Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Thanatology

Pastoral Thanatology


The Doctor of Ministry Pastoral Thanatology tracks seeks to integrate the spiritual development of the student with their knowledge and skill in helping those who have experienced loss in various forms. Pastoral Thanatology explores the biblical and spiritual resources available in grief and bereavement and provides knowledge and skills for those facing or coping with grief and death from the perspective of both the dying and the bereaved.

As a graduate, you will have a deep understanding of spiritual practices and issues related to grief and loss, as well as the conceptual and methodological awareness necessary to effectively apply that knowledge in the real world. You will be equipped to make a positive impact on the lives of those around you, and to make meaningful contributions to your church, community and the wider world.

Next track begins:

May 2024

Application Deadlines

January 15, 2024 (Canadian Students)
December 15, 2023 (International Students)

Residency Dates

June 16-28, 2024


Students who have completed the academic program may apply to become a Certified Thanatologist Pastoral Specialist (CTPS) upon successful completion of the internship program.

Program Format

The Doctor of Ministry Pastoral Thanatology Track is a cohort model, with some sequenced courses. Students will complete 12 courses within 3 years, with distance learning and residency phases each year.

  • The distance learning phase includes reading, writing, research, reflection, application, and collaboration primarily supported by teachers, personal growth coaches, and research portfolio advisors.
  • The residency phase — two weeks in June and one week in January — includes worship and prayer, lectures, plenary discussions, group activities, small group meetings, and individual work.

Post-DMin Certificate

The Post-DMin Certificate is designed for people who already have a DMin but want to take additional courses as continued education. Students will complete 6 courses within 3 years.

Course titles, descriptions and sequence may be modified when warranted after due process by the DMin Program Committee and Academic Planning Committee.


Year A: Formation of the Person

  • DMPT 0901 Pastoral Care Through Grief, Transition and Loss
  • DMSF 0901 Listening to God: Discernment for Spiritual Formation
  • DMSF 0941 Spiritual Autobiography: The Ways of the Spirit in a Life (Project Course)
  • DMSF 0911 Space for God: Personalizing Sacred Practices

Year B: Formation of the Community

  • DMSF 0905 Engaging Scriptures: Spiritual Formation for Information and Transformation
  • DMPT 09__ Loss, Trauma and Resilience
  • DMPT 09__ Journey through Suffering and Dying
  • DMPT 09__ Grief and Bereavement an Educational Model (Project Course)

Year C: Applying Your Formation

  • DMPT 09__ The Emotional and Spiritual Development of the Thanatologist
  • DMSF 0943 Ministry-Based Field Research (Project Course)
  • DMPT 09__ Living With Loss: Finding Hope and Resurrection
  • DMSF 0947 Integration: Research Portfolio and Hearing

Courses included in the Post-DMin Certificate and include all 6 DMPT courses

Pastoral Thanatology Faculty & Instructors

Dr. David Sherbino

David Sherbino

Track Leader

David Sherbino has been a faculty member at Tyndale Seminary since 1987. He has over 30 years of experience as a minister and in teaching pastoral and spiritual formation in seminars around the world. He is a popular speaker and church consultant, regularly addressing various church and ministry groups around the world.

Learn more about David Sherbino

Mark Chapman

Mark Chapman

Dr. Chapman is Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program and Professor of Research Methods. Dr. Chapman also serves as Lead Researcher for the Tyndale Intercultural Ministry Centre. He has wide experience in social science research and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His most recent research is focused on flourishing congregations and multivocational ministry. He has also conducted research on religion and immigration including projects related to Canadians who are starting new churches, the relationship between faith communities and the settlement sector, and an exploration of the role of churches in immigrant settlement and integration. Other research projects have included studies of megachurches in Canada, an exploration of Canadian church attitudes to the visual arts, and networks among churches.

Dr. Kevin Livingston

Kevin Livingston

Kevin Livingston is the Pastor of Clairlea Park Presbyterian Church. He is also a former Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry. He has over 30 years of pastoral experience, is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and has served congregations in Seattle, Scotland, Vancouver, and Cambridge.

Learn more about Kevin Livingston

J.L. Miller

J.L. Miller

J.L. Miller is the Chair of Religion and Associate Dean of the Chapel at Houghton University.

Ingrid Reichard

Ingrid Reichard

Ingrid Reichard is the Director of National Faith and Life.

Phil Reinders

Phil Reinders

I am the Lead Pastor of ClearView Church and a missional leader, having served churches in three Canadian cities (Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto). And I love words and create things with words - I've written in a variety of publications and authored the best-selling prayer-book (now really, who would've expected "best-selling" and "prayer book" in the same sentence) Seeking God's Face. I am convinced the Christian faith practices and spiritual disciplines are so central to shaping a lively and resilient faith in Jesus.

Learn more about Phil Reinders

Neal Siler

Neal Siler

Neal Siler is the Senior Pastor of First Shiloh Baptist Church, a clinician and the founder of The Healing Place Center for Counselling and Spiritual Formation. He holds a PhD in Counselling Psychology and a DMin in Formal Counselling.

Sharon Siler

Sharon Siler

Sharon Siler is the Executive Director of The Healing Place Center for Counselling and Spiritual Formation, and Associate Faculty of HCMI Spiritual Formation and the Art of Spiritual Formation.

Learn more about Sharon Siler