Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies 

60 credit hours | 5.5 years


Why study for a Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies at TEDS?

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. You will graduate from this program having made a significant contribution to original research in your field of concentration.

Complete original work in one of these five concentrations: Church History / Historical Theology, New Testament Exegesis and Theology, Old Testament (focus in Old Testament Hebrew, Literature, and Exegesis), Old Testament (focus in Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History, Archaeology, and Languages), or Systematic Theology.

WHAT ARE THE PREREQUISITES FOR
ADMISSION TO THIS PROGRAM?

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. Specifically this should include 18 hours in Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew, 14 hours in New Testament and Biblical Greek, 15 hours in Systematic Theology, and 7 hours in Church History. In special circumstances, the department of concentration may accept applicants who demonstrate particular qualities that justify their admission into the program without the MDiv degree.
  • 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.
  • Give evidence of intellectual competence in all previous accredited graduate studies.
  • Have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in previous graduate studies.
  • Provide recommendations from the following four people (to be submitted electronically through the online application): 3 Professors of recent graduate study, 1 Pastor or Church Official.
  • Submit a test score from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants whose first language is not English must also submit scores less than two years old from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in addition to the GRE.

WHAT WILL I STUDY?

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 5.5 years.

RESIDENCE COURSEWORK REQUIREMENTS

Residence coursework includes the completion of at least:
28 hours in seminar courses;
16 hours in advanced electives;
4 hours in education and research methods;
and 6 hours in dissertation proposal and comprehensive exam prep.

A minimum of 6 hours of dissertation research follows the residence coursework.

If your educational background has been limited to one theological tradition, you may be advised or required to add a minimum of one term of residence work at another graduate school. Such residence work may also be required by the scope of your dissertation research.

TIMELINE AND COURSE LOAD

Some may complete the required residence course work within two years, but many will take longer to do so. This depends on your level of academic preparation, whether you are awarded advanced standing hours, and the time you’re able to devote to the program.

A normal student course load is 9-12 hours per semester. Full-time status is defined as at least 9 hours per semester (part-time students can be accommodated, but preference is given to full-time applicants, and intent to be part-time or full-time must be declared at the time of application).

For additional information on the design of the program and its specific requirements, please contact an Admissions Counselor or read the Academic Catalog

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

Proficiency in the biblical languages and in German or French must be demonstrated prior to or during your first year of study. (This often requires attendance at courses/exam sessions prior to your actual matriculation date.)

 

CONCENTRATIONS

Complete original work in one of these five concentrations: Church History/Historical Theology, New Testament Exegesis and Theology, Old Testament (focus in Old Testament Hebrew, Literature, and Exegesis), Old Testament (focus in Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern History, Archaeology, and Languages), or Systematic Theology.

You’ll need to apply for the PhD (THS) in one of the following concentrations:

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY CONCENTRATION

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, and engaging broadly within your specific research area from a robustly critical-evangelical perspective.

Required Courses (32 hours)

Course Title Credits
Select four Systematic Theology seminars 16 hours
ID 9200 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar I 4 hours
ID 9300 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar II 4 hours
ST 9100 Advanced Theological Prolegomena 4 hours
ST 9110 The Theological Scholar 2 hours
ST 9222 Principles of Higher Education 2 hours

Advanced Electives (16 hours)

Select 16 hours of advanced electives. Generally within this department or, with approval, other departments.

Comprehensive Exam Preparation & Dissertation (12 hours)

Course Title Credits
ST 9975 Comprehensive Exam prep 3 hours
ST 9990 Dissertation Proposal prep 3 hours
ST 9991 Dissertation Research (two to six semesters) 6 hours
CHURCH HISTORY / HISTORICAL THEOLOGY

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.

The teaching faculty includes three experienced historians, Drs. John Woodbridge, and Scott Manetsch, as well as a group of talented part-time teaching faculty who offer specialized courses in the history of the theology, institutions, and practice of the Christian church from the period of the early church to the present day. Our department is an exciting place to pursue graduate studies in church history!

Church History / Historical Theology Concentration (60 hours total)

Required Courses (34 Hours)
Course Title Credits
Select four Historical Theology seminars 16 hours
ID 9200 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar I 4 hours
ID 9300 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar II 4 hours
ST 9100 Advanced Theological Prolegomena 4 hours
ST 9110 The Theological Scholar 2 hours
ST 9222 Principles of Higher Education 2 hours
CH 8911
Colloquium in Historical Methodology I 1 hour
CH 8912 Colloquium in Historical Methodology II 1 hour
Advanced Electives (14 Hours)
Select 14 hours of advanced electives. Either within CH or, with approval, other departments
Comprehensive Exam Preparation & Dissertation (12 Hours)
Course Title Credits
CH 9975 Comprehensive Exam Preparation 3 hours
CH 9990 Dissertation Proposal Prep 3 hours
CH 9991 Dissertation Research (two to six semesters) 6 hours
OLD TESTAMENT—FOCUS IN OT AND ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN HISTORY, ARCHAEOLOGY, AND LANGUAGES

This concentration focuses on the ancient Near Eastern context, history, and archaeology of the Old Testament, with a focus on issues of historicity, ongoing archaeological fieldwork and the relationship of past fieldwork to the history of the Old Testament, and the cognate languages and cultural contexts of the Old Testament. Special attention is paid to issues relating to the historical context of the OT (rather than theology, exegesis, or textual criticism, although students will be competent in these as well).

