Doctor of Philosophy

Theological Studies

The PhD (Theological Studies) at TEDS offers an exciting, academically robust program that prepares graduates for a wide range of career opportunities. Alumni from the PhD (Theological Studies) have gone on to a diverse set of vocations that include academic teaching and writing and various forms of church, parachurch, and denominational leadership. Graduates from this program have made a significant contribution to original research in their fields of concentration.

Program design

The PhD (THS) program is designed on a four and a half year, full-time model, consisting of at least two and a half years of course work followed by an additional two years of comprehensive exams and dissertation research and writing. The program may be completed in four years if the student has exceptional biblical and modern language skills and no entrance deficiencies; however, the current average time to complete the program is 5-6 years.

Language Proficiency

Proficiency in the biblical languages and in German and French (or other language, if approved) must be demonstrated prior to or during the first two years of study. (This often requires attendance at courses/exam sessions prior to the actual matriculation date.)


Trinity has been entrusted with the Gospel since 1897, and every day we are called to live with purpose. Our purpose as a divinity school is to know the Gospel, live the Gospel and make the Gospel known. In today’s ever-changing culture, Trinity immerses students in a community of biblical orthodoxy and practical living. The Trinity faculty is among the most widely published in evangelical academia and has deeply influenced the leaders shaping the present and future of evangelical Christianity across the globe.

About this Program

Hear from Dr. Dana Harris share her experience as a graduate and now Professor of the PhD in Theological Studies program.
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Complete original work in one of these four concentrations: Church History/Historical Theology, New Testament Exegesis and Theology, Old Testament, or Systematic Theology.

Church History

The Church History Department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is a vibrant community of faculty members, master’s students, and doctoral students committed to rigorous historical scholarship in service to Christ and his Church. Courses topics include the history of the theology, institutions, and practice of the Christian church from the period of the early church through the present day.

New Testament

The NT (THS) program exists to provide students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the New Testament in its original contexts. Students will gain a general competency in the interpretation of various corpuses within the New Testament canon while acquiring the ability to address specific issues in New Testament studies. Emphasis is given to understanding the New Testament in its historical and cultural contexts, acquiring a particular competency in reading Hellenistic Greek texts, exploring theological developments within the New Testament, and developing the ability to evaluate critically the contributions of modern interpreters. Through these tools, students are expected to make original and significant contributions to the area of New Testament scholarship. Such contributions should in turn make an impact on the wider theological and ecclesiological contexts.

Old Testament

The Old Testament Department focuses on the exegesis and interpretation of the Old Testament in its original context and its significance as the Word of God for the Church. Students are equipped for a lifetime of effective independent study and teaching. Attention is given to Hebrew language and exegesis, theology, historical and cultural backgrounds, cognate languages, literary analysis and critical methods, linguistics and textual criticism.

Systematic Theology

This concentration (60 hours total) focuses on the content and methods of systematic theology. Special attention is paid to the use of Scripture in theology, dialogue with historic and global theological traditions, a theological engagement with issues relating to ethics, and specializing within your specific research area from a robustly critical-evangelical perspective. The PhD. in Systematic Theology, therefore, uniquely provides the individual obtaining it with doctrinal precision placed alongside an understanding of benefits of theological work for the life of the church. It is suitable both for pastor-theologians returning to local church work and theologian-pastors who wish to see their work in the academy as accountable to the church.

Financial Aid

Did you know that nearly 95% of our students receive some form of financial aid? At Trinity we offer scholarships, grants, rebates, and other aid options to help pay for the cost of schooling. Learn more about what is available below or by contacting the Financial Aid Office at [email protected].


Applicants for the PhD (THS) program must meet the following requirements:
  • Have earned a Master of Divinity (MDiv) or its equivalent from an accredited institution.
  • Have documented evidence of competency in biblical Greek and Hebrew.
  • Present evidence of potential for original academic research at the doctoral level by submitting a sample of an exemplary research paper or thesis.
  • Have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in previous graduate studies.
  • Provide recommendations from 3 Professors of recent graduate study and 1 Pastor or Church Official.
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Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Commencement


Church History/Historical Theology Concentration

  • Advanced Theological Prolegomena
  • The Theological Scholar
  • Colloquium in Historical Methodology I & II
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar I & II
  • Principles of Higher Education
  • Advanced Electives (30 hours)

New Testament Concentration

  • Advanced Theological Prolegomena
  • The Theological Scholar
  • N. T. Research
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar I & II
  • Principles of Higher Education
  • Advanced Electives (30 hours)

Old Testament Concentration

  • Advanced Theological Prolegomena
  • The Theological Scholar
  • O. T. Research & Methods
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar I & II
  • Principles of Higher Education
  • Advanced Electives (28 hours)

Systematic Theology Concentration

  • Interdisciplinary THS Seminar I
  • Advanced Theological Prolegomena
  • The Theological Scholar
  • Principles of Higher Education
  • Advanced Electives (32 hours)

International Applicants

All international PhD/THS program students, including students from Canada, are now required to enter the United States with an F-1 visa, even if attending a single modular class. PhD/THS students are normally expected to enroll in a full-time residential status (i.e., living in Deerfield and registered for full-time attendance) and therefore must comply with the same visa requirements as residential master’s-level applicants (see Admissions). Exceptions to this requirement must be cleared in advance with the Program Director and the International Students Office.

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Combining unrivaled academic rigor with a wholehearted commitment to gospel fidelity and an abundance of flexible options, TEDS offers a theological education that equips you to serve Christ with wisdom and grace, in truth and love.