Saint Louis University

Historical Theology | Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Department of Theological Studies' primary focus is the academic study of the Christian tradition in its historical and cultural contexts. In advancing the Catholic and Jesuit tradition of Saint Louis University, the department approaches revealed Christian truth with a special emphasis on its relation to human culture and the requirements of social justice.

NEW: The Personal Potential Index (PPI) is optional to complete your application for admission. Visit SLU's page about the PPI evaluations and requirements or go to The ETS page to learn more about the PPI.

Ph.D. in Historical Theology home
College of Arts & Sciences home
Application Deadline for Beginning Term The Application Package Apply Online
Fall: Jan. 15 (International: Jan. 15) Transcript(s); Three (3) Letters of Recommendation; GRE G or MAT scores; Resume; Professional Goal Statement; Three (3) Personal Potential Index evaluations (recommended)
(Advantages of the web application)
Spring: No admittance
Summer: No admittance
Tel. No.: 314.977.2881
Chair: Peter Martens, Ph.D.
Admission Coordinator: Heather Venable

Assistantship Application Deadline: January 15

Required Additional Application Materials for International Students

Check our English Proficiency Policy page for specific TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic score requirements. You may also visit our international prospects, applicants and students page for more information about international application requirements.

Applicant Criteria

  • A committee examines and reviews the applicant and application wholly.
  • A review of GRE or MAT scores
  • A review of English proficiency scores (for International applicants)

Theology Application Review Process

  • Applications are reviewed by committee of Theology Dept. faculty members

Credit Hours/Coursework: The program consists of 54 completed hours in all: 36 hours of coursework, 12 hours dissertation research, as well as 6 hours of prospectus writing. All three should be completed in three years. | Course of Study | Language Competencies

Program Description: Through critical methods, our Ph.D. program investigates the development of the Christian church, its beliefs and theologies, and religious practices in their social settings. | Admission and Application

Careers Possibilities: College Professor or Instructor; Librarian; Community Development Director; Missionary; Youth Minister. | Career Services

Curriculum and Program Details: The Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Theology degree is based upon the Catholic tradition and approaches theology from an historical perspective. Theological issues are therefore treated not only in their own unique historical and cultural contexts, but also within broader tradition of Christian theology from the early Church to the present day. The program's goals are:

  • To prepare our students to teach the gamut of the history of Christian theology at the undergraduate level;
  • To shape new teachers committed to excellence in higher education;
  • To form new scholars with exceptional research and communication skills;
  • To create a scholarly environment that encourages both faculty and students to publish innovative research in historical theology. | Ph.D. Historical Theology

About the Theological Studies Faculty: At Saint Louis University, faculty, staff and students all make a contribution to an active community life that is so necessary to the academic study of the Catholic theological tradition. Each group has an important role to play. Faculty in Theological Studies are active researchers and many are leading scholars in their specialty areas. In the last ten years, faculty in the department have published nearly 50 books and over 100 essays and articles. | Theological Studies faculty, staff, alumni/ae

Scholarships and Financial Aid: The Department of Theological Studies normally grants assistantships to select Ph.D. students for at least four years. A fifth year is normally funded through teaching appointments (see below). The Assistantship is considered central to our formation of doctoral students into well-trained, research active scholars. Doctoral students who have completed their coursework and comprehensive examinations can be appointed as adjunct Professors in the Department. Students who begin teaching for the first time take advantage of the training in the Center for Teaching Excellence and the guidance of a Faculty mentor. | Financial Aid | Student Financial Services at SLU


  • The Department supports the Center for Digital Theology, which creates products and tools to support teaching and research in historical theology. Faculty and Graduate Students also contribute to other interdisciplinary centers, such as the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Center for Women's Studies.
  • Additional resources are the 37,000 plus microfilms of the Vatican Film Library; the archives of the Jesuit Institute; and over 150,0000 volumes of the Divinity Library in the Pius XII Memorial Library (which overall has 1.4 million books, journals and other media). The Library also provides access to many key research resources, including the Patrologia Latina, Brepolis, Early English Books OnLine, ATLA, Catholic Periodical Index, J-STOR, Index of Christian Art, as well as electronic access to major journals and other indexing tools.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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