All applicants for research doctoral programs will be evaluated on the basis of their previous academic record, performance on examinations, personal aptitude, and motivation for graduate study.

Admission Prerequisites:

  • Master of Divinity or equivalent from a regionally accredited seminary. The M.Div. degree must include the minimum Hebrew and Greek required in the M.Div. program of Southern Seminary (at least 3 hours in one language at the elementary level, and at least 6 in the other up to the intermediate level).
  • An MA or its equivalent is acceptable for the following programs: Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Worship, Higher Education, & Leadership, Doctor of Missiology (MA in Missiology only).
  • Master of Theology: A master’s level cumulative grade point average of 3.0 for a Ministry Th.M. and 3.3 for a Research Th.M and Modular Th.M.
  • Doctor of Education: The student must have completed his or her Master’s degree with a minimum grade point average of B+ (3.3 on a 4.0 scale). Admission is competitive and a higher GPA is favored. In addition, the student must have earned a regionally-accredited Master’s degree totaling no fewer than 48 hours, with at least twelve hours in biblical or theological studies and at least twelve hours in leadership, administration, education, or ministry studies.
  • Doctor of Philosophy: A minimum master’s level cumulative grade point average of “B+” (3.5 on a 4.0 scale). Admission is very competitive and a higher GPA is favored.

Application Requirements:

International Applicants:

  • Non-native English speakers, including those who have graduated from any U.S. school, must submit an official score report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores must be from within the last three years and meet a minimum of 90 (Th.M.) and 95 (all other degrees) for internet-based test (iBT), 233 for computer-based test (CBT) or 575 for paper-based test (PBT).  Students can go to for more information about these tests.

Additional Requirements:

  • An official copy of GRE scores.
  • All test scores must be less than three years old and must be officially submitted to the Admissions Office by the application deadlines of January 15 for Fall semester or August 1 for Spring semester in order to be considered for admission into the following fall or spring semester respectively.
  • Successful completion of the Graduate Field Essay or Qualifying Examination. The Field Essay and Exam are offered twice a year and invitations are extended to those who are believed to have a reasonable possibility of acceptance. Applicants residing outside the continental United States should contact the Research Doctoral Studies office for additional testing information.
  • Interview with the faculty of the school or division that covers the applicant’s desired area of study which will be scheduled on the date of the Field Essay and Exam.
  • A graduate level research paper in the field to which the applicant is applying must be submitted along with the application.