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Program Details

At Dallas Theological Seminary, the Doctor of Philosophy Degree is designed for graduate students that are capable of doing research at the highest level and possess the view to become scholars and educational leaders in a wide array of Christian ministry settings. This program helps develop a student’s ability to competently carry out biblical and theological research, to think critically, and to effectively communicate within an area of specialization.

Graduates of this program will be able to conduct in-depth research in both primary and secondary sources relating to their chosen field of study while in this program. They will be able to articulate conservative evangelical theology and understand and confront major issues and views on these issues in their field. Students may manifest a maturing and spirit-filled character and be able to demonstrate ability in Christian ministry and communicate effectively through at least one of the following: preaching, teaching, evangelism, and writing.

Once admitted to this program, students may major in either the Division of Biblical Studies or the Division of Theological Studies. This degree requires the completion of two stages for students that have earned an MDiv Degree. The first stage requires 26 hours of work at the Master’s level and stage two requires 35 hours of doctoral work. Students with a ThM or STM Degree need only complete stage two of the program, or 35 credits of work involving at least three semesters of study. There are qualifying exams for stage two, and they must be completed prior to continuing in the doctoral program and assume completion of the requirements for stage one. Students make take this exam a maximum of two times.

For Biblical Studies students, the 35 credits of stage two include 9 credits in the core, 12 hours in a chosen concentration, 11 hours of electives, and the completion of a 3-credit dissertation in their field. Concentration areas include New or Old Testament Studies and Bible Exposition. Those pursuing the Theological Studies concentration complete 22 hours in seminars offered by their department, 10 hours of approved electives, and a 3 credit dissertation.

Doctoral students are required to demonstrate competency in reading scholarly French and German. At least two of the three years of study must be completed in residency. Applicants must hold an MDiv, ThM, or STM Degree; have an academic record demonstrating superior ability; pass a written and oral examination; and demonstrate faith and Christian character.


Applicants must (1) hold the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, Master of Theology (ThM) degree, or Master of Sacred Theology (STM); (2) have an academic record that demonstrates superior ability; (3) satisfactorily pass a written examination in the field of their intended major and an oral examination of their Christian experience, scholarship, theology, achievement, and purpose; and (4) show evidence that they:

  • Have saving faith in Christ
  • Are of proven Christian character
  • Are endowed with appropriate spiritual gifts
  • Adhere to the following doctrines: the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the spiritual lostness of the human race, the substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ.

Applicants for the PhD degree who hold only the MDiv degree must complete stage one for the program, which consists of an additional 26 semester hours of course work (see below) before taking the written and oral qualifying exams to continue in the PhD program. Applicants holding the ThM or STM degree must successfully pass the written and oral qualifying exams before beginning their studies. Oral and written exam dates are typically in February for Fall applicants, and October for Spring applicants.

Accreditation & Licensing

Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

Dallas Theological Seminary is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award master's and doctoral degrees. Additionally, Dallas Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: MA in Christian Education, MA in Biblical Exegesis and Linguistics, MA in Cross-Cultural Ministries, MA in Christian Leadership, MA in Biblical Counseling, MA in Media and Communication, MA (Biblical Studies), MA (Christian Studies), DMin, DEdMin, ThM, STM, PhD.