Church History and Historical Theology

The Ph.D. in Church History and Historical Theology trains students to assess significant people, important events, and theological trends in Christian history. Students to specialize in specific historical areas such as the Patristics, the Reformation, American Christianity or Baptist History.


Incoming Ph.D. students are matched with a supervisor from our world-class faculty who shares their research interests. Professors who can supervise students in this area are:
Dr. Michael Haykin headshot

Michael A. G. Haykin

Research Interests:

  • 18th Century Baptist Studies
  • Patristics
Dr. Stephen Presley headshot

Stephen O. Presley

Research Interests:

  • Patristics
  • Theology of the Early Church
Dr. John Wilsey headshot

John D. Wilsey

Research Interests:

  • American Conservatism
  • Religious Freedom
  • American Nationalism and Theology
Dr. Shawn Wright headshot

Shawn Wright

Research Interests:

  • Reformation
  • Puritanism

Students take 5 courses in their area of study and 3 “flex” seminars in whichever area they are interested.  The following are just a few of the courses available to church history students.


84261 American Religious History to 1860

This seminar will cover issues in the development of religious life in America during the colonial, revolutionary, and early republican periods.

84240 John Calvin and the Reformed Tradition

This seminar will cover the thought of John Calvin in the immediate and larger context of the Reformed tradition.

84170 Life and Worship in the Early Church

A study of the spiritual lives, worship, and liturgical developments in the earliest centuries of the church, examining specific theologians, writings, doctrines, and church practices within the ancient context.


If you are interested in applying for the Ph.D. in this area of study, learn more about the Admissions Process.



Which Degree Fits Me?
Next Steps

Advance your theological education while your love for God grows.

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Attend Preview Day

Southern Seminary hosts a Preview Day each spring and fall.  During this event, doctoral students additionally meet with a panel of doctoral studies faculty.



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