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Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction (DMin)

Effective leadership in churches, non-traditional settings, and one-on-one relationships requires a deep orientation to spiritual values and practice. This track track is designed to provide you with an understanding of the history and theology of Christian spirituality, an orientation to the diversity of the global landscape in which leaders serve, and an acquaintance with the varieties of spiritual practice. The practicum makes it possible for you to begin applying that knowledge immediately.
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Dr. Kit Evans-Ford
The doctor of ministry degree in spiritual direction provided me with the tools to become a more focused and grounded minister. I will use these resources in spiritual direction to assist me in helping women and girls heal from violence and abuse through spiritual retreats and a safe, creative space for healing from trauma. The program provided me with a touch of boldness in knowing that this work is possible and needed.

DMin and Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Each course in the Spiritual Direction track includes a spiritual direction module, which – when successfully completed – leads to a certificate in spiritual direction. Those skills may be used in a direction setting, but they may also inform and enhance your approach to leadership, preaching, teaching, and pastoral counseling. In order to receive the certificate in spiritual direction, you must take all five courses in the Spiritual Direction track and the direction modules are not offered with other electives. Courses and modules include:

The History and Theology of Christian Spirituality
Focuses on the history of Christian spirituality, examining the theological assumptions that have shaped that history.

Direction Module One: History, Theology, and Models of Spiritual Direction

Spirituality, Diversity, and the Global Landscape
Examines the multi-cultural, ethnic, and religious dynamics that shape spiritual practice and the context in which spiritual formation is taught and nurtured.

Direction Module Two: The spiritual journey, developmental issues, and the use of evaluative tools, including the Myers-Briggs Inventory and the Enneagram

Spiritual Practice
Focuses on the varieties of Christian spiritual practice, experience with that practice, and the process of Christian formation.

Direction Module Three: Spiritual Direction, Therapy, and Pastoral Counseling

Spiritual Formation and the Leader
Focuses on the essentially spiritual nature of the leadership task, a theology of spiritual authority, and the application of spiritual practice and understanding to the leadership challenge.

Direction Module Four: Applied Skills, including “holy listening” and other techniques

Practicum in Spiritual Formation
Focuses on the evolving challenges facing leaders engaged in spiritual formation, relying upon student projects as laboratories for defining and dealing with those challenges.

Direction Module Five: Practicum, including verbatims, in-class exercises, the integration of knowledge, and assessment of the student’s direction skills

Affording Your Education

Garrett recognizes that one of the biggest hurdles to continuing one’s theological education is cost. To assist DMin students in affording their education, all admitted students are guaranteed a scholarship, a rare find among DMin programsGarrett is also excited to offer increased scholarship opportunities for Black and Latinx students applying to the DMin program at Garrett. This is thanks to our partnership with the Lilly Endowment's Economic Challenges grant. 

There is no separate scholarship application process for the DMin program, simply submit your application form and you will be considered for all institutional scholarships that are available. 

Renowned Faculty Dedicated to the Practice of Ministry

Our faculty in the DMin in Spiritual Direction are one of the program’s greatest assets. They are widely recognized for their expertise, scholarship, and leadership in the Church and academy. The scholar practitioner's currently teaching in the Spiritual Direction track are:

Rev. Dr. Frederick SchmidtRev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt is a senior scholar at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. An Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing, Schmidt is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church, The Changing Face of God, When Suffering Persists, What God Wants for Your Life, Conversations with Scripture: Revelation, Conversations with Scripture: Luke, and The Dave Test.

Rev. Dr. Hannah Hwa-Young ChongRev. Dr. Hannah Hwa-Young Chong is pastor of Community United Methodist Church and holds a PhD in systematic theology from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her publications includes In Search of God's Power in Broken Bodies: A Theology of Maum, as well as daily devotions for The Upper Room and Pleasant Hills: Korean Daily Reflections.

