Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies

The Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies subscribes to the AIU philosophy of education.

However, the distinct needs of doctoral students require additional approaches to learning.

Learning is at best holistic, collaborative, personal, sustained development that is contextualized in its matrix culture; in African Society, since group consensus is frequently valued higher than individual opinion, reflection needs to seek new consensus, and the learning community is the natural locus for this to occur.

This program seeks to maximize these characteristics of learning. The Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies curriculum applies this philosophy to the programme.

Individual students pursue their learning within a learning community.

Students may be admitted in cohorts or as individuals and each cohort, and individuals together with the faculty will form a collaborative learning community during the period of study.

Students’ ideas and reflections on issues are discussed and sharpened as they plan and do the research and dissertation during the dissertation cycle. Given the mission of AIU, the program seeks to cultivate and form leaders who engage in theological reflection integrated with social sciences so that theory may inform practice and vice-versa.

This integration of theology and social sciences empowers the learners to be able to scrutinize contemporary theological discourses and help African Christians to developed contextual theologies and theological models that fit their contexts, respond to them constructively, and suggest alternatives rooted in fresh examinations of the biblical and theological texts and analysis of African realities in order to be relevant.

Rationale of the Programme

The Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies at AIU is an advanced research-based programme of study in a specialized area of theological and religious studies beyond the Master of Arts (or Master of Divinity) in theological studies.

The programme allows a student to do advanced research in any of the concentrations in any of the areas of theological studies.

All concerned students will share 4 major common core areas of study that will significantly contribute towards their achievement of the overall intended outcomes in keeping with the university vision and mission.

The program seeks to respond to the need to produce African theological and religious scholars who are in high demand because of the lack of trained theologians at the doctoral level for teaching, administration in theological institutions of higher learning, the Church, and Para-church organizations.

African realities

The theological and religious issues and questions society is facing are theological, and this creates the need for advanced theological training for the Church in African to deal with these questions as well as train Christian leaders at the highest academic levels so they can train others.

We cannot ignore the challenges facing the church in Africa today, which are theological in nature and therefore a theological reflection on these issues is critical and must receive special attention.

The African Church lacks such deep theological reflection on critical religious, social, political, governance and economic issues facing the Church in Africa and how theology has bearing on these matters facing humanity.

African Theological Institutions lack strong theological faculty at the graduate level where these issues are to be reflected upon and students equipped for the work of the ministry within the Church and society.

This lack of theological teachers for our theological institutions at the graduate level is not good for the Church in Africa.

Currently, the majority of people teaching theological courses in our theological institutions are not trained at the doctoral level. This can affect the quality of education and training being offered on the continent.

With the shift of Christianity to the global south, the Church in Africa has a great opportunity to contribute to theological reflection and studies from the African context that would be beneficial to the global Church.

This requires serious reflection at the highest level in academic theology.

Training theologians at the Ph.D. will go a long way to fulfill the responsibility that is placed on the African Church.

We urgently need PhDs in the different theological disciplines in Africa International University to be a critical and leading evangelical theological institution in of Africa.

Needs assessed from AIU alumni and other graduates

We have received many inquiries over the years about a Ph.D. programme in theological studies from within the continent as well as from abroad.

Many AIU graduates have been waiting for a program like this.

Because we did not have it, some of our graduates have gone to other local and public universities that offer Ph.D. degrees in religion and not in theology.

This programme with the different concentrations meet the current critical areas of need on the Continent in the area of theological studies.

Our preliminary survey on the program revealed there is great interest by our alumni and others who would like to study theology in Africa in all the seven areas of concentrations in the program, there is an opportunity for the program to grow with our effort in strengthening our Bachelor of Theology, and MA programs in theological studies.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies is offered to meet these pressing needs in theological and religious studies on the continent.

Goal of the Programme

The goal of the programme is to prepare and train students in the African context for teaching, academic, Church leadership, as consultants and researchers and writers in theological and religious disciplines.

Expected Learning Outcomes of the Programme

Students completing the Ph.D. in Theological Studies at AIU must demonstrate the following qualities, competencies, and skills:

  1. Growth in discipleship and Christian spiritual maturity and integrity
  2. Develop potential for growth in leadership in a specific theological and religious discipline and demonstrate competency in advanced knowledge, teaching, and skills in a specialized area.
  3. Develop creative competencies as innovative and critical thinkers to address the key issues and subject matter of the student’s area of concentration
  4. Competency in primary research and effective teaching within a chosen area of theological and religious studies.
  5. Acquire superior knowledge, broad-based competencies, and skills in their areas of concentrations

Admission Requirements

The applicant must hold an MA or MDiv degree from an academic institution recognized by the Commission for University Education of the government of Kenya, or by ACTEA or ICHE, in one of the following disciplines: Theology, Church History, Bible, Religion, Missions, Translation and Pastoral.

