The Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical and Theological Studies is designed to train scholars who can serve the church worldwide as teachers, researchers, pastors, and leaders. The program aims at fostering faithfulness to the teaching of Scripture in combination with creative and critical reflection on its significance for the church and contemporary culture. Students may focus on either Biblical Theology or Systematic/Historical Theology. The nature of Scripture and of the theological task demands that theology be rooted in Scripture and that Scripture be interpreted theologically. The Wheaton Ph.D. program, therefore requires that its students take a holistic approach to biblical-theological studies. Students will write dissertations that focus on one of the traditional areas of academic competence—Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology, or Historical Theology—the student's "concentration." But the entire program requires integration between the fields of biblical studies and theology. In order to facilitate this integration, students in the Wheaton Ph.D. program will write dissertations that are distinctly theological in nature.
The program incorporates the best elements from North American, British, and German doctoral models. Emphasis will be placed on guided research and independent study, though some formal courses are required. Informal learning in a community setting is integral to the program. Students will work closely with a faculty mentor, who will have primary responsibility for establishing the specific shape of the program that the student will undertake. Students are expected to engage in dissertation research and writing from the beginning of the program. The length and specific components of the program will therefore vary from student to student.
Wheaton College Graduate School
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Requirements for admission to the Ph.D. program. In addition to the admission requirements for the Graduate School in general, students applying for the Ph.D. are required to have the following:
- An M.A. (in an area of Biblical or Theological Studies) or M.Div. degree or the equivalent.
- Normally, a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their master’s-level work.
- An acceptable score on the GRE.
- For international students: scores on the TOEFL of 100, on the IELTS of 7.0.
- Evidence of potential for doctoral-level research in the form of a substantial research paper.
- Competency in biblical Hebrew and Greek.
- Recommendations from three of the applicant's professors and his or her pastor.
- Approval from the mentor with whom the student seeks to study (normally secured through a personal interview).
Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical and Theological Studies. All students will be required to take a minimum of 40 hours of doctoral-level courses and may be asked to take as many as 60 credits.
|Five Doctoral Seminars|
|BITH 881||Biblical Interpretation & Theology (One first-year seminar)||4|
|BITH 882||Seminar: Topics in Biblical Theology (Two major field seminars)||8|
|or BITH 883||Seminar: Topics in Systematic or Historical Theology|
|One minor field seminar||4|
|BITH 884||Biblical/Theological Integration (One second-year capstone seminar)||2|
|Guided Research||4 or more credits|
|Guided Research (select at least one)|
|One approved course at another institution||3-4|
|Directed Study||0 or more credits|
|Select one or more of the following Directed Study courses in conjunction with a master's-level BTS class or liberal arts class:|
or BITH 794
|Directed Study in the Liberal Arts|
|Other Required Courses|
|BITH 798||Supervised Pedagogical Experience||2|
|BITH 751||Introduction to Doctoral Research||0|
|Additional information on these requirements is available in the Ph.D. Handbook|
In addition to the specific courses listed above, Ph.D. students must also demonstrate competence in biblical Greek and Hebrew (though some students in Historical Theology may substitute Latin for Hebrew) and in two research languages (German and one other language appropriate to the student's field of study), demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of the field, and write and successfully defend a dissertation. Students may apply for candidacy in the program after their first year of study. Candidacy will be awarded to students who have successfully completed all degree requirements, excepting the dissertation. Degree requirements must be completed within six years of the first date of enrollment.