Doctor of Theology
Earliest start date
Pontifex University's Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) program is a research degree with the focus being the completion and defense of a scholarly dissertation of between 50,000 and 80,000 words if a first graduate dissertation, or at the discretion of the administration, proportionately shorter for a second or subsequent dissertation. This program is 100% online and home study. There is no residential requirement. Even the dissertation defense can be done via video conferencing.
For admission to either the Th.D. or to the dual-enrollment program, candidates are required to have earned an S.T.B., Pontifical Licentiate, or M.Th. Degree or:
- Have completed seminary instruction leading to ordination to Holy Orders or
- Hold an undergraduate degree plus a Pontifical Catechetical Diploma or
- Hold an undergraduate degree in Theology or
- Hold a graduate degree in a discipline other than Theology
Only candidates with a Pontifical Licentiate or M.Th. will be directly admitted to the Th.D. program. All other candidates will be admitted to the Dual-Enrollment MTS / Th.D. Program. Dual-Enrollment MTS and Th.D. Program / Core Studies Candidates in the dual-enrollment program must complete (or demonstrate that they have previously completed with a satisfactory competence in either a written or oral examination by Pontifex faculty) eight areas of core studies:
- Systematic Theology
- Moral Theology
- New Testament
- Old Testament
- Ecclesiastical History
Successful completion of the eight areas of core study will qualify the candidate for a Diploma in Theological Foundation and when combined with an existing graduate degree, will constitute an acceptable foundation for entry to the Th.D. program.
Candidates with only an undergraduate degree must complete all eight areas of core study (with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0) together with two elective courses (or a thesis) to achieve completion of the MTS degree. If a candidate in this category has satisfactory undergraduate credit for a core study area, then such may be used to exempt the area of study but the candidate must still complete 30 credits of graduate-level study whether at Pontifex University or via transfer credit.
Candidates with an S.T.B. degree will be required to complete two elective 3-credit directed reading courses together with a 3-credit Research Methodologies and Academic Writing program in order to be admitted to the Th.D. program. Mature candidates with a graduate degree in a discipline other than Theology but an otherwise appropriate academic preparation may petition for Advanced Candidature and if granted will be required to complete two 3-credit directed reading courses in Theology and one 3-credit directed reading program in Philosophy to be admitted to the Th.D. program. Unless the candidates’ graduate degree requirements included a thesis, the candidate will also be required to complete a 3-credit Research Methodologies and Academic Writing program. Candidates with a Pontifical Licentiate are automatically granted Advanced Candidature and may proceed directly to the dissertation proposal process. In all cases, prior to admission to the Th.D. dissertation work, the candidate must demonstrate competence in Latin to the satisfaction of the University faculty.