Looking For The Best Doctorate Of Ministry Degree Program (ONLINE)--NEED HELP PLEASE!

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by DoctorMinistry, May 23, 2012.

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  1. DoctorMinistry

    DoctorMinistry New Member

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    Well Folks...I am at the end of my rope. I am trying so hard to earn a Doctorate of Ministry/Doctorate of Theology/Ph.D in Divinity (you get the idea). I am a 30 year old gal, unmarried with no children yet. I am trying to finish my Education and move into what I believe I am called to do---->MINISTRY

    My journey has not been easy. I am a First Generation Christian (no one else in my family is a Believer) and on top of that, I am also the first person in my family to go to University, so I had very little guidance and help along the way. Yet, regardless of my sob story, I refuse to give up. I am going to find what I am looking for, and get to where I need to be. I spend hours upon hours researching Online Schools and trying to figure out the best path to take. Needless to say, I need help! I have come to the end of myself, and realized that I do not know it all, and could use everyone's help here. Here is where I stand:

    San Diego State University. Graduated in 2006 with a GPA of 2.65 (I had a rough time). I got a B.A in Psychology and a Minor in Religious Studies.

    American InterContinental University ONLINE. Graduated in 2010 with a GPA of 3.3 (An improvement). I got a MBA in Marketing....I thought I was going to be a Psychologist, but now I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am called to MINISTRY work.

    I have about 3 years experience now in the field of MINISTRY.

    So now I am looking for an ONLINE Degree Program. I want to get my Doctorate or Ph.D. I am not willing to relocate, so that is why I want to do a program ONLINE. I know with my statistics, it will be difficult to find an accredited program that is reasonably priced. Ideally I would LOVE for UCLA to open it's gates and offer a Doctorate in Ministry ONLINE. But I know that is not the reality right now. So what are my options? What can I do? Where can I look? Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thank you sooooo much for your answers in advance. I will be grateful for any help or direction at all at this point.

    P.S. I just ask that no one is negative or mean regarding my GPA in the past or my choices and paths I took. I already know I made mistakes. I am looking for a SOLUTION.
     
  2. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    Religious degrees aren't my specialty, and I know some members here will make some specific recommendations, but here is a good starting point to check out;

    Christian Online Learning: Bible, College, Seminary Degrees

    All the schools listed there are legitimately accredited, and if you make a list of the ones that interest you, then come back here with questions about specific programs, I'm sure you'll get a boatload of information.
     
  3. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

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    You might take a look at Walston's Guide to Christian Distance Learning.
     
  4. skidadl

    skidadl New Member

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    Do you have a particular type of church that you want to minister in?
     
  5. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

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    There are some decent schools offer what you're looking:

    - Liberty University
    - Ambridge University
     
  6. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

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    It would help to know what kind of ministry you're interested in, and why having a doctorate is necessary for that ministry. Not all churches or parachurch organizations require their workers to have doctorate degrees, in fact I would say that the vast majority do not, so perhaps having such a degree is not necessary?

    One issue you will likely encounter is that most DMin degrees require a MDiv degree or at least significant masters-level coursework in theology. For example, Luther Rice University requires "90 Master's level theology hours with a 3.0 GPA minimum average" for admission to their DMin program. LRU is a TRACS-accredited school, so it's accredited but nationally, not regionally, and not by ATS which is the top accreditor for Christian degrees (although ATS doesn't allow 100% online degrees). Similarly, Liberty University (regionally accredited) requires a "regionally or nationally accredited Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent with at least a 3.0 GPA" for admission. It's possible for a school to admit someone conditionally who doesn't meet their admissions requirements, but you'd have to do an excellent job of convincing them that you can handle doctorate level academics.

    Unless you absolute need a DMin/PhD for some reason, I would think that your next course of action would be to work towards a MDiv degree. Admission to many MDiv programs does not require previous theological study. Liberty University offers their MDiv fully online. It's regionally accredited and relatively inexpensive:

    Master of Divinity | Liberty University Online

    If you have other questions re accreditation or anything else feel free to ask or PM me. (If you don't know what regional/national accreditation is, or what ATS/ABHE/TRACS are, you should become clear on that first before you look at any schools.)
     
  7. jokeruh

    jokeruh New Member

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  8. DoctorMinistry

    DoctorMinistry New Member

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    Well, I do not think I NEED a Doctorate...as a few of the people on here mentioned...simply because of the nature of work I do and will continue to do. You really do not need it, but I guess I just WANT it. I think that might sound horrible, but I am pretty proud of how far I have come and sort of wish to go all the way? I know just like with any field, the higher the education the better. Same with ministry. It is just that certain doors will open to Ministry if you have a doctorate. So that is where I am coming from with that one. I guess I also feel since I am still relatively young without children, I want to crank out that Doctorate NOW as opposed to later when I have a husband, kids and a dog...hahah. I just feel I have a short window of opportunity left. If I don't get a Doctorate by the age of 35, I probably won't get one at all. That is not a knock to others who are older and are getting their education...it is just part of being a woman, and that clock ticking etc.

    At any rate...I have tried talking to Liberty University (the most popular and obvious choice) and like someone mentioned, they want a MDiv with 90 credits etc etc. So not sure how to go about that one. I am open to going outside of the Country and trying ONLINE schools that are based in other Countries. Nothing really comes to mind right now, but if anyone has any other suggestions, I am very very open to them. I forgot to mention that in my opening post. I will be looking through those links that a few of you posted and seeing what I can find. So thank you for that.

