Doctor of Philosophy
Philosophy of Religion
Christian Missions (three tracks)
--International Mission Board*
--North American Missiology*
If you have questions not answered on our website, please feel free to contact the PhD Office directly at: 1-800-284-6317. If you are on campus, please stop by and visit us on the second floor of Patterson Hall, Suite 204.
You may also email our Administrative Assistant, Debbie Blaylock: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to speak to Admissions, dial: 1-800-284-6317
Great Commission Scholars
At Southeastern, the PhD program is designed to help the church fulfill the Great Commission. All authority is given to Christ, so his reign extends to every area of life - including the intellectual and academic life. Because of his authority, Chirst's followers go into the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things that he has commanded (Matthew 28:19). At Southeastern, we believe that the best scholarship at the highest level rightly rests under the lordship of Jesus. We pursue scholarship to honor our king, serve the Church, and fulfill the Great Commission.
Excellence in all things and doctoral research: At Southeastern, we are committed to seeing Christ have first place in all things (Col. 1:18), including the life of the mind and the scholarly vocation. For this reason, all research doctorates in Southeastern’s PhD program strive for the highest standards of intellectual rigor and academic excellence. All dissertations are reviewed by world-renowned experts in the field, maintaining the quality, rigor, and integrity of the academic process of doctoral research. Further, students at Southeastern have the opportunity to study with leading authorities in given areas around the globe through independent studies, and in some cases, through co-mentorship.
Christ the Center: This commitment to excellence in all things is driven by the person of Christ, who is the clue that unlocks the whole of creation. Southeastern’s commitment to academic excellence is coupled with a faith commitment to approach the Scripture as God’s Word, living, active, and fully breathed out by God, so that the people of God might be equipped for every good work in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Excellence in scholarship remains deeply rooted and nourished by the Christian faith, and at Southeastern, the integration of faith and learning is unapologetically affirmed as an essential characteristic of the Christian scholar.
Integrative and Communal: The Christian faith affirms that it is a corporate body, working cooperatively to glorify the Lord and serve him in all things. In light of this, the PhD program at Southeastern integrates a wide field of disciplines into the student’s learning experience, including theological method, critical thinking, and hermeneutics. Lectures, colloquia, and conferences help students discover together in a vibrant learning community. Social events also provide opportunities to live life together and to experience fellowship, encouragement, and support for students, spouses, and the entire family.
Excellence in Mentorship: PhD students learn through mentorship and supervision, which lies at the heart of the PhD program at Southeastern. Students are taught by world-leaders in their areas of specialization and are closely mentored by well-established and published scholars. Mentorship begins in the students first semester and continues until the student completes the program. But key to the student's learning experience is the year-long focused mentorship with the student’s major professor. Through mentorship, students find both an academic guide that leads them through the terrain of scholarship and a spiritual guide that brings the academic life under the lordship of Christ.
The Ph.D. degree is an advanced academic research degree offered in the major areas of Biblical Studies, Theological Studies and Applied Theology. The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of three academic years (6 semesters) of full-time study to complete. Students progress on a two-year minimum schedule of coursework, followed by the comprehensive exam and the writing of a successful dissertation. Actual completion time is often four or more years; however the degree must be completed within seven years.
A student who graduates from the Ph.D. program at Southeastern will be able to demonstrate 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.
In the area of Biblical Studies, students may choose Old Testament, New Testament, Biblical Theology or Hermeneutics as their concentration. 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, Evangelism, Counseling, Christian Leadership and Christian Missions.
Several areas of concentration in the Ph.D. program are offered in a modified residency format. This format allows students to remain in their current ministry assignment while engaging in Ph.D. studies. The degrees offered in this format fall under the area of Applied Theology. Under the Missions concentration, two tracks in the modified residency format are available. The North American Missiology track is designed for church planters, pastors and leaders who are actively working in church planting or renewal in a North American context. The International Missiology track is designed for IMB personnel who are currently serving overseas and others who serve in a similar capacity and want to more effectively proclaim the Gospel around the world.
The third concentration under Applied Theology offered in a modified residency format is Christian Leadership. This degree is designed for Christian pastors, leaders, scholars and educators who recognize the importance of biblical values while inspiring vision and godly virtues.
The fourth concentration which is offered in this format is Preaching. This degree is designed for scholar-pastors who desire to have a biblical and theological foundation focused on advanced hermeneutical principles and effective communication. Students who choose the modified residency format enter the program as a community of scholars and normally remain together through a series of seminars that meet twice annually at various times throughout the year. All seminar and degree requirements for the students in the concentrations with modified residency are identical to the standard residency requirements.
This advanced academic degree requires 60 credit hours to complete. The breakdown of those hours is as follows:
Ph.D. Program Summary
| //////PHD 9101
||Introduction to Research
| //////PHD 9102
||Introduction to Teaching in Higher Education////////
| //////PHD 9201
||Integrative Seminar I
| //////PHD 9202
||Integrative Seminar II
| //////____ 9###
| /////////////(See listings
||by discipline in Course Descriptions)
| ///////PHD 9501
| ///////PHD 9502
|///////First Research Language Competency
|///////Second Research Language Competency
|///////Comprehensive Exam (written)
|///////Comprehensive Exam (oral)
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.
First-year students participate in a two-semester integrative seminar led by the program director and invited faculty. Integrative Seminar I provides an opportunity for students to observe and engage in interdisciplinary dialogue. Integrative Seminar II consists of students working through a list of area-specific readings (Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, or Applied Theology), with a concluding Final Exam evaluating his or her grasp of the material.
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.
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 the successful completion of all course and language requirements. Passing these exams qualifies the student for doctoral candidacy.
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.
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.
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.