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Midwestern Seminary Faculty Approves Revisions to the PhD in Systematic Theology Emphasis

Posted June 6, 2022 by Brett Fredenberg

Midwestern Seminary faculty recently approved revisions to the Ph.D. in Systematic Theology degree emphasis, giving post-graduate students added specialization in systematic theology and furthering advanced training in the great doctrines of the Christian faith for biblically faithful ministry.

Students can now earn their Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies with an emphasis in Systematic Theology, featuring five new specialized seminars in systematic theology.

Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen commented, “I’m delighted to announce this expansion to our Ph.D. program. The new emphasis in Systematic Theology, and the accompanying seminars, strengthens our existing Ph.D. program and better positions us to train pastors and scholars for the church.”

Last spring, Midwestern Seminary announced the expansion of the Ph.D. program, which now offers research doctoral degrees under three umbrellas: biblical studies, theological studies, and applied theology. Each track also includes specific areas of study, or “emphases,” such as systematic theology.

Updates to the Systematic Theology emphasis are in line with the overall doctoral expansion, allowing students to further refine their research in distinct disciplines for the institutions and churches they serve.

Midwestern Seminary Provost Jason Duesing said of the recent updates, “As our PhD program enters into its second decade, it is a joy to work with a faculty who desires to continue to refine our program to ensure that it equips students to pursue scholarship for the church. This update to our Systematic Theology emphasis follows what we’ve done in recent months with the entire program and represents well our culture of creative innovation that I hope continues for years to come.”

Since its launch in 2012, the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Midwestern Seminary requires 52-credit hours earned through 10 seminars, a comprehensive exam, and a research dissertation.

The revised Systematic Theology emphasis will include the previous foundational core seminars like Advanced Biblical Hermeneutics and Teaching Principles and Methods in Higher Education, in addition to the newly designed Systematic Theology seminars in Philosophical Theology, Doctrine of God and Creation, Christology and Soteriology, Ecclesiology, and Advanced Systematic Theology.

“The new Ph.D. in Systematic Theology is unique,” said Matthew Barrett, associate professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Seminary, who will provide oversight to doctoral students in this degree emphasis. “In the spirit of faith seeking understanding, the Ph.D. begins with Philosophical Theology so that students are prepared for seminars training them to stay faithful to an orthodox Doctrine of God and Christology. Also, a seminar like Advanced Systematic Theology allows students to think theologically as they read an entire Dogmatics.”

“At Midwestern Seminary, we are ‘For the Church’,” Barrett continued. “Now students have the opportunity to retrieve the theology of the church, from the church fathers to the Protestant scholastics. I am eager to begin.”

Thor Madsen, dean of doctoral studies and academic initiatives at Midwestern Seminary, commented on the revised degree emphasis, “The new Systematic Theology emphasis is for prospective students who desire to pursue post-graduate study under a highly qualified faculty and at a vibrant and growing institution that takes ‘For the Church’ as its mission and strategy.”

“The revised degree will produce graduates who are prepared to do high-level academic work, advanced ministry service, and effective cultural engagement. We are seeing these results now, and we expect to see even more fruit in the next 5-10 years.”

The Ph.D. program at Midwestern Seminary is primarily intended to equip students for vocations of teaching and research in theological schools, colleges, and universities, as well as for the scholarly enhancement of ministerial practice.

Lance English, a current Ph.D. student in Systematic Theology, reflected on the recent announcement, “I originally chose to study at Midwestern Seminary for my doctoral studies because of the world class faculty and their focus on training pastor-theologians who are equipped to serve in the local church and the academy. The theology faculty embodies a historic, confessional fidelity, leading to a strong emphasis on theological retrieval that seeks to benefit the local church in our day.”

English continued, “I’m excited about the new seminars that were added to the degree. Having multiple systematic theology seminars with a distinct theological focus will help prepare me for my dissertation by forcing me to think through various doctrines in light of the holistic web of dogmatic theology.”

Midwestern Seminary’s Ph.D. is modular, allowing students to study without leaving their current context, spending time on campus only for one-week seminars with their doctoral cohorts. Select doctoral seminars are also available via remote and online access.

Doctoral students with an emphasis in Systematic Theology can also apply for The Residency, a special Ph.D. component supplementing doctoral work with weekly mentoring, on-campus teaching opportunities, and the support of Midwestern Seminary’s growing community of residential scholars.

For more information on the Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, visit mbts.edu/doctoral or contact Midwestern Seminary’s doctoral offices by email at docstudies@mbts.edu


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