Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology



45 credit hours

Program Length

3 years


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Earn your doctoral degree in Practical Theology

The Practical Theology concentration encompasses the broad areas of Chaplaincy, Preaching, Pastoral Theology, and Moral Theology. In this concentration, you may choose to focus your research in any of the major areas of practical theology. If you want to make an original and significant contribution to your area of study and, as a result, contribute to a more accurate understanding of the message of Christ as found in Scripture, the Practical Theology concentration is for you.

What You’ll Learn

  • Research and write at an advanced level in practical theology under the functional authority of Scripture.
  • Make a scholarly contribution to the field of Chaplaincy, Preaching, Pastoral Theology, or Moral Theology.
  • 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 the Program Offered Online?

This degree is offered fully online with no residence requirement.

Why Study Practical Theology at CIU?

  • 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.
  • Affordable tuition rate includes books and saves you up to 50% more than the tuition rate of other seminary Ph D programs.
  • 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, nationally by the Association of Biblical Higher Education, and professionally by the Association of Theological Schools.

PhD Tuition Comparison (2022-2023)

Institution Total Tuition
Columbia Biblical Seminary $22,950
Liberty University $36,195
Regent University $40,200
Asbury Theological Seminary $42,000
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary $45,500 (non-SBC rate)
Dallas Theological Seminary $45,508
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School $52,200
Next online class starts August 28, 2023

What Will I Study?

Course of Study: The online PhD (Practical Theology) degree consists of 45 credit hours.

Phase 1: Foundational Seminars (9 hours)

PTH 9200

PTH 9400

RES 9690

PTH 9900

Issues and Methods in Practical Theology

Principles of Teaching, Learning, and Course Design

Research Language Competency 1

Dissertation Proposal





Phase 2: Dissertation Research and Writing (24 hours)

PTH 9901

PTH 9902

PTH 9903

PTH 9904

PTH 9000

Practical Theology Dissertation Research and Writing 1

Practical Theology Dissertation Research and Writing 2

Practical Theology Dissertation Research and Writing 3

Practical Theology Dissertation Research and Writing 4

Practical Theology Comprehensive Knowledge Review






Phase 3: Dissertation Review and Defense (12)

PTH 9905

PTH 9906

Practical Theology Dissertation Research and Writing 5

Practical Theology Dissertation Review and Defense



Admission Requirements

  • Application
  • Official transcript from accredited institution (all graduate level work)
  • Completed MA, MDiv, or ThM with 3.5 GPA
  • Submit Master’s thesis or major research paper, approximately 5,000-6,000 words (20-24 pages)
  • Submit research proposal (approximately 500 words)
  • Biblical languages: 4 semesters of either/both biblical languages
  • 2 Academic References
  • Interview with admissions committee
  • *International requirements when appropriate


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

In February 2022 the ATS Board of Commissioners approved a three-year experiment to offer a non-residential PhD degree as an exception to Standard 5.15, through a combination of online courses (synchronous and asynchronous) and one-on-one faculty mentoring sessions.