the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Modular Format

Earn a Ph.D. without selling your home, resigning your ministry position, or moving your family

Many of our Southern Seminary Ph.D. concentrations are now offered in a modular format, which allows you to complete your degree without relocating to Louisville. This format combines the academic quality you expect with the scheduling flexibility you want.

Program Overview

Our modular format programs offer tremendous flexibility, allowing students to earn their degree without having to leave their current place of ministry. They allow students to come to campus for courses usually twice per year for about two weeks each time during both the winter and summer terms.

Prior to each seminar, students will complete pre-seminar work that typically consists of extensive reading and intensive writing assignments. In addition, students will interact with one another in the months leading up to classes through online discussions.

After completing seminars during the initial stage of the program, students take comprehensive exams that assess their learning in their areas of study. The program then culminates in the research phase as students write and defend their dissertation.

Why a modular format?

  • Academic Excellence – Degrees in the modular format have all the academic quality you expect from a Southern Seminary Ph.D. World-class faculty teach our Ph.D. courses and maintain high standards for academic excellence in these intensive classes.
  • Flexible Scheduling – You can complete your degree without selling your home, resigning your ministry position or moving your family. You will have on-campus classes twice a year for about two weeks at a time.
  • Learning Community – You will work side-by-side with the same students in many of your courses, which allows the opportunity to build community while engaged in advanced study. As a result, you can build lifelong friendships as students sharpen one another in and out of the classroom.
  • Internet Interaction – Between on-campus classes, you will interact with students and professors through the internet. The online discussions only strengthen later conversation in the classroom.
  • Faculty Mentorship – You will be assigned a faculty supervisor who will shepherd you through the program. They will provide expertise in your area of study and guidance in your academic preparation.
  • Ministry Application – Since the modular format allows you to continue serving in your current ministry position as you study, it provides the opportunity to integrate what you learn into how you minister.

When will modular format classes meet?

Modular format seminars meet twice per year. A typical on-campus experience for modular students is to take one four-day seminar, then a two-day colloquium, followed by another four-day seminar, all over the course of two weeks. Exact dates for classes can be found on the PhD Calendar. For students in the School of Theology and the Billy Graham School, seminars are available at the following two times:

  • Winter Term: For the first two weeks at the beginning of December beginning the Monday after Thanksgiving and running up to the Thursday before Graduation.
    • Seminar 1: First week of December (M-Th)
    • Colloquium: (F-S)
    • Seminar 2: Second week of December (M-Th)
  • Summer Term: For the last two weeks of May and the first week of June, beginning the Monday after Graduation.
    • Seminar 1: Second to last week of May (M-Th)
    • Colloquium: (F-S)
    • Seminar 2: Last week of May (T-F) / not starting Monday because of Memorial Day

How is the modular format PhD different than a traditional format PhD?

The modular format PhD offers students the same academic quality and experience as the traditional format PhD at SBTS. The primary difference is in the delivery method of the classes. Students are able to complete the entire PhD without relocating to Louisville by completing their classes through one-week intensive courses.

What is a typical on-campus experience for a modular student taking classes?

Modular format seminars meet twice per year. A typical on-campus experience for modular students who are taking classes is to take one four-day seminar, then a two-day colloquium, followed by another four-day seminar, all over the course of two weeks.

What is the workload like for modular format PhD seminars?

Workload varies from class to class. Prior to each seminar, students will complete pre-seminar work that typically consists of extensive reading and intensive writing assignments. In addition, students will interact with one another in the months leading up to classes through online discussions.

How much time will modular format PhD students spend in Louisville over the course of their program?

Modular students should expect to come to Louisville 2-3 times per year during the first two years of study as they complete coursework. Students will come to campus to take comprehensive exams after they have completed their coursework. During the dissertation stage, the number of trips to campus will vary depending on a student’s research and supervisory needs. In total, students should expect to come to campus about 8-12 times during their entire PhD program.

School of Theology

Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism & Ministry

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