Historical and Theological Studies

Students in the Historical and Theological Studies concentration will receive training from Southern’s elite faculty in both areas of Church History and Systematic Theology studies. The curriculum is designed to qualify graduates to teach in both disciplines. Students will be supervised by a faculty member in either Church History or Systematic Theology and write their dissertation in that field. Students must decide on a specific area, either Church History or Systematic Theology, when they apply.


Students can be supervised by the following faculty:

Church History

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

Systematic Theology

Dr. Gregg Allison headshot

Gregg R. Allison

Research Interests:

  • Ecclesiology
  • Anthropology
Dr. Bruce Ware headshot

Bruce A. Ware

Research Interests:

  • Theology Proper
  • Divine Providence
Dr. Stephen Wellum headshot

Stephen J. Wellum

Research Interests:

  • Christology
  • Atonement

Students in the Historical and Theological Studies concentration will take seminars and colloquium on topics in Church History studies such as, Ancient Christianity, the Reformation, and Global Christianity. In the area of Systematic Theology, students will take seminars on topics such as Christology & Atonement, Pneumatology and Ecclesiology, and Modern Theology.

84490 The Ancient Church and its Legacy

This course will offer a study of the ancient church and its overall theological contribution to Christian doctrine, especially as it relates to Trinitarian doctrine, ecclesiology, the Bible, mission, and the theology of history.

84491 The Legacy of the Reformation and Puritanism

This seminar assesses the historiographical and theological issues of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century and sixteenth and seventeenth-century English Puritanism.

84492 Baptist History

This seminar is a detailed study of interdenominational controversy in the Southern Baptist Convention during the period from 1979 to 2000. Special attention will be given to the role of biblical inerrancy, gender roles, social and cultural factors, personal and political dynamics, and Baptist identity in the controversy.

84400 Christianity and Culture in America

This seminar is a focused consideration of American Christian nationalism, a sub-field of American church history.  It will study the many intricacies of the concept of Christian nationalism, as it has been expressed over the past four centuries since the Puritans established the New England colonies.

85010 Theology Proper and Providence

This seminar presents an intensive study of critical issues and major movements in understanding the doctrine of God, giving special attention to the historical positions and contemporary proposals.  It will also focus on the Reformed understanding of the doctrine of providence, as articulated in the Reformed confessions of faith of the 16th and 17th centuries.

85020 Christology and Atonement

This seminar presents an intensive study of critical issues and major movements in understanding the person of Christ, paying special attention to historical positions and contemporary proposals in light of Scripture’s teaching on Christ and the incarnation.  It will also analyze various theories of the atonement, both ancient and contemporary.

85030 Pneumatology and Ecclesiology

This course leads students through a biblical, historical, and systematic study of the person, intratrinitarian relations, and work of the Holy Spirit, as well as an exploration of the nature of the church and the practice of ministry in and through the church.

85040 Modern Theology

This course studies the dominant theological movements from the nineteenth century to today and their impact on evangelical theology. Special focus will be given to the Enlightenment, Classical Liberal Theology, Neo-Orthodoxy, Process Theology, Liberation Theology, Post-Liberalism, Theological Interpretation of Scripture, and recent theological developments in the twenty-first century.


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




Next Steps

Advance your theological education while your love for God grows.

Visit Campus

Visiting Southern will give you an opportunity to explore our beautiful campus and get all of your questions answered.  Schedule an individual visit or visit with a group.



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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