Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program Requirements

Admission Requirements 

Applicants must (1) hold the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, Master of Theology (ThM) degree, or Master of Sacred Theology (STM); (2) have an academic record that demonstrates superior ability; (3) satisfactorily pass a written examination in the field of their intended major and an oral examination of their Christian experience, scholarship, theology, achievement, and purpose; and (4) show evidence that they:

  • have saving faith in Christ 
  • are of proven Christian character
  • are endowed with appropriate spiritual gifts
  • adhere to the following doctrines: the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the spiritual lostness of the human race, the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ.

Applications for the doctoral program must be received by the Admissions of ce by January 1 for admission the following fall semester or by September 1 for admission the following spring semester. Supporting materials (e.g., references, transcripts, completed Personality Inventory) must be received by January 15 and September 15, respectively. The completed applications are then considered for preliminary acceptance by the faculty of the appropriate academic department and by the PhD Studies Committee.

Depending on their prior academic preparation, students enter the PhD program either at Stage 1 or Stage 2. Applicants entering at Stage 1 must have attained a bachelor’s degree (BA, BS, etc.) and the Master of Divinity degree (MDiv) or their educational equivalents. For purposes of admission to Stage 1 of the PhD program, an MDiv degree is understood to be a minimum of three years of full-time study (approximately 90 semester hours). Applicants must have an academic record that demonstrates superior ability and shows promise of success in doctoral studies. In the absence of a master’s thesis, applicants must provide a research paper previously written at
the master’s level that shows an acceptable level of competency in research and writing. After completing Stage 1, applicants must complete requirements for entrance into Stage 2.

Applicants entering at Stage 2, in addition to a bachelor’s degree, must have attained the Master
of Theology degree (ThM) or Master of Sacred Theology degree (STM) or their educational equivalents. For purposes of admission to Stage 2 of the PhD program, the ThM or STM degree must be a minimum of one year of full-time study (approximately 30 semester hours), or in the case of DTS graduates, the four-year ThM degree. Applicants entering at Stage 2 must give evidence either by transcript or by examination of at least two years of study in biblical Hebrew and two-and- a-half years of study in New Testament Greek. Any de ciencies in these areas must be made
up without credit in the PhD program. Applicants must have an academic record that demonstrates superior ability and shows promise of success in doctoral studies. Applicants must also present an acceptable master’s thesis. The thesis must be completed and grade awarded by May 15 of the spring preceding admission to the PhD program.

Hebrew Exegesis (after passing proficiency exams in Hebrew grammar)
No. Name Hours
OT103 Introduction to Hebrew Exegesis 3
OT104 Principles of Hebrew Exegesis 3
Greek Exegesis (after passing proficiency exams in Greek grammar and syntax)
No. Name Hours
NT104 Introduction to New Testament Exegesis 3
NT105 Exegesis of Romans 3
  Major in Biblical Studies or Theological Studies 9
CE215 or
WM410
3
  Thesis in major 2
Total   26

Course Requirements 

Students in the PhD program may major in either the Division of Biblical Studies or the Division of Theological Studies. For students admitted with only the MDiv degree, the program requires two stages. Stage one consists of 26 semester hours of work at the master’s level (see above) and stage two requires an additional 35 hours of doctoral work. Students with the ThM or STM degree complete only stage two of the program, or 35 semester hours of classroom work involving at least three semesters of study.

Qualifying exams for stage two assume completion of the 26 hours of stage one. However, students are eligible to take the qualifying exams for stage two during their final semester before completion of stage one and if they are making satisfactory progress on the thesis. Qualifying exams for stage two must be completed successfully before continuing in the doctoral program. Students may attempt the stage two qualifying exams a maximum of two times.

Stage two requirements for all doctoral students are as follows. For Biblical Studies majors, 9 hours of course work are required in divisional courses. In addition to this core curriculum, each student must take 12 hours in a concentration, either Old Testament Studies, New Testament Studies, or Bible Exposition and complete a 3-hour dissertation in their major field. Each student also has 11 hours of electives. See the PhD in Biblical Studies section of this catalog for more information. For a major in Theological Studies, at least 22 hours must be taken in seminars offered by the Division of Theological Studies. In addition they must complete 10 hours of approved elective courses in other departments and a 3 hour dissertation.

Doctoral students are required to demonstrate ability to read scholarly French and German. Information on the dates when the examinations in these languages must be taken is given in the Doctor of Philosophy Handbook.

Only courses taken after receiving the prerequisite degree (MDiv, ThM or STM) can be credited toward the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Normally work done in other institutions may not be credited toward stage two of the PhD degree. A minimal grade of B- must be received in every course credited toward graduation and also on the dissertation.

Residence Requirements 

The program normally includes at least three years of study, a minimum two years of which must be spent in residence. All work leading to the PhD degree must be completed within eight years from the time of matriculation.

STM Completion

Students who fail the qualifying exams on completion of Stage 1 of the PhD program may choose to complete the STM degree by nishing any requirements that remain for that degree (see the STM degree program section of this catalog). In most cases, this will require only 6 more hours of coursework. (This assumes that students have completed the 26 hours of coursework required for Stage 1 of the PhD program, since the STM degree requires 32 hours for completion.)
The additional 6 hours should be taken in the following segments: 3 hours in Communications, 2 hours in Theological Studies (if the major is Biblical Studies) or 2 hours in Biblical Studies
(if the major is Theological Studies), and 1 hour of Internship credit. Students must also have completed coursework in soteriology and eschatology in their master’s program.

Students may transfer a maximum of 6 hours into the STM program, even if additional transfer was considered toward Stage 1 requirements of the PhD program. Additional information on STM completion is available from the Advising Center.

Admission to Candidacy

Students may be admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree by action of the faculty only after (1) completing all residence requirements leading to the degree; (2) passing written and oral examinations in the elds within the major; (3) meeting foreign language requirements; and (4) evidencing, to the satisfaction of the faculty, proven Christian character, ability, and acceptability in Christian ministry, and adherence to the following doctrines: the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the spiritual lostness of the human race, the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ.

Students in the PhD program also must provide a written letter of church involvement from the local church the student has regularly attended while in seminary and a reference form completed by a pastor or spiritual overseer.

Dissertation Requirements 

Students must register for and complete a dissertation of between 50,000 and 75,000 words on an approved subject. Details on the procedures and deadlines for the dissertation subject proposal, syllabus, first and final drafts, and oral defense are given in the Doctor of Philosophy Handbook.

Graduation Requirements

Candidates in the PhD program must have completed 61 semester hours of coursework (35 for students entering with a ThM or STM degree), including dissertation and any other requirements that may have been assigned.

The completion of minimum requirements does not automatically qualify students for the degree. They must evidence, to the satisfaction of the faculty, proven Christian character, ability and acceptability in Christian ministry, and adherence to the doctrines stated in the Admission to Candidacy section.

Diplomas will not be awarded, transcripts issued, or placement assistance provided unless all nancial obligations to the seminary and/or the student loan program are current.