2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
    
    Jun 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVE]

Practical Theology, PhD


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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 Practical Theology. 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 Practical Theology.
  • 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 practical theology.

The Practical Theology concentration encompasses the broad areas of chaplaincy, homiletics, pastoral theology, and moral theology. Students who pursue this concentration may choose to focus their research in any of these areas. 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 years, students also complete a proficiency exam in one theological research language related to their dissertation topic. 

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general graduate application requirements of the University (see the Admissions section for details), applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • 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 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
  • Interview

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 PTH 9200 Issues and Methods and/or PTH 9400 Principles of Teaching, Learning, and Course Design.

Time Limitation

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 pursue their research and writing at a six-credit-per-semester pace should be able to complete their degree in three years. If a student who is studying at that pace 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 pursue their research and writing at a three-credit-per-semester pace should be able to complete their degree in five years. If a student who is studying at that pace 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.

Completion Requirements

  • 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 a concentration-specific theological research language 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.**
  • 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.

Notes

* Research Language I Prerequisite: Students must demonstrate competency in an approved theological research language (usually either German, French, or Latin). This 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 this course as soon as possible, as they will not be allowed to take Dissertation Research and Writing I (PTH 9901) until the prerequisite Research Language I has been met.

** Comprehensive Knowledge Review: Students must demonstrate familiarlity with concentration-specific knowledge areas. They demonstrate their familiarity during tutorial discussions with their dissertation mentors. They will not be allowed to take Dissertation Research and Writing V (PTH 9905) until they meet this prerequisite.

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