Preparing believers in Jesus Christ for Christian ministry since 1937

Doctor of Theology

Four-year program: 60 credits
Eleven Bible and Theology Courses
Seven Study and Research Courses
Dissertation and Defense: 6 credits
Biblical Languages Competency Exam: 0 credits
Comprehensive and Oral Exams: 0 credits
Two Foreign Research Languages: French, German, or Latin: 0 credits
All Th.D. courses are 3 credit hours


The four-year program leading to the Doctor of Theology degree (Th.D.) is designed to prepare men and women for vocations of teaching and research and for the scholarly enhancement of Christian ministry. The ideals of the Th.D. encompass the view that the best tools for such vocations develop through training in Biblical Hermeneutics, Biblical Theology, Biblical History, and Biblical Exegesis. The curriculum is thus structured around these primary components based on the inerrancy, sufficiency, unity, and perspicuity of the scripture.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • do in-depth research in both primary and secondary sources related to theological studies.
  • understand and critique the major issues in theological scholarship and the main views on those issues.
  • complete a significant, scholarly dissertation that has practical value for the Christian community and the academic community.
  • develop and employ a fully-formed Biblical Theology and Biblical Hermeneutics in all scholarly research.
  • clearly articulate conservative Evangelical hermeneutics and theology in the dissertation and demonstrate skill in communicating that to the academic community.
  • communicate effectively through one or more of the following: preaching, teaching, evangelism, and writing.
  • develop scholarly research practices that are compatible with the objectives of the academy of professional scholars.
  • develop skills and knowledge that will contribute to the vitality and strength of Evangelical scholarship and thus the Christian church.
  • faithfully and honestly represent and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in all scholarly endeavors and contexts.

Biblical Languages Competency Exam (0 credits)

Entering Th.D. students must demonstrate knowledge of grammar and reading proficiency at an advanced M.Div. level in both biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek upon initial matriculation. Such expertise will be demonstrated by means of a competency exam in each language. Failure to demonstrate competence on the required examination will result in remedial language study and evaluation which must be completed during the first semester of enrollment. Should the student not fulfill the requirement, the faculty maintains the right to place the student on academic probation, pending completion of the language requirement.

Independent Study and Research (4 courses, 3 credits each)

Four Independent Research and Writing courses will guide the student research and writing on a focused exegetical-theological study approved by the Director of the Doctoral Program and the Academic Dean. The guided research will complement the student’s dissertation concerns by exploring, researching, and preparing for the completion of the dissertation. Each of the research courses will include the close guidance of the student by the faculty member assigned to the course. The IR courses must be contracted between the student and the professor using the FTS Independent Studies Contract.

Comprehensive Exam (0 credits)

Following completion of coursework, doctoral students must complete a comprehensive written examination of their knowledge gained in the program. It is expected that this knowledge will be extensive and in-depth. The student will be required both to analyze and to evaluate the central documents and ideas in Bible and Theology. Students will be eligible to take their comprehensive examination only after completing all coursework and languages. A written request must be sent to the Director of the Doctor of Theology Program one month in advance of the student’s intention to take the comprehensive examinations. The student should consult the Director of the Doctor of Theology Program for guidance in preparing for the exams. The written examination will be followed one to two weeks later with an oral examination of the student by the Examination Committee.

DR 9401 – Dissertation Research Project and Defense (6 credits)

Students should give thought to the choice of the dissertation topic early in their program. Students must register for and complete a dissertation on an approved subject. The dissertation project should be on a subject giving evidence of the student’s ability to do independent research and to think and write creatively. An optimum research dissertation length is 70,000 and 75,000 words. The dissertation proposal should state a thesis: what, exactly, does the dissertation propose to demonstrate or express? The dissertation proposal should then indicate the problem this demonstration would solve. The proposal should also provide schematic guidelines for developing and defending the principle thesis claims by chapters, anticipate methodological or other problems in the dissertation project, and provide a select bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Three complete draft-copies of the research dissertation must be submitted to the Director of the Doctor of Theology Program by January 30th (for May graduation). The Dissertation Committee (Academic Dean, Director of the Doctor of Theology Program, Primary Supervisor) will decide whether the dissertation is ready for defense, and if it is, they will determine before February 30th the time for the oral defense. The dissertation must be successfully presented and defended in a face-to-face oral examination (viva voce) before the Examination Committee (determined by the Dissertation Committee and consisting of at least one external, credentialed scholar) at least thirty days prior to the anticipated graduation. The dissertation must conform to the format and bibliographical style requirement in A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, by Kate L. Turabian (8th Edition, 2013).

When the faculty supervisor determines that the draft is defensible, it will be submitted to the Director of the requisite doctoral program for the Examination Committee, and to an external reader who is a recognized scholar in the student’s field of study. A passing grade requires the unanimous approval of the committee. The Examination Committee will also inform the student of any additional revision required for the final submission.