The Doctorate in Systematic Theology represents an achievement in theological scholarship and research. The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare graduate students to make significant contributions to knowledge in systematic inquiry while broadening their understanding of other areas of theology.

By means of research seminars, advanced level courses, language skills, comprehensives, and an extensive research project, the program is designed to develop graduates who are capable of thorough theological understanding and careful research.


  • At least 12 credit hours of undergraduate or graduate philosophy. Normally, these credits should be in four of the following areas: ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, modern philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics.
  • At least 15 credit hours of undergraduate and/or graduate courses in theology of religious studies at a B grade level or above. These should include courses in the Old and New Testaments, church history, and systematic and moral theology. Upon review of an applicant's previous studies, some prerequisite courses may be required at the discretion of the admissions committee.


  • A minimum of 36 hours of course work after the M.A. degree
  • 18 hours (including TRS 760A: Theological Foundations) are to be taken in the historical theology at the 700-level (lecture) and 800-level (seminars). At least 12 of these 18 hours are to be taken in 800-level seminars which require major research papers.
  • 12 hours of electives that may be taken in any of the academic areas of the School of Theology and Religious Studies.
  • Six hours in a minor area outside the major area of concentration.
  • Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an inadequate background are encouraged to audit 600 level courses in order to complement their courses at the 700 and 800 level.
  • A reading knowledge of the following languages: Latin, Greek, German, and a major Romance language.

Comprehensive Exam

The examination will be based upon a reading list drawn up by the student in consultation with the three members of the examining board. The list should include approximately 50 substantive titles drawn from both primary and secondary sources as well as works by authors in other Christian traditions. The reading list in historical theology should consist of 15 books in the student's major historical period, 10 books in each of the two other historical periods, and 15 books in the student's theological area.