The Tabor Adelaide Doctor of Ministry Degree
(with Master of Ministry Studies exit point)
A Tabor Adelaide professional postgraduate degree for practising pastors and ministers
- Develop a clearer understanding of your own ministry vocation
- Appreciate more fully the theological foundations of ministry
- Open yourself to the insights of national and international Christian leaders and thinkers
- Participate in the Tabor Adelaide Ministry and Theology Postgraduate Fellowship
Introducing the program
- The Tabor Adelaide Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) is an established and fully accredited professional postgraduate degree designed to meet the continuing education needs of those in full-time Christian ministry who wish to take their professional qualifications to the highest level.
- The D.Min can be completed over three years and includes coursework and a thesis. The course work is normally presented through a combination of one-week intensive on-campus seminars led by renowned Christian leaders/scholars and related personal study. The postgraduate intensive program is varied from year to year.
- Participants who complete the coursework component of the Doctor of Ministry program at an appropriate standard may exit with a Master of Ministry Studies.
- As the program expands, students will be expected to participate in the Tabor Adelaide Ministry and Theology Postgraduate Fellowship, an initiative that encourages students and staff to grow and learn together through informal seminars based on student thesis research programs.
- Ministers and pastors may audit coursework seminars for professional development purposes, which entitles them to participate in the Postgraduate Fellowship program.
Overall course outcomes for Doctor of Ministry
This course aims to enhance the ministry effectiveness of participants, assisting them to develop:
- a clearer understanding of their own ministry vocations and how these can be most effectively outworked in practice;
- a deeper understanding of spiritual and/or psychological issues in their own lives;
- an increased ability to integrate biblical exegesis with an informed understanding of the contemporary church and the contemporary culture, and, through theological reflection, critical analysis and prayer, to apply insights gained from this exercise in their professional ministry settings;
- a better appreciation of the biblical and theological foundations of various aspects of ministry and the ability to use this understanding in specific practical ministry settings;
- an advanced level of knowledge, understanding and skills which will enable them to strengthen churches and other organisations for their work in the world;
- an increased ability to thoroughly, systematically and competently review, evaluate and critique literature in specialised fields of study, and to relate this to their own ministry settings, as appropriate;
- an enhanced ability to plan, undertake, report, evaluate and discuss research, using recognised methods and according to sound ethical guidelines; and
- an advanced level of specialised knowledge and understanding which will inform and enhance their professional ministry practice.
In acknowledgement of the diversity of contexts and outcomes, the structure of the Doctor of Ministry course has been revised in such a way as to offer three broad categories of study. These have been labelled pastoral, educational and intercultural, each relating to specified areas of interest and desired outcomes.
- The focus of the ‘pastoral DMin’ is on application, and candidates will normally be involved in congregational or other church-related ministry, with a desire to apply their learning within a pastoral ministry context.
- The focus of the ‘educational DMin’ is on teaching – it is designed to appeal to candidates who wish to communicate their learning within the framework of their vocation as an educator in a denominational or ecumenical organisation.
- The focus of the ‘intercultural DMin’ is on cultural context – candidates will be drawn to this option because of their involvement in intercultural work and/or study, reflecting the diversity of theological insights and experiences that shape the practice of ministry in today’s pluralistic world.
The total number of credit points for the Doctor of Ministry course is 96. The weight given to the research component will vary depending upon the ability and preferences of each candidate, as well as the chosen area of research.
- Option 1 – 50% coursework, 50% research – this translates into 48 credit points of coursework and a 48-credit point research component (a 40,000 words thesis plus qualifying strand assignments if required).
- Option 2 – 37.5% coursework, 62.5% research – this translates into 36 credit points of coursework and a 60-credit point research component (a 50,000 words thesis plus qualifying strand assignments if required).
- Option 3 – 25% coursework, 75% research – this translates into 24 credit points of coursework and a 72-credit point research component (a 60,000 words thesis plus qualifying strand assignments if required).
Course summary [credit points in brackets]
Qualifying strand  – this forms an integral part of the research element of the award, and combines with the research strand below to form the research component of the award.
- GS5500.4 Research Methodology [6cp]
- GS5510.4 Developing a Research Proposal [6cp]
All students who have not already completed the 6-credit point Research Methodology subject, or an equivalent, must complete this subject before proceeding with the research component of the program. In addition, a further new 6-credit point subject, Developing a Research Proposal, is to be undertaken in order to complete a combined 12-credit point research qualifying strand.
RPL will be granted where elements of the qualifying strand requirements have been met either partially (e.g. where the 6-credit point subject Research Methodology has been completed) or in full.
Research strand [36-60]
Ministry Research Thesis, or other form of assessment (40,000-60,000 words)
The research component will vary according to the type of Doctorate undertaken. For example, the assessment may be in the form of a well-ordered thesis offering a substantial original contribution to knowledge; or a project addressing a matter of substance concerning ministry practice, demanding a high level of creativity and originality; or a series of supervised workshops or teaching subjects, combined with specific implementation papers. The assessment tasks will therefore reflect the fundamental orientation of the Doctoral program undertaken, and will be selected after consultation with faculty and supervisors.
