Resources for Professional Doctoral Students

Southern Seminary's professional doctoral degree programs are designed to be completed in 36 months. In order to keep students on track throughout their program of study, we allow students to begin work on their final project or thesis as early as their first semester. The simultaneous completion of course work and research equips our students to immediately implement what they are learning in the classroom within their local ministry contexts.

Scroll down to see a semester by semester progression through our programs.

Semester One

During their first semester, new students will take their first of four concentration seminars along with a program orientation course. But before they can get started, there are a number of items incoming students must attend to right away.

First things first

Step 1: Pay $1000 deposit within 60 days of acceptance

Step 2: Register for classes

Step 3: Arrange on-campus lodging through the Legacy Center Hotel or Student housing

Step 4: Download course syllabi and begin preparing for first semester courses

Course registration

October 1 – November 30 – January start students
March 1 – April 30 – July start students

Students should register for the following courses:

80610: Intro to Doctoral Research & Writing
8xxxx: Foundational Seminar One
(varies by concentration)
80710: Contextualized Writing Seminar
(non-residency writing course)

Other helpful resources

Semester Two

During their second semester students will continue in their specialized area of study by taking the second of four concentration seminars. Students will also work toward graduation by beginning work on their project or thesis proposals through a class called Project Methodology. We’ve provided some helpful materials in the Writing Resources section for students to use throughout the writing process.

Register for classes
October 1 – November 30 – January/Spring terms
March 1 – April 30 – Summer/Fall terms

Students should register for the following courses during their second semester:
80600: Project Methodology*
8xxxx: Foundational Seminar Two
80710: Contextualized Writing Seminar Two

*Monday – Friday writing course, required attendance, sections offered the week before or after the student’s coursework seminar

Resources for Doctoral Writing

As students prepare to take Project Methodology and officially begin the writing process, there are a number of resources available to them. Please visit our Professional Doctoral Studies Writing Resources page to find materials that will prove helpful throughout the project or thesis writing process.
Writing Resources

Semester Three

During semester three, students will focus their efforts on further research and writing as it pertains to their specific ministry research project or thesis while completing their third of four concentration seminars.

Register for classes
October 1 – November 30 – January/Spring terms
March 1 – April 30 – Summer/Fall terms

Students should register for the following courses during their third semester:
8xxxx: Foundational Seminar Three
80710: Contextualized Writing Seminar Three

Semester Four

During semester four, students will work to finish the research portion of their ministry research project while completing their final concentration seminar. Our goal is that the student would be poised for project implementation by the end of this semester.

Register for classes
October 1 – November 30 – January/Spring terms
March 1 – April 30 – Summer/Fall terms

Students should register for the following courses during their fourth semester:
8xxxx: Foundational Seminar Four
80710: Contextualized Writing Seminar Four

Semester Five

During the fifth semester, students will work with their faculty supervisor to prepare for graduation. Doctor of Educational Ministry students will also complete the first of two educational seminars required as part of their program of study.

Register for classes
October 1 – November 30 – January/Spring terms
March 1 – April 30 – Summer/Fall terms

D.Min. students – Register for 80700: D.Min. Research and Writing
Continue working with faculty supervisor to:
– implement and evaluate ministry research project OR
– complete research thesis

D.Ed.Min. students – Register for 80853: D.Ed.Min. Research and Writing PLUS the first of two educational seminars:
80950: Applied Empirical Research (offered during Summer terms) OR
80960: Foundations of Teaching (offered during Winter terms)

Continue working with faculty supervisor to:
– implement and evaluate ministry research project OR
– complete research thesis

Semester Six

During the final semester students will work with their faculty supervisor and defense committee to put the finishing touches on their ministry research project or thesis. Doctor of Educational Ministry students will also take the second of two educational seminars to finish out their coursework.

As students prepare for graduation, there are a number of deadlines and policies they should be aware of. Please see the Graduation Guidelines section below for details.

Register for classes
October 1 – November 30 – January/Spring terms
March 1 – April 30 – Summer/Fall terms

D.Min. students – Register for 80700: D.Min. Research and Writing
Continue working with faculty supervisor to:
– implement and evaluate ministry research project OR
– complete research thesis

D.Ed.Min. students – Register for 80853: D.Ed.Min. Research and Writing PLUS the second of two educational seminars:
80950: Applied Empirical Research (offered during Summer terms) OR
80960: Foundations of Teaching (offered during Winter terms)

Continue working with faculty supervisor to:
– implement and evaluate ministry research project OR
– complete research thesis

Guidelines for Graduation

Students preparing for graduation will work with the Professional Doctoral Studies office to:

  • Submit graduation application
    • September 15 – Winter graduation
    • February 15 – Spring graduation
  • Submit three defensible drafts of completed project or thesis
  • Schedule defense hearing
  • Make changes requested by style reader and committee
  • Make digital submission for SBTS library database


Deadlines for Graduation

The student’s defensible drafts must be received by the PDS office by the following dates:

  • Winter graduation – September 1
  • Spring graduation – February 1

Student Forms

Request for Interrupted Status
(See theĀ PDS Interrupted Status Policy prior to applying for IS.)

Request for Seminary Withdrawal

Request for PDS Fee Waiver

Contact us:
Please direct any questions to the Professional Doctoral Studies Office at:

Phone (toll-free): (800) 626-5525 x4113
Phone (local): (502) 897-4113
E-mail: dmin@sbts.edu

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