the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Doctor of Philosophy

 *Students admitted prior to Fall 2014 should refer to the Academic Catalog under which they were enrolled.

Ph.D. Program Outline

Th.M. Candidacy (24 hours)

Graduate Research Seminar

2 hours

Foundations for Theological Studies

2 hours

3 Seminars

12 hours

2 Colloquia*

4 hours

2 Research Languages or Empirical Research

4 hours

Research Portfolio

0 hours

Ph.D. Candidacy (31 hours)

5 Seminars

20 hours

2 Colloquia*

4 hours

Guided Mentorship/Analysis of Empirical Research

1 hour

Prospectus Hearing

1 hour

Teaching in Higher Education Contexts

 4 hours

Comprehensive Exams

 1 hour

Senior Ph.D. Candidacy (16 hours)

Dissertation Writing & Defense 16 hours


Total Hours Required: 71 hours
*All Colloquia are taken in the major field of study.

Suggested Study Plans

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 or the doctoral studies office.


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, five in their major, and three in their Th.M. minor. Seminars should be chosen in consultation with the faculty supervisor and the doctoral studies office.

Th.M. minor concentrations

    • Biblical Theology & Exegesis
    • Missions &Evangelism *
    • Philosophy, Worldview, & Apologetics *
    • Practical Theology *
    • Theological & Historical Studies

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) and Foundations for Theological Studies (81260) prior to the beginning of their coursework. Teaching in Higher Education Contexts (81250) may be taken any time in the students program. 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 four colloquia. Area faculty or the faculty supervisor may request that a student participate in the colloquium beyond the four 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. More information…

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. More information…

Comprehensive Examinations

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


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


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.