Students

Doctor of Philosophy (Christian Theology)

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Abbreviation: 
PhD
Program Type: 
Research Degree
Program Duration: 

Designed to be completed in 4-6 years

Requirements: 
  • Agreement with the McMaster Divinity College Statement of Faith
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited university or its educational equivalent, with at least a B+ average
  • Master's degree from an accredited university or its educational equivalent (e.g. M.A., M.T.S., M.Div., Th. M.) with at least a B+ average (students with an emphasis in Ministry Studies will normally have an M.Div. degree)
  • At least ten term-long courses in the examination area selected for study, or related areas, with at least a B+ average in these courses
  • A major piece of written academic work (minimum 10,000 words), preferably a master's thesis, in the student's proposed area of specialization, written in English
  • Appropriate biblical language requirement

    It is required that a student would have at least 9 units (three terms) of one biblical language for entrance into Ministry Studies and Theological Studies programs. A student whose emphasis is Biblical Studies will have studied at least 12 units (four terms) of the major biblical language of his/her emphasis (i.e, Greek (NT) or Hebrew (OT)) and at least 6 units (two terms) of the other. For students in Septuagint Studies the requirement is 12 units of Greek and 12 units of Hebrew. The student may be required to gain facility in additional languages or higher competence in the biblical languages in light of her/his program of study as set by his/her committee.
Concentrations: 
Theological Studies (includes Church History)
Ministry Studies (includes Pastoral Theology & Preaching)
Biblical Studies (OT, NT, Septuagint)
Program Description: 

In keeping with the objective of providing Ph.D. students with opportunities to develop a breadth of knowledge and skills through coursework and comprehensive examinations, as well as focused, specialized research in the form of a dissertation, the following list comprises the minimum requirements for the program. Students must also demonstrate competence in biblical and modern languages as appropriate.

Year 1:

  • Research Methods

One of the following courses in Interdisciplinary Studies in Christian Theology:

  • Biblical Theology (BS)
  • Theological Contours of Ministry (MS)
  • Ministry and Evangelical Thought (TH)

Two courses in the selected area of emphasis:

  • Advanced Topics in Biblical Studies
  • Advanced Topics in Theological Studies
  • Advanced Topics in Ministry Studies

 Total Required: 4 courses

Modern Language Exam:
At least one modern research language, such as German or French, is required for all Ph.D. students. Competence in modern languages is to be demonstrated through a language examination set by the primary and secondary advisors or other suitable person at McMaster Divinity College and is to be decided by the committee of advisors. This requirement must be met before students will be permitted to move into the dissertation phase of the program. The modern language exam should be completed by the end of the first year of study.

Year 2:
One of the following courses in Interdisciplinary Studies in Christian Theology:

  • Biblical Theology (BS)
  • Theological Contours of Ministry (MS)
  • Ministry and Evangelical Thought (TS)

One course in the selected area of emphasis:

  • Advanced Topics in Biblical Studies
  • Advanced Topics in Theological Studies
  • Advanced Topics in Ministry Studies

Two courses in the examination area of which both may be Directed Studies (maximum of two Directed Studies in program).

Note:
One of the interdisciplinary courses (in either Year 1 or Year 2) must be in the area of emphasis.

Total Required: 4 courses

Comprehensive Exams:
Three written comprehensive exams in the area of emphasis, as well as an oral defense, are required upon the completion of coursework.

Vocational Practice: 
Vocational practice is required in each term of coursework. It must create meaningful, intellectual, and reflective interaction between the area of emphasis and one's chosen vocation.

Years 3 & 4
Dissertation:
Based on the area of emphasis, a dissertation (minimum 80,000 words) must be written demonstrating expert knowledge of the area and both presenting and supporting a new thesis regarding the subject area.The dissertation will be defended orally.

Supervision: 

From the outset, as part of the admission process, students work with a primary supervisor whose expertise and scholarly interests correspond with the student's area of emphasis. In addition, each student has the support of a supervisory committee, which consists of the primary supervisor, a secondary supervisor, the Academic Dean, and any other members from inside or outside of the College as deemed appropriate. This committee will work closely with the student to assist in planning and approving the student's program of courses and research, to decide on timing of comprehensive and language examinations, to provide the student with regular appraisals of progress, to decide when the student is ready to write the dissertation, and to give advice during this process.