Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies



45 credit hours

Program Length

3 years


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Earn your doctoral degree in Theological Studies

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.

Why Earn a PhD in Theological Studies 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

What Will I Study?


Course of Study: The online PhD (Theological Studies) degree consists of 45 credit hours.

Phase 1: Foundational Seminars (9 hours)

THE 9200

THE 9400

RES 9690

THE 9900

Issues and Methods in Theological Studies

Principles of Teaching, Learning, and Course Design

Research Language Competency 1

Dissertation Proposal





Phase 2: Dissertation Research and Writing (24 hours)

THE 9901

THE 9902

RES 9691

THE 9903

THE 9904

THE 9000

Theological Studies Dissertation Research and Writing 1

Theological Studies Dissertation Research and Writing 2

Theological Studies Research Language Competency 2

Theological Studies Dissertation Research and Writing 3

Theological Studies Dissertation Research and Writing 4

Theological Studies Comprehensive Knowledge Review







Phase 3: Dissertation Review and Defense (12)

THE 9905

THE 9906

Theological Studies Dissertation Research and Writing 5

Theological Studies 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

Graduates with a Ph.D. (Theological 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