Coursework strand [24-48]
Doctoral coursework subjects will be delivered in the form of intensive seminars available either on-campus throughout the year or by external study. Each intensive seminar has the value of 12 credit points.
The normal coursework component may be summarised as follows:
- Option 1 – candidates are required to complete 4 intensive seminars, i.e. a total of 48 credit points.
- Option 2 – candidates are required to complete 3 intensive seminars, i.e. a total of 36 credit points.
- Option 3 – candidates are required to complete 2 intensive seminars, i.e. a total of 24 credit points.
Doctoral Thesis in Ministry options
48 cp = 40,000 words thesis (36 cp) plus 12 cp qualifying strand; subject code TM3702
60 cp = 50,000 words thesis (48 cp) plus 12 cp qualifying strand; subject code TM3703
72 cp = 60,000 words thesis (60 cp) plus 12 cp qualifying strand; subject code TM3704
Exit Point from the Doctor of Ministry
Students who complete 48 credit points of the course may, with the approval of the Academic Postgraduate Committee, choose to exit with a Master of Ministry Studies. Students who complete 48 credit points of the course with a grade point average of 5.0 or higher may, with the approval of the Academic Postgraduate Committee, continue in the Doctoral program. The 48 credit points may be coursework only (i.e. 4 intensive seminar subjects) or a mix of coursework (24-36 credit points) and a thesis elective (12-24 credit points).
Supervisors for Doctor of Ministry research
- Supervisors have a very important role to play in assisting and supporting students in research studies. They have many responsibilities. These are detailed in the relevant Thesis Handbook and some of them are outlined below.
- Initially, supervisors assist the student to develop a realistic and suitable program of study and research that can reasonably be expected to result in an acceptable thesis in the time available. In order to achieve this, a supervisor is expected to maintain frequent and regular contact with the student and to establish arrangements for this contact from the start of the period of supervision. Normally, the supervisor will meet at least once a month with the student.
- The supervisor is required to:
- recommend background reading for the student and discuss this with the student;
- assist the student to arrange a schedule of written work and make critical comments on this work; and
- provide guidance in relation to the methods, planning and implementation of the study, and the writing of the thesis based on the study.
- Normally, Tabor D.Min applicants are expected to have a Ministry or Theology degree, plus a one-year Graduate Diploma, or an approved Master degree. There are variations on this, as specified in the regulations. Entry into D.Min courses offered by North American institutions often requires a Master degree.
- Government loans (FEE-HELP) are now available to Australian citizens to cover tuition fees. D.Min and other postgraduate student will not need to pay any loan fees and will only commence to repay the fees when their income exceeds the threshold level. Further Tabor Adelaide fee information can be found here.
- In addition, it is considerably more expensive to live in North America than in Adelaide, so there are some additional cost advantages in taking time out to study in Adelaide. While many D.Min programs allow for some external study, some on-campus study is generally expected. Hence when studying overseas, Australian students also need to factor in international travel costs.
Program director and teaching faculty
The Doctor of Ministry program is co-ordinated by Rev Dr Graham Buxton who is Director of Postgraduate Studies in Ministry and Theology at Tabor Adelaide and Adjunct.
Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Fuller Seminary in the USA. He has had a wealth of experience as a pastor and teacher, both in England and in Australia. Before entering the pastorate, he was engaged in marketing management with Shell-Mex & BP Ltd in London, followed by lecturing appointments in marketing and logistics management at Leeds Polytechnic (1971-1972) and the University of Bradford (1973-1977).
Graham is an ordained Anglican (1983), with extensive experience also in lay pastoral ministry. Prior to emigrating with his family from England to Australia in 1991, he was Vicar of St Pauls, South Harrow. His recent research activities have focused on the relationship between the science-theology dialogue and Christian pastoral ministry, with particular emphasis on the contribution of trinitarian theology towards a more constructive engagement between the scientific and faith communities.
He is the author of Dancing in the Dark: The Privilege of Participating in the Ministry of Christ (Carlisle UK: Paternoster, 2001), and The Trinity, Creation and Pastoral Ministry (Milton Keynes UK: Paternoster, 2005). Graham’s latest book, Celebrating Life: Beyond the Sacred-Secular Divide, which was published in mid-2007, reflects his passion to encourage people to enjoy the gift of life by receiving with thanksgiving all that is good in God’s world.
The D.Min program also involves one-week seminars taught by overseas leaders and scholars, offering students the opportunity to draw from the insights of both national and international thinkers and practitioners in the fields of ministry and theology.
Please contact Dr Graham Buxton, Director of Postgraduate Studies in Ministry and Theology, at:
Tabor Adelaide, PO Box 1777, UNLEY, SA 5061, Australia.
Phone (08) 8373 8720 [international: +61 8 8373 8720]
Fax (08) 8373 1766 [international: +61 8 8373 1766]