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School of Theology and Ministry

Ph.D. in Theology and Education

school of theology and ministry

A truly interdisciplinary doctoral program.

The Ph.D. in theology and education is intended to prepare future leaders and scholars in the integrative field of religious education.  The program combines resources from the School of Theology and Ministry, the Lynch School of Education, and the Graduate School of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences.

Participants take courses in theology, education, and religious education; faculty members from each of these areas serve on both the comprehensive examination committee and on the dissertation committee.

Courses, advisement, examinations and dissertations focus on developing the following proficiencies:

  • Integration of scholarly reflection and practical educational concerns
  • Development of a general level of competence in Bible, systematics, ethics, and pastoral theology
  • Development of a general level of competence in the literature and practice of education, especially educational philosophy and history, 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 the following: a clarity about the contributions of theology, education and the social sciences to religious education, a detailed grasp of the literature of religious education, including historical classics, contemporary writing, and ecclesial texts
  • An ability to engage in research and to write for various publications about religious education
  • The ability to teach with creativity and active engagement in both academic and pastoral contexts


All students admitted to the doctoral program receive a 4-year stipend of approximately $20,000/year. In exchange for the four-year stipend, Ph.D. students give two years of service to the STM. Additionally, students also receive full tuition for 50 credits plus doctoral continuation fees through their fourth year.

After the fourth year, each student is charged a doctoral continuation fee, which is equal to 1 credit hour per semester enrolled and for which the student is responsible. For more information, please see the prospectus.


  • Ordinarily, the program of studies consists of 50 credit hours beyond the master’s degree.
  • The minimum residency requirement for the Ph.D. in Theology and Education is two years of full-time study.
  • During the student’s two years of residency s/he is enrolled in TMRE8527 Doctoral and Advanced Seminar in Religious Education (three credits per year, meeting bi-weekly throughout the year). Students beyond their first two years may also participate in the Seminar.
  • Reading knowledge of one modern, classic, or biblical language other than English is a requirement for the doctorate in theology and education. The choice of language should be related to the student’s area of scholarly writing.
  • The doctoral comprehensive examination covers four general areas (Bible, systematic and pastoral theology, ethics, and education) and three special areas (theoretical foundations of religious education, history of religious education and religious education and the social sciences). The questions, including a detailed bibliography, are worked out by the student and his or her advisor and approved by the examining committee.
  • The comprehensives are written in a period not exceeding one working week of five days. Normally, one receives the questions on a Monday and returns them by Friday at noon. An oral defense is scheduled for as early as possible the following week.
  • A student is admitted to doctoral candidacy upon a successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, language requirement and the approval of the dissertation proposal.
  • A doctoral dissertation
  • Congruent with the interdisciplinary nature of the degree, comprehensives and dissertation committees are composed of three members: (1) the major advisor, who works in the area or religious education and is a faculty member in the DREPM, (2) a faculty member in theology, generally someone from the Boston College Theology Department or the Ecclesiastical Faculty within the STM, and (3) a faculty member from the Lynch School of Education.