ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) — Gateway Seminary is offering a doctor of ministry degree completely by distance learning for overseas students. The Western Association of Senior College and University Commission approved the program Aug. 5. The American Theological Society previously affirmed it.
Delivery systems for Gateway’s program will include video conference technology, online coursework and traditional classes offered in international locations.
Jim Wilson, director of Gateway’s D.Min. program, said the expansion is part of the seminary’s global perspective.
“As we recruited in South Korea and Singapore, we found that travel to the U.S. for a traditional D.Min. program would be prohibitive for many pastors, since they would need to produce documentation that all the funds were available for the entire program just to acquire a student visa,” he said. “That caused us to consider how we could offer the same quality courses through distance education.”
Traditional courses, Wilson said, were redesigned for distribution over a two-year period.
“We tested seminars individually with current D.Min. candidates,” he said. “With their input, we made adjustments until the online seminars offered the same quality academics as traditional courses do.”
The distance learning D.Min. begins with a video conference, continues with coursework that can be done at the student’s pace and concludes with a ministry project. The first cohort began July 23 in South Korea, with provisional approval by accrediting agencies.
For now, the distance learning D.Min. degree program is only offered to overseas cohorts. However, Gateway Seminary utilizes online seminars for all their cohorts and offers some online classes to fulfill the 15 units of course work required by the program. D.Min. candidates make only two trips to one of the Seminary’s five campuses to complete the degree. Requirements also include eight units of fieldwork and a six-unit ministry project.
Gateway’s campuses are all located near one of the North American Mission Board’s strategic Send cities, including the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas in California; near Denver, Colo., and Portland, Ore. and in Phoenix, Ariz.