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Academic Procedures | McCormick Theological Seminary

Academic Procedures

Academic Procedures and Information

Please download the DMin Handbook provided below. 

Registration for Courses
On-line registration is available on McCormick’s Web site approximately two months before the first day of class. Students must register no later than 30 days before the course and pay $450 (half of the course tuition) to ensure a space in the class.  Courses are subject to cancellation when fewer than six students register.
Syllabi and Textbooks
Textbooks can be purchase through Amazon.com. Students may, however, order books from whatever source is convenient. Syllabi will be posted within the seminary's learning management system, Moodle. 

Due Dates for Work
Because D.Min. coursework involves application of learning in a student’s place of ministry, due dates for final projects in individual courses are scheduled between the instructor and the students. Taking into consideration the nature of the course project, final course projects are normally due from two-to-three months following the completion of course itself. Any disagreement between faculty and student over due dates will be adjudicated by the dean for Doctor of Ministry programs. Students planning to graduate in May must submit all work by April 1.

Student Papers
Faculty are expected to return papers in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of the student to communicate with the faculty member and with the Doctor of Ministry Office of the Seminary if a paper she or he has handed in to a professor is not graded and returned.

Deadlines and Incompletes
If a student cannot complete the course assignment by the date on which it is due, he or she may request an extension. Instructors may or may not grant course extensions. Requests for a second extension, or any appeal on a faculty members decision on an extension request, must be addressed  to the Dean, who may or may not grant the requested extension. No more than two extensions may be granted in any particular course All course work deadlines will be observed.

After the given extension expires, a Permanent Incomplete (PI) will be recorded on the transcript if work has not been submitted. A PI remains permanently on the student’s transcript, but is not included in the student’s GPA. Students are required to take another course for full credit at full tuition to replace a course that has become PI.

A student who has two Incompletes on the transcript will not be allowed to take further course work until these are resolved.

Admission to Candidacy for the Degree
Admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Ministry degree is granted by action of the Dean and takes place after grades are recorded for all courses taken for credit up to thesis residency. At least three of these courses must be core courses. A 2.00 grade point average (an overall grade of B) for these courses is required for a student to be considered for candidacy. Provision is made for a student who has not attained a 2.00 average by the time of thesis residency to be considered for candidacy again after two more courses if the grades are sufficient to bring the student’s average to the required minimum. Candidacy must be achieved before Thesis Residency. If a student does not have a 2.00 average by the time of thesis residency, he or she will be denied candidacy and dismissed from the program.

The Thesis in the Practice of Ministry
Students must satisfactorily complete a Thesis in the Practice of Ministry. In the thesis, students demonstrate the ability to: (1) identify and analyze a particular challenge in their context of ministry; (2) work effectively with appropriate resources out of the tradition, the wider culture, and personal experience to address the challenge; (3) formulate theological principles to guide thought and action in relation to the challenge; (4) design and implement (in partnership with others) appropriate means of responding to the challenge; and (5) critically evaluate the outcome, learnings, and significance of the work undertaken. The thesis is to be a 40-page article of publishable quality.

To facilitate the development of the thesis, all students participate in course I-648 Thesis Residency, for which they receive one unit of credit. This is a two-week intensive course offered on the Seminary campus. It is designed to be team-taught, interdisciplinary, and integrative in its approach. Students bring with them a preliminary proposal and then work with faculty, peers, a writing consultant, and library staff to refine the proposal and to carry out appropriate research. Before enrolling in this course, a student will ordinarily have taken four or more courses, Including M-617 Methods, and must have achieved candidacy. Each McCormick  D.Min.  student has a thesis advisor who will work closely with them through the entire thesis process. The Oral Evaluation of the thesis is a conversation involving the student, a peer of his or her choice, a recent graduate of the program, and the thesis advisor. Ordinarily the Oral Evaluation follows completion of all course work and the final thesis.

Additional information is included in the Thesis Handbook <insert link>which students receive before their Thesis Residency is scheduled.

Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ministry
Doctor of Ministry students in good standing who have successfully completed eight courses at the 600 level (excluding thesis residency) but will not complete the requirements for the D.Min. degree may be granted a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Ministry.

Auditing Doctoral Level Courses (rev. April 15, 2010)

Doctoral level courses are available on an audit basis as follows:

 • Admitted Students: Admitted D.Min. students may audit D.Min. courses. Tuition will be established annually by the office of doctor of ministry instruction. Audited courses will not count toward the 9 required courses for the degree, and may not be later changed to a for-credit course.