Prerequisite courses

The MA or MDiv studies of all applicants to the Ph.D. Theological Studies must normally include minimum:

  • 12 quarter credits (or the equivalent) in related studies such as Old Testament New Testament, theology, missions, religions, Bible translation, pastorals and church history.

Applicants lacking the minimum requirements must remove the deficiency prior to admission to the programme.

The Graduate Board may waive some of these requirements in exceptional circumstances.

In some cases, a student with only a few prerequisite credits lacking may be permitted to take the required MA-level courses during his or her first year after admission to the programme.

Grade point average of MA-level work

Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average for prior graduate-level academic work of at least 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale.

Language requirements


Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English.

Applicants whose previous university studies have not been conducted in English must submit a TOEFL score of at least 600 (paper version) or the equivalent: a TOEFL CBT (computer version) score of at least 200; a TOEFL IBT (internet version) score of at least 100; an IELTS score of at least 8; or a Cambridge Exam ranking of at least CPE.

Other languages

Applicants must present evidence of the following language competencies applicable to their concentrations, such as three terms at MA-level (or the equivalent) of Koine Greek or classical Hebrew, theological German, theological French, and fluency in the language of the culture in which the applicant proposes to do research. Proficiency exams must be successfully attempted in these areas, as prescribed for particular concentrations.

Competence in German and French may be demonstrated by means of University transcripts or of a certificate (for example from the Goethe Institute or the Alliance Française), or by means of a translation test administered by NEGST.

The Graduate Studies Board must approve exceptions to this requirement.

Beyond the mere possession of a degree, the applicant must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (B) or the equivalent in his/her MA or M.Div. studies, and must demonstrate ability in academic research and writing.

In addition, all students must fulfill all general AIU requirements for admission.

Because AIU is a Christian institution, applicants must demonstrate Christian maturity and high moral integrity.

Since pursuing a doctoral degree is arduous and demanding, applicants should also demonstrate that they are capable, competent, hardworking and determined and that they enjoy the support of their family and/or church community.

Guidelines for processing applications

a. The applicant sends the application form and the required accompanying documents to the AIU Admissions Office.

b. Once there is sufficient documentation, the Admissions Office sends the application dossier to the graduate school office who forwards the application to the Head of Department.

c. The Head of Department seeks the approval of the department for admission of the applicant. The decision of the department is minuted. The relevant minute is then forwarded by the Head of Department with the application dossier to the Dean of Graduate Studies, who then seeks the approval of the Graduate Studies Board.

d. In cases where the department wishes to waive an admissions requirement, the matter must be referred to the Graduate Studies Board, whose decision on admission is final.

Mode of Delivery

The Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies is taught in seminar form consisting of:

  1. There will be a ten-day face-to-face residency two to three times a year for two years on the AIU Karen Campus.
  2. Research Paper for each seminar: Following each of the residencies, students will complete a research paper that relates to their doctoral seminar content with specific issues in their areas of specialization.

In addition to these, there will be On-line peer mentoring conversation and cohort interaction and peer review of student’s work through colloquiums and retreats during each residency.

  1. Provision is made for a cohort-based/modular format in the first year of the programme, while students are required to attend three contact sessions to complete the seminar/taught cycle. Thereafter the Ph.D. candidate may choose to stay on in residence for the purpose of quality concentrated time during the research cycle of 2-3 years or come on a part-time basis.
  2. Whether the full-time or part-time option is adopted following the first year, regularly scheduled meetings between the mentor and the candidate will be agreed upon and signed by both parties and the mentor is required to report same in writing to the HOD and the Graduate School (consult the Doctoral Studies Guidelines for related details).
  3. Payment of a fixed tuition amount every term/semester is recommended to the University, as a way to incentivize and minimize attrition.
  4. Candidates who complete all the required seminars but are yet to successfully defend the dissertation will be subject to register and pay University continuation fees, within the maximum time allowed in the Ph.D. programme (consult the current University fees structure and the Doctoral studies Manual).

Fee structure

  • Total tuition 126,000
  • Admin Charges 16,525
  • Total tuition fee per semester 142,525
  • Total per Year 427,575

How to apply

You can apply online by clicking Online application


Download application form Application form

You can send your application to Public Relations or Admissions.

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This course is Online & Campus Combined
Start Date
Jan. 2020
2 years
427,575 KES
Total per Year
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