How hard is it to get a ministerial doctorate degree? Are they jokes or not?

How difficult is it to get one of these Doctor of Divinity degrees. I used to think these were fairly serious degrees, but I’ve seen a number of people with these ministerial type degrees from various bible and faith based colleges that, in my business interactions with them (buying and leasing churches or land for churches), do not write or speak all that well. I’m talking talking mangled syntax and barely high school level (or worse) writing skills. Not what you’d expect from a typical PHD.

And those guys have* doctorates.*

I’ve heard many medical doctors do not write all that well, but with ministers you’d expect that skill to be front and center.

What’s up with these doctorate degrees? Are they the real thing or a joke?

It’s a range, just like a secular degree.

One one hand, I’d expect anyone with an S.T.D. (nyuk, nyuk) or an equivalent D.D. to have gone through a lot of tough schooling.

On the other hand, the Universal Life Church sells them (or the certificates at least). They are mostly meaningless, and they promise nothing, even though I don’t think that the ULC is that bad.

And if you think all PhDs have good grammar and spelling, you haven’t met enough of them.

a ULC Honorary Doctorate of Divinity entitles you to call yourself Doctor and perform weddings.

It’s the Real Thing!:slight_smile:

Bwahaha! ULC Monastery (I think that’s the “schismatic” one) lets you pick your title. Tons of Christian ones, then some like “Brahmin” or “Imam” or “Pope”???

But the best: Lord of Time!

Me? I’ll pay the $14 when they let me have Warrior-Priest.

Note for “real” divinity degrees, there are real colleges and then there are not so real colleges.

There are a large number of Bible colleges and such whose accreditation is iffy or non-existent. Most don’t bother getting accredited by one of the major regional groups since it requires them to be real schools.

There are smaller accreditation groups, some of which specifically are for such schools. But their standards are far lower or non-existent. (Focusing more on the religious orthodoxy of the place rather than on educational standards.)

Some don’t even bother doing that. Usually these are places that have a charismatic founder who doesn’t want anyone else prying into their affairs. (But note that ORU, Bob Jones and Liberty all started that way and got fairly big and (in)famous despite their start.)

Unfortunately, the US Dept. of Education recognizes even these lesser accrediting agencies, for purposes such as student loans and so on. And things can get kind of scammy really fast. Like so many trade/art/cooking schools you get spam from.

In education, always look at who is accrediting the place. If it’s one of the regional orgs, then that’s usually a good sign. If it’s not, don’t go there, don’t hire people from there, etc.

“Is there a Doctor of Divinity who resides in this vicinity?”

An advanced degree, even from a good school, is no guarantee of good writing skills. I worked with a lawyer, with a degree from Harvard Law, who couldn’t write for sour owl poop. I’m not talking style or clarity, I’m talking about things as basic as subject/verb agreement.

My understanding was the “real” terminial degree was a DMin, not a DD.

Some of them are a joke, no matter how hard you have to study to get them. Many big Bible Colleges require the faculty and/or students to sign a Statement of Faith, which basically replaces science with a bumper sticker. Anything that conflicts with the Bible (like evolution) is unacceptable.

And if YOU think the Bible and evolution are compatible, swell, but the Bible colleges don’t. For example, from here:

“5 This affirms that the first human beings were a special and unique creation by God as contrasted to being derived from any pre-existing life forms. Further, God created everything “after its kind,” which excludes any position that allows for any evolutionary process between kinds.”

And MBI is not even close to being the strictest.

A DD is certainly a real degree, but as noted above, many many places provide or sell things worth nothing more than the paper they are printed on. I have run across real DDs, teaching theology in real seminaries for instance.

My father likes to tell the story of a clergyman in England, of the Anglican church, who bought a DD by mail order from the US. When he died, his wife had the gravestone engraved to include the DD. The bishop ordered the DD chiselled out. (My grandfather was an Anglican minister in the same diocese, so they heard all the gossip.) Just why an ordained minister of the Anglican faith saw fit to buy a mail order DD, I have no idea, but like most things in life, it takes all kinds.

I’ll take “Cure”. Then The Komen Foundation will owe me money.

As stated above, the D.D. is always an honorary degree. Its value depends upon the judgement of the granting institution and your opinion of that school. (It has been known that someone giving a theological seminary a large amount of money may have earned their pastor a DD.) Academic degrees’ value is related to the rigor of the grantor. These may be DMin, STD, ThD or PhD, depending on area of study. Look around the Internet, and you can buy a paper that says “DD” or other things, for a few bucks. Heard on TV some time ago a fellow who bought some of those papers so he could run a wedding mill, called hiimself a “doctor reverend,” not knowing how those words are used.

Better not wear pink then, or they’ll countersue you!

(I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be curé, n’est-ce pas?)

Looking again at the OP, about difficulty, the normal path in mainline Protestant churches is: a 4-year college degree in some pertinent area of study; 3 years of of seminary (maybe plus a year of internship) leading to an MDiv, and then one+ years for a doctorate (DMin, etc); a DD awarded after years of service, writing a great book, etc. other great accomplishments.

There are also lots of awful medical doctors out there. And lawyers are considered to be “doctors” of jurisprudence (no offense to the lawyers, but it’s a Master’s Degree). Einmal ist keinmal.

“Juris Doctor” is not a Masters degree. (Although in Italy, acc. to Wiki, someone with a law masters is entitled to call oneself “dottore”.)

“Juris Doctor” is not a Masters degree. (Altho, acc. to Wiki, in Italy someone with a law Masters is entitled to use “dottore.”

So why wouldn’t the program allow me to delete my duplicate?

As far as speaking goes, I imagine they may have had to do an oral defense of their thesis, but otherwise, I think public speaking is not typically a part of any PhD, religious or secular. And writing can lend itself to mistakes more easily than one might think:


If JD is not a Master’s, then it’s definitely not a Doctorate. It’s a professional degree, but has a similar time commitment to a Master’s (i.e. ~3 years). Interestingly, there is a degree called the Master of Laws. which is closer to a law doctorate in level.

The terminal academic degree in law is the SJD. It’s pretty rare, so it’s not surprising that most people haven’t heard of it.