Description and Purpose of the PhD Program

Purpose and Goals

Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy degree program will be able to do the following:

  • Demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge related to a chosen field of study
  • Design, implement, and report research
  • Impart knowledge of the chosen field through teaching and other communication skills
  • Express commitment to the vocation of theological scholarship

The effectiveness of achieving these outcomes is reflected in the ministries of graduates. Of the 2005-2017 graduates, 32% are in full-time teaching positions, and an additional 20% teach adjunctively. Approximately 36% are pastors or serve on a church staff. Most of the remainder hold denominational positions or serve as counselors or chaplains. See Positions of NOBTS PhD Graduates for a detailed breakdown. Over the history of the program, graduates have held full-time academic appointments at nearly 100 institutions.

Description

The Doctor of Philosophy degree program is the highest academic degree awarded at NOBTS. Majors are offered in Biblical Exposition, Biblical Interpretation, Christian Apologetics, Christian Education, Christian Leadership, Church History, Counselor Education and Supervision, Evangelism, Great Commission Studies, Missions, New Testament, Old Testament, and Theology. The research community consists of about 30 professors and 140 students.


This 64-65 hour program is comprised of three stages: residency/ThM candidacy, senior residency, and candidacy. Students who hold a master's degree but need less than one year of additional leveling work may apply for PhD Preresidency. Passage of the qualifying exam after completion of approximately half the required PhD courses marks the completion of the residency stage, at which point students can apply to receive the ThM degree. Following passage of the oral examination after completion of all course work, students enter the candidacy stage of the program.


Counselor Education and Supervision Major


PhD Preresidency
(Must hold master's degree)


One year or less of leveling


PhD Residency/ThM Candidacy
(34 hours)



Introduction to Doctoral Research and Writing     

 3 hours

2 Supervised Reading Colloquia (3 hours each)

 6 hours

4 PhD Seminars (3 hours each)

12 hours

Quantitative or Qualitative Statistics

 3 hours

Teaching in Higher Education

 3 hours

Doctoral Practicum and Doctoral Internship 1 (3 hours each) 

 6 hours

Qualifying Examination

 1 hour

Doctoral Orientation (includes COOP9000)

 No credit


PhD Senior Residency
(23 hours)


3 PhD Seminars (3 hours each)

9 hours

2 Supervised Reading Colloquia (3 hours each)                    

6 hours

Doctoral Internship 2     

3 hours

Dissertation Research Proposal approval       

1 hour

Prospectus Development

3 hours

Oral Comprehensive Examination

1 hour


 PhD Candidacy
(8 hours)


Dissertation Prospectus approval

1 hour

Dissertation Research and Writing                                     

6 hours

Dissertation Defense

1 hour

Total Required: 65 hours



 
 All Other Majors


 PhD Preresidency
(Must hold master's degree) 

One year or less of leveling


PhD Residency/ThM Candidacy
(33 hours)


 

Introduction to Doctoral Research and Writing

 3 hours

2 Supervised Reading Colloquia (3 hours each)         

 6 hours

5 PhD Seminars (4 hours each)

20 hours

Teaching in Higher Education

 3 hours

Qualifying Examination

 1 hour

Doctoral Orientation (includes COOP9000)

 No credit


PhD Senior Residency
(23 hours)



3 PhD Seminars (4 hours each)

12 hours

2 Supervised Reading Colloquia

 6 hours

Dissertation Research Proposal approval                  

 1 hour

Prospectus Development

  3 hours

Oral Comprehensive Examination

 1 hour


 PhD Candidacy
(8 hours)


Dissertation Prospectus approval

 1 hour

Dissertation Research and Writing                            

 6 hours

Dissertation Defense

 1 hour



Total Required: 64 hours

 



Delivery Systems

PhD courses are offered on the main campus on a variety of schedules ranging from weekly sessions to three or four weekends during the semester or a week in January or summer for program workshops. See PhD Course Schedules for details.

In June 2016 the ATS Board of Commissioners approved a three-year experiment allowing an exception to the Commission's PhD residency requirement that "courses, seminars, and colloquia for research doctoral degrees shall normally be completed on the main campus" (Degree Program Standard J, section J.3.1.1). This experiment is limited to offering those courses (roughly two-thirds of the PhD program's total credits) through synchronous interactive video, not through asynchronous means.

Approval of this exception means that students who are unable to take advantage of the campus scholarly environment can participate fully in seminars and colloquia through live Internet connections. Some workshop courses still will require travel to the main campus during January or summer breaks.

Interested? Read more about the NOBTS SYNC delivery system and the breakdown of delivery options by major.




The program is directed through the Office of Research Doctoral Programs, Dr. Charlie Ray, Associate Dean (phone: 1-800-NOBTS-01, ext. 8010 or 504-816-8010; fax: 504-816-8039; e-mail: phd@nobts.edu).