Coursework Overview

Participation in the Semiotics, Church, and Culture DMin program can be broken into two parallel course sequences:

  • Project Portfolio Research Sequence with Project Faculty: DMIN 750, 751, 850, 851, 950, 951

  • Lead Mentor 'taught' courses: DMIN 709, 719, 729, 809, 819, 829

Project Portfolio Research Sequence

The six research courses are designed to give students greater flexibility to engage in research and writing on a ministry Need, Problem, or Opportunity (NPO) of interest to them. Each student is assigned to a small peer group under the supervision of a Project Faculty (PF) member who guides their research through a series of key milestones to generate the final portfolio.

The research course sequence is divided into 3 stages--Discover, Design, Deliver--with milestone assignments to mark the completion of each stage.

  • Discover: In the first 3 courses, students first explore the Need, Problem, or Opportunity (NPO) from their ministry context. They draw on both expert analysis through an academic and theological literature review and 'grassroots' insight and feedback from ‘stakeholders’ in their ministry context.
  • Design: In the 4th course, students invite peer experts from their context to brainstorm solutions. Out of this process, students develop a concept proposal.
  • Deliver. In the 5th course, students prototype their concept, after identifying the industry standards for their project. Students test the project with potential users in the last course. After evaluating and reporting on their findings, students create a launch and sustainability strategy to further develop their concept after graduation. An examination committee evaluates the project and launch plan for final approval before graduation.

All of the key milestone documents are compiled in the final portfolio for the library archival and digital publication. 

Courses Taught by the Lead Mentor

Dr. Len Sweet's courses are characterized by directed reading and cohort-based interaction. Following Dr. Sweet's lead, students explore various aspects of applied semiotics and leadership in a changing culture. His courses normally include the following elements:

  • Reading: Dr. Sweet provides a reading list and schedule of books, articles and websites for students to explore and discuss.

  • Online discussions: Cohorts engage with one another in weekly online forums to discuss and analyze the assigned course materials.

  • Chat: Students meet once a week for a synchronous video conference. Dr. Sweet personally facilitates these discussions with the cohort.

  • Advances: As a part of DMIN 709, DMIN 729, and DMIN 759, Wednesday through Friday of the advances, students engage in face-to-face teaching sessions with Dr. Sweet.

Curriculum Sequence

Year 1

Fall Semester (5 hrs)

Course Credit Hours
DMIN 709 Introduction to Biblical, Ecclesial, and Cultural Semiotics (includes First Advance) 2
DMIN 750 Identifying the Need / Problem / Opportunity (NPO) 3

Spring Semester (6 hrs)

DMIN 719 Semiotics as a Change Agent in Preaching, Ministry, and Mission (Church and Culture) 2
DMIN 751 Exploring Current Literature Surrounding the NPO 4

Summer Semester (4 hrs)

DMIN 729 Re-Cognizing and Re-Signing Jesus in 21st Century Culture (includes Second Advance) 4

Year 2 

Fall Semester (6 hrs)

DMIN 809 Global Church and Local Church 2
DMIN 850 Discovering Stakeholder Perspectives concerning the NPO 4

Spring Semester (5 hrs)

DMIN 819 Cultivating Imagination and Innovation in Ministry and Mission 2
DMIN 851 Brainstorming a Concept 3

Summer Semester (4 hrs)

DMIN 829 Semiotic Shifts: Perspectives on Changing Trends in Church and Culture (includes Final Advance) 4

Year 3 

Fall Semester (4 hrs)

DMIN 950 Designing the Project 4

Spring Semester (4 hrs)

DMIN 951 Assessment of the Project 4

Learn more: Explore the course descriptions in the university catalog