Rev. Dr. Karla Kincannon

Rev. Dr. Karla Kincannon is an affiliate faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. She is the author of Creativity and Divine Surprise: Finding the Place of Your Resurrection, as well as numerous articles about the spiritual journey and curriculum for The United Methodist Church. Kincannon lectures, leads workshops, and facilitates retreats in a variety of ecumenical settings nationwide. She has served as a parish pastor, campus minister, college chaplain, and has been a spiritual director for over 25 years.

Rev. Dr. Mark TeasdaleRev. Dr. Mark Teasdale is the E. Stanley Jones professor of evangelism at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. As a professor, author, and pastor, Teasdale focuses on evangelism, church leadership, mission, discipleship, and Wesleyan/Methodist studies. He is the President of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education (AETE) and served for six years as the editor of Witness: The Journal of the Academy for Evangelism in Theological Education. Teasdale is the author of GO! How to Become a Great Commission Church, Evangelism for Non-Evangelists: Sharing the Gospel Authentically, and Methodist Evangelism, American Salvation: The Home Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1860-1920.

Rev. Dr. Steven TrefzRev. Dr. Steven Trefz is director of the Wesley House of Study and Kairos affiliate professor at Sioux Falls Seminary, teaching pastor at Fusion Church, and is an affiliate faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical. An ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, Trefz has a passion for the church, for helping people discern their calls, and for leadership development. As a scholar, Trefz interests and expertise include congregational leadership, a Wesleyan view of theology and ecclesiology, spiritual gifts and the ministry of all persons, and social research methodologies. Trefz was the winner of the 2013 Association of Doctor of Ministry Educators (ADME) Award of Excellence for outstanding DMin Thesis and is the author of several articles on methodology and lay leadership, and rural evangelism.

About the DMin at Garrett-Evangelical

The DMin program is an advanced degree focusing on best practices in church leadership relevant to your specific context. As a DMin student, you will enhance your ministry skills all while making a significant contribution to the church through a guided research project. Through a diverse curriculum taught by our distinguished faculty and prominent practitioners, you will be stretched theologically and exposed to new models of ministry.

To meet your specific vocational goals and needs, Garrett-Evangelical offers the following tracks for DMin students:

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Founded in 1853, Garrett-Evangelical is a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church with an ecumenical outreach. Faithfully embracing the future, we are committed to preparing skilled, bold and articulate leaders for ministry in the 21st century. On the campus of Northwestern University, upon the shores of Lake Michigan and on the outskirts of Chicago, Garrett-Evangelical is a place to nurture mind, body, and spirit. The seminary serves more than 400 students from many denominations and various backgrounds and its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Direction is a 30-credit hour program.

Tailored to Fit Your Needs

You can complete the required 30-credit hours in the DMin program in as little as three years or as many as six. Classes are offered in a hybrid model of on-campus and online courses to give you high quality theological education in a flexible format. Once the coursework is completed the research project follows. The research project is tailored specifically to your ministry context and you will be supported by an on-site advisory team and the DMin faculty.

Anticipated 2021 Cohort Course Schedule

For exact course dates, please contact our Admissions Office at

Year 1

  • History and Theology of Christian Spirituality (January online course)
  • Spirituality, Diversity and the Global Landscape (January online course)
  • Biblical and Theological Foundations for Practical Ministry (Spring online course)
  • Spiritual Practice (Summer online course)
  • Research Design and Methodology (Fall online course)

Year 2

  • Practicum in Spiritual Formation (January through April online course)
  • Cultural Values in Congregational Life (Spring online course)
  • Proposal Research and Writing (Summer on-campus course)

Year 3

  • Project Research and Writing (Fall-Spring)
  • Project Defense (Spring)
  • Graduation (Spring)

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants must have earned a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree or its equivalent
  • At least three years of full-time ministry following the awarding of that degree
  • Applicants must be serving in a ministry setting during their DMin program

Admission Process

Detailed information for the application requirements and process can be found here.

The next cohort for the DMin in Spiritual Direction is TBD

International Student Applicants
The DMin Program offers coursework in intensive sessions twice a year. This schedule has implications for international students and visa applications. Therefore, we are unable to offer F-1 visas for Doctor of Ministry students.