DMin program

1. Introduction

Offered by AGST Alliance, Bible College of Malaysia and Malaysia Bible Seminary to enhance the professional development of pastors and leaders in Christian ministries.

Our DMin integrates structured theological reflection and critical thinking on ministerial practice, to provide a formative space for participants to learn, dialogue, challenge, discern and shape their ministry philosophy and practices. Our DMin is designed to produce graduates who are more competent and passionate reflective ministry practitioners, and who:

  • have enhanced skills for ministry, e.g. in preaching, teaching, formation and discipleship.
  • are better equipped to assess analytically and think theologically about contemporary ministry issues.
  • have a deeper biblical and theological appreciation of pastoral ministry and leadership.
  • possess expanded leadership, relational and conflict resolution skills.
  • are realising their own personal formation and spiritual maturity.

Graduates are likely to continue in (or take up new) pastoral and leadership ministry positions in their churches and organisations. They are also likely to be invited to teach applied courses in theological education institutions and other ministry situations. Our DMin program is non-residentialmodular and (for most candidates) part-time.

  • No need for major ministry and family upheavals for several years.
  • Studies are earthed in candidates’ current social, church and vocational settings.
  • Some flexibility is possible.

This DMin program is a partnership program between AGST Alliance, Bible College of Malaysia (BCM) and Malaysia Bible Seminary (MBS). Candidates apply to the program through the institution of their choice (AGST Alliance, BCM or MBS), and will graduate with a qualification from that seminary. The administration and quality assurance for the program is by AGST Alliance on behalf also of BCM and MBS.

2. Who for?

Our DMin program is likely to suit pastors and Christian leaders who:

  • have at least five years ministry experience.
  • are seeking to enhance their pastoral ministry practice by integrating practice and informed Christian thinking.
  • desire to engage in reflexive thinking regarding contemporary and local ministry issues
  • probably prefer a field-focused, action-reflection approach to learning over a more text-focused philosophical-reflective approach (which a PhD would usually require).

3. Entry requirements

Applicants for the DMin need to meet these prerequisites:

  • At least 5 years experience in pastoral ministry and/or leadership in a Christian ministry, preferably after formal theological training.
  • A first theological degree of a suitable academic level (usually MDiv or its equivalent).
  • Competencies acquired through other life experiences and secular qualifications will be considered too.
  • English language proficiency: at least IELTS 6.0 or TOEFL 550 (Computer-based score 213; Internet-based score 80).
  • Be commended for the DMin program by reputable leaders who know you professionally, academically and personally.

Students may live in countries other than those represented by AGST Alliance, BCM and MBS.

Normally students will be accepted into AGST Alliance programs on the basis of the stated prerequisite qualifications. However, applicants who do not meet the stated entry requirements may be considered for this program if their general education, scholarship, training and experience are deemed suitable, and if they are deemed as well qualified as those who are able to satisfy the normal entrance requirements. Applications based on equivalency will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account a portfolio of work/ministry experience, publications and other relevant factors.

4. Program components

Our DMin is a 36-credit program, with these components:

  • Coursework: 24 credits
  • Dissertation: 12 credits

Note: the credit-structure for the AGST Alliance DMin is 36 credits, while it is 45 credits for the BCM/MBS programs. The programs are identical, but the credit values are calculated differently. So {same workload, different credits}.

A. Coursework (24 credits)

You complete modules for 24 credits:

  • 6 coursework modules
  • 4 credits per module
  • 2 modules per year

Each module spans 4 months, and has three phases:

  • 6–7 weeks home-based preparation, with some on-line interaction likely.
  • a 6 day on-campus intensive (Thursday to Tuesday).
  • 6–8 weeks post-campus reading and assignments.

The on-campus intensives run from Thursday to Tuesday. This intentionally includes Sunday, which will be a day for reflection, spiritual formation activities, corporate worship and sharing, and some recreation.

We will also strongly encourage students to undertake further spiritual development processes during their DMin program, but these activities won’t have credit value.

Up to two approved courses (for a maximum of 4 credits) from other AGST Alliance programs or other accredited institutions may replace our DMin modules. Cross-credited courses need to be at the appropriate academic level.

B. Dissertation (12 credits)

The dissertation is designed to demonstrate your competence to integrate the theory of the various disciplines drawn on for Christian ministry with your ministry practice. It will comprise an original applied research project that demonstrates sound Christian reflection and which is designed to enhance informed and improved personal and organisational practices.

The length of the dissertation will normally fall in the range of 30,000–45,000 words (excluding references and appendices, but including footnotes), depending on the nature of the research. The dissertation is likely to have a significant quantitative or qualitative element to it.

The dissertation will probably require 15–18 months work after you complete the coursework. A supervisor will be with you through the dissertation process. Two competent external examiners will be appointed to examine the submitted dissertation.

5. Module topics

Ministry practice and Christian perspectives are integrated in all the components of the program, rather than having separate theology and professional practice modules. Critical engagement and spiritual formation components are also woven into each module.

The module topics are likely to be drawn from this range:

  • [Core] Theological and critical thinking on ministry issues
  • Kingdom, church and society
  • Christian education and curriculum development
  • Introduction to ministry research
  • Christian leadership  
  • Holistic formation for ministers

6. Module Dates

The modules for the coursework will run on this schedule:

  • July-October (on-campus intensive late August/early September) [DMin course will re-commence in mid-July to November 2024] 
  • February-May (on-campus intensive late March/early April)

There may be some variation in the dates, e.g. in order to fit with facilitators’ availability.

Specific dates for the modules will be confirmed soon.

2024 Program Schedule across all programs here.

7. Academic expectations

8. Assessment Criteria

9. Fees & costs

10. Frequently Asked Questions

11. Application Procedures

Note: you may apply for the DMin through one of three institutions:

  • AGST Alliance
  • Bible College of Malaysia
  • Malaysia Bible Seminary

A common application process is used, but you will need to indicate clearly which of these three institutions you prefer to come into the DMin program under.

Download and submit these application papers to apply (right-click > “save link as” to save, info correct as at 15feb 2020):

•   Application form
•   Ministry Foundations Assessment
•   Commendation form (3 commendations required)
•   Student Support Memorandum of Understanding guidelines

We require commendation forms from:

  • a senior leader in ministry
  • a leader in your church/Christian network; and
  • the principal or a lecturer of the tertiary educational institution in which you studied most recently.

If you prefer to have a set of application papers to be posted to you, please email us. Make sure you include your full postal address.

We prefer that initially you email your application papers to us, in soft-copy format (i.e. as e-documents). When scanning transcripts, photos, etc., please set the resolution to standard/medium, so that files are not too large. As we process your application, we may request hard-copy (i.e. paper) copies of items.

12. Contact

For enquiries about our DMin program, contact: 

Assistant Program Director:
Dr Lawrence Chen
Tel: +6019 387 8227

Program Director (AGST Alliance):
Dr Sooi Ling Tan
Tel.: +60 12 521 7043

Bible College of Malaysia DMin contact:
Dr Victor Lee
Tel: +603 7956 5529 (office)

Dr Caleb Chan
Tel: +6017 331 9378

Malaysia Bible Seminary DMin contact:
Dr Tony Lim
Tel.: +60 3 6037 1727 (office)