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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Theological Studies

Midwestern offers a PhD in Theological Studies, with available emphases in Ethics, Historical Theology, Preaching, and Systematic Theology. The PhD, Theological Studies is intended primarily to equip persons for vocations of teaching and research in theological schools, colleges, and universities, as well as for the scholarly enhancement of ministerial practice.

Program Outcomes

Students graduating from the Doctor of Philosophy, Theological Studies program will be able to do the following:

  1. Master a discernible field of study in the area of theological studies.
  2. Demonstrate advanced skill in scholarly research and evaluation.
  3. Demonstrate advanced skill in writing and theological instruction.
  4. Exercise the liberty to develop and defend a research dissertation in theological studies.


Language Requirements

  • Ethics requires 6 hours Greek, 6 hours Hebrew & a research language of either French, German or Latin
  • Historical Theology requires 6 hours Greek, 6 hours Hebrew & a research language of either French, German or Latin
  • Preaching requires 6 hours Greek, 6 hours Hebrew & a research language of either French, German or Latin
  • Systematic Theology requires 6 hours Greek, 6 hours Hebrew & a research language of either French, German or Latin


Admission Requirements

In addition to the general criteria for admission to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, applicants to PhD, Theological Studies degree programs must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Hold an earned (a) ATS accredited Master of Divinity degree or (b) a master’s degree in a theological or related discipline from an accredited institution.
  2. Have a 3.0 grade point average or above on a 0 scale for all graduate-level studies.
  3. Demonstrate foundational competency in biblical hermeneutics/interpretation, normally to be satisfied by taking a graduate-level hermeneutics.
  4. Demonstrate graduate-level competency in biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek, usually satisfied by six hours of coursework, per each language, completed at the graduate.
  5. Demonstrate graduate-level competency in historical and systematic theology, usually satisfied by graduate-level coursework taken in these fields.


International applicants must also submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination. For the internet-based test (iBT), a minimum total score of 80 is required with a minimum of 20 on each of the Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing sub-sections. Other forms of the TOEFL exam are not accepted unless prior approval is obtained from the Doctoral Academic Policies Committee. Applicants not meeting all admission requirements may petition to enter the program under provisional status. For information about this process please contact the Doctoral Studies Office (877-414-3755 or [email protected]).



The PhD, Theological Studies degree is a 52-hour program usually requiring four years or more of academic study.


Distinctive Resources

PhD, Theological Studies students have access to community life that provides formal and informal educational experiences, religious fellowship, and opportunity for reflection upon the meaning of faith in its relation to education and research. Access to faculty advisors/mentors, possible opportunity for teaching college and online courses, and preferred access to library resources is also provided.


Course List

Doctoral Core (16 hrs)

DR00000 Doctoral Orientation1 (0 hrs)
DR30020 Doctoral Studies Colloquium (4 hrs)
DR35090 Advanced Biblical Hermeneutics (4 hrs)
DR34080 Teaching Principles and Methods in Higher Education (4 hrs)
DR30090 Dissertation Seminar (4 hrs)

PhD, Theological Studies Seminars (24 hrs)

See course outlines by emphasis below

Comprehensive Examinations (4 hrs total)

DR39055 PhD Comprehensive Research (1-4 hrs)
DR39060 PhD Comprehensive Exam (1-4 hrs)

Dissertation2 (8 hrs total)

DR40980 PhD Ongoing Research (1-8 hrs)
DR40990 Dissertation – PhD (0-8 hrs)

Total Credit Hours (52 hrs)

1. Upon admission, the student will be enrolled in DR00000, Doctoral Orientation, for 0 credit hours.

2. After meeting all the requirements, the student will be enrolled in DR40980 PhD Dissertation – Ongoing Research for 1 credit hour each semester until the dissertation is completed. When the student is ready for the dissertation defense, the student will be enrolled in DR40990 PhD Dissertation for the remaining hours in order to receive a total of 8 credit hours.


Systematic Theology Emphasis

37391 Philosophical Theology (4 hrs)
37320 Doctrine of God & Creation (4 hrs)
37330 Christology & Soteriology (4 hrs)
37337 Ecclesiology (4 hrs)
37395 Advanced Systematic Theology (4 hrs)
Selected Elective from Apologetics, Ethics, Historical Theology, New Testament, or Old Testament (4 hrs)

Ethics Emphasis

DR37305 Theology and Culture (4hrs)
DR38405 Worldview and Ethical Theory (4hrs)
DR38440 Contemporary Issues in Ethics (4hrs)
DR38441 Marriage and Sexuality (4hrs)
DR38442 Bioethics (4hrs)

Selected Elective from Apologetics, Biblical Theology, or Systematic Theology (4 hrs)

Preaching Emphasis1

DR36220 Preaching & Ministry Practice (4 hrs)
DR36250 Preaching from the Old Testament (4 hrs)
DR36260 Preaching from the New Testament (4 hrs)
DR36271 Expository Preaching (4 hrs)
DR36272 Style & Application in Expository Preaching (4 hrs)
DR36273 Doctrinal & Topical Exposition (4 hrs)


1. In keeping with its commitment to the Baptist Faith and Message, 2000, Spurgeon College and Midwestern Seminary affirms that “while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,” and thus does not admit women students to the Preaching & Pastoral Leadership tracks associated with the MDiv, MTS, the DMin, Expository Preaching, PhD, Preaching Emphasis and preaching seminars. Spurgeon College and Midwestern Seminary encourage and admit women students to pursue specialized training that is consistent with the wide spectrum of ministry service roles.

Historical Theology Emphasis

DR37305 Theology and Culture (4 hrs)
DR37337 Ecclesiology (4 hrs)
DR37370 The Early Church (4 hrs)
DR37375 The Reformation (4 hrs)
DR37380 The Modern Era (4 hrs)
DR37385 The Baptist Tradition (4 hrs)