a leader who knows that your community needs significant change?
  • Do you realize that to create that change, you will have to develop additional skills in listening, analyzing, uniting, and visioning to forge a path forward?

Boston University School of Theology has designed its Doctor of Ministry Program for leaders who have at least three years of ministry experience and are seeking a plan for transformational change. The Doctor of Ministry program is a three-year, low-residency degree program that combines online learning with intensive classes.

  • Build connections with fellow leaders and Boston University faculty during two week-long trips to Boston University each year. Through the rest of the year, interactive online classes with full-time faculty and a student cohort allow you to study and learn from other leaders.
  • Sharpen your leadership skills and acquire new ones through a curriculum that includes classes such as Global Development and Faith, Transformational and Situational Homiletics, and Mission and Outreach.
  • Focus your studies on your own context, with a directed study project that gives you a strategic plan to move forward. Deeply analyze your unique context while also drawing from the experiences of a diverse cohort of classmates.

Applicants must possess an MDiv degree (or equivalent) with a minimum GPA of 3.3 from an institution of higher education accredited by a US agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or approved by a Canadian provincial quality assurance agency. Degrees from institutions outside of North America may also be accepted (subject to review by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs). Applicants also must have completed a minimum of three years of full-time professional ministry or its equivalent.


Coursework may be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, but most students will enter the program on a part-time basis. Part-time students can expect to complete the program in three years. All students must complete the program in no more than five years.

DMin Chart

To keep the variety of online courses fresh and provide Doctor of Ministry students with access to the widest possible variety of faculty members, the selection of courses will change from semester to semester. Courses address such topics as:

  • Global Development and Faith
  • Mission and Outreach
  • Radical Christian Spiritualities
  • Transformational/Situational Preaching
  • The Practice of Sabbath

Practical Matters

How much will the In-Service DMin cost to complete?


The In-Service DMin will cost approximately $21,522 in tuition and fees over the course of three years (six semesters) of part-time study, plus travel to Boston for the intensive seminars. During the first year of the program, the intensive courses and cohort building last nine nights for each stay in August and January. During the second year, the intensive courses are a five-day commitment with the preceding evening optional.

Year One Year Two Year Three Total
Tuition and Fees* $10,646 $8,042 $2,834 $21,522
Average transportation costs $500 $500 $0 $1,000
Meals and Housing $2,000 $1,200 $0 $3,200
Totals $13,156 $9,742 $2,834 $25,722

*Figures shown are 2015-2016 tuition and fee rates and may change. 

Students in the Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership program are not eligible for financial aid from the School of Theology.  However, there are resources to assist these students with academic costs:

  • Additional Scholarships-To aid students in their scholarship search, the School of Theology’s Financial Aid Office maintains a large list of outside awards and scholarships, arranged by eligibility, here.
  • New England Education Society Loan– The New England Education Society is a private agency that loans up to $3,000 per academic year to students enrolled in seminaries in New England.  Further information can be found here.
  • Federal Unsubsidized Loan– Students taking at least 6 credits per semester are eligible to apply for a federal unsubsidized loan.  To apply, students need to submit the STH Financial Aid Application and FAFSA (with IRS data retrieval).  Both applications can be found here.

How much do I need to learn about technology to learn online?


Amazingly little! If your computer is a standard PC or Mac and was purchased in the last two to three years, it is probably fast enough to handle the task. If you want to be sure, read more about BU’s technical specifications for its Learning Management System from Blackboard. Blackboard works through most of the common internet browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer) and doesn’t require you to download special software. For a general sense of Distance Education at BU before you decide to apply, BU has more information for prospective online students.

For classes when everyone is online at the same time, we use an online meeting software that that takes only seconds to download and install. You will also need a headset and microphone combo, and Internet speed of at least five Mbps. Training sessions will be offered before the first online class and a Student Services Coordinator is assigned to each course to help you with any technical difficulties that may arise.

What are the online classes like?


Most of the School of Theology online courses also involve some synchronous learning, meaning everyone is online at the same time. This can involve text chatting with each other, talking and listening to each other, and/or seeing videos of each other. We think this builds community and honors our perspective on incarnational (embodied) learning.

We believe that theological learning is best done in community and that philosophy carries over into online learning. While your learning will center on your own interests, you will consistently engage in dialogue with others about those interests. This is not the kind of online learning in which you are a lone ranger studying at your own pace. It is rigorous and collaborative.

Where and when do the on-campus intensive courses take place?


Students begin the program with one of the two annual intensives at Boston University, in August or January. The schedule is designed to build community between cohort members before students begin the online portion of the program. During the August session, students who wish to may stay on Boston University’s urban campus or may stay off campus and join their cohort for classes, breakfast, and lunch. During the January session, all students are housed at a retreat house in the suburbs with easy access to public transit. This builds community and  minimizes the risk that students will be unable to attend class sessions due to inclement weather.

The exact dates of the intensives are discerned about 11 months ahead of when they will be offered. They are scheduled so active ministers only have to take one weekend away from their congregations.

Next Intensive Course Dates

  • Tuesday, August 4th – 3pm – 6pm check-in and registration
  • Tuesday, August 4th – 6pm evening welcome dinner
  • Wednesday, August 5th – Wednesday, August 12th – “Transformational Leadership” course. (Students will have Sunday, August 9th, off from class to use as a day of study and rest.)
  • Wednesday, August 12th – 6pm cohort wrap-up dinner
  • Thursday, August 13th – morning check-out and return home

Subsequent Intensive Course Dates:

The Spring 2016 Intensive Course, “Contextual Analysis” will require check in by 6 pm on January 7 with course sessions taking place January 8th through 15th, with morning check-out and return home on the 16th.

What are the intensive courses like?


The intensives are an intense time of learning from Boston University’s leading faculty, with Sunday reserved for reading, writing, or Sabbath activities. The cohort have lively class discussions, share meals together, and immerse themselves in Boston by visiting churches and cultural sites that are relevant to the course. Past teachers have included Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore teaching on Transformational Leadership and Dr. Walter E. Fluker teaching a course on Contextual Analysis. Students report that the discussions and learning help them to build a close-knit cohort that can support and learn from each other throughout the year.