the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Doctor of Philosophy

Program Requirements

Two Research languages 0
Eight Area Seminars 32
Graduate Research Seminar 2
Teaching Principles 4
Higher Education 2
Five Colloquia (one per semester) 10
Comprehensive Exams 0
Dissertation 8
Dissertation Defense 8
Total Ph.D. credit hours 66



Normal Course Load For First Semester Student

For first semester students, the following courses are recommended:

  • Graduate Research Seminar (2 hours)
  • Cooperative Program (0 hours)
  • Seminar in your major area of study (4 hours)
  • Colloquium in your major area of study (2 hours)
  • Either a seminar in your minor area of study (4 hours) or a theological language course or both
  • Total hours = 10-14

Semester Plan

A common semester for most Ph.D. students will include a seminar in their major area of study, a colloquium in their major area of study, and a seminar in their minor area of study. If students need help selecting their courses, their best resources will be their supervising professor.


The Cooperative Program Course

The Cooperative Program seminar is a one-time, non-curricular requirement for all students entering Southern or Boyce. The class must be completed by the end of a student’s first year of study. Students will listen to a series of MP3 lectures and take corresponding quizzes scoring a final overall average of 80% or higher to pass the course. Students who do not complete the course by the end of their second semester of study will not be able to register for future classes until the requirement has been met.

Overview of the Program

Area Seminars

Ph.D. study is pursued in large part through area seminars in the student’s major and minor fields of study. A minimum of eight area seminars is required. Seminars should be chosen in consultation with the faculty supervisor.

General Seminars

Three seminars that are not specific to the student’s areas of study are required. Students are expected to take the Graduate Research Seminar (81020) prior to the beginning of their coursework. The Higher Education Seminar (81300) may be taken at any point in the student’s program. Teaching Principles and Methods (81200) may be taken any time after the student completes two years of study. For each of these seminars most of the preparation is done before the first day of class.


The colloquium serves as a forum for exploration of literature, issues, and developments in the student’s major field of study. Students are required to take a minimum of five colloquia. Area faculty or the faculty supervisor may request that a student participate in the colloquium beyond the five colloquia program requirement.

Grading Policy

The minimum passing grade in any course taken for Ph.D. credit is a “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale). A student who earns a grade lower than a “B” will lose credit for that course and will be placed on probation. The student may also be subject to an enrollment review.

Language Requirements

A reading knowledge of two modern and/or classical languages is normally required.

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Independent Study

Up to two seminars may be taken at an approved doctoral granting institution other than Southern Seminary with the approval of the faculty supervisor and the Associate Vice President for Doctoral Studies.

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Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive examinations corresponding to the student’s areas of study are administered at the conclusion of the student’s coursework.

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Each student must demonstrate the ability to conduct and report on original research. This is the final step of the Ph.D. program.

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Deadlines for the Ph.D.

The Ph.D. Calendar is the best resource for students to track deadlines and opportunities in the doctoral program. In addition, the Doctoral Studies Office regularly sends out information emails to students with pertinent details about upcoming events and deadlines.

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