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Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog 2023-24

DMin Committee and Director

The DMin Committee provides oversight for the operation of the Doctor of Ministry degree. It serves as the admission committee, reviews and approves project proposals, makes recommendations regarding program policies, monitors student academic progress, and collects program assessment artifacts. The Director of the Doctor of Ministry program convenes the committee. Decisions of the DMin Committee may be appealed to the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs (VPASA). The DMin Committee meets on 2nd Tuesdays during the Fall and Spring semesters. Students must petition the committee regarding curricular and co-curricular exceptions. Petitions must be received by the Director by 1st Tuesday of the month for consideration.

The Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program collaborates with the VPASA, DMin Committee, and core faculty to design details of the program, initiate and administer all aspects of the program, and serve as the primary academic advisor for DMin students. As detailed in the section “DMin Thesis Project Proposal,” each student will identify a faculty advisor in their second year who guides the development of their research. The faculty advisor works alongside the DMin Director to facilitate the development of an achievable DMin project and to supervise the writing of the thesis. 

DMin Thesis Project Proposal

The DMin Thesis Project Proposal is supported through the required course, Leadership and Ministry Research Colloquy in the 2nd year of a student’s program. While some courses help students to identify the best method to support their research, other courses help students to deepen their understanding of their research question, and still others to be sustained and replenished in the wholistic practice of ministry, Leadership and Ministry Research Colloquy primarily serves as the location where students will synthesize past learning in order to develop a passable and actionable research proposal. Students are required to enroll in Leadership and Ministry Research Colloquy during Spring term of their 2nd year.

During the course, students will identify a core faculty project advisor, write their project proposal, and submit their project proposal to the DMin Committee for review and approval. As such, the following serves as a framework for students and faculty in order to meet the requirements of the project; to assist students in describing the importance and relevance of their project; to aid faculty as they offer appreciative, critical, and timely feedback and guidance; and to clearly delineate process, expectations, and responsibilities during the proposal process.

Project Proposal Elements

A writing style accessible to both experts in the field as well as non-specialists in theology, religious studies, and professional religious leadership and ministry is expected. Please avoid jargon and overly technical language. It is expected that submitted proposals will be cogent, effective, and use standard grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Students should follow the most recent edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) in format and reference. Some students will also find Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Turabian) helpful. Students should also refer to the formatting guidelines available at or

Students are required to write a proposal following the provided format. Follow headings, bolding, and capitalization as delineated in what follows. Proposals should be no longer than ten (10) pages typed and double-spaced using 12 pt. Times New Roman or Calibri and paginated at the bottom center except for the first page. Do not include a cover page.   

  1. TITLE – Students should write a title that accurately reflects the content and scope of their project. Write your name with relevant credentials directly under the title. Center title and name.
  2. PROBLEM STATEMENT – Students should (a) identify and contextualize the problem in relationship to their professional religious leadership; (b) use secondary literature to explain the problem and impact; (c) provide any larger relevant histories, theories, and theologies related to the context of the problem. Be sure to speak to the following: Why is this problem of justice? Why is it important? What happens if there is no intervention or leadership on this matter? How does this problem impact you—why does it matter to you—as a faith leader? Justify left for this heading.
  3. LITERATURE AND PRACTICE REVIEW – Drawing from program studies, students should identify the norm, hope, or theo-ethical mandate that undergirds their proposed project. What is the vision for social justice in your context that guides your project? Use theology, sacred scripture, social scientific, and other relevant literature to support your claim. Who else has wrestled with this problem and how did they go about solving it? What other actors and authors must be in conversation with each other and how will you do that in the writing of the project? Justify left.
  4. SOCIAL JUSTICE LEADERSHIP METHOD, PRAXIS, & ASSESSMENT – What method will you deploy to answer the question you’ve posed? What is your hypothesis about what specific social justice leadership praxis—interventions through your call and ministry—will bring about social justice and impact the community that you serve or to whom you commit yourself? What is your scope? What are the intended outcomes? How will you know when the project is successful? Justify left.
  5. OUTLINE – Provide a chapter outline of the project. Follow standard formatting for an outline and single space.
  6. TIMELINE – Provide a timeline to project completion, including submission of the final draft to your core faculty project advisor.
  7. WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY – Make a list of your resources using Chicago style.
  8. APPENDIX – Attach either an IRB exemption or full proposal if your project necessitates review of work with human subjects.