Old Testament—Ancient Near Eastern History, Archaeology, and Languages Concentration (60 hours total)

Required Courses (45 hours)

Course Title Credits
Select one Old Testament seminar 4 hours
OT 7680 Literature of the Ancient Near East 3 hours
OT 8xxx Religions of the ANE 3 hours
OT 8811 History and Archaeology of the ANE I 3 hours
OT 8812 History and Archaeology of the ANE II 3 hours
Ancient Near Eastern required languages 9 hours
ID 9200 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar I 4 hours
ID 9300 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar II 4 hours
ST 9100
Advanced Theological Prolegomena seminar 4 hours
ST 9110 The Theological Scholar 2 hours
ST 9222 Principles of Higher Education 2 hours
OT 8911 OT Studies I: Pentateuch & Former Prophets 2 hours
OT 8912 OT Studies II: Latter Prophets & Writings 2 hours

Advanced Electives (9 hours)

Select 9 hours of advanced electives. From within this department or, with approval, from other departments.

Comprehensive Exam Preparation & Dissertation (6 hours)

Course Title Credits
OT 9975 Comprehensive Exam Preparation 0 hours
OT 9990 Dissertation Proposal Prep 0 hours
OT 9991 Dissertation Research 6 hours
OLD TESTAMENT—FOCUS IN OT HEBREW, LITERATURE, AND EXEGESIS

The Old Testament Department acquaints students with the content and teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures and introduces them to the tools they need for a lifetime of effective independent study of these Scriptures. Attention is given to problems of Old Testament history and criticism. The value of the Old Testament for preaching and for understanding the New Testament is stressed. Students are also introduced to the historical and cultural backgrounds of biblical literature, provided an understanding of ancient Near Eastern cultures, have light shed on the interpretation of the Bible in its historical setting, and shown support for the biblical record of the history of the Jewish nation in its interrelationship with the peoples of the ancient world.

The focus in OT Hebrew, Literature, and Exegesis (60 hours) specifically focuses on matters of translation, theology, canon, and linguistics.

Old Testament—OT Hebrew, Literature, and Exegesis Concentration (60 hours total)

Required Courses (36 Hours)
Course Title Credits
Select one Old Testament seminars 16 hours
ID 9200

Interdisciplinary THS Seminar I

4 hours
ID 9300 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar II 4 hours

ST 9100

Advanced Theological Prolegomena

4 hours

ST 9110

The Theological Scholar

2 hours

ST 9222

Principles of Higher Education

2 hours

OT 8911

Old Testament Studies I: Pentateuch & Former Prophets

2 hours

OT 8912

Old Testament Studies II: Latter Prophets & Writings

2 hours
Advanced Electives (12 Hours)

Select 12 hours of advanced electives. From within this department or, with approval, from other departments.

Comprehensive Exam Preparation & Dissertation (12 Hours)
Course Title Credits
OT 9975 Comprehensive Exam Preparation 3 hours
OT 9990 Dissertation Proposal Prep 3 hours
OT 9991 Dissertation Research (two to six semesters) 6 hours
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.

New Testament Concentration (60 hours total)

Required Courses (34 Hours)
Course Title Credits
Select four New Testament seminars 16 hours
ID 9200 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar I 4 hours
ID 9300 Interdisciplinary THS Seminar II 4 hours
ST 9100 Advanced Theological Prolegomena 4 hours
ST 9110 The Theological Scholar 2 hours
ST 9222 Principles of Higher Education 2 hours
NT 8911 New Testament Research 2 hours
Advanced Electives (14 Hours)
Select 14 hours of advanced electives. Generally within NT or, with approval, other departments
Comprehensive Exam Preparation & Dissertation (12 Hours)
Course Title Credits
NT 9975 Comprehensive Exam Preparation 3 hours
NT 9990 Dissertation Proposal Prep 3 hours
NT 9991 Dissertation Research (two to six semesters) 6 hours

 

 

Special Instructions for 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.

Admission Deficiencies

Applicants whose academic record does not include all the required prerequisites may in special circumstances be admitted to the program, but they will be asked to meet entrance deficiencies or demonstrate competence, at the Divinity School’s discretion.

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