Concordia Seminary, St. Louis has received word from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the accrediting agency for most seminaries and divinity schools in the United States, that its proposal to offer a PhD program has received approval. This is the only PhD program available in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod education system and one of the few available from any Lutheran seminary. The PhD will replace the ThD degree program which has been offered by Concordia Seminary since 1944.
At its March meeting, the Concordia Seminary faculty also adopted a formal description and accompanying guidelines for the new doctoral program. The description indicates that, “The purpose of the PhD 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 which makes an original contribution in their field.”
In commenting on the initial benefits resulting from the change in nomenclature, Dr. James W. Voelz, Director of the School for Graduate Studies at Concordia Seminary, stated, “This is great news for our seminary and for the church! The degree nomenclature (PhD) will be more understandable within the academic world and, therefore, more acceptable when presented by those seeking teaching positions at colleges and universities.”Voelz also commented on the benefits this change will bring for those from other parts of world considering doctoral study at Concordia, “The PhD is much more desirable for those from outside our shores, especially in Asia and South America.” Voelz was also quick to add, however, that, “Even though the name of the degree program has changed, our commitment to provide a doctoral program of the highest caliber with biblical and confessional integrity has not changed.”
To be eligible for admission to the PhD program, a student must possess a master’s level theological degree (Mdiv, or masters in theological studies) with a grade point average of 3.50 (on a 4-point scale) or above. Additional stipulations for admission eligibility are available from the School for Graduate Studies at Concordia Seminary.
Those interested in more details on the Ph.D. program, or any of the other graduate study opportunities offered at Concordia Seminary should contact Dr. James W. Voelz at Concordia Seminary, 801 DeMun Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63105; 314-505-7103.