Admissions
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Doctor of Ministry

Applicants must possess a Master of Divinity Degree (or the equivalent) from an accredited seminary, divinity school or other graduate program. Three years of experience serving in a ministry context subsequent to completing the M.Div. are also required.

All applicants should be able to articulate a persuasive rationale for advanced study and clearly communicate the capacity to integrate theological and theoretical concepts and insights in verbal and written forms. An understanding of the Vision, Mission and Commitment statement of the Chicago Theological Seminary is also valuable.

The D.Min. application process includes:

  • Official transcripts from all academic institutions attended;
  • Four letters of reference—at least two must be academic, one may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a supervisor or friend;
  • An autobiographical statement, as guided by the questions stated within the application instructions;
  • A current resume;
  • A statement of objectives clearly describing the applicant’s rationale for advanced study as directed by the application instructions;
  • The provision of a writing sample from seminary/graduate studies (term paper, discrete section of a master’s thesis or published essay);
  • A conversation with the Director of the D.Min. program regarding intention for study.

D.Min Application

Admissions application deadline for Fall 2014 is May 1, 2014

The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) is an advanced professional degree designed to prepare religious leaders for specialized ministerial practice as leaders and teachers in church, synagogue, mosque, hospital, shelter, clinic or other faith-based or social service organizations. The Doctor of Ministry provides opportunity:

  • for formalized, focused study of an issue in ministry that is of personal interest to the student,
  • for immersion in the disciplines of strategic pastoral theology and various social science research methods, and,
  • to contribute to the broader field of ministry as a whole.
The three-year program includes ten courses (four required intensive classes and six electives) and a ministry project that culminates in the Professional Paper—an article-length essay of publishable quality that contributes to the development of the practice of ministry in communities of faith and the wider world.
This program is designed to enhance the capacity of students:
  • to engage in contextual theology through critical reflection on ministerial practice,
  • to design and evaluate fresh approaches to ministry, and,
  • to communicate the significant insights that they gain to their peers in the profession.

For Doctor of Ministry students seeking to integrate ministerial practice with another formalized discipline, CTS offers the option for students to engage in advanced study at neighboring institutions which partner with CTS to support two specialized tracks within the D.Min. The first track is in Clinical Pastoral Education and provides preparation in the area of hospital chaplaincy, fulfilling a required step for those seeking to become a CPE supervisor. The second provides opportunity to link the religious and the spiritual dimensions of human life with therapeutic processes, especially those of self-psychology, through the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago (CRPC). Importantly, the CRPC track, allows those D.Min. students who wish to pursue state licensure in counseling to strengthen their preparation in ways that have not previously been possible. In each of these cooperative tracks, the student completes the program requirements of the partner institution and a portion of that work applies to the fulfillment of the CTS D.Min. degree requirements as described above.

Application Instructions

Qualifications: Doctor of Ministry applicants must have earned a Master of Divinity degree or the equivalent and have three (3) years of ministry experience subsequent to completing the Master of Divinity. (Exception: applicants applying to a cooperative program are not required to have three years of ministry experience subsequent to completing the Master of Divinity.) All applicants should be able to articulate a persuasive rationale for advanced study and clearly communicate the capacity to integrate theological and theoretical concepts and insights in verbal and written forms. An understanding of the Vision, Mission and Commitment statement of the Chicago Theological Seminary is also valuable.

    1. APPLICATION PROCESS: Completion of the online application form is only one part of the comprehensive application process. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application for financial aid will be submitted in hard copy. Applications must be complete before they will be forwarded to the CTS Doctor of Ministry Program Committee for consideration. Admission to a cooperative track of the CTS Doctor of Ministry Program (Advanced Study in Clinical Pastoral Education and Advanced Study in Psychotherapy and Counseling) is contingent upon proof of admission to the associated cooperating institution. Please plan accordingly to meet the appropriate deadlines.
    2. ONLINE APPLICATION FORM: The bulk of your application information will be collected by way of the online form. Read all directions prior to beginning the form to understand the requirements for the degree program to which you are applying. Prepare your written materials and assemble them in one document to be submitted as an attachment. Identify the persons who will serve as referents. Gather information regarding institutions attended and degrees received. Determine your form of payment for the application fee.
      You may complete the form in more than one session. Once you have completed the first screen and proceed to the next, a PIN will appear at the upper right hand corner of the second screen. For convenience, keep your PIN handy. You will use this number to access your application at any time, once you have exited. Once you have begun your application, you will have 30 days to complete the form. Online applications that are not completed within 30 days will be discarded. If you experience technical difficulty, please contact the Office of Admissions at 773-896-2420 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
    3. WRITTEN MATERIALS: Written materials should be carefully assembled into one document to be included as an attachment on the online application form. The application form will refer to this collective document as an “essay”.
    4. Autobiographical Statement Please write an autobiographical statement (2000 words or less) incorporating a response to the following:
    5. Briefly discuss your call or describe what compels you to pursue theological studies.
    6. Describe your religious history and/or a personal experience that has led you to pursue theological studies.
    7. What are your educational and vocational goals in seeking theological education?
    8. What is your view of the church and its ministry and the role you expect to play in them?
    9. What do you believe to be the two most important issues facing the church over the next five years, and why?
    10. What do you regard as your most important life experience?
    11. What aspects of CTS and its programs of study have led you to make this application for admission?
    12. Current Resume: Provide a current resume or a brief description of any of the following: your recent work experience, participation in volunteer and community service, religious or church involvement, and any honors/awards you have received.
    13. Statement of Objectives: Utilizing the CTS Doctor of Ministry Handbook as a reference, please submit a concise statement (no more than two pages, single spaced) describing your objectives for study addressing the following questions:
    14. What is the issue/problem in the practice of ministry that you want to address?
    15. What personal experiences in ministry lead you to believe this issue is important?
    16. How would you describe the context and structure of your proposed Project in Ministry?
    17. What resources within the CTS (and affiliated institutions) will you likely employ in your work? (Resources can include particular courses, members of the faculty, research centers and the like.)
    18. How will your research contribute to the practice of ministry in the wider church and society?
    19. Writing Sample: Provide a writing sample from your seminary/graduate studies (term paper, discrete section of a master’s thesis, or published essay). The sample should be no more than thirty (30) pages in length.
    20. REFERENCES: Doctor of Ministry applicants must submit four (4) written references. At least two (2) of the references must be academic. One may come from a pastor or other ministry professional, and one may come from a professional colleague or personal friend.
    21. List the names and contact information for these references on the online form. Identify the type of reference (academic, pastoral, or professional/personal).

