Purpose and Objectives
The Doctor of Philosophy degree prepares students to teach in post-secondary theological higher education both nationally and internationally. It provides students with the advanced knowledge and skills needed to research, write, and make a scholarly contribution to the field of Theological Studies.
The objectives of the Ph.D. degree will enable students to:
- Research and write at an advanced level of scholarship under the functional authority of Scripture.
- Make a scholarly contribution to the field of Theological Studies.
- Present research results in a professional, organized, coherent, and structured manner in both written and oral form.
- Function responsibly in the context of a supervisory relationship while exhibiting CIU’s core value of victorious Christian living.
Achievement of these objectives will be evaluated through the production and defense of the student’s original work of academic research (90,000-110,000 words), which will be directed by a faculty specialist in the student’s chosen field of study. Students may focus their research in any of the areas of theological studies.
The Theological Studies concentration encompasses the broad areas of Historical Theology and Systematic Theology. Students who pursue this concentration may choose to focus their research in any of the areas of theological studies, including history of doctrine, theological doctrines, theological method, apologetics, and ethics. Their objective is to make an original and significant contribution to their area of study and, as a result, contribute to the understanding of a theologically-informed biblical worldview. During their first two years of study, students also complete proficiency exams in two theological research languages related to their dissertation topic.
- Online application
- Application fee
- Affirm to be a Christian and agree with CIU’s Statement of Faith
- Official transcript for highest earned degree and any master’s level credits earned
- A minimum 3.5 GPA for for all graduate work.
- Proficiency in graduate-level theological studies, demonstrated by completion of an accredited Master of Arts (MA), Master of Divinity (MDiv), or Master of Theology (ThM) degree
- Four semesters of either Greek or Hebrew or both.
- Master’s thesis or major research paper, approximately 5,000-6,000 words (20-24 pages)
- Preliminary research proposal (approximately 500 words)
- Two Academic References
Residency and Transfer Policies
The program is non-residential, and students are not required to study in residence. The initial three seminars are delivered online, and the dissertation process is an independent research and writing experience with a specialist in the student’s field of study. A student may transfer in up to 6 hours, if he/she can demonstrate completion of the equivalent of THE 9200 Issues and Methods and/or THE 9400 Principles of Teaching, Learning, and Course Design.
The time limit for completing the program is ten years, dating from the student’s first seminar and concluding with dissertation defense and graduation. The program is designed so that students who study on a full-time basis should be able to complete their degree in three years. If a full-time student does not defend the dissertation by the end of the third year, the student will pay a continuation fee for each semester he/she remains in the program. Students who study on a part-time basis should be able to complete their degree in five years. If a part-time student does not defend the dissertation by the end of the fifth year, the student will pay a continuation fee for each semester he/she remains in the program.
- Successful completion of all required hours of specified coursework with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and with a grade of B or higher for all seminars.
- Successful completion of proficiency examinations in concentration-specific theological research languages as noted below.*
- Successful completion of a dissertation proposal prepared under the supervision of a faculty mentor.
- Successful completion of a comprehensive knowledge review under the supervision of a faculty mentor as noted below.**
- Successful oral defense of a dissertation that is an original work of academic research (90,000-110,000 words) before a committee of at least three internal and/or external faculty readers.
- Affirmation of the CIU doctrinal statement.
* Research Language I and II Prerequisites: Students must demonstrate competency in an approved theological research language (usually either German, French, or Latin). The competency can be demonstrated by taking an approved course at another institution and passing that course or by taking a proficiency exam administered by CIU. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete these courses as soon as possible. They will not be allowed to take Dissertation Research and Writing I (THE 9901) until the prerequisite Research Language I has been met and Dissertation Research and Writing III (THE 9903) until the prerequisite Research Language II has been met.
** Comprehensive Knowledge Review: Students must demonstrate familiarity with concentration-specific knowledge areas. They demonstrate their familiarity during tutorial discussions wth their dissertation mentors. They will not be allowed to take Dissertation Research and Writing V (THE 9905) until they meet this prerequisite.