Doctor of Philosophy Admission Process

Equip yourself for a lifetime of ministry and education through our four-year Doctor of Philosophy program.

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With a flexible schedule and rigorous coursework, our Doctor of Philosophy program is dedicated to allowing students to pursue excellence in education in a way that fits their busy lives. 

Entrance Requirements

Applicants not currently enrolled in the Seminary must apply for admission to the Seminary. Currently, enrolled Seminary students need only to complete the application process for admission to the ThM program. Students desiring fall enrollment must complete the application process eight weeks before the fall seminar week; students desiring spring enrollment must complete the application process eight weeks before the spring seminar week. Application forms and individual guidance are available from the Seminary Enrollment Services Office or the Academic Graduate Studies Office. Entrance requirements include:

  • Applicants must submit four references, three from prior professors and one from a pastor or Christian ministry leader. Applicants should submit references that testify to their Christian character and academic ability.
  • Applicants must submit a 2–3-page statement of their rationale for doctoral study.
  • Applicants must hold an MDiv or graduate theological degree with equivalent theological background from an accredited institution.
  • Applicants must have the necessary graduate semester hours for their major. For the Biblical Studies major, applicants must have completed 16 graduate semester hours of Greek and Hebrew with at least 9 graduate semester hours in their major (either Hebrew or Greek). For the Theology major, applicants must have 24 graduate semester hours of theology and church history—at least 8 of these in advanced theology and church history courses—and completion of 12 graduate semester hours of Greek and Hebrew. Applicants may apply to the program without having all these requirements met, but they must fulfill all graduate semester hour requirements before enrollment.
  • Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average from previous academic work that indicates a capacity for graduate work. Under normal circumstances, no applicant with a grade point average below 3.5 on a 4.0 scale will receive consideration for entrance into the PhD program.
  • Applicants must prepare and submit a research paper that demonstrates their research and writing capabilities. The paper should give evidence of the ability to do academic research, proper documentation of academic sources, and the ability to develop and sustain an academic argument. The paper should be on a subject in the applicant’s intended field of study and must feature an academic bibliography.
  • Applicants must complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Millers Analogies Test (MAT) and file the results with the seminary.
  • Applicants who do not have English as their native language are required to take an English proficiency exam. Acceptable exams include the TOEFL iBT and IELTS. Applicants who take the TOEFL iBT must score at least a 90. Applicants who choose to take the IELTS must score at least a 7. Applicants from non English-based programs—for example, bilingual programs—must produce sufficient TOEFL/IELTS scores. Applicants who graduated with an undergraduate or graduate degree from an ATS-accredited English language-based institution and who completed all coursework in English will have this testing requirement waived.
  • After meeting all the standards and completing all other application procedures, applicants may be interviewed by the Director of the PhD/ThM Programs and/or the AGSC.

Application Process The following is a checklist of items required to complete the application process:

  • Completed admission application form (do not leave anything blank)
  • $50.00 application fee
  • One copy of final, official transcripts from all colleges, universities, and seminaries attended (Gateway Seminary graduates do not need to submit any transcripts previously submitted for application to other degree programs)
  • Four recommendations (three from professors, at least one of whom must be from the expected field of study); references must fill out the “Additional Comments” section.
  • Church endorsement form
  • Statement of rationale for PhD study
  • A copy of a research paper in the intended discipline, demonstrating PhD research capability
  • GRE or MAT exam results
  • Interview by the Academic Graduate Studies Committee, if requested by that committee
  • Signed Ethical Conduct Statement
  • Official TOEFL iBT or IELTS score, if applicable)

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