Ph.D. in Theology and Education
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.
Candidates must have a strong academic record, be well recommended by faculty who have taught them at a graduate level (can be in Theology or Education), have a good writing sample; and have a real interest in religious education, or more broadly be willing to study at the interface of theology and education or in practical theology. Some direct experience in teaching or ministerial work is also imperative.
Definitions vary! However, BC's program is committed to education from and for a faith perspective on life, to nurture people to live into a Transcendent Horizon - God (however understood - though our ethos is distinctly Catholic and Christian). For this reason, the program is well named - a PhD in Theology and Education; we take both components seriously and attempt to integrate them. If you have good religion and good education and put the two together, you will likely have good religious education.
That would be fine but it would require taking an "education" approach to those disciplines - how to teach them effectively as well as know about them. If one is interested solely in the study of systematic theology, Scripture, or ethics, etc., then you might consider a Ph.D. in Theology from BC's Department of Theology in the Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences.
No - BC requires at least two years of residency.
Most students complete the program over four or five years.
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.
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 automatically 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.
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, IELTS, or Duolingo 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 your application may be reviewed with unofficial copies of your transcripts, though we prefer official copies at the time of application. If you send unofficial copies, please note 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, please use this address:
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 competence and their capacity for success in a doctoral program. For applicants who have been out of school for a significant amount of time, the recommenders should be familiar with the applicant's professional competence. 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.
The 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.