Courses

Students are expected to maintain continuous enrollment once admitted to Northeastern Seminary. They are expected to complete their degree program within three years of its normal length. Thus, D.Min. students will be allowed six years for the initial matriculation date to complete their academic work.

Download the Curriculum Plan

Introduction to Personal and Ministerial Formation | 3 Credits

DMIN 852NE | Calling and Vocation | 3 Credits

This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore the relationships between spiritual formation, personality, and leadership. Students will benefit from standard personality and leadership assessment tools to gain insights into their own personality and leadership style. In addition, students will enhance their understanding of the biblical foundation of leadership and the significance of spiritual formation for today’s Christian leaders.

The expected outcome of this seminar will be a well-developed theology of ministry within the context of the individual’s personality, spiritual giftedness, and leadership style. Students will develop an informed sense of calling to their unique place in the Kingdom of God and will design a strategy of continuous personal change to enhance their effectiveness in ministry for years to come. The seminar will be composed of didactic sessions to focus on related personality and leadership theories, as well as small group components to provide support as students apply these principles to their individual ministry.

[Prerequisite: Successful matriculation into the D.Min. program]

Required Courses | 12 Credits

DMIN 855NE | Theological Foundations for Ministry | 3 Credits

This course explores theological resources for Christian ministry in the context of contemporary culture(s). The purpose of the course is to assist the doctoral student in developing a solid theological foundation for ministry that is firmly rooted in the historic Christian faith and fully responsive to the exigencies of the contemporary world. The course develops in three major movements: First, the course seeks to guide the student in a review of the core beliefs of historic Christian faith. The focus of this review is both on the content of the faith and the implications of the Church’s core beliefs for Christian ministry. Second, the course provides an overview of key foundational materials in the classical pastoral tradition, with a focus on the nature and practices of the pastoral vocation. Finally, the course focuses on the doctrine of the Church and its implications for ministry in contemporary culture. Specifically, the course seeks (a) to guide the student in discerning certain key features of contemporary North American culture, and (b) to aid the student in grappling with the nature of the Church’s mission in its present cultural context.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 865NE | Scriptural Foundations for Ministry | 3 Credits

This course will explore biblical resources for envisioning the practice of Christian spirituality and leadership across the widest spectrum of social and cultural expressions, while interacting with the Church’s history of limiting its arena of concern to the “spiritual,” narrowly conceived. The methodology will integrate (1) reflection on central biblical-theological themes (such as God’s covenant with creation, humanity as “image of God,” the socio-cultural nature of evil and idolatry, redemption and the kingdom of God, and human suffering and eschatological hope) with (2) analysis of key shifts in the worldview of Western culture (including the Greek-Christian synthesis of the Middle Ages, the humanism of the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and the postmodern shift in the 20th century). The purpose is to develop a scriptural framework for Christian spirituality and leadership that can address the contemporary 21st century context with the power and compassion of the Gospel.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 875NE | Spirituality for Ministry | 3 Credits

This course will examine the importance of Christian spirituality for ministry in the contemporary context, especially focusing on (a) developing and articulating an integrational theology of human and Christian spirituality for ongoing appraisal of spiritual development personally and communally; (b) an exploration of fundamental dynamics of the Christian spiritual life as experienced and articulated throughout Scripture, Christian history and contemporary life individually and corporately; (c) the development of foundational dispositions that nurture spiritual development of individuals and communities; and (d) the responsibility and privilege of Christian leaders for intentional nurturing of their own personal spiritual formation and the spiritual formation of others whom they are called to serve within and outside the Church.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 885NE | Transformational Leadership | 3 Credits

Scholars trace research on “transformational” leadership to James Burn’s 1987 study of leadership, which distinguished between “transactional leadership” and “transforming leadership.” This language has been (over) simplified in church circles to “management” versus “leadership.” This seminar will explore the role of each and their interrelationship in ministry. A key question to be pursued is this: What is the difference between a person who simply occupies a leadership role, and one who “gets things done,” resulting in organizational growth and “transformation” (from decline and sickness to health and vitality)? Pursuit of this key question will also involve a consideration of “pseudo-transformation” resulting in apparent growth, change, and “leadership success” which is followed by “leadership failure” and/or organizational conflict and decline. Transformational leadership is linked to the traditional study of the virtues and moral character. It has been defined as “leading from essence,” and puts a premium on integrity, authenticity, trust, and interpersonal relationships. This is a timely study in an age when moral failures in the ministry have made front-page news.


