All applicants for research doctoral programs will be evaluated on the basis of their previous academic record, performance on examinations, personal aptitude, and motivation for graduate study.

Admission Prerequisites:

  • Master of Divinity or equivalent from a regionally accredited seminary. The M.Div. degree must include the minimum Hebrew and Greek required in the M.Div. program of Southern Seminary (at least 3 hours of one language at the elementary level and 3 hours of the other language at the intermediate level).
  • The Master of Arts in Christian Education (M.A.C.E) or its equivalent is acceptable for degrees within the School of Church Ministries.
  • Master of Theology: A minimum master’s level cumulative grade point average of “B+” (3.3 on a 4.0 scale). Admission is competitive and a higher GPA is favored.
  • Doctor of Education: The student must have completed his or her Master’s degree with a minimum grade point average of B+ (3.3 on a 4.0 scale). Admission is competitive and a higher GPA is favored. In addition, the student must have earned a regionally-accredited Master’s degree totaling no fewer than 48 hours, with at least twelve hours in biblical or theological studies and at least twelve hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies.
  • Doctor of Philosophy: A minimum master’s level cumulative grade point average of “B+” (3.5 on a 4.0 scale). Admission is very competitive and a higher GPA is favored.

Application Requirements:

International Applicants:

  • Non-native English speakers, including those who have graduated from any U.S. school, must submit an official score report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores must be from within the last three years and meet a minimum of 90 for internet-based test (iBT), 233 for computer-based test (CBT) or 575 for paper-based test (PBT).  Students can go to for more information about these tests.

Additional Requirements:

  • An official copy of GRE scores.
  • All test scores must be less than three years old and must be officially submitted to the Admissions Office by the application deadlines of January 15 for Fall semester or August 1 for Spring semester in order to be considered for admission into the following fall or spring semester respectively. Please note that the School of Church Ministries only accepts Ph.D. applications for Fall semesters.
  • Successful completion of the Graduate Field Essay or Qualifying Examination. The Field Essay and Exam are offered twice a year and invitations are extended to those who are believed to have a reasonable possibility of acceptance. Applicants residing outside the continental United States should contact the Research Doctoral Studies office for additional testing information.
  • Interview with the faculty of the school or division that covers the applicant’s desired area of study which will be scheduled on the date of the Field Essay and Exam.
  • A graduate level research paper in the field to which the applicant is applying must be submitted along with the application.
  • Ph.D. applicants in the School of Church Ministries must have a minimum of 21 hours of Biblical and Theological Studies and a minimum of 21 hours of Church Ministry Studies. Additional requirements include a personal vitae including previous academic studies, rationale for doctoral studies, personal goals, area of research interest, and description of current and past ministry responsibilities.