the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

School of Theology and Billy Graham School

Prospectus

  • The initial stage of the dissertation process is the submission of a prospectus, which details the argument and structure of the dissertation
  • After a student’s prospectus has been approved by their supervisor and dissertation committee, they can submit it to the Doctoral Studies Office for it to be considered for approval at the next faculty meeting
  • Students must submit a Prospectus Approval Form with their prospectus, signed by the supervisor and committee.
  • There are several possible prospectus submission deadlines throughout the semester in conjunction with the timing of faculty meetings. These can be found on the PhD Calendar.
  • Note: To help students know how to develop their prospectuses, sample prospectuses are available on our sample prospectus page.

Prospectus Hearing (for BGS Ministry Students: formerly SCM)

  • Students who submit a prospectus will be invited (if their prospectus is approved) to participate in a prospectus hearing in which they discuss and defend their prospectus
  • After a successful prospectus hearing, students must make any revisions indicated by their committee and submit a finalized prospectus for faculty approval. The process for submission is as follows:
  • First, make revisions to the prospectus and prepare an itemized list of all substantial changes to the prospectus with specific page numbers listed where the changes were made
  • Second, submit electronic copies of both your revised prospectus and itemized list of changes to your supervising professor for approval
  • Third, submit a hard copy of your approved revised prospectus to the Doctoral Studies Office for faculty approval` by the deadline indicated on the PhD calendar

BGS Ministry students should also refer to the following documents to in the preparation of both the prospectus and the dissertation:

Style Reading

  • If you plan to defend your dissertation, the first step to initiate the process is to submit a chapter of your work along with your front matter for a style reading
  • The Style Reading Approval Form must be turned in at the same time. This form also lists what documents you should include with your submission
  • The style reader reviews these in the order in which the Doctoral Studies Office receives them so you may not get your reviewed chapter back prior to when your initial draft is due, depending on when you submit it
  • Note: Front matter is usually due 2-3 months before the start of the semester in which students intend to graduate

Initial Dissertation Draft

  • The initial draft is the completed draft version of your entire dissertation
  • The length of a completed PhD dissertation must be between 40,000 and 80,000.
  • Two copies of your initial draft dissertation are due at the deadline. One copy goes to your supervisor who reviews the content of the draft and the other goes to the style reader who reviews the style of the draft
  • The dissertation should follow the Dissertation Page Order Guidelines
  • This draft should be nearly identical to your defense draft other than any changes recommended by your supervisor
  • Note: The style reader normally completes the style reading about the time of the oral defense so students should expect to receive it in time to make corrections for their final dissertation submission

Intention to Graduate

  • Students must notify the Academic Records office of their intention to graduate by completing the Intention to Graduate Form available on ecampus by the established deadline
  • More details about graduation dates and requirements are available on the graduation information webpage

External Reader (School of Theology Only)

  • The external reader is an expert in your field who reviews your dissertation and offers feedback
  • Students should discuss who the external reader will be with their supervisor
  • Then, supervisors should make an initial request with the potential external reader prior to the submission of the initial dissertation draft
  • If the external reader agrees in principle, then a formal request will be sent from the Doctoral Studies Office in addition to the dissertation draft
  • External readers are given four weeks to return their comments, and oral defense dates should be scheduled after the external reader’s comments have been received
  • An external reader fee will be charged to each student’s account upon completion of the external reader’s review

Defense Draft of the Dissertation

  • The defense draft is the version of the dissertation that will be used for the student’s oral defense
  • By the proper deadline, School of Theology students must submit two/three copies of their defense draft (one for supervisor if changes have been made since initial draft, and two for committee members). Students must also email a pdf copy of the dissertation to the RDS Office for the external reader. Billy Graham School students must submit two copies of their defense draft (for their committee members)
  • The Defense Submission Form which your supervisor must sign, must accompany the defense draft.  If you mail in your dissertation copies, then an email from your supervisor is sufficient for their signature on the submission form
  • After the oral defense, students will update their defense draft with any additional content changes suggested by the committee or external reader and any additional style changes suggested by the style reader
  • Note: As previously mentioned, this draft should be nearly identical to your initial dissertation draft other than any changes recommended by your supervisor after he reads it

