Program Type:
Advanced Professional Degree

Program Duration:
Designed to be completed in 3 years


  • Agreement with the McMaster Divinity College Statement of Faith
  • BA or equivalent in an appropriate field of study with a minimum B average
  • Master of Theological Studies or equivalent with a GPA of B or above (students may enter the DPT immediately following completion of their Master’s degree)
  • A major paper from your Master’s degree, ideally in the field that you want to research

Ministry Experience:
Three to five years of ministry experience or equivalent is preferred. A minimum of three years of ministry, not necessarily pastoral, is required for entrance into the program. The ideal candidate will be encouraged by their local church, or church-based organization, for advanced professional work in a particular area of focus.

Program Description:
The Doctor of Practical Theology fulfills the mission of the College especially in its commitment to the church and society. The range of ministry leadership roles has become more diverse in the past decade. Emerging leaders in a wide variety of enterprises have indicated interest in advanced study (i.e. pastors and other vocational ministry leaders, leaders in a non-profit Christian ministry, educators, both nationally and internationally, etc.). With this degree, we mirror other professions that have created advanced study at the professional level and do so in a way that allows program participants to conduct practice-led research in ministry at the research level.

One of the distinctives of the Doctor of Practical Theology is its focus on practice-led research vs. practice-based. For a clear explanation of the difference between these two research models, please click here.

Areas within which the Doctor of Practical Theology research dissertation project may be written are intentionally broad. These include the traditional areas of theological investigation, which might include preaching, pastoral theology, hermeneutics, missional Church studies, biblical studies, Christian history and thought, or worship and liturgy, among others. Non-traditional areas may also be included, such as ecclesial symbolism as reflected in church appointments, iconography, and various realms of the visual and performing arts. These lists are not inclusive, and we welcome other areas of practice-led research.

Candidates will be reviewed for experience and educational expertise in an area of ministry. Coursework in the Doctor of Practical Theology will build on evaluation of previous study.

Entrance into the program is only available in Fall or Winter (not Summer).

The Doctor of Practical Theology is offered in hybrid form (starting online at the beginning of the Fall and Winter semesters, meeting face-to-face during Reading Week, and continuing online until the end of the semester). All core courses will be offered only in hybrid form. During Reading Week, an Advanced Elective will also be offered in hybrid form. All retreats will take place during Reading Weeks. However, students who live nearby do have the option of taking an Advanced Elective consisting of only in-class sessions. Travelling students are only required to be physically on campus five times during the program. For dates and schedule, click here.

For tuition, please click here.

A full-time student will follow this sequence:

Term 1
One of the following core courses (5 units each):

  • Critical Understandings in Ministry Leadership
  • Advanced Research in Practical Theology*
  • Research Design and Implementation
  • Professional Ethics

*Advanced Research in Practical Theology is a prerequisite for Research Design and Implementation

One Advanced Elective (5 units)
One Spiritual Retreat (1 unit)

Term 2
One of the core courses (5 units)
One Advanced Elective (5 units)
One Spiritual Retreat (1 unit)

Term 3
One of the core courses (5 units)
One Advanced Elective (5 units)
One Spiritual Retreat (1 unit)

Term 4
One of the core courses (5 units)
One Advanced Elective (5 units)
Prepare Research Dissertation Project Proposal

Terms 5 & 6
Work on Research Dissertation Project+ (30,000-50,000 words)(15 units)
Present and defend Research Dissertation Project

Total degree units: 58

+For more information regarding the Research Dissertation Project, please click here

The doctoral committee includes a primary supervisor along with the program director of the Doctor of Practical Theology program. A second advisory member of the faculty will be added at the time of research proposal approval.

Program participants work with the Primary Supervisor to choose courses that fit with their overall focus, and that move them toward advanced research preparation.