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Doctor of Ecclesial Theology

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Credit Hours:

Emmaus Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ecclesial Theology (ThD) program provides pastors and church leaders with academically rigorous training informed by an understanding of theology in service of the church.

Situated between standard Doctor of Ministry (DMin) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs, the Emmaus ThD is a robust research degree. Rather than set around sub-disciplines like New Testament or Church History (though students will study and may write in those fields) the Emmaus ThD is a Doctor of Ecclesial Theology. This means that their primary course of study, writing, and practice is set in and for the church.

The curriculum for the ThD includes three academic years of research seminars, a comprehensive exam, and finally the completion and defense of a dissertation that represents significant and original scholarly research in service of the church.

The Emmaus ThD is offered in partnership with the Center for Pastor Theologians. This includes CPT fellows teaching, supervising, and guest lecturing throughout the ThD program. ThD Professors and visiting lecturers include: Nick Abraham, Chris Castaldo, Ryan Fields, Gerald Hiestand, Joel Lawrence,  Peter Leithart, Paul Morrison, Gavin Ortlund, Amy Peeler, Jim Samra, Kevin Vanhoozer, Cory Wilson, Stephen Witmer, and more.

To learn more about the vision behind the Emmaus ThD and its partnership with the Center for Pastor Theologians, you can read the announcement here, along with Dr. Wilson's article answering, "What is a Doctor of Ecclesial Theology?", Dr. Morrison's article answering, "What's the Difference Between a PhD, a DMin, and a ThD?", or listen to their conversation with CPT president Dr. Joel Lawrence, "What is a Doctor of Ecclesial Theology?" on the CPT Podcast.

Entrance Requirements:

(in addition to standard Emmaus Application)

— Completion of at least 60 hours of theological graduate program(s)

— Demonstrated Competence in Biblical Hebrew and Greek (If lacking, applicants may level competency during their coursework stage)

— 3.0 or greater GPA in their previous graduate program

— Writing Sample

Program Requirements:

Ecclesial Theology Core Research Seminars:

—Biblical Theology for the Church (BT 701)

—Historical Theology for the Church (CH 701)

—Dogmatic Theology for the Church (TH 701)

—Practical Theology for the Church (PT 701)

Ecclesial Theology (TH 702)

Ecclesial Theology of the Word (TH 703)

Ecclesial Theology of Liturgy and Sacraments (TH 704)

Doctoral Foundations Core Practicums: (1 Credit Each)

Foundations of Research (MP 701)

Writing for the Church (MP 702)

Teaching in the Church and Higher Education (MP 703)

Ecclesial Theology Elective Seminars:

—Ecclesial Theology Elective (3 Credit Hours)

—Ecclesial Theology Elective (3 Credit Hours)

—Ecclesial Theology Elective (3 Credit Hours)

—Ecclesial Theology Elective (3 Credit Hours)

End of Coursework:

—Comprehensive Exam (2 Credit Hours)

Dissertation Prospectus (1 Credit Hour)

Dissertation and Defense* (9 Credit Hours) 150–250 pages

*Students who fail their dissertation defense three subsequent times will be awarded a compensatory ThM.

Academic Level:

48 Credit Hours


Program Tuition and Fees:


$300/Credit Hour


$14,400/Full Program

(ATS PhD/ThD Program National Average: $18,550/Year)


$200/Semester Enrollment Fee*

$3,500 Dissertation Fee**


 *Covers all Communio Intensive meals, costs, and digital library access

**Covers the cost of dissertation supervision and defense panel. May be spread across multiple semesters.

Available Tuition Discounts & Scholarships

25–100% Tuition Discounts for all Partner Church-Endorsed Students.


Partial and Full Scholarships available based on need and social-location. 

Not sure what degree is right for you?

Email us to find a time to talk one-on-one with a faculty member to work through your options and find the best program for you and your calling. 

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