Shawn W.J. Keough, PhD

Doctor of Ministry

The purpose of the Doctor of Ministry degree is to provide an opportunity for suitably qualified Roman Catholics, ordained and religious/lay, to deepen and enrich their engagement in and commitment to ministry in their local communities, parishes and (arch)dioceses through the pursuit of this professional doctorate.

Program Outcomes

The DMin program assists candidates in integrating deeper theological learning with their existing and ongoing pastoral skills/experience, and their own continuing conversion to Jesus Christ. It invites and enables “an ever-deeper knowledge of the divine mysteries” (PDV 51PPF 163), especially as this relates to pastoral ministry in the Catholic Church. To this end, the following outcomes – already expected to be in place in some measure – should be met more intensively by the completion of the DMin degree:

  • Students will be able to think theologically in a way that is faithful to Sacred Scripture, the Catholic Tradition, and the teaching of the Church, using critical reasoning and appropriate methodologies, and to articulate the Catholic faith from the perspective of communion ecclesiology, demonstrating the connections and coherences of faith’s mysteries by discerning their Trinitarian, Incarnational, and Eucharistic foundations.
  • Students will manifest integration of theological learning with personal and spiritual growth and a deepening and reinvigoration of their vocational calling, with, e.g., starting or restarting initiatives to foster spiritual growth in their local church, exercising new or expanded leadership roles, and/or manifesting a deeper appreciation of and more frequent participation in the liturgy and other spiritual practices like deep reading, Liturgy of the Hours, lectio divina and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to orient and integrate their learning towards effective ministry.

Where necessary and appropriate, individual faculty, who will have been guided and oriented to the degree program goals by the program director, will assess the degree program goals in respect of the individual assignments and pastoral-ministerial projects that characterize every year’s areas of concentration. A similar assessment of the degree program goals will be made by the committee of four discussed below in respect of the summative doctoral project/dissertation.

Program Description

Each annual cohort in the Doctor of Ministry program at Mount Angel is around six or seven candidates, and the entire complement of 18 to 20 candidates makes for a very rich forum for sharing experiences, personal enrichment, engaging challenges, and, perhaps most of all deeper pastoral friendships.

The program is taught in three intensive week-long courses offered during summer sessions, one course per area of concentration. Students have the option of completing the program over a period of four years (three courses each summer) or up to nine years, including writing their dissertation and completing an internship.

There is a dissertation or a pastoral project to be completed by each candidate.  This dissertation/project takes forward in substantial depth a particular interest of the candidate in some particular aspect of ministry.

Residence and meals for the duration of the three-week courses is available at Mount Angel Seminary.


The program consists of three main areas of concentration: Scripture, Liturgical/Systematic Theology and Pastoral Theology. These areas correspond to both the main areas of the Seminary’s existing academic program and the main areas most applicable to ministry in Catholic parishes. Three intensive courses, each a week long, will be offered each summer period, one course in each of the three main areas of concentration. To complete the program, the student will be required to take three courses in each of the three areas of concentration as well as complete a final summative doctoral project/dissertation.

The DMin courses are offered in a compressed or intensive format, i.e., the classroom portion of the DMin courses occur 8 hours per day for 5 days in a given week during the summer (mid to late June) such that the total classroom/contact hours are similar to a normal semester class but done within a single week. This allows students currently serving in parish or other ministry work to attend the classes as the demands of their ministry are typically lower during that timeframe.


Courses, each one week in length, will take place in the latter part of June and early part of July. Students are expected to be present on campus during the class meeting portion of the courses. Some candidates who are local will wish to commute on a daily basis to the Seminary. Those who are coming from a distance and those who do not wish to commute may be housed in the Aquinas Residence Hall. The dining facilities of Aquinas Residence Hall will cater breakfast, lunch and dinner for those who wish to dine in hall.

The Saint Benedict Guesthouse and Retreat Center is also available, and there are approximately two dozen hotels in the area, within a radius of 15 miles, for candidates who might prefer that kind of accommodation. Students would need to make reservations directly for these accommodations and be responsible for the costs involved.

Doctor of Ministry testimonials …

“I really wanted to go back to school to enhance my theological pastoral education academically – this program seemed like a good chance to do that.”

Bishop Kevin Vann, JCD, DD
Diocese of Orange

The DMin program was amazing on all levels: my ministry, deepening my faith, and offering me education that I was hungry for.”

Gina Anderson
Chaplain at Providence St. Peter’s Hospital (Olympia, Washington)

It has been a joy to be part of this doctoral program at Mount Angel because it grounds pastoral life.”

Fr. Anthony Ahamefule
Pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church (Bandon, Oregon)

“All of the things we’re studying here [at Mount Angel] are things I can apply directly into parish ministry that will enrich the lives of the people I am called to serve.”

Fr. John Kerns
Pastor at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church (Lake Oswego, Oregon)

“[The Doctor of Ministry program at Mount Angel] pushes us to grow to our potential. It’s very beautiful.”

Lynda Olsen
Speakers Bureau at the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon

For more information, contact:
Dr. Shawn Keough, Program Director