Southern Seminary partners with ERLC for specialized ethics Ph.D. program

Communications Staff — September 17, 2014

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is partnering with Southern Seminary to offer a modular Ph.D. in ethics with a concentration in public policy.
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is partnering with Southern Seminary to offer a modular Ph.D. in Christian ethics with an emphasis in public policy.

A partnership between The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention will allow students to pursue a modular Ph.D. in Christian ethics with an emphasis in public policy, with classes beginning in spring 2015.

“Public theology at the intersection of the church, the gospel and the culture will represent one of the greatest challenges to the coming generation,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. “I can’t think of any better news than the fact that Southern Seminary and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission are combining strengths in order to provide an unprecedented Ph.D. program that will prepare a new generation for frontline service and leadership where it will matter most.”

The degree affords students the opportunity to take courses in ethics, public policy and theology, while completing six courses and two colloquia in Louisville, and two seminars and colloquia in Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tennessee.

“I am thrilled to partner with Southern Seminary to offer this Ph.D. concentration as one of several new opportunities for the ERLC to partner with each of our Southern Baptist seminaries,” said ERLC President Russell Moore.

“As Christians, we are called to engage the culture with the gospel, and this includes being a prophetic voice in the public square,” he added. “I am hopeful that this degree program will be a service to the church in raising up a corps of future pastors and professors trained at the highest academic level to be a gospel-focused voice in the academy and on Capitol Hill.”

The 48-month modular degree includes three courses in Christian ethics and two courses in public policy, and includes the option for minors in philosophy, worldview, and apologetics; missions and evangelism; or practical theology.

SBTS-logo-vertical“At Southern, we are committed to training future leaders who will address social problems with the central truths of the gospel and we believe that the Ph.D. in Christian ethics with an emphasis in public policy will be a major contribution in our efforts,” said Randy L. Stinson, provost and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary.

“This degree combines the rigors of a traditional Ph.D. and the training in ethics with the practical experience of engagement with public policy under the leadership and mentorship of the ERLC,” said Jonathan T. Pennington, director of research doctoral studies at Southern Seminary. “It’s not only going to have an impact on the next generation of Southern Baptists and Christian leaders but we also think that it will attract students who are passionate about expressing the gospel in the public square.”

The application deadline for fall 2015 enrollment is Jan. 15, 2015. Prospective students should consult the admissions process guidelines and the study guide for the entrance exam.

A Master of Theology with an emphasis in Christian ethics and public policy is also available — 26 hours as research Th.M. or 24 hours as ministry Th.M. Like the Ph.D., the Th.M. also offers courses in ethics and public policy in Louisville, Nashville, and Washington, D.C.

“I’m excited to study ethics and public policy at the highest level and better understand how they integrate and inform our thoughts on cultural issues,” said Andrew Walker, director of policy studies at the ERLC and Ph.D. student at Southern Seminary. “The degree promotes the truth that the gospel is a public reality that demands a public witness — for the sake of humanity and for the glory of God.”

Information on the program is available at:

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