Your project proposal will be assessed by the DMin committee using the following criteria:

  • Does the project proposal articulate a clear statement of the issue in the practice of ministry that is at the center of the project and proposed research?
  • Does the project suggest a coherent and responsive theology and praxis to study this issue?
  • Does the project have the capacity to critically reflect on the field of faith leadership?
  • Does the proposal use and cite significant scholarly and other resources that will support the execution of the project and its analysis?
  • Does the proposal articulate a relevant method and hypothesize a leadership praxis that will support the project and faith setting?
  • Does the proposal consider social, cultural, institutional, geographic, theological, and socio-economic dimensions of the problem?
  • Does the proposal outline how the student will engage the faith setting in research and reflection?
  • Does the project proposal demonstrate the student’s capacity and disposition for growth for social justice leadership as a personal, vocational, and spiritual endeavor?

Types of Projects and Methodologies

Students are encouraged to consider carefully what type of project they have the capacity to support given context and timeline, faculty expertise, and define their method accordingly. Students might offer a specific intervention, rooted in theoretical analysis, to address a root cause of injustice, hypothesize a theory of change, and implement an intervention and assess its effectiveness; prototype a ministry resource for congregational education and field test it; conduct a mini-ethnographic project, community, or congregational study; or conduct a correlational study and draw out applications and implications related to doing justice as a faith leader.    

Faculty Project Advisor

The faculty project advisor has a dynamic and special role to play in the formation and education of DMin students. The faculty project advisor offers subject matter expertise, insight, encouragement, and guidance as students finalize their proposal, conduct research, and write their project. Faculty project advisors are assigned in Spring term of a student’s 2nd year in consultation with the student.  

Submission of the Project Proposal

When the student’s faculty project advisor is satisfied with the proposal, the student should submit their project proposal to the DMin Director, copying their faculty project advisor. The faculty project advisor may send additional written comments to the DMin Committee in support of the project proposal. Submissions and comments must be received no less than ten (10) working days or two weeks before a scheduled DMin Committee meeting.

Project proposals are reviewed by the DMin Committee. The DMin Committee works closely with the instructor of Leadership and Ministry Research Colloquy to establish sufficient Committee meetings in order to consider DMin project proposals in a timely manner. The Committee may accept the proposal, accept the proposal with required revisions, or reject the proposal. Students may submit up to two times. Failure to gain proposal acceptance by the second submission or by the end of Fall of a student’s 3rd year will result in academic review. All decisions will be communicated to both the student and their faculty project advisor promptly by email.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

While students will have learned about Institutional Review Board (IRB), and perhaps drafted a proposal for exemption or full review while enrolled in the course Research Methods and Ethics in Fall term of their 2nd year, students may not submit a proposal for exemption or full review to IRB until their DMin Thesis Project Proposal has been successfully passed by the DMin Committee. Students are required to attach an IRB proposal for exemption or full review to their DMin Thesis Project Proposal should their project necessitate.

When a student’s project proposal has been accepted and includes an IRB exemption or full proposal, the DMin Director will include the IRB Chair in the acceptance of proposal communication. The IRB Chair may directly contact the student should the exemption or full proposal be incomplete before the IRB Committee convenes to consider the proposal.

The IRB Committee conducts its business as-needed, but is heavily weighted to meet in the Spring to support 2nd year DMin students and students submitting the MDIV and MAR Student Project Review Form. The committee consists of the DMin Director, a core faculty, and at least one other Meadville Lombard faculty or staff member. The IRB Chair works closely with the DMin Director and the instructor of Leadership and Ministry Research Colloquy to schedule meetings that support the timely progress of students through their studies.  

Please see for information regarding IRB, required trainings, other procedural notes, and supporting documentation.

DMin Thesis Project


The writing and successful completion of a DMin project is supported programmatically through Supervised Thesis Research I and II. 3rd year students must register for Supervised Thesis Research I and II. The courses are offered Pass/Fail. These courses offer structure through regular writing sessions as well as opportunity for peer and instructor critique. In Supervised Thesis Research I, students produce a first draft in conversation with the DMin Director and their faculty project advisor. In Supervised Thesis Research II, students finalize their draft by mid-Spring with the support of the DMin Director and submit their project to their faculty project advisor for final review. After the faculty project advisor gives their approval, the faculty project advisor schedules a public oral review of the project. After a successful oral review, students submit their approved project following library guidelines.


