Skip to main content
Menu Search & Directory

Theological Studies, Ph.D.

Saint Louis University's Ph.D. in Theological Studies trains scholars in one of two concentrations that reflect areas of research excellence and depth among our faculty: Christianity in antiquity and Christian theology. Students are formed as both scholars and teachers. 

Regardless of their concentration, students are expected to explore a wide range of methodological approaches and cultivate a range of skills vital for an ongoing career in researchAlongside equipping students to specialize within their chosen concentrations, SLU's Department of Theological Studies mentors students in the craft of teaching through a variety of opportunities and experiences, including individualized supervision, workshops and diverse undergraduate teaching assignments.

Curriculum Overview

Christianity in Antiquity

The focal point of the Christianity in antiquity (CA) concentration is early Christianity, from its origins through the rise of Islam. This concentration deliberately bridges longstanding disciplinary boundaries between New Testament, patristics and early medieval Christianity, situating Christianity within the Greco-Roman world and the broader religious cultures of the Mediterranean.

Christian Theology

The focal point of the Christian theology (CT) concentration is Christian theology, broadly conceived. This concentration trains students to become Christian theologians by providing students with a strong background in the history of Christianity and the various subfields of Christian theology. Students in this area of concentration craft an integrated study plan in one of several major theological disciplines through coursework and individualized exams.

Graduate Handbook

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

Resources for theology students at SLU include the more than 37,000 microfilms of the Vatican Film Library, the archives of the Institute of Jesuit Sources and more than 150,000 volumes of the Divinity Library in the Pius XII Memorial Library (which contains 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.

The Center for Digital Humanities creates products and tools to support teaching and research in historical theology. Theology faculty and graduate students are engaged in interdisciplinary work with other departments and centers at SLU, including the Department of Women's and Gender Studies and the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Careers

Graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers in academia, educational administration, museums, libraries, archives and nonprofit agencies. SLU's Department of Theological Studies is committed to the professional preparation of every graduate student.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Ph.D. program will have earned a master's degree in theology, religious studies, ancient history, or other closely related fields.

Application Requirements

  • Application form and fee
  • Transcript(s)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Résumé
  • Professional goal statement that should address why you are applying to SLU's Ph.D. program, what you intend to contribute to your field of study, and what kinds of careers you envision for yourself once you have completed your doctorate
  • A writing sample of no more than 20 pages that demonstrates an appropriately academic style of writing and contains an argument structured around a clear thesis

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Application Deadline

Interested students should apply by Jan. 1.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by the department’s graduate studies committee.

Scholarships, Assistantships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for a graduate assistantship, apply by the program admission deadlines listed. Fellowships and assistantships provide a stipend and may include health insurance and a tuition scholarship for the duration of the award. 

For more information, visit http://www.slu.edu/financial-aid.

  1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge of both the key primary sources and secondary scholarship relevant to their area of concentration.
  2. Graduates will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the theories and methods that structure the study of theology and religion and give shape to the history of the discipline.
  3. Graduates will be able to design and teach undergraduate courses within the major undergraduate courses in the department and develop into competent teachers.
  4. Graduates will be able to communicate their scholarly arguments effectively in both written and oral formats.
  5. Graduates will acquire the skills necessary to succeed on the academic job market as well as to flourish as successful academic professionals.
  6. Graduates will be able to conduct independent research resulting in an original contribution to knowledge in their area of concentration.

Christianity in Antiquity Concentration

THEO 6000Theories and Methods3
THEO 6020Christianity in Antiquity Survey3
THEO 6110Christianity in Antiquity Seminar (repeat as needed)12
Theological Texts
Select 12 credits from:12
THEO 6300
Late Ancient Syriac: Theological Texts
THEO 6310
Late Ancient Greek: Theological Texts
THEO 6320
Late Ancient Latin: Theological Texts
Electives6
THEO 6210Dissertation Prospectus (taken over two semesters)6
THEO 6990Dissertation Research (taken over multiple semesters)12
Total Credits54

Christian Theology Concentration

THEO 5270Christian Tradition I (recommended)3
THEO 5280Christian Tradition II (recommended)3
THEO 6000Theories and Methods3
THEO 6040Christian Theology Introduction3
THEO 6140Christian Theology Seminar (repeat as needed)15
Electives9
THEO 6210Dissertation Prospectus (taken over two semesters)6
THEO 6990Dissertation Research (taken over multiple semesters)12
Total Credits54

Non-Course Requirements

Students typically must acquire competency in French and German, and any other languages relevant to their research interests.

All doctoral students must take four written examinations. The first and second exams must be taken by the first Monday after Labor Day of year 2, and the third and fourth exams by the first Monday after Labor Day of year 3. Spring exams are typically scheduled for the first Monday of the final exam period.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 in all graduate/professional courses.

Christianity in Antiquity Concentration

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
THEO 6020 Christianity in Antiquity Survey 3
THEO 6110 Christianity in Antiquity Seminar 3
THEO 6300
or THEO 6310
or THEO 6320
Late Ancient Syriac: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Greek: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Latin: Theological Texts
3
 Credits9
Spring
THEO 6000 Theories and Methods 3
THEO 6110 Christianity in Antiquity Seminar 3
THEO 6300
or THEO 6310
or THEO 6320
Late Ancient Syriac: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Greek: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Latin: Theological Texts
3
 Credits9
Year Two
Fall
THEO 6110 Christianity in Antiquity Seminar 3
THEO 6300
or THEO 6310
or THEO 6320
Late Ancient Syriac: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Greek: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Latin: Theological Texts
3
Elective 3
 Credits9
Spring
THEO 6110 Christianity in Antiquity Seminar 3
THEO 6300
or THEO 6310
or THEO 6320
Late Ancient Syriac: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Greek: Theological Texts
or Late Ancient Latin: Theological Texts
3
Elective 3
 Credits9
Year Three
Fall
THEO 6210 Dissertation Prospectus 3
THEO 6990 Dissertation Research 6
 Credits9
Spring
THEO 6210 Dissertation Prospectus 3
THEO 6990 Dissertation Research 6
 Credits9
 Total Credits54

Christian Theology Concentration

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
THEO 6040 Christian Theology Introduction 3
THEO 6140 Christian Theology Seminar 3
Elective 3
 Credits9
Spring
THEO 6000 Theories and Methods 3
THEO 6140 Christian Theology Seminar (first topic) 3
THEO 6140 Christian Theology Seminar (second topic) 3
 Credits9
Year Two
Fall
THEO 6140 Christian Theology Seminar 3
THEO 5270 Christian Tradition I (or elective) 3
Elective 3
 Credits9
Spring
THEO 6140 Christian Theology Seminar 3
THEO 5280 Christian Tradition II (or elective) 3
Electives 3
 Credits9
Year Three
Fall
THEO 6210 Dissertation Prospectus 3
THEO 6990 Dissertation Research 6
 Credits9
Spring
THEO 6210 Dissertation Prospectus 3
THEO 6990 Dissertation Research 6
 Credits9
Year Four
Fall
THEO 6990 Dissertation Research 0
 Credits0
Spring
THEO 6990 Dissertation Research 0
 Credits0
 Total Credits54
For additional questions regarding Ph.D. programs, please contact:

Elizabeth Sweeny Block, Ph.D.
Coordinator of Graduate Programs
elizabeth.block@slu.edu
 
For additional questions regarding master's programs, please contact
 
Rubén Rosario-Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Coordinator of the Master's Programs