This course will also define, as key components of transformational leadership, the creation of shared vision, a unifying purpose, a strategic plan, and congruent values. These are the primary tools used by transformational leaders. Moreover, the process they use in the “creation” of them is critical to their “leadership success” (and differs from that used by “transactional leaders”).

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

Support Courses | Choose 12 Credits*

DMIN 862NE | Critical Issues in Contemporary Church Communities and Postmodern Society | 3 Credits

This course provides a venue for exploring varying Christian approaches for describing and addressing contemporary problems. The methodology includes applying a biblical and theological framework to proposed interventions that take into account personal responsibility, distributive and social justice, global perspectives, concern for the local community, and the utilization of church ministerial tools and secular expertise. Included in this course are reflection and exploration of a theological paradigm of the cross that maintains a radical Christian approach providing a context for effectively addressing social and ethical problems. Descriptions, analyses, and possible interventions for the following social problems and ethical issues will be the focus for class discussions, readings, and assignments: violence against women, racism, poverty, and professional ethical dilemmas. The goal is to provide students with both a theological framework and the ministerial tools to address important contemporary social and ethical issues in their local churches, larger society, and international community.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 872NE | Biblical Theology of Leadership | 3 Credits

There is a great need in the modern church and world for wise and faithful Christian leadership. This course examines the Bible with an interest in how the whole message and story of Scripture develops a theology of leadership. Fours areas, in particular, are of significance in view of such leadership: character (the lifestyle of the leader), care (the ministry of the leader), catechesis (what leaders should teach and pass on), and crises (how leaders handle challenges). Other course topics include: leadership systems and structures in Scripture, key biblical metaphors that shape leadership, and women in leadership in Scripture.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 882NE | Developing Healthy Spiritual Communities | 3 Credits

In a postmodern cultural context in which the authority of interpretive communities is broadly recognized, the Church has a unique opportunity to recover the biblical dynamic of authentic Christian community. This course will explore the nature and development of healthy Christian communities and their significance for meaningful ministry in the present cultural milieu. The course will examine the nature of the earliest Christian communities in the biblical era and review their historical development. The particular challenges of modernity to the development and maintenance of healthy spiritual communities will be observed. Finally, the course will focus on the prospects, possibilities, and methods for the recovery of healthy faith communities in the postmodern era. In particular, the dual vocation of the Church, to function both to contrast culture and as the place of Christ’s hospitality in the world, will serve as the foundation for thinking about the nature and development of contemporary communities of faith. This will include an exploration of the role of healthy spiritual communities for faith formation, catechesis, and evangelization.

On the basis of this analysis, students will have opportunity to strategize ways in which their own churches might become healthier spiritual communities, including, but not limited to, the development of small faith communities within the larger local church community.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 890NE | Conference on Ministry | 3 Credits

This is a special topics course created in the area of expertise of the keynote speaker for Northeastern Seminary’s annual Conference on Ministry.

[Prerequisites: Successful completion of—or at least enrollment in—DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 892NE | Preaching and Scripture | 3 Credits

This course is designed to assist the student in enhancing the conceptual understandings and practical skills that lead to the effective communications of ancient truths in the 21st century. Through a variety of learning experiences (e.g. in-class preaching, viewing the sermons of great preachers, reading and discussion, etc.) this class will enhance the student’s ability to craft and deliver sermons that God can use to bring about the transformation of human lives and the building of His church. Designed as a practicum experience, a central feature of this class is the viewing and critique of sermons delivered by the students.

[Prerequisites: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 895NE | Independent Study | 3 Credits

D.Min. students may petition to do an Independent Study or transfer one course (three credit limit) from an approved graduate program that supports his or her dissertation. The student must demonstrate how this course will further his or her understanding of and support the ministry goals of the dissertation. If approved, these credits will substitute for one Support Course.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE and one foundational course or permission of the vice president and dean]

Courses Related to the Dissertation | 9 Credits

DMIN 860NE | Research Methodology I, II and III | 3 Credits

DMIN 860ANE – Research Methodology I

An introduction to research methodology for the D.Min. dissertation, this seminar will guide the doctoral student in integrating theological reflection, spiritual discipline, and ministry practice. The seminar sessions will include discussion of research ethics in the ministry setting. Each student will develop a comprehensive statement of a ministry-based research problem, which will form the basis of Chapter One of the Doctor of Ministry dissertation.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 852NE]

DMIN 860BNE – Research Methodology II

A continuation of DMIN 860A, this seminar will guide the doctoral student in integrating theological reflection, spiritual discipline, and ministry practice. Specifically, this course will assist the doctoral student in writing the ‘review of the literature.' The course will discuss the role of the literature review, provide guidance for setting limits, and emphasize the dialogical nature of the research process. Typically, the literature review will form the basis for writing Chapter Two of the Doctor of Ministry dissertation.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 860ANE – Research Methodology I]

