Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studie


The Theological Studies concentration encompasses the broad areas of Historical Theology, Systematic Theology, and Apologetics. In this concentration, you may choose to focus your research in any of the major areas of theological studies. If you want to make an original and significant contribution to your area of study and, as a result, contribute to the understanding of a theologically-informed biblical worldview, the Theological Studies concentration is for you.

What You'll Learn 

  • Research and write at an advanced level of theological scholarship under the functional authority of Scripture.
  • Make a scholarly contribution to the field of Historical Theology, Systematic Theology, or Apologetics.
  • Present research results in a professional, organized, coherent, and structured manner in both written and oral form.
  • Function responsibly in the context of a supervisory relationship while exhibiting CIU’s core value of victorious Christian living.

Program Length 

Three years of full-time study or five years of part-time study.

Is it Offered Online or On Campus?

This degree is offered fully online with no residence requirement.

Career and Ministry Opportunities With This Degree 

Graduates with a Ph.D. (Theologicall Studies) degree can go on to become:

  • Instructors and leaders in global theological education
  • Seminary and University instructors in North America
  • Academic deans
  • Consultants on theological education
  • Authors and editors

Why Study Theological Studies at CBS?

  • Program design allows you to focus on research and writing from the beginning of your studies.
  • Non-residential modality allows you to pursue your degree without relocating.
  • Experienced faculty mentors provide individualized guidance in areas of their particular expertise.
  • Accredited regionally by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and nationally by the Association of Biblical Higher Education.

Program Details

Course of Study (45 hours)

Foundation   9
THE 9200 Issues and Methods in Theological Studies 3
THE 90xx Principles of Teaching, Learning and Course Design 3
THE 90xx Dissertation Proposal 3
Dissertation   36
THE 9901-9903 Biblical Studies Dissertation Research 1-3 18
THE 9904-9905 Biblical Studies Dissertation Writing 1-2 12
THE 9906 Biblical Studies Disseration Defense 6

 Admission Requirements

In addition to the general graduate application requirements of the university (see the Admissions section for details), applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Proficiency in graduate-level theological studies, demonstrated by completion of an accredited Master of Arts (MA), Master of Divinity (MDiv), or Master of Theology (ThM) degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. As part of the degree, you must have completed at least two years of Hebrew, two years of Greek, and a thesis or major research paper.
  • Proficiency in the theological study, demonstrated by successfully passing qualifying examinations in either Historical Theology or Systematic Theology critical areas
  • Proficiency in conducting research and writing at the graduate level, demonstrated by completion of a Master’s thesis or a major research paper (approximately10,000 words).
  • Submission of a research proposal (approximately 2,500 words) that meets the following parameters:
    • Preliminary title and short statement of the topic.
    • Brief overview of the general area of study, including the current state of knowledge and recent debates on the topic.
    • Research questions that will guide the study and research methods that will be used.
    • Anticipated contribution of the study.
    • Preliminary bibliography of relevant and recent works.
  • Interview with admissions committee considering academic readiness, dissertation aim, personal maturity, and career goals. Students with deficiencies in any area must address those deficiencies to the satisfaction of the committee before they are fully admitted to the program.
  • Because of the non-residential delivery of the program, students must demonstrate access to adequate and reliable online service, as well as to a theological library and professional level biblical software.