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Corpus Statue at the Billy Graham Center Wheaton College
Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies
Student sitting on the window sill in the Billy Graham center
Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies
hand on a bible
Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies

Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies

Why Pursue a Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies?

The Ph.D. in Biblical and Theological Studies is designed to train scholars who can serve the church worldwide as teachers, researchers, pastors, and leaders. The program aims at fostering faithfulness to the teaching of Scripture with a view towards strengthening and equipping the church in its mission.

6
Students admitted to the Ph.D. program each year
74
Ph.D. graduates serving in 17 countries
100%
of Ph.D. students receive full tuition funding plus a research fellowship
Wheaton was an ideal place in which to prepare for a lifetime of scholarship and teaching. — Carmen Imes Ph.D., '16, Associate Professor in Old Testament at Prairie College
Application Information

Stay informed about our admission requirements, deadlines, how to write a research proposal, and more.


Why Pursue the Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies at Wheaton?

Fully Funded

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.

Mentor Intensive

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.

Concurrent

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 the research and teaching of a professor).

Integrative Approach

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.

Globally Minded

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.

At the Wheaton College Graduate School, we offer a number of programs in our School of Biblical and Theological Studies, so you can find the right fit for you:

  • The M.A. in Theology concentrates on the historical and systematic development of theological ideas and doctrines in the context of particular historical or doctrinal systems.
  • The M.A. in History of Christianity focuses on both the historiography and the history of the Christian church and on the social, political, and economic contexts in which Christianity has developed over time.
  • The M.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies prepares students to study the Bible and understand Christian Theology for the purposes of practical ministry and the enrichment of contemporary Christian life.
  • The M.A. in Biblical Exegesis equips students to study and interpret the Bible with a rigorous, academic knowledge of biblical languages, hermeneutics, and literary and historical backgrounds.
  • The M.A. in Old Testament Archaeology investigates the world of the Bible through the recovery and study of ancient sources in order to better understand Scripture.
  • The Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies is a highly competitive, rigorous, and academic doctoral program that trains Biblical Scholars and Theologians to serve as teachers, researchers, pastors, and leaders in the church and the academy worldwide.

All students will be required to take a minimum of 40 hours of doctoral-level courses and may be asked to take as many as 60 credits.

The program is designed to be completed faster than most U.S. Ph.D. programs. With coursework and dissertation work completed concurrently, students can complete their Ph.D. within as little as four years. Length and specific components of the program vary from student to student.

In partnership with our Center for Vocation and Career, many find employment in higher education, as well as church and parachurch agencies. 

Who Hires our Graduates?

  • Churches
  • Colleges and universities
  • Parachurch agencies
  • Religious organizations
  • Publishing houses
  • Seminaries

Where are Our Ph.D. Alumni Serving?

Alumni from the program have gone on to work at the following organizations and many more:

  • Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Institut Biblique et Missionnaire
  • First Presbyterian Church of Miami
  • Northern Seminary
  • Talbot School of Theology
  • The Urban Ministry Institute
  • Oak Hill Theological College
  • Grace Theological Seminary
  • Zondervan Publishing
  • Gordon College
  • Grace Church of DuPage
  • Singapore Bible College
  • Bethlehem Bible College and Seminary
  • Crossway Books
  • Planetshakers College
  • Reality LA
  • Knox Theological Seminary
  • Visoko Evanđeosko Teološko Učilište, Croatia

What Career Paths Have Our Alumni Taken?

Alumni of the Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies program have gone on to faithful careers in a variety of different fields. Many hold teaching positions at seminaries as well as both Christian and secular colleges and universities around the country and the world. Beyond that, our graduates pastor churches large and small here in the local area, on both coasts of the country, and in many other countries across the globe. A number of graduates also serve in publishing and other media-related fields. 

Wheaton Ph.D. Biblical and Theological Studies Admission and Tuition

The Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies is a residential program taught at the main campus of Wheaton College.

Admission requirements include:

  • Application deadline: January 1st
  • Interview Required
  • Master's of Divinity (M.Div.), M.A. Theological Studies, M.A. Biblical Studies, or equivalent required
  • 3.5 Minimum Graduate GPA
  • GRE within the past five years
  • Sample Research Paper
  • Research Proposal
  • Four Recommendations (online forms)

While our M.A. programs in Biblical and Theological Studies provide excellent preparation for entry into top competitive Ph.D. programs (including Wheaton), admission to Wheaton’s Ph.D. is not guaranteed for Wheaton master’s students.

Biblical and Theological Studies women enjoying a day out in Chicago

BTS Grad Women's Fellowship

The Biblical and Theological Studies (BTS) Grad Women’s Fellowship was started over a decade ago to provide a space for female graduate students in the department to meet together regularly throughout the year with female faculty, build relationships, provide support, and enjoy each other’s company. The group was started by Dr. Karen Jobes (Emerita) and is led today by Dr. Jennifer Powell McNutt and Dr. Amy Peeler. Food, fellowship, and prayer are the focus of our time together. If you are a female Bible and theology student in an M.A. or Ph.D. program, please join us!


Faculty Books

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The Book of Amos

This detailed commentary on Amos by Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R. is part of the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series.

faculty book by Marc Cortez

Christological Anthropology in History Perspective

Dr. Marc Cortez looks at the ways several key theologians have used Christology to inform their understanding of the human person.

faculty book by Douglas Moo

The Epistle to the Romans

Dr. Douglas Moo's work on the Epistle to the Romans is part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament.

faculty book by Richard L Schultz

Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible

Richard Schultz says that only 59% of Americans read the Bible at least occasionally, and an even smaller percentage go beyond merely reading the Bible and actually study it.

Peeler cover

Hebrews: An Introduction and Study Guide

A book by Amy L. B. Peeler that provides a survey of the salient historical, social, and rhetorical factors of Hebrews as well as its theological, liturgical, and cultural legacy.

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Evangelical Theology

Dr. Daniel Treier provides this introductory textbook for evangelical colleges, universities, and seminaries that offers students a biblically rich, creedally structured, ecumenically evangelical, and ethically engaged introduction to Christian theology.

Esau McCauley - Reading While Black

Reading While Black

Growing up in the American South, Dr. Esau McCaulley knew firsthand the ongoing struggle between despair and hope that marks the lives of some in African American contexts. 

Recent Biblical and Theological Studies News

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Possible Careers for Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Students

In partnership with our Center for Vocation and Career, many find employment in higher education, as well as church and parachurch agencies.

  • Churches
  • Colleges and universities
  • Parachurch agencies
  • Religious organizations
  • Publishing houses
  • Seminaries

Alumni from the program have gone on to work at the following organizations and many more:

  • Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Institut Biblique et Missionnaire
  • First Presbyterian Church of Miami
  • Northern Seminary
  • Talbot School of Theology
  • The Urban Ministry Institute
  • Oak Hill Theological College
  • Grace Theological Seminary
  • Zondervan Publishing
  • Gordon College
  • Grace Church of DuPage
  • Singapore Bible College
  • Bethlehem Bible College and Seminary
  • Crossway Books
  • Planetshakers College
  • Reality LA
  • Knox Theological Seminary
  • Visoko Evanđeosko Teološko Učilište, Croatia 

Alumni of the Ph.D. in Biblical & Theological Studies program have gone on to faithful careers in a variety of different fields. Many hold teaching positions at seminaries as well as both Christian and secular colleges and universities around the country and the world. Beyond that, our graduates pastor churches large and small here in the local area, on both coasts of the country, and in many other countries across the globe. A number of graduates also serve in publishing and other media-related fields.