Doctor of Philosophy

Information regarding the Doctor of Philosophy Degree for the School of Evangelism and Missions which follows is an overview of the basic structure and requirements for completing the degree. Students enrolled in the program follow the current Doctor of Philosophy Degree Handbook, which is provided by the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs.

Purpose

The Ph.D. program prepares persons of exceptional ability and promise to serve as teachers in specialized areas of theology: pastors, chaplains, or denominational leaders in positions such as administrators, editors, authors, in the United States or abroad. Presupposing a general education, the Ph.D. program emphasizes the attainment of expertise in the major, quality research, the development of critical evaluative skills, and significant contribution to the student’s field. Requiring competence in both biblical and non-biblical languages, the program also provides instruction in principles of research and in pedagogy. Doctoral study presupposes a high degree of originality, independence, analytical research, judgment, and skill in articulating findings.

Admission Prerequisites

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a master's degree in biblical and theological studies from a regionally accredited college, university, or seminary. Suitable degrees are listed below.

Prerequisite Degrees

Acceptable degrees for entrance into the Ph.D. program include the Master of Theology (Th.M.) and the Master of Divinity (M.Div.). The Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.Th.) may be acceptable for some majors depending on the overall content of the degree curriculum in relationship to the desired area of study. All applicants to the program must have completed requirements in both Biblical Hebrew and Greek that meet or exceed the requirements for the M.Div. at Southwestern.

Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.3 or higher in graduate studies in Bible and theology. If an applicant has not completed the degree program, transcripts verifying the possibility of attaining a 3.3 must be submitted before an application will be considered.

Leveling Requirements

Applicants must have completed elective work in their desired field of study beyond the introductory courses required in a standard M.Div. degree. Each applicant’s portfolio will be evaluated by a potential faculty supervisor. Admission decisions rest totally on the strength of the complete portfolio. Those deemed insufficiently prepared will be denied admission. Some may be admitted conditionally on the completion of leveling work prior to matriculation in the program.

Application Process

Application for admission to the Ph.D. program is made through the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs. Applicants must submit the following:

  • Ph.D. Application Form
  • Official Transcripts
  • MAT or GRE Scores
  • TOEFL (non-US citizens whose first language is not English)
  • Research Document
  • Three Academic References

Applicants from institutions outside the United States must submit their transcripts to the World Education Services, P.O. Box 745, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10113-0745; www.wes.org; telephone: 1-800-937-3895; fax: 212-739-6100, for evaluation. The evaluation service sends evaluation results directly to the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs.

Applicants must submit all remaining application documents.

Each applicant must submit scores from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam Standard Examination (GRE). The MAT or GRE examination should be taken at least four months prior to the entrance examination and must have been taken no more than five years prior to applying for admission to Southwestern's Ph.D. program. Applicants must take the MAT or GRE at a testing center. Southwestern Seminary does not administer the MAT or GRE. The MAT or GRE may be taken more than once, but only one score will be considered with the application.

For admission, all non-U.S. citizens will be required to take the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as an admission requirement. The minimum score for unconditional admission is 100 (those who score between 90-99 may enter the program conditionally; those who score less than 90 may not enter the Ph.D. program). Citizens of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada and other non-U.S. citizens who have successfully completed an accredited English-language based bachelor's degree from a North American institution are exempt from this requirement. All TOEFL scores submitted should be less than two years old.

Each applicant must submit a substantial research paper on a subject in the student's chosen major either previously prepared (an ungraded copy) or prepared especially for the Doctor of Philosophy application. This paper should represent the best quality research and writing that the applicant can offer. The form and style should follow the most recent edition of Turabian or Southwestern Manual of Style. The research paper will be used to assess the applicant’s research and writing abilities.

Each applicant must provide three confidential recommendations by former professors. Reference forms are included with the application for the Ph.D. degree. These forms must be submitted separately by the professors.

