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Doctoral
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PhD in Theology: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Through a doctoral degree program in theology, you'll study religion's place in the global community and prepare for a teaching or research career. Although you'll be hard-pressed to find these theology degree programs online, several on-campus Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are available. Learn more about the coursework in these Ph.D. programs and your job options in the theology field.

Can I Earn a Ph.D. in Theology?

You will find that several schools offer doctoral degree programs in theology. Under the supervision of a faculty member, you'll choose a concentration such as biblical studies, theological ethics, systematic theology or comparative theology. You'll also conduct independent research for your doctoral dissertation, to prepare for a career as a researcher or college-level teacher.

Available Degrees Research-based doctoral programs in theology are offered
Online Options Rarely offered, if at all; programs typically require on-campus attendance.
Potential Coursework Advanced courses in religious history and philosophy, plus language and specialized study
Career Options Writer, college professor, theological researcher

Can I Complete This Degree Online?

You will probably not find any schools offering online Ph.D. programs in theology. These programs require your presence on campus to attend seminar courses, use campus research facilities and meet with your academic adviser.

What Will the Coursework Be Like?

You'll be taking advanced seminar courses such as the legacy of the Enlightenment, Christian ethics, research methods in religious and theological study, philosophical theology and the theology of Calvin. Depending on your area of interest, you may also take courses on Jewish theology, Buddhist texts or Islamic philosophy. Most programs will also expect you to be proficient in at least two foreign languages and to have some academic experience with Latin, Greek or Hebrew.

Most schools will require you to either write and defend a thesis, or take qualifying examinations once your coursework is complete. The exams may test your knowledge of historical religious thought or the cultural contexts of contemporary theology.

What Will This Degree Do for My Career?

A Ph.D. in Theology can help you obtain a job as a writer, college professor or theological researcher, according to some schools' theology departments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) determined that the median annual salary of postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers was $76,160 as of May 2020 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also projected a 7% increase overall in professional opportunities for postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers through the 2019-2029 decade, due in large part to the growing number of adults returning to school.