Mar 23, 2018  
Academic Catalog 2013-2014 Spring Update 
Academic Catalog 2013-2014 Spring Update [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy, Ph.D.

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The purpose of the Seminary’s Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is to prepare men and women for service in ministries of teaching and academic research. The program also meets the needs of pastors who serve in settings that demand specialized training.

The Ph.D. degree at Southeastern is an advanced academic research degree in the major areas of Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, Applied Theology, Apologetics and Culture Christian Leadership Historical Theology Philosophy of Religion Systematic Theology , or Theology and Worship .

In the area of Biblical Studies, students concentrate in Old Testament or New Testament. In the area of Theological Studies, students concentrate in Systematic Theology, Philosophy of Religion, Church History, or Christian Ethics. Applied Theology includes the areas of Preaching (modified residency format), Evangelism, Missiology (residence and modified residency formats), Christian Leadership (modified residency format), and Counseling. Concentrations in the Cross-Area Disciplines Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, and Women’s Studies are available as well. In those concentrations the student’s choice of major professor determines his or her concentration.

The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of three academic years (6 semesters) to complete. The program requires a two-year residency (4 semesters) prior to the dissertation stage. One full year is assumed as a minimum for post-residence dissertation work. Continuous enrollment is required with fees paid each semester (Fall and Spring) until graduation. Continuous enrollment may be waived for international-field-based missionaries under career appointment through the International Mission Board.

The Ph.D. in Applied Theology offers several concentrations in a modified residency format: IMB, North American Missiology, and Christian Leadership. The concentrations with modified residency will progress on a two-year schedule of coursework, followed by the comprehensive exam and the writing of a successful dissertation. All seminar and degree requirements for the students in the concentrations with modified residency are identical to the standard residency requirements. Students enter the program as a community of scholars and will normally remain together through a series of seminars that meet twice annually at various times throughout the year. This format allows students to remain in their current position while engaging in Ph.D. studies.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program is selective and is offered only to students who have demonstrated the intellectual ability, preparation, and motivation to perform academically at the highest level. Enrollment in the program is limited to applicants who, in the judgment of the faculty, appear best qualified and most capable of using the resources that the seminary provides. The following pre-application requirements are for self-screening purposes and only establish the opportunity to apply to the Ph.D. program.

Pre-Application Requirements

  1. All applicants interested in Ph.D. Studies at Southeastern must demonstrate that they have obtained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 on a 4 point scale. The GPA is calculated from transcripts of all graduate and professional-level study. Admission is competitive; a higher GPA is favored.
  2. All applicants interested in Ph.D. Studies at Southeastern must demonstrate that they have already received Masters level credit equivalent to a M.Div. degree from an appropriately accredited institution, or that they will complete the required courses prior to admittance into the program. Even applicants with a M.Div. may be required to do some leveling work to meet all the M.Div. requirements. Each applicant’s transcript is evaluated by the Office of Ph.D. Studies on a case-by-case basis to determine if the applicant has met the criteria for M.Div. equivalency. More information regarding requirements for admission is available in the Ph.D. Admission Requirements and Instructions form that accompanies the application form.

The basic criteria used to determine M.Div. equivalency includes the following core courses totaling 36 hours:

  • NT Survey (6)
  • OT Survey (6)
  • Doctrine Survey (Theology I & II) (6)
  • Hermeneutics (3)
  • Greek or Hebrew (6)
  • Church History (6)
  • Baptist History (3)

In addition, applicants in a particular area must meet the following requirements:

Biblical Studies

  • Greek and Hebrew (9) *
  • Biblical Studies Electives (6)
  • Ministry Electives (6)
  • Theology Electives (3)

Theological Studies

  • Greek and Hebrew (6)**
  • Theology Electives (9)
  • Ministry Electives (9)

Applied Theology

  • Ministry Electives (24)***


* For the Biblical Studies concentration: If a student took 6 hours of Greek as part of the core course requirements, the student will need 6 hours of Hebrew plus 3 additional hours of Greek or Hebrew. If a student took 6 hours of Hebrew as part of the core course requirements, the student will need 6 hours of Greek plus 3 additional hours of Greek or Hebrew.

** For the Theological Studies concentration: If a student took 6 hours of Greek as part of the core course requirements, the student will need 6 hours of Hebrew. If a student took 6 hours of Hebrew as part of the core course requirements, the student will need 6 hours of Greek.

*** Except for the Preaching concentration which requires an additional 6 hours of Greek and Hebrew and only 18 hours in Ministry Electives

Application Elements

Interested applicants who meet the pre-application standards listed above may request application forms from:

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Office of Ph.D. Studies
P.O. Box 1889
120 S. Wingate Street
Wake Forest, NC 27588-1889.

The Office of Ph.D. Studies may be reached by phone at (919) 761-2491 or by e-mail Interested applicants can also download most application materials from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s web site (

Application forms may be downloaded under the Admissions tab and “Graduate Application Process” at Next click the link to “forms” in the left sidebar and scroll down to the “Doctor of Philosophy” application materials.