Provide a copy of the downloadable REQUEST FOR REFERENCE to each of the four referents named on your application form. Prior to delivery to the referent, complete the top section, identify the type of reference, and sign the form.

It is an expected courtesy for you to provide each person with a pre-addressed, stamped envelope. Each writer should return the completed reference directly to CTS (or to you) in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back flap.

Reference waiver: Unless otherwise indicated, you waive your right to review letters of reference. Waiving your right will assure freedom of full expression in the evaluation you are asking each person to provide. If you do not wish to waive this right, you must indicate as much on the reference form.

  1. ACADEMIC RECORDS: Provide the names of all colleges and universities attended or presently attending and indicate the degrees earned or expected on the online form. List them in chronological order. The online form can accommodate up to five institutions.
    Request the Registrar of each institution to send an official transcript of all academic work in a sealed and signed/stamped envelope directly to CTS. Please include transcripts for all post-secondary schools attended, including those at which you did not earn a degree.
  2. APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by debit card or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card or American Express.) Persons serving as volunteers, team members, Corp members, staff and alums of the AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps, and VISTA are eligible for an application fee refund. Refund will be done by mail following receipt of proof of affiliation.
  3. DOCTOR OF MINISTRY APPLICATION CHECKLIST: A downloadable checklist is provided for your convenience to assist you in organizing your materials and completing the requirements.
  4. SUBMISSION: Transcripts and sealed references should be mailed to:
    Chicago Theological Seminary
    Admissions Office
    1407 E. 60th Street
    Chicago, IL 60637
  5. FACULTY INTERVIEW: Once your application file is complete and ready for review by the Doctor of Ministry Program Committee, the director of the program will contact you to arrange a brief personal interview. The interview may be done in person or by telephone.
  6. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS: Admission to a cooperative track of the CTS Doctor of Ministry Program (Advanced Study in Clinical Pastoral Education and Advanced Study in Psychotherapy and Counseling) is contingent upon proof of admission to the associated cooperating institution. All applicants must complete the admissions process within two years of submission of application materials. No applications will be held after two years. Applicants who are not accepted to CTS may only re?apply after two years, and must re?submit an application. Submission of an application and the supporting documents assumes that the information is accurate and true to the best of the applicant’s knowledge. All documents submitted as a part of an application become the property of the Chicago Theological Seminary and are not transferrable to a third party.

International Students

Chicago Theological Seminary welcomes applications from international students for admission to graduate study. International students should plan to begin their studies at the Seminary in the Fall Term. All necessary documents must be received by the appropriate application deadline. Follow the general application instructions above, noting the following additions and clarifications:

  1. TRANSCRIPTS written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a notarized translation.
  2. APPLICATION FEE: A non-refundable $50 application fee is required of all online applicants. Payment may be made by credit card (MasterCard, Visa, Discover Card and American Express), debit card, or direct withdrawal from a bank account.
  3. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): TOEFL scores are required of all applicants for whom English is not their first language. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 on the written test, 217 on the computer test, and 80 on the internet-based test. The CTS school code for the TOEFL is 1120.
  4. I-20 FORMS: I-20 forms are not issued until after an international student is admitted. If admitted, your admissions letter packet will include a CTS International Student I-20 Application form and an estimate of the cost of attendance for your degree program. The form will explain the financial documentation requirements for the issuance of the I-20 by the seminary. You may contact the CTS Office of Financial Aid prior to applying for information about cost of attendance or I-20 requirements.