UTCWI/COLOMBIA Theological Seminary


The D.Min. is a degree offered by Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia in co-operation with the United Theological College of the West Indies in Kingston Jamaica.


The D.Min. is a professional degree in Ministry that assumes that participants have already completed an accredited basic course in theology. The programme is designed for persons now engaged in ministry and is intended to provide an advanced and flexible programme of continuing education. One major aim of the programme is the achievement of an integrated understanding of ministry from biblical, theological, historical, social and personal perspectives. A second major aim is to focus academic and experimental learning on those tasks of ministry which are significant to the ongoing ministry of the participants in light of the mission of the church in pursuing these aims, participants will address in an intentional manner questions of personal identity, organisational leadership and mission.


Although the programme is flexible enough to permit a particular approach or emphasis appropriate to each participant, all will be guided by a three-dimensional plan of study that involves one in a dialogue with:

a. The norms of theological tradition of the church
b. Data on the contemporary human situation
c. Practical efforts to function as a professional.

In terms of traditional curriculum subjects, a particular study programme will involve a combination of elements from three areas:

Normative disciplines:
Bible, Theology, Church History, Ethics.

Situational Disciplines:
Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Administrative
Theory, Educational Theory, Literature and Language.

Disciplines of Ministry:
Counselling, Administration, Teaching, Preaching and Liturgics, Organisational Leadership, Community Service, Communications.

A broad range of elements from these categories is possible for each minister’s programme. Each minister will develop a programme of study, that is expected to come to focus upon a single dominant concern, decided by the minister, in light of the assessment of his or her personal strengths and weaknesses in ministry.

The dominant concern will reflect the individual’s experience of ministry to date and projection of the type of ministry he/she expects to undertake in the future. For example, the dominant concern or focus of the study may lie in the area of pastoral care, church leadership, preaching and worship, community ministries, or education. (This list is only illustrative of the range of possibilities). Some persons will enter the programme with a focus for study already clearly in mind. For others, the dominant concern will develop during the programme in collaboration with faculty and other students.


The D.Min. programme provides participation in four (4) kinds of educational settings:

a. An Introductory Core Seminar…… 6 Semester hours
b. Supervised Ministry Experience…… 6 Semester hours
c. Elective Courses ….. 18 Semester hours
d. A concluding Project/Dissertation … 6 Semester hours

The degree requires the successful completion of 36 Semester hours of credit.

1. The Core Seminar
The Core Seminar, normally in the introductory components of the programme. The Seminar provides a forum in which all dimensions of the programme –Normative, Situational and Functional – can be experienced in their clash and complement. The aim is to facilitate the interchange of disciplinary perspectives around particular issues of contemporary ministry and professional development. The Seminar is collegial in nature and the participants themselves are responsible for much of the Seminar’s content. Specifically the Seminar will aid the students formation of a theory of ministry. The schedule of the Core Seminar is flexible but always involves several gatherings of two or three days each over a period of four months to six months.

The Core Seminar carries 6 Semester hours of credit, and requires a minimum of 60 class (contact) hours.

2. Supervised Ministry

An experience in Supervised Ministry is required. It may take place in certified setting as diverse as a teaching hospital, a business, governmental, or voluntary agency where supervision and learning opportunities are available. The important feature of this experience is that it takes place in a setting outside the minister’s ordinary work situation so that he or she may achieve new perspectives of self-understanding and the ministry and the relation of both to the needs of other persons and institutions. Alternatively, a minister may participate in a unit of C.P. E. Supervised Ministry carries 6 Semester hours of credit, and requires a minimum of 400 clock hours of involvement.

3. Elective Courses

A minimum of 18 semester hours are to be fulfilled in course work chosen by the student in consultation with an adviser in light of the needs and the particular emphasis of the student. Courses may be selected from the approved curricular offerings of each of the ATA related schools, UTCWI and UWI. A limited number of elective credits may be earned in institutions outside these and /or by independent study. Each elective course carries 3 Semester hours of credit, and requires a minimum of 30 class (contact) Hours.