DMIN 860CNE – Research Methodology III

A continuation of DMIN 860A and DMIN 860B, this seminar will guide the doctoral student in integrating theological reflection, spiritual discipline, and ministry practice. Specifically, this course will discuss appropriate research methodologies as adapted to the ministry setting. The doctoral student will design an appropriate ministry model that integrates Scripture, spiritual reflection, and leadership development. The ministry model will typically be incorporated into Chapter Three and Chapter Four of the Doctor of Ministry dissertation.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of DMIN 860BNE – Research Methodology II]

DMIN 910NE | Dissertation | 6 Credits

The student must satisfactorily complete a doctoral-level, publishable dissertation based on an approved ministry project.

View Past Dissertations

The final dissertation must reflect the student’s ability to use appropriate theoretical and theological resources in addressing both the nature and the practice of ministry. The dissertation will demonstrate the candidate’s ability to identify a specific theological topic in ministry, organize an effective research model, use appropriate resources, and evaluate the results.

The research and writing process is guided by a faculty advisor, who is assigned to the student in his/her first or second semester. The assignment takes place in conjunction with the choice of an appropriate research topic and after the conversation with the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program.

The topic of the dissertation research is chosen in relation to the student's ministry context and the faculty advisor works with the student throughout the design, research, and writing of the dissertation. It is assumed that the results of the dissertation research will enhance and strengthen the student's personal ministry and benefit the student's ministry site (church or institution).

When the student is in the final stages of writing the theoretical and theological foundation for her/his research project (the first four chapters), the faculty advisor, in cooperation with the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program, assigns a dissertation committee that presides over two defenses. The proposal defense reviews the first four chapters and, if successfully defended, allows the student to perform the research project in the student’s ministry context. Following the practical part of the project, the student composes the report and evaluation of the project (chapters five and six), which is subsequently presented at the final defense.

The completed dissertation should be a publishable document that displays the student's ability to use appropriate theoretical and theological resources in addressing both the nature and the practice of ministry.

[Prerequisite: Successful completion of all other DMIN courses including DMIN 860A/B/C and an overall grade-point average of 3.0. In certain circumstances, students are permitted to enroll in DMIN 910NE concurrently with their final foundation/support course; see Director of the D.Min. program for permission.]

Total Credits: 36

The structure of the Doctor of Ministry program allows students to be enrolled in up to seven credits each semester for a total of 14 credits per academic year. A minimum of six credits per semester is necessary for full-time status; three credits per semester are required for part-time status. This scheduling allows for awarding financial aid and deferring student loans.

Special Topics Courses

Courses are offered in conjunction with the Seminary’s annual Conference on Ministry and have focused on such topics as:

  • The Liberating Cross: In the Hands of a Loving God with Brian Zhand
  • Leading Like Jesus with Dr. MaryKate Morse
  • Power, Inequality, and Reconciliation in the Church with Christena Cleveland
  • Cultural Intelligence with Soong-Chan Rah
  • The Missional and Emergent Life of the North American Church with Phyllis Tickle
  • The Future of Evangelicalism with David Fitch
  • The Soul of Leadership with Ruth Haley Barton

Spiritual Formation

Northeastern Seminary is committed to the personal and spiritual growth of every seminarian. Through innovative and integrative personal and spiritual formation practices students are exposed to the rich resources and disciplines of formative Christian spirituality. The fundamental objectives include spiritual as well as the academic preparation for pastoral and lay ministry.

Fostering spiritual formation in a multi-denominational community:

  • A spiritual retreat at the start of the program for each entering class
  • Required courses include a 24-hour retreat during the residency week
  • Annual All-Seminary Retreat that brings together students, alumni, faculty and staff
  • Courses and readings in formative spirituality and Scripture study

The Personal and Spiritual Formation Curriculum promotes:

  • Growth in their personal relationship with God and the development of a spiritually- disciplined life
  • Sensitivity to God's active presence in their own life, the lives of others, and the world
  • Growth in personal formation, emotional maturity, and moral integrity
  • Deepening acceptance and love of others, compassion and forgiveness
  • Concern for and ability to relate openly to other people, especially in regard to personal and spiritual matters
  • Deepening confidence and courage to be a public witness for Christ and the Gospel, in both religious and secular communities, even in the face of opposition

*Course selections must meet requirements for graduation. You will choose courses through academic advising.