The Th.D. program is offered to pastors and adult learners who have a desire to enhance their theological knowledge, ministerial skills, and teaching competence. Its design gives it a stronger theological specialization than the Doctor of Ministry, and makes it differ from the Ph.D. in its curriculum through the obvious connection to pastoral ministry, biblical truth, and the church.

About the Program

The Doctor of Theology {Latin, Doctor Theologiae} abbreviated Th.D., is a terminal interdisciplinary degree with a Theology Major Core {of eight required courses} and a Minor Core {of four courses}. The Minor Core offers the Th.D. candidate an opportunity to choose the four courses for the Minor Core from a listing of Minor Core subjects to personalize the curriculum in the Th.D. program. The Th.D. stands alone at the pinnacle of biblical scholarship. For the pastor and teacher, the Th.D. provides a course mix to maximize current and future ministry effectiveness.

By definition, Th.D. programs have traditionally been designed only for theological scholarship. Since 2006 there has been a shift in the purpose of the Th.D. curriculum. Even with this shift in purpose (see paragraph below), the Th.D. remains apart from the Ph.D. programs which are designed for the study of religious issues, and the Doctor of Ministry, which as a professional degree focuses on the more practical issues of ministry in a context of applied pastoral and practical theology.

Purpose of the Th.D.

The Purposes of the Th.D. program include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing pastors the opportunity to hone their exegetical skills and theological knowledge;
  • Training pastors who may also have a desire to teach in an institutional environment where a Th.D. is required;
  • Creating an awareness of new biblically related subjects in the expanding area of theology;
  • Honing the pastor’s research and writing skills as an asset to future writings and publications.

Prerequisites to Enter the
Doctor of Theology Program

A Master’s degree is required to begin the program of study leading to the awarding of the Th.D. degree.

Two Th.D. curriculums are available depending upon the master’s degree discipline and ministry experience.

  • Major Core Curriculum One is for the Applicant with a biblically based master’s degree. Examples: M.A. in Theology, M.S.L., M.Div.,
  • Major Core Curriculum Two is for the Applicant with a secular master’s degree. Examples: M.A., M.Ed., M.Sc., MBA. Curriculum Two contains Th701 and Th702 as prerequisites to the Major Core courses.
  • Applicants with a biblically based bachelor’s degree and a secular master’s degree are qualified to earn the Th.D. with Major Core Curriculum One and Minor Core.
  • Applicants with a secular master’s degree and at least five years of ministry experience are qualified to earn the Th.D. degree with Major Core Curriculum One and Minor Core.

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