The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is to prepare scholars to be future leaders for the church in both academic and non-academic settings by developing and establishing their competency in a chosen field through classroom performance as students and teachers, through private study and preparation, and through the production of publishable written work that makes an original contribution in their field. The Ph.D. is the specialist research doctorate, which is designed to train people at the highest level in a chosen field so that they may give leadership in the church and in the world at the highest level in both academic and non-academic settings.
Unlike the M.A. and S.T.M. degrees, the Ph.D. is a more variegated degree, comprised of classroom work, independent reading, multiple language and subject examinations, teaching in the classroom, and the preparation of serious, publishable work. The key to the program is the student’s personal advisor, assigned at the beginning of the program. This advisor will guide the student in the selection of courses, assist with exam preparation, help to make arrangements for teaching experiences, and, normally, serve as the dissertation supervisor. He therefore functions as the student’s Doktorvater in many respects, i.e., he is much more than the supervisor of the final written work.
The Ph.D. ordinarily requires 54 hours beyond the master’s degree. Students have a number of emphasis options within exegetical, systematic, historical, and practical theology.