New Ph.D. Students

Welcome New Students!

Congratulations on your admission into the Ph.D. program at Southern Seminary!

This page is your resource for next steps as a newly admitted student. Make sure you complete your matriculation form located on your application portal before you complete the steps below.

If you have any further questions, you will find contact information at the bottom of the page for the Research Doctoral Office staff.

Getting Started

After completing admissions’ accepted student requirements, all Ph.D. students must complete 2 introductory courses before or during their first semester.

81020 WW Graduate Research Seminar


This online course is a self-paced, video-based introduction to the PhD program and research and writing at the doctoral level. Students register for this course immediately after being accepted and begin the material as soon as possible. Students receive a copy of the Ph.D. handbook during this course. The class includes a Zoom meeting that provides additional orientation to the program and an opportunity to ask questions of RDS staff.

81260 Foundations for Theological Studies


This course meets in person for one day in May (the Saturday between modular seminar weeks) or December (the Saturday between modular seminar weeks).  There is no online option for completing this course.

Note: after the first semester, students must complete 2 additional RDS general courses (81270 Course Development & Design and 81300 Higher Education), which are offered at the same time as FTS (in May and December each year). These may be completed at either time, and in either order.

2 Ph.D. Seminars

  • All students must complete a total of 8 seminars
    • For most programs, students complete 5 seminars in their concentration and 3 “flex” seminars that can be completed in any concentration.
    • Exception: students in Biblical Studies, Historical and Theological Studies, and Philosophy and Theological Studies take 4 seminars in each of the 2 areas that make up their program (one in each of the 2 weeks of modular seminars in May and December)
  • Residential seminars are listed under fall/spring semesters on MySBTS
    • Fall semester begins in August and ends in December
    • Spring semester begins in January and ends in May
  • Modular seminars are listed under winter/summer semesters on MySBTS and meet in May or December.
    • Winter semester begins in August and ends in January
    • Summer semester begins in January and ends in July

1 Colloquium

  • All students must complete a total of 4 colloquia within their area of study.
    • Exception: students in Biblical Studies, Historical and Theological Studies, and Philosophy and Theological Studies take 2 colloquia in each of the 2 areas that make up their program, which are offered in alternating semesters.
  • Residential colloquia take place on Wednesdays at 2:30 and are listed under the fall/spring semesters on MySBTS.
  • Modular colloquia take place on Friday during the first week of modular seminars and are listed under the winter/summer semesters on MySBTS.

1 Prospectus Development Course

  • All students must complete Prospectus Development 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • Prospectus Development courses are listed under the fall/spring semesters on MySBTS.
  • These courses do not meet in person, but consist of guided reading with the student’s supervisor to facilitate progress toward a dissertation topic.
Open Bible

How and when do I complete research languages?

All students must complete 2 research languages related to their dissertation research during the coursework stage of the PhD program. There are 3 options for completing these languages:

  1. Complete an online, video-based research language course offered by SBTS (currently, Theological French and Theological Latin are offered).
  2. Self-study and complete a proficiency exam administered by the RDS office during the semester.
  3. Complete a doctoral-level language course at another institution and have the transcript sent to SBTS after completion.
Student talking with Dr. Ibrahim

How do I contact my supervisor?

Your decision letter indicates your assigned Ph.D. supervisor (unless it will be determined at a later date). We encourage students to be proactive and diligent in making contact and maintaining regular communications with their supervisors, since this relationship is key to making steady progress in the program.

You can find your supervisor’s contact information on their faculty page on the SBTS website. It would be wise to reach out to your supervisor to schedule an initial meeting, Zoom call, or phone conversation to discuss the beginning of your studies, course selections, Prospectus Development reading, and possible dissertation topics. We also encourage modular students to be sure to schedule meetings with their supervisors in person when they come to campus in May and December.



Should I be Aware of any Upcoming Events?

1892 Club

This weekly gathering is for all PhD students to hear a guest lecture and build community (Wednesdays from 1:00 – 2:15) with coffee and occasional giveaways. The RDS office provides a Zoom link for modular students who wish to participate.

Ph.D. Induction Ceremony

This annual event commemorates the acceptance of the incoming Ph.D. class and takes place in December during the first week of modular seminars. Families are welcome to attend.

Modular Chapel Service

This chapel service for all Ph.D. students takes place during modular seminars and includes a time of worship, fellowship, and address from the Director of Research Doctoral Studies.

Students listening to classroom lecture

Who should I contact with additional questions?

Please feel free to reach out to the Research Doctoral Studies office by phone at (502) 897-4119 or by email ( with any additional questions. Our team includes Hannah Downing (Administrative Assistant), Tom Holsteen (Assistant Director), and Dr. Gregory Wills (Director), who will all be happy to help.

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Classes begin in August