Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

36

Credit Hours

4-5

Years to Complete

  • Residential

    The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is designed to equip you for teaching and research in colleges, theological seminaries, and universities, and for advanced church leadership.

    Overview

    The depth of study and the breadth of research to reach the heights of your calling.

    Learning in the Reformed tradition: Calvin Seminary is committed to the confessional and theological standards of the Christian Reformed Church, but students from all Christian traditions are welcome to apply. The academic freedom to probe the foundations of Reformed theology and to explore the validity of other approaches is a fundamental assumption of the PhD program.

    Concentrations: PhD students can focus their studies in one of the following areas

    • History of Christianity
    • Moral Theology (Ethics)
    • New Testament
    • Philosophical Theology
    • Systematic Theology

    Distinctives:

    The PhD program at Calvin Seminary prepares graduates by means of the following distinct program features:

    International Learning Community

    Calvin Seminary offers an international community of Christian scholars eager to learn from one another.

    Reformed

    Calvin Seminary gives a thorough grounding in confessional Reformed thought.

    Diverse Scholarly Literature

    The program helps develop an awareness and appreciation of scholarly literature representing diverse points of view in the worldwide church today and of ways in which cultural and religious contexts challenge and enrich theological education.

    Know Your Christian History

    Students will learn about key figures and issues in the history of Christian thought.

    Solid Methodology

    The Calvin Seminary PhD program teaches and practices a solid methodology of theological research.

    A Broad Range of Biblical and Theological Topics

    Calvin Seminary enables teaching competency across a variety of biblical and theological topics through a broad range of coursework and comprehensive examinations.

    Insightful Pedagogy

    The PhD program offers instruction in pedagogy that provides insights, skills, and practice in teaching.

    A Supportive Community

    At Calvin Seminary you will find a supportive community from the first course to the last chapter of the dissertation.

    Significant Financial Support

    Calvin Seminary PhD students will find substantial financial support and options for reasonable living expenses.

    Library and Study Space Resources

    Calvin Seminary offers high-quality library resources and study space.

    Learning Resources

    Resources for Supporting Your PhD Studies

    Calvin Seminary offers access to a variety of resources to supplement your PhD studies.

    Centers and Institutes

    The centers and institutes of Calvin Seminary and Calvin University are dedicated hubs of scholarship, promoting focused study and research in their fields. As a PhD student, you will have the opportunity to make connections with the centers and institutes relevant to your studies, including but not limited to:

    • Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
    • Center for Excellence in Preaching
    • H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies
    • Institute for Global Church Planting and Renewal
    • Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research
    • Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity (Calvin University)
    • The Bavinck Institute
    • The Timothy Leadership Training Institute

    The Hekman Library

    The Hekman Library is home to more than 520,000 books, including an entire floor of resources devoted to theology, biblical scholarship, and ministry practices. As a PhD student you will receive a dedicated library study carrel.

    Finances

    Calvin Seminary Supports Students

    Calvin Seminary offers a wide range of scholarships and other financial assistance.

    Calvin Seminary offers a wide range of scholarships and other financial assistance. In fact, in recent years, nearly $1.5 million in scholarship funds were awarded annually. Doctoral Fellowships, Doctoral Assistantships, and Doctoral Tuition Scholarships are available to students in the PhD program at Calvin Theological Seminary. In addition, modest PhD living stipends are available on the basis of financial need.

    Course Work and Outcomes

    The PhD Program

    Courses focus on areas of current faculty interest and research. They are designed to introduce students to proper research methods and their application as well as to important theological issues and developments.

    Students are required to complete a total of twelve PhD courses for credit. Full-time students take six courses per year (typically three per semester) for two years. Part-time students take either four courses per year for three years or three courses per year for four years. At least three courses must be taken in the student’s discipline of specialization and at least two courses in each of the other three areas.

    In addition to the twelve required PhD courses, students in the program must take seminar 903P, “Teaching Seminar,” during the first two years in the program and are expected to take seminar 902P, “Dissertation Seminar,” if they have completed the required PhD courses and reside in the Grand Rapids area. Students ordinarily will take the dissertation seminar during more than one semester. These seminars are offered on a credit/no credit basis and do not count toward the twelve required courses in the program.

    Outcomes: Program graduates will leave the program with the following skills and competencies:

    • Academic research skills.
    • Critical analytical skills.
    • Scholarly writing skills.
    • Ability to teach across the entire field of biblical and theological studies, with mastery of one biblical or theological discipline.
    • Ability to provide thoughtful, fair, and respectful analyses and interpretations of positions with which they agree and of positions with which they disagree.
    • Ability to articulate their own biblical and theological positions and engage in informed, respectful dialogue with other points of view.
    • Understanding of and appreciation for Christian thought from around the world and from diverse points of view.
    • Ability to strengthen the church’s biblical and theological understanding and its ministry, including the ministry of proclaiming the gospel and discipling believers for Christ-like service in everyday life.

    Stories

    Called to Serve

    Past graduates have applied their learning to a variety of ministry-based opportunities. Here are some of their stories:

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    Application Requirements and Deadlines

    For the ThM Program

    The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program has some specific admissions requirements, unique to the program. Below are some of the specifics. If you have any questions, the admissions office is here to help.

    Admission Requirements


    General:
    The PhD committee, in partnership with the admissions office will make all admissions decisions. Admissions to these programs are limited, and thus there are no specific requirements. The begin said, there are program recommendations for potential applicants. Please review the PhD Handbook for more information

    Non-native in English: Applicants who are non-native in English must submit official TOEFL exam results as a part of their application for admission. A minimum internet-based total score of 90 with a score of 23 in the writing section is required. Use Calvin Theological Seminary's institutional code 1096 to order scores.

    International Student Admissions: For information on international student application requirements, visit the international student information page below.

    Admission Deadlines

    The deadline for PhD application materials to be submitted is January 15.


    The PhD program has one start date: the Fall Semester. Admitted students will typically be required to be on-campus for an orientation in mid-August.

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    Click on the button below to begin the application process.

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