Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Credit Hours


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.


    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
    • Systematic Theology
    • Philosophical Theology
    • Moral Theology (Ethics)

    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.


    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

    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.


    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

    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 February 1.

    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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