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Doctor of Philosophy in Theological and Ethical Studies (PhD)

The PhD in Theological and Ethical Studies prepares students to pursue scholarship as teaching and writing theologians in the academy and the church. The concentration is based on an integration of theology and ethics, while allowing students to have a major area of focus within the two. It presupposes that these two cannot be separated from each other in Christian understanding.
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I am deeply grateful to be part of a theological institution that embodies a longstanding global sensibility, a deep commitment to creative theological exploration, and a robust practice of interdisciplinary scholarship. - Dr. Hendrik Pieterse

Theology Focus

PhD in Theological and Ethical Studies students with a theology focus study selected classical and contemporary theological constructions, with attention to their grounding in the broad stream of Christian tradition. It focuses particularly on biblical and Reformation trajectories that take seriously the issues raised in the modern and contemporary eras. A significant dimension of this engagement is the awareness of how theology contributes to moral deliberation, discourse and ethical praxis.

Ethics Focus

PhD in Theological and Ethical Studies students with an ethics focus study theological ethics or Christian social and political thought and study a specific issue such as gender, race and class relations, war and peace, technology and culture, with attention devoted to related contextual, historical, and theological issues.

Commitment to Academic 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

Renowned Faculty Dedicated to Rigorous Academics and the Practice of Ministry

Our faculty is one of Garrett-Evangelical's greatest assets. They are widely recognized for their expertise, scholarship, and leadership in the Church and academy. They represent most of the major denominations and a variety of theological perspectives. Our faculty members have published hundreds of books and articles, and several hold places of international recognition and preeminence in their fields.

Our faculty in the area of theology and ethics 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 Theological and Ethical Studies is a 40-credit hour degree that includes:

  • Foundational Courses (7-credit hours)
  • Courses in Area of Concentration (33-credit hours)
  • Research Tools (2)
  • Qualifying Exams (4 written, 1 oral)
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Dissertation and Defense

Note: PhD students are expected to complete a minimum of 3 semesters on campus at Garrett-Evangelical

Admission Requirements

  • Masters degree in religious or theological studies from an accredited college or university
  • 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.