    As for what ministry I want to do and what Church I want to be a part of. I have always been a non-Denominational girl. To me it is not about being Baptist, or Lutheran, it is about the HEART. Ummmm...I have even thought about perhaps being a Christian Counselor and opening myself up to that since originally I thought I was going to be a Psychologist. So that is open too. I am not going to exclude that simply because I cannot afford to count that out. I am in a jam, and I have to look at all possibilities. I feel called to do a Healing Ministry. (I realize that is sort of vague) but I am trying my best to give more information.

    I will be looking through those links after I get back from work and go from there. Thanks guys for giving me a starting point :)

    I have looked at
     
  9. DoctorMinistry

    DoctorMinistry New Member

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    Perhaps it is save to say that if it is in the stars for me to earn a Doctorate, than it will happen. No sense in trying to finagle it and make it happen on my own. I really did screw myself over with the lower Undergraduate GPA and the MBA of all things...lol. Hard to move forward after that....OH DEAR...LOL
     
  10. DoctorMinistry

    DoctorMinistry New Member

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    I had another response I made here in this thread that was pretty lengthy and detailed and answered a lot of the questions people have. I guess it is still being approved.
     
  11. StefanM

    StefanM New Member

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    I echo emmzees' advice. You will probably need to earn an MDiv first. Some schools will admit students with "MDiv equivalency" but this still usually means a theological master's of some sort plus some extra hours. I've never heard of an accredited DMin that didn't require at least some kind of master's level theological training.
     
  12. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

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    If you live within comute distance of Orange Country look into Biola. I knew a person studying for his M.Div. at Biola University with evening classes on campus. It is a 90-unit degree and the last I knew of him he was learning ancient Greek so he could read early bibles.
     
  13. skidadl

    skidadl New Member

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    Wow, that would be awesome to do! I have I idea if I have the guts to do it though.
     
  14. DxD=D^2

    DxD=D^2 New Member

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    In his heart, a man plans his course, but the LORD
    Hi DoctorMinistry,

    I'm not an expert, but if you would like my honest opinion, speak to the people at Liberty. They have an excellent theology program that is really cheap. Chances are you would have to get a Masters in Divinity, however you can inquire if you can pursue the Doc in Min after achieving a Masters in Ministry. They also have a BA in Pastoral Counseling that is 36 units. If you finish that, along w/ your MBA, they may allow you to enter the Doc of Min program conditionally, but I'm not sure? Check it out. I love Liberty and lose your hopes. You can be called to greatness, regardless of a degree or not. God made you perfect to minister to those around you!
     
  15. kirkhenderson123

    kirkhenderson123 New Member

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    Hello there. I do have some thoughts about your situation I want to run by you. There are many great regionally accredited degrees out there in ministry but they do require an MDiv most of the time, which is a 90-hr masters degree. I was in church ministry for over 25 years, and have connected extensively with other churches and pastors over the years. If you want to be in ministry and do not plan on teaching at a regionally accredited institution, you may not actually need a regionally accredited degree. There are several great seminaries that offer a theologically sound and challenging education that will prepare you for your ministry calling. Check out Jacksonville Theological Seminary. It's a great school and you will be fully equipped for ministry there. In the world of ministry and churches, at least in the non-denominational churches, accreditation is not a huge deal when a church is considering applicants for a position. Churches usually look for experience and a minimum of a bachelor's degree. In denominations, you would need a regionally accredited or ATS accredited degree.
     
  16. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

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    Mods, has one of DoctorMinistry's posts gone missing? Can someone check?
     
  17. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

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    It must have been accidentally deleted....I didn't do it, and we (mods) very, very rarely delete a posting, and if we do, we always leave a re-direct explaining why (almost always duplicate posts).
     
  18. lifelonglearner

    lifelonglearner New Member

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    D.Min without an M.Div.?

    I do not think you'll find a credible D.Min program which will accept you without an M.Div. and three years of post-M.Div ministry experience. You have not mentioned anything about the formation process required by your religious community. The formation process, which includes things like CPE and an internship, tracks alongside completion of an M.Div., is equally important to formation. The potential to harm people as a member of the clergy is great. Hopefully the transformative process seminarians go through is not just about academics, but it helps students learn about their vulnerabilities, build on their strengths, and helps them discern the proper fit for ministry.

    Ministry is not something done in isolation, but is about being in relationship with people and a broader community which includes your church, denomination, civic life, and relationship to other religious leaders. If you do not have an M.Div. or the equivalent it may be difficult to be accepted and respected by your peers. If you really want to be a religious leader (and are not just looking for a title) and your denomination or church does not require the M.Div. or it's equivalent I would seriously think about finding a new religious home.

    If your ministry is from your "heart" it should also be from your head. To not do both is truly half-hearted and dangerous to yourself and others.

    Most seminarians are in their mid to late 30's and many even older pursuing a second career. It is not to late to start and to do it right.

    -Lifelonglearner
     
  19. DoctorMinistry

    DoctorMinistry New Member

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    BRUCE---I see my post now, so thank you for that.

    AND

    LIFELONGLEARNER---You make some valid points so thank you for this. A lot to think about for sure!!
     
  20. DoctorMinistry

    DoctorMinistry New Member

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    Does anyone know of any good Schools/Universities that are outside the U.S. that would be good for me? Not sure how to start a search for this type of abroad school (besides Google of course).
     

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