The coaches are both American and British. In addition, an online step-by-step tutorial is available to students throughout the three years. The degree is an applied doctorate, spanning three and a half years. It is both taught (the modules) and self-taught (the dissertation). It occurs both online and in-person. The dissertation work is guided by a mentor and an online tutorial.
The heart of the degree is the dissertation. This would be 60,000 – 100,000 words, in five chapters. The student, in conjunction with their dissertation supervisor, chooses a topic that combines
- Their primary ministry challenge
- Their personal passion and interest
- The most usefulness to the wider church.
The dissertation is written throughout the degree, not just at the end (as is often the case in many doctoral degrees). A template is provided by Asbury, which is essential to the writing of the dissertation. Synchronous dissertation instruction is provided three times a year, and each student is assigned a dissertation coach, who checks in with the student once a month. The dissertation coaches are practitioners in the fields of church planting and pioneering, who have studied at doctoral or higher levels.
The dissertation is about a project designed and delivered by the student. Examples would be the briefing of Anglican bishops on the launching of resource churches, or the assessment and delivery of an apprenticeship model of training church planters, or the assessment of the theological formation of church planters, or the encouragement of women pioneers and church planters, or how to ensure the spiritual and emotional health of church planters. The dissertation is in five chapters:
- The statement of the problem to be researched
- The review of the literature concerning this problem
- A description of the project to be undertaken
- A writing up of the delivery of that project
- A statement of the conclusions and learning from the project.