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.

Ph.D. Director, Gunther M. Knoedler Professor of Theology, Daniel Treier
Dean, Professor of Theology, Marc Cortez
Kenneth T. Wessner Professor of Biblical Studies, Amy Peeler
Scripture Press Ministries Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy, M. Daniel Carroll R. 
Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Richard Schultz
Professor of Old Testament, Andrew Abernethy
Associate Professor of New Testament, Esau McCaulley

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.

Required Courses
Common Seminars; 2 classes, 6 credits required
Biblical Interpretation & Theology
Biblical/Theological Integration
Major Field Seminars; 2 classes, 8 credits required
Seminar: Topics in Biblical Theology (For BT Students)
Seminar: Topics in Systematic or Historical Theology (For ST/HT Students)
Minor Field Seminar; 1 class, 4 credits required
Seminar: Topics in Biblical Theology (For ST/HT Students)
Seminar: Topics in Systematic or Historical Theology (For BT Students)
Introduction to Doctoral Research (1 class, 0 credits required)
Directed Study in the Liberal Arts (0 classes, 0 credits required)
Directed Study (0 classes, 0 credits required)
Guided Research:
Independent Study supervised by the mentor or another faculty member (for dissertation research)
Guided Research (1+ classes, 1+ credits required)
Pedagogical experience:2
Faculty-supervised teaching experience
Supervised Pedagogical Experience (1 class, 2 credits required)
Dissertation (1 class, 0 credits required)
Total Credits40-60

In addition to the specific courses listed above, Ph.D. students must also demonstrate competence 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 are eligible to apply for candidacy after successfully completing all degree requirements, excepting the dissertation. Degree requirements must be completed within six years of the first date of enrollment.