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Doctor of Philosophy in Pastoral Theology, Personality and Culture (PhD)

This program will prepare persons for leadership and teaching in theological seminaries and for clinical services in pastoral care and counseling. Students study the integration of theology and psychology with a focus on developing as pastoral psychotherapists and theologians. Through this interdisciplinary program students will increase their knowledge of the theories and practices of healing and care.
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Academic and practical work in pastoral care and counseling provide an opportunity for students to grapple with the complexity of the human experience. My goal is to help students focus their enthusiasm, compassion, and empathy to be more effective in their work with others. - Dr. Pam Holliman

Two Track Options to Tailor Your Degree to Your Vocational Goals

There are two tracks in the PhD Pastoral Theology, Personality and Culture program. Track one is for students who want to teach or do research in pastoral theology from a pastoral care perspective, or for experienced clinicians seeking to become scholars in the field. The second track includes clinical training toward licensure as a licensed professional counselor. Clinical training, with additional course work, is at our affiliated pastoral counseling center, the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago.

Track 1: Pastoral Theology Track

  • 18 semester hours in Pastoral Theology (courses include history and theories, faith development, advanced Pastoral Theology, and advanced Psychology of Religion)
  • 9 semester hours in a cognate concentration in the theological curriculum: church history, theology, ethics, biblical studies or another approved area (determined with advisor)
  • 6 semester hours of electives at Northwestern or another university.

Track 2: Clinical Track (20 additional hours)

In addition to the above requirements, students pursuing the clinical track will need to complete the following courses for a total of 60 semester hours.

  • 18 semester hours taken at the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy or an affiliated pastoral counseling center
  • 2 hours of a course completing a research tool is also designated for the program

About The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago

The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago (CRPC) is a not-for-profit organization offering psychotherapy and pastoral counseling for adults and adolescents, individuals and couples, since 1965. It is fully accredited as a clinical and educational site by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. Staff members are licensed by the state of Illinois, and have been trained both in psychodynamic psychotherapy and in the engagement of the spiritual and religious dynamics of human experience. To learn more, go to

Renowned Faculty Dedicated to Rigorous Academics and the Practice of Ministry

Throughout Garrett-Evangelical's history, there has been a long-standing commitment to the pastoral care and counseling field. Our faculty are widely recognized for their expertise, scholarship, and leadership in the Church and academy. They have become national leaders of their professional organizations and hold places of international recognition and preeminence in the field.

Faculty in the area of Pastoral Theology, Personality and Culture include:

About the PhD at Garrett-Evangelical

The PhD program prepares teachers and scholars for seminaries, church-related colleges, universities, denominations, ecumenical agencies, and local congregations. While the program is centered at Garrett-Evangelical, it draws on faculty resources at Northwestern University; the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS), which includes four seminaries with PhD programs; and other approved universities.

Students may specialize in one of six concentrations with an optional focus in African American/Black Religious Studies available in any concentration:

Our graduates leave with a knowledge and mastery of key approaches, scholarly literature, and research methods in their focused area and appropriate cognate studies. They are engaged in practices of research, teaching, and leadership and are theologians and practical theologians contributing to the missions of the Church and the academy.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Founded in 1853, Garrett-Evangelical is a graduate school of theology related to The United Methodist Church with an ecumenical outreach. Faithfully embracing the future, we are committed to preparing skilled, bold and articulate leaders for ministry in the 21st century. On the campus of Northwestern University, upon the shores of Lake Michigan and on the outskirts of Chicago, Garrett-Evangelical is a place to nuture mind, body, and spirit. The seminary serves more than 500 students from many denominations and various backgrounds and its 4,500 living alumni serve church and society around the world.

Degree Requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in Pastoral Theology, Personality and Culture is a 40-credit hour program. For those who chose the clinical track option, an additional 20-credit hours will be required.

Commitment to Excellence

With a rich history of scholarship, a strong reputation for teaching, and access to world-class academic resources, Garrett-Evangelical is committed to excellence throughout its PhD program.

  • Substantial scholarship resources
  • Emphasis on pedagogical theories and methods
  • Opportunities for developing skills as teachers and scholars through serving as research and teaching assistants and developing a teaching portfolio
  • Home to one of the top ten theological libraries in the nation
  • Connected to faculty and libraries at the largest concentration of seminaries in the United States as part of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools
  • Partnership with Northwestern University libraries and faculty
  • Exceptional record of placing students in teaching positions at colleges and seminaries as well as leadership roles in the church

Admission Requirements

  • Masters degree in religious or theological studies from an accredited college or university
  • One year of clinical training is required
  • Proficiency in the English language

Admission Process

PhD applications are due by January 20. The admissions committee reserves the right to determine in its sole judgment whether an applicant is a suitable candidate for a specific concentration in the PhD program.