The real purpose of a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) Degree


"The real purpose of a DMin is to help PhD students procrastinate."

I have a Doctor of Ministry degree, and am now studying for a PhD. Most people who don't do post graduate study, if they ask me at all about my studies, usually ask why am I doing another doctorate when I already have one.

Back in November 2005 I wrote this piece about the different kinds of doctorate that are available, that tries to answer that question.

The distinctions between a 'professional' doctorate like the DMin and an academic doctorate like a PhD, are lost on most people, as they probably should be. But they are not lost on those studying for them.

If you do a search on discussions about DMin compared to PhD, the one thing they seem to have in common, is the DMin degree gives students who haven't obtained their PhD something to moan about and most importantly something to use for a very important student endeavor, 'procrastination'.

Rather than get your PhD, you can spend valuable time moaning about how easy a DMin is. It's a valuable tool in the students procrastination arsenal.

Most moans are along the lines of how they are not real degrees, and how unfair that they (the student) are travailing for a real doctorate when universities are handing our DMin degrees like candy/smarties.

Of course if universities didn't offer these easy doctorates, then PhD students would miraculously finish and obtain their degrees. Or at least I am left wondering, if that is the unwritten hope of students who moan about them.

So here I am with a DMin trying to get a PhD. Which is more valuable, which is easier?

2,000 hours of study over 3 years, and 130 page dissertation for my D.Min. It was not a walk in the park, and was not handed out to me like candy.

But it was very different to what I am doing now. My PhD will be about 5,000 hours of reading and writing over 6 years, mostly from 5am to 9am every morning, before my job, and family. And it's harder in that's more work, is more 'academic' and less 'profession' focused.

At least my brain finds it harder.

Does that mean I undervalue a DMin (surely not because I have one), no far from it. When undertaken by students at good universities they are a lot of hard work, for something that is co-inheres with all other 'professional doctorates' like D.Ed etc.

When it comes to church ministry give me a DMin student any day, they are far more likely to be able to connect their learning to the real world in a conrete way.

You can buy a PhD online, and you can take a real PhD from an awful university, and get your head so far up your academic behind, that hardly anyone will ever undestand what you say or do.

Taking a PhD does not guarantee you will be better equipped than with a DMin. Now some of you who have read this far are greatly relieved that you are not studying for either.