Program of Study

The doctoral program requires 42 credit hours of coursework, language examinations in two modern languages and one ancient language (along with additional languages in several of the areas of concentration), candidacy examinations in the student’s major field and in a minor field, and a dissertation.

The program takes a minimum of four years, though most students complete it in five or six years.

PhD Student Manual 2023 2024

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

The doctoral program requires 42 credit hours of coursework and takes a minimum of four years, more often five (or more) years, to complete. In the best interest of the student as well as the program, each student is evaluated at the end of each semester and personally advised of his or her progress in the program.

Learn more about our areas of concentration.

Course Work

Two years of coursework in residency are required.

Students are required to take courses outside their major field and are strongly urged to take courses in fields that are methodologically distinct.

Language Requirements

Students are required to pass examinations showing the ability to read with the aid of a dictionary of standard theological sources in French, German, and either New Testament Greek or Latin. Additional languages are required for Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity, History of Christianity,  World Religions and World Church, and Liturgical Studies (more information can be found in the Ph.D. Manual, available above) and with permission of the Director of Graduate Studies students can substitute a language necessary for their research for one of the stated modern language requirements, e.g. Spanish for French. The language requirement should be fulfilled as soon as possible and must be fulfilled by the fall of the third year.

Candidacy Examinations

Candidacy examinations usually are taken in the second semester of the third year after the completion of all coursework and language requirements. The topics for the examinations are meant to synthesize material learned in coursework, as well as to expand students' intellectual breadth and skills.

Content of Candidacy Examination

  • Seven topics in the major field. (One of the topics should be on the subject to be explored in the dissertation.)
  • Three topics outside the major field.
  • Topics are prepared by the student in consultation with his or her advisor.

Length of Examination

Three days of written examinations are required, followed by a 90-minute oral examination to which the student is admitted after successfully passing the written examinations.

Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal is to be submitted by the beginning of the semester following candidacy examinations. The completed dissertation must be submitted within eight years of matriculation.

Learn More

If you have questions about our Ph.D. program, please contact