4. Project/Dissertation

The above three elements of the programme are intended to converge in the development of a doctoral project that identifies a particular issue in ministry, gives rise to an act of ministry, and is designed and evaluated in the light of all the appropriate perspectives (biblical, ethical, theological, sociological, etc.), showing implications for continuing ministry. The proposal for the concluding project can serve as an integrating focus for the student’s overall study programme design. Plan for the projects are not brought to final shape until parts 1,2, and 3 above are completed and the Qualifying Examination is passed. Ordinarily, the project is to be undertaken in the setting where the minister normally works.


a. Because the D.Min. Programme is for persons engaged in ministry the schedule for completion is flexible. Ministers who continue in their appointment should allow three years for completion, though it is expected that none will go beyond a fourth year and in very unusual cases, a fifth year.

b. Ministers who can study full-time should be able to complete the course requirements in one year. The project/dissertation can then be completed at the location of his/her ministry under the supervision of the student’s adviser and committee. Normally a programme that is not completed at the end of five years lapses.

c. Because the degree is a Columbia Theological Seminary degree, all participants must do two courses of 6 Semester hours each at that Seminary. This is a residence requirement of the accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools (ATA), and will be done during the month of July when the Seminary’s regular summer programme is held.

d. Most of the remaining work will be done on the UTCWI/UWI campuses in ways which are mutually convenient to Faculty and student.

e. Up to 3 Semester hours may be earned by transfer for work of comparable standard done at a non-related institution.

f. Up to 3 Semester hours may be earned through independent study. Each proposal for independent study must be approved by the UTCWI D.Min. Committee.

The Doctor of Ministry programme requires a sustained involvement with a diversity of faculty, extended and disciplined involvement in peer learning and adequate use of theological libraries and other learning resources appropriate to the programme.


a. Candidates for admission shall complete the regular application process of Columbia Seminary (and ATA). Each applicant shall submit the following to the UTCWI D.Min. Committee.

i. A completed application form – 2 copies
ii. Transcripts of all previous work
iii. Three letters of recommendation
iv. A personal statement of up to 10 pages (typed)
v. A non-refundable application fee
vi. Two recent photographs.

b. The D.Min. presumes that the applicant has completed an accredited 3 to 4 year programme that has provided basic theological and professional competence, and has experience in ministry. Specifically, the following minimum standards are required.

i. A “B” average in previous theological studies.
ii. 3 years experience in ministry.
iii. Evidence of ministerial maturity.
iv. Ability to think and express him/herself clearly.
v. Provide for creative ministry in the future.

c. Applicants who satisfy the minimum standards but whose previous theological studies did not lead to a degree may be required to take up to 4 additional courses.

d. The final decision on applications will be made by Columbia Admission Committee on the recommendation of the UTCWI D.Min committee. Once admission is approved, the applicant must commence studies within twelve months or the application will lapse. A new application will have to be made for future admission.


The admission process is one that tries to assess professional growth in the practice of ministry prior to entry into the D.Min. Programme by means of two instruments:

a. The first is a reflective statement that the applicant writes about him/herself.
This should provide not only salient biographical information but also reflection and assessment of experience in life, achievements and failures. It should also project, as specifically as possible, the issues the applicant wishes to pursue in D.Min. studies and the reason why those issues appear to be important to the applicant’s ministry.

b. The second instrument is a set of three references, which provide a thoughtful
assessment of the applicant and his/her work. The references should be: a minister of religion, one of your teachers at tertiary level, and a lay person.


The tuition cost is listed under general financial information for U.T.C.W.I. below. For each year that extension is needed beyond the three years a continuation fee must be paid.

UTCWI and Columbia will work towards providing scholarship assistance but in no
case will it exceed 1/3 of tuition costs.

The above stated amounts cover the cost of the 6 Semester hours taken on the Columbia campus, room and board, during the month of residence in July.

All other costs, eg., travel, books, etc., are to be borne by the candidates.


(a) The three seminars will normally be held in November, January, March/April annually and for two weeks on each occasion.

(b) In the final year, two electives and Project Workshop at Columbia Seminary in July.