Students preparing their projects should consult submission requirements at for formatting matters germane to digital publication. As well, students are required to follow the most recent edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. Generally, projects are 75 pages long, double-spaced, in 12 pt. Times New Roman or Calibri. Inclusive footnotes, endnotes, bibliography, and appendices, projects ought not exceed 100 pages.

In a normal year, the complete first final draft of a student’s project is due to their faculty project advisor by March 10 to qualify for graduation in Spring or 3 weeks prior to a scheduled defense, whichever comes first. When the faculty project advisor is satisfied, they will circulate the project to reviewers and will contact the Academic Affairs ADMinistrative Assistant. The Academic Affairs ADMinistrative Assistant will schedule a public oral review so as not to conflict with regular Academic Affairs business and will circulate an invitation to the wider community. Public oral reviews must occur at least three weeks before graduate grades are due. Graduate grades are due one week before end-of-term. Successfully reviewed projects must be submitted to the Library for digitization one week before end-of-term. See submission requirements at

The student and faculty project advisor will determine the best method for faculty project advisor oversight. Some students and faculty prefer to submit chapter by chapter for accountability, direction, and insight. Others prefer to write the entirety or a significant portion of the project before a preliminary review with their faculty project advisor. It is critical that a student make steady writing progress. To that end, Thesis Research I and II are intended to provide structure, accountability, and support with and from a student’s cohort and the DMin Director. The DMin Director will review all preliminary drafts throughout a student’s 3rd year in the program.

Preliminary drafts should be submitted to the faculty project advisor for guidance and suggested revisions in accordance with the modus operandi that both parties have agreed upon during the Fall semester and early Spring semester. Preliminary drafts are circulated for guidance and suggested revisions. Preliminary drafts ought to be typed, legible, properly footnoted, and follow standard academic writing conventions. They need not meet the required stylistic conventions of a fully completed project.

The complete final draft is due to a student’s faculty project advisor and other reviewers by March 10 for a Spring graduation or 3 weeks prior to a scheduled defense, whichever comes first. The complete final draft ought to have incorporated revisions and modifications from prior preliminary drafts. It should be formatted according to the most recent edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. Some students find Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations equally helpful. This draft should include the title page, table of contents, bibliography, and preliminary abstract. This is the first formal draft of a student’s DMin Thesis Project.

An abstract is a statement summarizing the major argument or important points of a project in no more than 100 words. The abstract should include a succinct statement of the thesis, the method, and the results of the project. It may also allude to impact or future trajectories of research. Students should write the abstract in third person active voice. The abstract must be approved by the faculty project advisor.
The faculty project advisor is responsible for determining a student’s oral review readiness and contacting the Academic Affairs ADMinistrative Assistant to schedule the public oral review. The oral review committee consists of the DMin Director and Faculty Project Advisor. On rare occasions, a student might find it helpful to solicit a third reviewer. In this case, students will need to secure the approval of their faculty project advisor and the DMin Director, as well as the third reviewer, and successfully petition the DMin Committee in writing for these changes before the last day of Fall semester of the student’s 3rd year in the program.  

The oral review is open to the public and is typically scheduled for an hour. During the oral review, the student is invited to give a ten-minute opening statement that (a) describes their problem in ministry, (b) offers a brief explanation of how they responded, and (c) its impact on their leadership and ministry. Reviewers will conduct a review of the project and its impact on social justice leadership with the student. Ten minutes will be reserved for questions or comments from the public. Fifteen minutes before the end of the hour, the oral review will formally conclude, and the Review Committee will deliberate upon the project using the DMin Project and Program Assessment Rubric. The student will be asked to remain in a waiting area and will be invited to meet the Review Committee regarding any remaining changes or corrections to the project thesis or abstract. Following deliberations, the Faculty Project Advisor will complete the Thesis Project Review Form, obtain required signatures, and submit to the Registrar. Students, once any changes or corrections are complete, are required to prepare the final manuscript according to the guidelines for thesis submission. Submissions are due to the Library for digitization one-week prior to end of term. See submission requirements at

DMin Continuation Fee

A charge of $450 per semester will be assessed for students who are continuing in the project writing phase after completing Supervised Thesis Research I and II.

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