Designed for students who have already completed a master's in theology, this program prepares scholars in the interdisciplinary fields of religious education and practical theology. Through a partnership with BC's Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, students take courses in theology, education, and religious education.
The program can be completed in four years.
The minimum residency requirement for the Ph.D. in Theology and Education is two years.
Students perform 10 hours of service each week for two years as teaching assistants or M.A. thesis consultants.
Design a program of study customized to your research interests with the support of your advisor.
Take courses and work with faculty across three Boston College graduate schools.
Master key areas related to your field and dissertation as you prepare for oral and written exams.
Complete a dissertation that contributes to the field of religious education or practical theology.
Participate in a range of retreats, days of reflection, and faith-sharing groups offered at STM.
All Ph.D. students receive a full tuition scholarship and a four-year stipend of $30,000/year.
Designed to prepare tomorrow's leaders in the field of religious education, the Ph.D. curriculum is an expression of practical theology. The program typically includes 48 credits beyond the master's degree.
Integration of scholarly reflection and practical educational concerns;
Development of a general level of competence in Biblical studies, systematics, ethics and practical theology;
Development of a general level of competence in the literature and practice of education, especially educational philosophy, educational history, and curriculum and instruction;
Development of a general level of competence in the social sciences most relevant to religious education, especially sociology and psychology;
Development of expertise in religious education as a field of scholarship and practice, including a) the contributions of theology, education, and the social sciences to religious education and b) the literature of religious education, including historical classics, contemporary writings, and ecclesial texts;
An ability to engage in research and write for various publics about religious education;
The ability to teach with creativity and active engagement in both academic and pastoral contexts.
Ph.D. students may only begin their studies during the fall semester.
The application to STM must be completed online. Please note you can submit your application form once it is completed; you do not need to wait for all of your supplemental materials to arrive.
Note: Ph.D. applicants should already hold a master's degree in theology. If you do not, we encourage you to apply to one of our master's programs.
Applicants who are Catholic diocesan priests or deacons or members of religious orders must submit a letter of approval and financial support from their bishop, major superior, or Provincial. Please select "Bishop/Major Superior" as the recommender type on the application form.
A non-refundable fee of $75 is required for every degree and non-degree application submitted.
Please note: The application fee cannot be refunded for any reason. If you qualify for a fee waiver, you should not pay the fee when you submit the application form. Fee waivers are granted to the following applicants: Jesuits, veterans, applicants currently completing a year of service or who are Pell Grant-eligible, and current STM students. We do not waive the application fee for other reasons.
The GRE is optional, but preferred.
Applicants who do send GRE scores should have them sent directly from ETS. Our GRE code is 2508.
English Proficiency Exam
All applicants for whom English is not their native language must also provide TOEFL or IELTS test score results. Read more about special instructions for international applicants here. This webpage will also indicate under with criteria a waiver may be granted. Waivers must be approved in writing by the admissions office.
We require transcripts from all colleges, universities, seminaries, or theological schools that you have attended. Each transcript should contain a list of all coursework taken, grades/marks received, and, if applicable, degree granted and date of degree confirmation. If your college or university will send official transcripts electronically, they can be emailed to email@example.com. Otherwise, transcripts must be mailed and be contained in a sealed, signed envelope. If the official transcript is not English, a translation should be provided with the official document. Please alert us if your transcript will be arriving with a different name than the one you are using on your application (e.g. your maiden name). Please note that a transcript is only considered official if received directly from the institution issuing it.
Please note that your application may be reviewed with unofficial copies of your transcripts. If you send unofficial copies, know that if admitted, you must sent official copies before you begin coursework. In addition, if you are currently finishing a degree, you must send a final, official version of the transcript upon graduating, and before beginning coursework at STM.
For applicants using the U.S. Postal Service:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
For applicants using FedEx or UPS:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
9 Lake Street
Brighton, MA 02135-3841
Ph.D. applicants are required to submit three recommendations using the online application system.
Each recommender should be familiar with the applicant’s academic background and their capacity for success in a doctoral program.
Applicants who are Catholic diocesan priests or deacons, or members of religious orders must submit a letter of approval and financial support from their bishop, major superior, or Provincial. This is in addition to the other three recommendations. Please select "Bishop/Major Superior" as the recommender type on the application form.
Please be sure that your recommenders are aware of the application deadlines and online process, and choose them carefully to ensure that they can write on your behalf in a timely manner.
A writing sample must be uploaded as part of the application. The sample should be an academic paper of around 25 pages.
The resume must be uploaded as part of the application. It is helpful if you highlight relevant teaching, research, ministry, service, and leadership positions you have held.
The personal statement must be uploaded as part of the application. The personal statement should be three pages in length, double-spaced.
Your statement should address the following:
Required Supplemental Essay
"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." (attributed to the poet William Butler Yeats).
Write a 700 word essay (two pages, double spaced, 12 font) in which you propose a vision for research on teaching theology or religious education in ways that "light a fire" of faith in people's lives. Use this essay to briefly name some of your methodological and intellectual commitments.