MDiv Equivalence

ATS MDiv Equivalence Admissions Standards

As a degree program approved by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the DMin program supports ATS standard E.4.1, which states:

MDiv equivalency is defined as 72 graduate semester hours or comparable graduate credits in other systems that represent broad-based work in theology, biblical studies, and the arts of ministry and that include a master’s degree and significant ministerial leadership. Ministerial experience alone is not considered the equivalent of or a substitute for the master’s degree.

Pursuing a DMin without an MDiv - Steps to MDiv Equivalence

Obtain an MDiv Equivalency Evaluation

In order to apply to the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program without an MDiv, program administrators must perform an MDiv Equivalence Evaluation of your total academic portfolio. The meeting of MDiv equivalency does not result in the conferral of the MDiv degree. Its sole purpose is to qualify the applicant for admission to the DMin program.

Submit an unofficial copy of all of your university transcripts to admissions counselor Ty Sohlman, together with any other documentation of ministry-related educational experiences that you believe may be relevant (ex. college courses taught, books published, ordination coursework completed).

The DMin office will evaluate the portfolio and report their findings to you directly. The report would look like this sample PDF.

The MDiv Equivalent Evaluation will yield one of three possible results:

  • 18 semester hours or less of leveling work: Applicants with 18 semester hours or less of required leveling work may begin the DMin program. Their status in the program remains ‘provisional’ until all leveling courses are completed.
  • 19-30 semester hours of leveling work: Applicants with 19 to 30 hours of leveling work may proceed with the application process, but they will not be permitted to begin program coursework until they have reduced the balance of required leveling work to 18 semester hours or less.
  • More than 30 semester hours of leveling work: If the applicant needs more than 30 semester hours of leveling work to achieve MDiv equivalent, he or she is ordinarily considered ineligible for the DMin program.

We invite prospective students with less than 30 semester hours of leveling work to continue the formal application process.

Complete required leveling work

Required leveling work can be completed through either:

  • Independent Study: Complete the courses through independent study at Portland Seminary. Students may satisfy the required leveling work by completing independent studies under the guidance of Seminary faculty. These tutor-directed, distance courses are available online and allow students a flexible option to complete their leveling work at a time and pace that fits their lives. Signing up for a course is a simple as filling out a brief survey. Financial aid is available for courses taken at Portland Seminary.
  • Traditional Course Work: Complete the courses through traditional course work at Portland Seminary or any other ATS-accredited institution. Students desiring to complete required leveling work through another institution must obtain approval from the DMin program director prior to registering for the courses in question.

Records of all leveling work: DMin office maintains all leveling work records. All non-Portland-Seminary leveling work will be credited toward MDiv equivalent when the DMin office receives the institution’s official transcript (unofficial copies will not be accepted). All transcripts must be mailed to:

Office of Admissions 
George Fox University 
414 N Meridian Street #6089>
Newberg, OR 97132 

Audits of leveling work: The DMin office conducts regular audits of non-MDiv holding students. We will notify students in writing of outstanding leveling work once the student is eligible for candidacy. Students must complete all leveling work in order to graduate.

DMin independent study leveling courses at Portland Seminary

When I first heard that I’d be required to take an additional 15 hours of Master level courses I wasn’t that overjoyed about the task. However, having worked through nine of those hours with [my instructor]. I’ve come to see the wisdom of this decision. [My instructor] has challenged both my ability to search deeper into the assigned subjects and to improve the presentation of my findings. The structure, depth and exchange of feedback from [my instructor] has been a huge step towards my work this fall. It has definitely defined the areas where I need to concentrate.

-- David Boyd, student in the Leadership and Spiritual Formation DMin Program, teacher at Victory Performing Arts Academy, Pace, Florida


Contact your admissions counselor for more information about MDiv equivalency:

Ty Sohlman Ty Sohlman
Admissions Counselor