Entrance Examination and Interview

Applicants whose application form, research document, standardized test scores, and academic reference forms are posted by the deadline will be invited for an interview and asked to write an examination in the area of their major concentration. The entrance examination probes the applicant's knowledge in the major field and tests the ability to organize and express those thoughts logically and clearly. The examination essays will be written within a two-hour period in an examination setting. Persons who have completed their application requirements will be notified by the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs of the time and date for entrance examinations. Study aids for this exam are available from the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs. The Fish School Associate Dean for Doctoral Programs will interview all applicants.

Application Timeline

Timeframe   Action

Academic year prior to beginning Ph.D. studies

  Preliminary Step: applicants request and receive application materials from the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs

Fall: By the last Friday in August. Items mailed must be postmarked by this date.

Spring: By the last Friday in January.  Items mailed must be postmarked by this date.

  Application Deadline: applicants must submit the Ph.D. application form and all supporting documents: MAT or GRE scores, TOEFL scores (if applicable), three academic references, a substantial research paper, and official transcripts.

Fall: Second Friday in September

Spring: Second Friday in February

  Intent to sit for Entrance Exams: applicants invited to take the entrance exams must submit the written reservation form sent with the invitation.

Fall: Complete by First Monday in November

Spring: Complete by First Monday in March

  Entrance Exam and Interview: applicants write the major entrance exam and interview with the Associate Dean for Doctoral Programs.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program is comprised of reading seminars, research seminars, one oral comprehensive examination, and the submission and defense of a dissertation. Students select a major and minor area.

Majors

The School of Evangelism and Missions Ph.D. program offers the following areas of study (majors):

  • Evangelism
  • Missions
  • Church Vitalization

Faculty availability and specialization determine seminar offerings.

Minors

The School of Evangelism and Missions Ph.D. program offers the following areas of study (minors):

  • Evangelism
  • Missions
  • Church Vitalization
  • Islamic Studies

School of Evangelism and Missions majors may also minor in any area offered by the School of Theology.

Required Seminars

  • Graduate Research Seminar (two hours)
  • Reading Seminar in Major Area (eight hours over two consecutive semesters and the first two summers of Ph.D. studies)
  • Reading Seminar in Minor Area (four hours over two consecutive semesters)
  • Six Research Seminars (four hours each, normally four research seminars in the major field and two research seminars in the minor field)
  • Teaching in Higher Education Seminar (two hours)

Comprehensive Examinations

At the conclusion of their seminar studies, students must successfully complete an oral comprehensive examination in their major and minor fields. Comprehensive examinations require mastery of the field bibliographies distributed at the beginning of the student’s program. The major and minor supervisors may make minimal alterations to their respective bibliographies throughout the seminar stage, but no later than four months prior to the comprehensive examinations. Any change to a comprehensive bibliography must be communicated both to the student and to the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs in writing. Students are expected to continually prepare for the comprehensive examinations throughout the program.

Dissertation

The Ph.D. dissertation must argue for a clearly articulated thesis which constitutes a contribution to scholarship in its field. It should demonstrate the candidate's ability to design a viable research project, pursue the research in relative independence, and write with clarity and force.

Cost of the Program

Each Ph.D. student is required to pay the general matriculation fee and all student fees of the institution as well as the Ph.D. studies fee each semester until the degree has been completed.  Fees are established by the seminary administration, not by the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs, and are subject to change.

Current fees per semester for Ph.D. students:

Tuition* (per semester)   $5,600.00
The Cooperative Program Scholarship reduces tuition for Southern Baptist students. Their tuition is* (per semester) $3,080.00

*Modern language courses are not included in this amount.  

Financial assistance is not available through the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs. However, a Research Doctoral Grant is provided to Ph.D. students of good standing during the first eight semesters of their study at SWBTS.  Students may apply for the Research Doctoral Grant here.

Additional Information

For additional information about Ph.D. studies in the School of Evangelism and Missions, please contact the School of Evangelism and Missions Office of Doctoral Programs:

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions
P.O. Box 22667
Fort Worth, TX 76122-0667
PhDFish@swbts.edu
817.923.1921 ext. 6476

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas