Doctor of Philosophy - Ph.D. Seminary Program


The Ph.D. program offers concentrations in a variety of research areas, designed not only to expose students to advanced scholarship in their field but also to equip students to interact with current trends in their area of study.

With a combination of academic excellence and personal mentoring in an environment of confessional scholarship, Ph.D. students at Southern Seminary are trained to advance Christian scholarship for effective kingdom ministry.


Distinctive Features

Advanced Leadership

Students have the privilege of study and mentorship with world-class professors at the forefront of Christian scholarship, providing a unique opportunity to engage with current academic discussions. Coupled with the resources of one of the largest theological libraries in America, this program develops advanced scholarship.

Effective Teaching

In colloquia and area seminars, students not only grow as writers, they also learn to communicate and defend their research. General educational seminars are required for every Ph.D. candidate, preparing them to become lifelong teachers.

Missional Service

At Southern Seminary, scholarship is done for the glory of God and the advancement of the Great Commission. In addition to preparing graduates for college or seminary teaching, the program also equips students for the pastorate and other church-related ministries.

At Southern, we offer our Ph.D. program in either modular or residential format. Students choose a concentration, then are able to participate in courses of either type throughout the duration of their program.
Ph.D. Concentrations

Program Requirements

Ph.D. Student Stage 54
Graduate Research Seminar 2
Foundations for Theological Studies 2
Course Development and Design 2
Higher Education 2
8 Seminars 32
4 Colloquia 4
Prospectus Development 1-4 4
2 Research Languages* 4
Comprehensive Exams 2
Ph.D. Candidate Stage 16
Dissertation Writing & Defense


Total Program Requirements 70

*Some concentrations require Research Methodologies (e.g., Empirical Research Methods, Statistics, or Ethnographic Research) in place of Research Languages.

Learning Outcomes

  • Build a thorough acquaintance with literature in area of specialization and the ability to engage critically and productively in this area.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use standard research tools and methods in the chosen field of study.
  • Plan and conduct research in the area of specialization and to communicate its results effectively.
  • Understanding the role of the professor in institutions of Christian higher education.

Admissions Prerequisites

  • An M.Div. or its equivalent (72 credit hours minimum in specific disciplines) for most concentrations except the following:
    • Christian Apologetics, Christian Philosophy, Christian Ethics, Ethics and Public Theology, and Philosophy and Theological Studies may use an M.A. or equivalent in the field with an additional 12 credit hours in biblical languages
    • Christian Worship, Biblical Counseling, Leadership, Missions, Evangelism, and World Religions may use an M.A. or equivalent in the field.
  • Sans M.Div., a doctoral equivalency evaluation to the admissions office to find out if he or she qualifies for SBTS Ph.D. programs
  • A minimum master’s level cumulative GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale


*For more information about our equivalency standards, leveling options, or to request an equivalency review based on your master’s level work, please email

*For more information about the required materials for a Ph.D. application, please visit this page.

Financial Information

$1,000 down payment, balance due equally over 48 months.*
Total cost for SBC students $27,670
Total cost for non-SBC students $49,140


Students should allow at least four years of study to complete their program. Students who take longer than four years will be assessed an additional $2,000 fee for each semester of extension beyond the four-year limit.

*Program Tuition shown is for the 2022-23 Academic Year. Additional fees are subject to the current catalog. Please see the current catalog for full listing of current fees.

Next Steps


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