The emphasis of the Ph.D. degree will be placed on guided research and independent study, though some formal courses are required. Informal learning in a community setting is integral to the program. Students will work closely with a faculty mentor, who will have primary responsibility for establishing the specific shape of the program that the student will undertake. Students are expected to engage in dissertation research and writing from the beginning of the program.
A full tuition scholarship, as well as a research fellowship, for each of the six students accepted per year will enable each student to devote himself or herself to advanced learning as a fully involved member of the academic community.
Our program is a hybrid involving some standard features of the typical North American doctorate (including required seminars and comprehensive knowledge of the field) and some features of the typical British model (with strong emphasis on the dissertation and the mentor relationship). The course of study is designed to be completed in three years by strong students through blending the key features of both models into our own approach.
We work with a model of strong personal and academic relationships between our students and their doctoral mentors (supervisors) from the very start of their program right through their dissertation defense. Additional faculty are available to teach doctoral seminars, serve as resources, and act as secondary readers for dissertations.
Our program sets very high academic standards at every point, including admissions qualifications, coursework, and dissertation writing. Our students’ dissertations are expected to make substantial scholarly contributions to research in their field of study.
In a world of very super-specialized scholarship, we are intentional about bridging the scholarly gap between the Old and New Testaments, and especially between the disciplines of Biblical Studies and Theology. In today’s academy, these are often treated as separate, autonomous subjects, but our program is designed to hold them together. Our program is decidedly theological. We want our students to engage the whole canon of Scripture to discern its unified message for today. Likewise our program explores the scriptural roots of theology and the theological roots of Scripture.
Unlike most doctoral programs in North America that operate with a sequential, step-by-step model, our program is concurrent. Our students work on their dissertation proposals during their first semester, while doing seminars, honing their modern language skills, completing required readings for breadth and depth of knowledge in their field, and engaging in fellowship work (typically supporting research and teaching of a professor).
We want to foster an ethos of mutual support, cooperation, and learning so that our students will develop constructive and collaborative habits of collegiality as they work together on their degrees.
This program will expose students to perspectives from other parts of the world through class discussions, the presence of visiting international scholars, and an academic community engaged in global issues.