Oral Defense

  • The oral defense is the opportunity for students to present and defend their dissertation before their committee
  • Students should work with their supervisor to determine a suitable date and time to conduct the oral defense. Oral defenses for School of Theology students must allow sufficient time for external readers to read and respond to the defense draft prior to the oral defense date
  • Once the defense date and time is established, the supervisor should communicate that information to the Doctoral Studies Office
  • Then, the Doctoral Studies Office will reserve a room for the defense and provide the supervisor with the necessary oral defense evaluation documents
  • Students should bring a dissertation approval page to the oral defense for each copy of their final dissertation that they plan to submit (on cotton bond paper) so that their committee members may sign them upon successful defense of the dissertation
  • After the oral defense, supervisors should submit the completed oral defense evaluation documents to the Doctoral Studies Office and students should make any revisions necessary for the completion of the final version of their dissertation

Final Dissertation Submission

  • SBTS Ph.D. and Th.M. thesis track students must submit an electronic copy of their final dissertation or thesis formatted as a PDF to Proquest/UMI. This electronic copy will also be placed within the seminary’s institutional repository. Details about electronic submission, creating PDFs, pricing and other information are available on the library website.
  • Students must also purchase one bound copy of their dissertation or thesis for deposit within the library. The purchase of this copy takes place automatically as part of the electronic submission process. If students would like to purchase additional bound copies of their dissertation, they may do so when they submit electronically.
  • The Boyce Library at SBTS has extensive information about the dissertation submission process, including a link to the dissertation submission service that students use to submit their final dissertation.
  • Students will pay all fees associated with their dissertation through the Proquest/UMI dissertation submission interface. Final submission and payment of fees must be paid prior to graduation.
  • Students are responsible for ensuring that electronic copies of the final dissertation are properly ordered according to the Dissertation Page Order Guidelines. Dissertations will be bound as received from the student, so any mistakes in page ordering made by the student will persist in the electronic and bound forms of the dissertation.
  • SBTS Ph.D. and Th.M. thesis track graduates are required to submit to UMI’s publishing agreement as a part of the electronic submission process.
  • SBTS PhD graduates are expected to participate in the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED), which aggregates data about the educational history and future plans of doctoral graduates throughout the country. Students must fill out the online Survey of Earned Doctorates Questionnaire. After registering and completing the survey, students should choose to send the email confirmation of their questionnaire completion to thmphd@sbts.edu to notify the Doctoral Studies Office that they have fulfilled this requirement.
  • Note: Failure to complete the electronic submission process or online SED questionnaire will prevent the Doctoral Studies Office from processing your final dissertation

Tuition Waiver (for non-program fee students only)

Students who fail to meet graduation deadlines in a given semester can have their tuition waived for the following semester if they meet certain.

  • Students must submit their completed defense draft prior to the final day of the semester. In other words, if students submit their defense draft prior to the final day of the fall semester in December, then they could qualify to have their spring tuition waived and graduate in May
  • Students must submit a signed Tuition Waiver Request Form with their defense draft prior to the last day of the semester
  • Students must complete their oral defense and submit their final dissertation in accordance with the deadlines in the following semester
  • Note: Tuition waiver requests are evaluated on a case by case basis, and students should not assume that they qualify until their signed tuition approval form is approved by the Doctoral Studies Office

Continuation Fee Waiver (for program fee students)

  • Students who have paid the entire program fee and failed to meet graduation deadlines in a given semester can have their continuation fee waived for the following semester if they meet certain requirements.
  • Students must submit their completed defense draft prior to the final day of the semester. In other words, if students submit their defense draft prior to the final day of the fall semester in December, then they could qualify to have their spring tuition waived and graduate in May
  • Students must submit a signed Continuation Fee Waiver Request Form with their defense draft prior to the last day of the semester
  • Students must complete their oral defense and submit their final dissertation in accordance with the deadlines in the following semester
  • Note: Fee waiver requests are evaluated on a case by case basis, and students should not assume that they qualify until their signed tuition approval form is approved by the Doctoral Studies Office

 

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.