Doctor of Ministry in Educational Leadership

VTS is pleased to offer an electronic application form for the D.Min. program which you can complete on-line as the first step in the application process.  Click here for the application.
The D.Min. program in Educational Leadership was launched in 2005 to strengthen educational, organizational, and spiritual leadership in independent and religiously affiliated schools, universities, and education-oriented institutions—places where the formation of mind and culture are at the heart of ministry and mission. The program helps educational leaders hone their capacities to form and transform young lives, and to work creatively with parents, peers, and public to shape cultures committed to God’s transforming work in the world.
Core courses for DMin in Educational Leadership
History of Philosophy of Education in America
Sacred Texts in Education
Moral and Ethical Leadership
Governance and Mission
Theology and Psychology of Human Development

Students will also find a wide array of topical courses including “Religious Diversity in Schools and Colleges,” “Fostering Cultures of Spiritual Guidance,” “Dynamics of Conflict and Change,” “Information Technology in Classroom and Chapel,” “Holistic Environments of Integrated Faith and Learning,” “Spirituality, Liturgy, and the Arts,” and other courses on curriculum and other education-related topics.
Campus residency schedule
Summer, year I: 3 weeks
Summer, year II: 3 weeks
Summer, year III: 3 weeks

Course Offerings

List of 7 items.

  • Application process

    Reflection on your ministry begins during this process.


    Requirements to apply:

    • Three years of full-time educational ministry are normally required for participation in the DMin program.
    • A Masters of Divinity (MDiv) or an equivalent graduate-level degree in a theological discipline is expected. Candidates with a Masters degree in Education or other academic disciplines may be admitted with an expectation of additional theological coursework. Exceptions are made, depending on ministry experience and recommendations.
    • Be at work in full-time, continuing school, campus, or educational ministry
    • Strong motivation for professional and spiritual growth.
    • A strong capacity for writing, reading, reflection and conversation in the English language.
    • Curiosity, humility, and courage to learn and try new ways of leading.
  • 9 total weeks of on-campus residencies at VTS

    Participate in 3 week-intensive courses and case study sessions spaced over 3 summers.


    Summer (Year 1 – three-week session)

    Introduction to Doctor of Ministry Studies

    Three weeklong intensive seminar courses

    Case Studies

    Summer Leadership Lectures

    Daily Worship & Biblical Reflection


    Summer (Year 2 – three-week session)

    Three weeklong intensive seminar courses

    Case Studies

    Summer Leadership Lectures

    Discussions on theologies of educational leadership and mission

    Daily Worship & Biblical Reflection


    Summer (Year 3 – three-week session)

    Three weeklong intensive seminar courses

    Case Studies

    Summer Leadership Lectures

    Project Thesis Workshop

    Daily Worship & Biblical Reflection


    Spirituality and Leadership

    Learn to integrate your inner life as a leader with the external roles and demands of your position


    Teaching the Bible across All Ages

    Unite Biblical studies and pedagogical training in this course focused on how to present scripture and engage people of all ages in rich explorations and discussion of Christian religious texts. Attention is also given to sacred texts of other religious traditions.


    Theology of Education

    Explore the scriptural, historical, philosophical, and theological foundations of educational theory and practice.


    Dynamics of Conflict and Change:

    Gain experience during this practice-oriented course on changing organizational communication patterns. Focus on the roots of problematic interpersonal and systemic dynamics, with attention to varied ministerial and educational settings. Short case situations prepared by students allow for in-class practice of new skills for engaging conflict and facilitating open communication more effectively.


    Governance, Administration, and a Theology of Leadership

    Examine diverse models for leadership, governance and administration in schools, colleges, congregations, and other settings. Discuss matters of board function and purpose, internal communication, and shared or dispersed leadership.


    Pastoral Care, Counseling and Referral

    Participate in a focused discussion on how to develop reasonable, responsible and defensible systemic practices for schools, colleges, and churches in regard to student care, counseling and referral to external service providers.


    Philosophy and History of Education in America

    Explore major themes in the history and philosophy of American education. Investigate the role of religions, independent schools and colleges, and voluntary organizations in shaping different American perspectives on education and its aims.


    Religious Diversity in Church-Related and Independent Educational Settings

    Study the changes in the American religious scene concentrating on significant developments in Christian and non-Christian traditions. Consider the implications of these developments on campus life in independent schools and colleges.


    Holistic Environments of Faith and Learning

    Focus on the integration of faith and learning in worship, classroom teaching, and social outreach (e.g., service-learning). Examine, in a workshop setting, the developmental approaches to creating holistic environments that foster and strengthen habits in perception, thought, reflection, prayer, expression, and natural leadership.

  • Daily worship and bible reflection

    Each day begins with praise, prayer, and focused meditation or small-group discussion of biblical texts.

    Worship and Biblical Reflection

    Daily worship and biblical reflection are an integral part of the DMin campus experience. Participants in both DMin programs come together for daily morning worship that is drawn from a variety of Christian traditions. Readings from scripture focus on God's continuing work of redemption and transformation, and our part in that great work.
  • Self-selected training

    Identify and choose training in a specific set of skills or capacities.



    During the course of the D.Min. program, you are expected to complete a focused leadership development training conference of your choosing. Choose a leadership development training conference that offers training in an area of leadership directly related to your particular ministry interests, goals, and needs. Training areas may include conflict resolution, community organizing and community development, marriage preparation and support, Christian education training, crisis intervention, board development, or other focused areas. Periodically, VTS will host an opportunity for D.Min. students and other leaders.

  • Case studies

    Learn to use this format to create disciplined reflection on your actions in ministry and leadership.

    Case Study Workshops

    Case Study Workshops are the heart of the Virginia Theological Seminary Doctor of Ministry programs. Case studies use an action-reflection approach that helps you examine your own practice of ministry in light of biblical, theological, organizational, behavioral, and developmental perspectives. You will prepare case studies at home, from real experiences in your last year of ministry and leadership that have taken you to the edge of your own competency or comfort. On campus, DMin colleagues and instructors reflect with you on each case, bringing multiple perspectives and insights to bear on these important situations.


  • Community of discourse

    Ongoing conversation with peers and instructors, informally and through telephone and videoconference sessions.
  • Project thesis

    Plan, execute, and evaluate an “experiment” in your ministry context that addresses a higher aim of Christian life, service, and leadership, culminating in the completion of your project thesis.

    Project Thesis

    Your project thesis is the culmination of your work in the VTS DMin program. Working with a committee of VTS faculty and DMin instructors, and with helpful insight and support from your DMin peers, you will develop a project – a sustained but focused act of ministry and leadership - that attempts to address a needed or desired development in your context of ministry. Shaped by insights from behavioral and theological disciplines, the project must address a larger concern about how to strengthen Christian ministry, witness, and faithful life, and how to engage effectively in the ongoing transformation of souls, communities, or societies.

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