Ph.D. in Theology and Education

Ph.D. in Theology and Education

A truly interdisciplinary doctoral program

The Ph.D. in Theology and Education prepares future leaders and scholars with a focus on religious education that branches out into practical and pastoral theology and such academic disciplines as religion and society, moral development, and leadership in Catholic education. It has also been effective in preparing undergraduate theology teachers.

The program combines resources from STM, the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, and the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Participants take courses in theology, education, religious education and other subjects as germane to one’s area of research and dissertation topic (philosophy, sociology, etc.). One’s PhD committee, serving for both comprehensive exams and dissertation, is made up of a DREPM faculty person with expertise in religious education, and then one from another area of theology and from the Lynch School.

STM Faculty

Department of Theology Faculty

Lynch School of Education Faculty


Frequently Asked Questions

At a Glance

How long will it take?

Most students complete the program over four or five years.

Coursework and Residency

The program typically includes 50 credits of coursework beyond the master’s degree.
The minimum residency requirement is two years of full-time study.


All Ph.D. students receive a four-year stipend of $20,500/year,
plus a full tuition scholarship.

Religious Education Faculty

Recent Graduate Placements

Professor, Jesuit Theological College, Melbourne, Australia

Professor of Environmental Ethics, Department of Theology University of Portland

Member of Irish Senate

Associate Professor of Theology, Aquinas Institute of Theology

Director of Contextual Education and Congregational Partnerships, Boston University School of Theology



Professor, Mount Mary College

Head of Chapel, Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry

Associate Professor, Director of Pastoral Ministry
Program, Duquesne University

Professor of Christian/Jewish Learning, St. Joseph’s University

President, College of St. Mary



Application Information



Fall 2023
January 13, 2023
Important Note
Ph.D. students may only begin their studies during the fall semester.

Application Form

The application to STM must be completed online.

Application Form

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. 

Additional Requirements:

International applicants

Religious applicants

Application Fee

A non-refundable fee of $75 is required for every degree and non-degree application submitted.

Payment Options

  • Pay by credit or debit card via the web; You can pay the application fee at the same time your submit your application form.  However, if you do not pay the fee at the same time you submit your application, you can pay online at a later date through the Agora Portal. You must use your BC Username and password to log in.

  • Pay by check or money order made payable to Boston College, via regular mail.  Please include your check with a copy of your application form submission confirmation page and include your name and intended degree program.

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, and current STM students. We do not waive the application fee for other reasons.

Standardized Tests

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  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.

Mailing Addresses
For applicants using the U.S. Postal Service:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

For applicants using FedEx or UPS:
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
Simboli Hall
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 competence and their capacity for success in a doctoral program. 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.

Writing Sample

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.

Personal Statement

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:

  • The academic, professional, and personal development that has motivated you to apply to STM and the Ph.D. in Theology and Education. How has your education and/or experience impacted your discernment?
  • Your understanding of theological education and ministry in the context of the Church's mission, as well as the role and responsibilities of a theologian and/or educator today?
  • How you plan to apply your theological education.
  • Information outlining your specific area and field of academic interest, a proposed topic(s) for your research and dissertation, how your previous academic, professional, and/or pastoral experience has prepared you for studies within that particular field, and the STM faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work.
  • Given your experience, how you assess your principal strengths for theological education and/or ministry as well as your areas of needed development

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.