 • Non-Admitted Students: Non-admitted students may audit a McCormick doctor-of-ministry course. Tuition will be established annually by the office of doctor of ministry instruction. To be eligible for audit status, students must complete a Student at Large application form and be accepted by the dean of the doctor-of-ministry program. Students must have the same qualifications required of applicants; that is, an M.Div. or its equivalent and three years of applicable ministry experience.

Audited courses may not be changed to for-credit courses later, with one exception. Prospective students whose application form and learning goals have been submitted but who have not yet been admitted may audit the first course in the McCormick doctor-of-ministry sequence and later receive full course credit, upon payment of full tuition and satisfactory completion of all course requirements.

 • McCormick D.Min. graduates: Graduates of the McCormick D.Min. program may audit courses without additionally applying for Student at Large status. All other audit requirements, including audit tuition, will apply.

No more than five auditors will be allowed to participate in any D.Min. course. Participation of auditors, and the total number of auditors (up to but not exceeding five) in any D.Min. course, is by permission of the dean and the instructor of the course. All audit-students will be expected to do advance course readings and other pre-class work and participate in class discussions; no final course projects will be expected or evaluated by the instructor. Other course expectations for auditors will be set by the instructor. If there is a cap on the total number of students in the course, preference will be given to credit-seeking students.

Masters-level field-study supervisors and members of their lay-ministry support teams are eligible to audit a single course, with no audit tuition or fees charged, during the year that they are engaged in field-study supervision. Credit can be given for the course taken if the person taking the course is already enrolled in the doctor-of-ministry program and requests credit.

D.Min. students from Other Institutions

Students currently enrolled in Doctor of Ministry programs at other institutions and who wish to take courses at McCormick for academic credit may apply for Student at Large status through the Director of D.Min. Admissions. Once admitted they may enroll in D.Min. courses after consultation with the Dean; an academic transcript will be maintained and credit for courses may be transferred to the degree granting institution. Such students will be charged by McCormick for the full amount for the course(s) in question.
Changes in Student Status

In Case of a Move
It is the responsibility of each individual student to notify the Doctor of Ministry Office of any changes in email, telephone numbers, work or home addresses. Without such changes being submitted, lost correspondence may negatively impact the student’s progress through the program.

In cases where a change of parish or other ministerial context occurs, it is essential that a student communicate this to the Doctor of Ministry office. Normally at such a juncture, one should follow these procedures:
• A new application cover sheet should be completed;
• If the move occurs prior to Residency, a new Advisory Group on Corporate Ministry should be formed and their names submitted;
• A new Governing Body Assessment should be submitted (if student has changed judicatories);
• A new Governing Board Assessment for pastors (or Personnel Committee Assessment) should be submitted;
• A revised statement of learning goals should be submitted.

In addition to the above, if a thesis proposal has been submitted but interventions not yet undertaken, the proposal must be revised, or if necessary, a new thesis proposal addressing issues in the new ministry setting must be submitted. Such rethinking and rewriting should be done in consultation with the new advisory group and with the thesis advisor.

Course Status
When a student wishes to change course status from credit to audit (or vice versa) or to withdraw from a course, he or she should make the request in writing to the faculty member concerned and to the Doctor of Ministry office. Requests must be made before the due date for course work.

Extensions Beyond the Five-Year Limit for the Program
Students who do not complete the Doctor of Ministry program within a five-year time limit may petition the dean of Doctor of Ministry Programs in writing for a one-year extension.

 A student requesting an extension must present an intentional plan to move toward completion of the Doctor of Ministry program within an established period. The plan must show evidence of active work on the Thesis in the Practice of Ministry and registration for any courses necessary to complete the nine other units of credit needed for the degree.

An annual continuation fee of $400 is charged to all students who require more than five years to complete the degree. All course work must be completed within 10 year of matriculation into the program.


What McCormick Students Say About the D.Min. Program

"My ministry context is broad, diverse and sometimes unpredictable.  The academic and personal reflection components of the program continually enhance my ability to serve in new ways.  The ecumenical setting is a bonus as it helps to be reminded that God comes to people in different ways and all should be respected." The Reverend Angela Shepherd, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.

"I was seeking the opportunity for advance study in an Adult Learning environment where the interaction between mature practitioners, facilitators, and students alike, enables growth in collaboration with one another. This context is not available everywhere, but I found it at McCormick." The Reverend Peter Bartlett, Eastminster United Church, Belleville, Ontario.

"I'm not the same person I was when I started the D.Min. program a year ago, because I have been stretched to view my surroundings with complexity and multiculturally. I feel I am evolving, growing and changing to be the leader in Christ's church fulfilling a continual call." The Reverend Sara Rabe, Zwingli United Church of Christ, Paoli, WI.