Prospective students should apply in Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, Applied Theology, or Cross-Area Disciplines and indicate their anticipated area of concentration. Applications must be completed prior to taking the entrance exam.

The Tuition and Fees  section of this catalog contains specific financial information.

General Information

Entrance exams are normally scheduled for January and August. The Office of Ph.D. Studies will provide information on the exact dates each year. Admissions decisions are normally made by March or September. An initial enrollment fee is due within 30 days after receipt of the acceptance letter to confirm one’s entrance into the program (See Schedule of Fees ). New Ph.D. students begin their studies with the course “Introduction to Research.”

Applicants who are not accepted into the program may reapply no earlier than one year after their last application. Applicants who are twice unsuccessful must make a new, updated application including a statement of any and all special circumstances that would have significantly enhanced the applicant’s qualifications to be considered in a later admission cycle.

Courses taken prior to entering the Ph.D. program at SEBTS are not repeatable nor transferable into the Ph.D. program at Southeastern. Up to two (2) seminars from other Ph.D. or equivalent research-based doctoral programs may be considered for transfer. The Director of Ph.D. Studies, if necessary in consultation with the Ph.D. Studies Committee, will make all determinations regarding transfer of course credit into the Southeastern Ph.D. program.

Students in the Ph.D. program must earn a grade of “B” or above to receive credit for any graded element in the Ph.D. program. Students may be dismissed from the program if they make a “C” one or more times, if they fail to meet language proficiency or residency requirements, if they commit plagiarism (see Academic Integrity ), or if in the judgment of the Ph.D. Studies Committee they at any time fail to show satisfactory progress in the program. Deadlines and calendar dates for various program elements are found in the seminary’s academic calendar.

For explanation or clarification concerning the status of one’s application or concerning any aspect of the Ph.D. admissions process the applicant should consult the Office of Ph.D. Studies. Questions regarding program requirements should be directed to the assistant to the director. For a more complete explanation of requirements and guidelines relating to the Ph.D. program, the current Ph.D. Student Handbook may be consulted and may be obtained by contacting

Program Elements

A student who graduates from the Ph.D. program at Southeastern will be able to do the following:

  1. Proficiency in research and writing
  2. Understanding of the philosophy and methods of teaching at college and seminary levels
  3. Breadth of knowledge of the literature in the student’s major field of study
  4. Depth of knowledge and skill in the student’s area of concentration
  5. Reading proficiency in at least two research languages
  6. Ability to think across traditional disciplinary boundaries

The Ph.D. program is accordingly comprised of the following elements:

Instruction in Research and Teaching
At the beginning of the program, students complete a one credit hour “Introduction to Research” course. This course offers a systematic introduction to academic research and writing. Students also complete a one credit hour “Teaching in Higher Education” course during residency. This course offers a systematic introduction to the philosophy and methods of college and seminary teaching.

Integrative Seminar
First-year students participate in a two-semester integrative seminar led by the program director and invited faculty. The seminar meets monthly and addresses topics such as postmodernism, the relationship between the Testaments, historical method and other issues of contemporary relevance and cross-area concern.

Graduate Seminars
Students must take at least four seminars in their area of concentration. If less than four are available, they must take all the seminars that are offered plus confer with their major professor about acceptable cross-area seminars.

The Ph.D. program includes a mentorship; that is, a focused series of interactive academic meetings including personal tutoring in the field by the student’s major professor. The professor meets with the student regularly and frequently to provide academic direction and advice as the student develops increasing depth and skill in the area of research interest, preparing for the comprehensive exams at the end of residency. The mentorship also leads to the successful preparation of a dissertation prospectus.

Language Proficiency
All Ph.D. students are required to demonstrate proficiency in two research languages (normally German and one other language). In appropriate cases, the student will qualify with one research language and demonstrated competency in social science research techniques (e.g. research and statistics).

The student must demonstrate proficiency in at least one research language before commencing his or her second year of study. The student must demonstrate proficiency in a second research language before taking the comprehensive exams. Proficiency must be demonstrated by passing language examinations offered by the seminary.

Each student must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination in the concentration (New Testament, Old Testament, Systematic Theology, Church History, etc.), to be taken at the end of the residency, that is, following successful completion of all course and language requirements. Passing these exams qualifies the student for doctoral candidacy.

Production of a dissertation that makes an original contribution to the student’s academic field is the final stage in the Ph.D. program. Preparation of a dissertation prospectus normally begins during the mentorship stage of the student’s program, though submission must follow successful completion of written and oral comprehensives.

Ph.D. Program Summary

Residency - 38 Hours

Residency Examinations - 4 Hours

  • First Research Language Competency n/c
  • Second Research Language Competency n/c
  • Comprehensive Exam (written) 2 semester hrs.
  • Comprehensive Exam (oral) 2 semester hrs.

Candidacy - 18 Hours

  • Dissertation Prospectus 1 semester hrs.
  • PHD 9900 - Dissertation 16 semester hrs.
  • Dissertation Defense 1 semester hrs.

Total Hours - 60

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