Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

What is a Doctor of Philosophy?

PhD is a doctorate in a specific area of study and at Grace Bible Reformed University, it is a valuable in the field of theology.

What Is a Theology PhD Program?

Grace Bible Reformed University’s PhD focuses on Christian theology. The graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is designed to afford students advanced training in independent inquiry, academic research, critical analysis, and scholarly writing as they define their own theological positions in dialogue with other points of view. It is aimed at equipping scholars from all parts of the world for teaching and research in colleges, theological seminaries, and universities and for general ecclesiastical leadership.

Theology Doctorate Career Opportunities

A PhD can prepare you for many roles, including:

Professor: Share your knowledge through undergraduate- or graduate-level teaching.

Pastor-Scholar: Help lead a congregation and a denomination as a pastor who engages with and produces scholarship that feeds the church.

Author: Publish books, create learning lessons, and research through written works.

Center or institute staff: Serve as a leader for a faith-based center, institute, think tank, or other organization that values theology.

Our PhD in Theology Program

GBRU PhD Concentrations PhD concentrations are offered in the History of Christianity, Moral Theology (Ethics), New Testament, Old Testament, Philosophical Theology, and Systematic Theology.

History of Christianity: If you love studying history and the life of the global church, this concentration offers you a deeper study of the development of Christian communities and Christian thought over time.

Moral Theology (Ethics): For students who have a passion for ethical living, personally and communally, this concentration offers a philosophical and practical look at moral theology. What does the bible say about politics and social media (Political theology and social media theology)?

Old Testament: Does the life of Moses, and the acts of the prophets in the Old Testament, excite you? Do you pore over Scripture with an eagerness to understand more deeply? This concentration offers an up-close look at the Old Testament of God’s living Word. 

New Testament: Does the life of Jesus, and the acts of the early church, excite you? Do you pore over Scripture with an eagerness to understand more deeply? This concentration offers an up-close look at the New Testament of God’s living Word.

Philosophical Theology: If you are drawn to the work of thought-provoking authors throughout time, energized by philosophical conversations with your peers, and curious about the implications of philosophy for the church and the world, this concentration is your key to open doors of the mind.

Systematic Theology: What is theology? Why does it matter? How can we respond to basic questions about the Christian faith? What is the story being told in the whole of Scripture? Explore these questions and more through the systematic theology concentration.

Christian Education: What is Christian Education? Who teaches it? How to teach in classroom with diverse people, How to develop lessons and lead christian schools.

Christian Counseling: What is Christian Counseling? Difference between Christian counseling and counseling in general? How to teach, practice it in Christian schools. 

Theology PhD Coursework Students are required to complete a total of twelve PhD courses for credit in biblical or theological content areas. Full-time students take six courses per year (typically three per semester) for two years. Part-time students take either four courses per year for three years or three courses per year for four years. At least three courses must be taken in the student’s discipline of specialization and at least two courses in each of the other three areas.

In addition to the twelve required PhD courses in biblical and theological content areas, students in the program must take “Teaching & Student Formation,” during the first two years in the program and are expected to take “Dissertation Seminar,” if they have completed the required PhD courses and are working on their dissertation. Students ordinarily will take the dissertation seminar for more than one semester. These seminars are offered on a credit/no credit basis and do not count toward the twelve required courses in the program.

Students living outside of the Florence area can join by video call. Organization assignments GBRU PhD students will be required to work with local or international organizations/churches/colleges and universities of their choice just from the start of the program. These assignments can be short or long depending on the needs of the organization.

Learning in the Reformed Tradition

Grace Bible Reformed University is committed to the confessional and theological standards of Grace Bible Reformed Church, but students from all Christian traditions are welcome to apply. The academic freedom to probe the foundations of Reformed theology and to explore the validity of other approaches is a fundamental assumption of the PhD program.

Get Your Theology Doctorate in Arizona GBRU residential PhD program allows you to learn in our nearby bible colleges and seminaries libraries. Experience true community, below-market housing (optional), and a vibrant city at your fingertips. But half of the program will be online.


The PhD program at Grace Bible Reformed University typically takes between 4–5 years to complete.


In addition to this summary of the PhD program, further details and requirements can be found in the PhD Handbook. Professors in charge of the program will shed more light on the PhD requirements.


International learning community: Grace Bible Reformed University will offer an international community of Christian scholars eager to learn from one another. GBRU is a truly global community, students will come from over 10 countries around the world. Over 30% of students will be coming from outside the United States and Canada.

Reformed: Grace Bible Reformed University is a learning community in the Reformed Christian tradition that forms church leaders who cultivate communities of disciples of Jesus Christ. Here you will receive a thorough grounding in confessional Reformed thought. Diverse scholarly literature: The program helps develop an awareness and appreciation of scholarly literature representing diverse points of view in the worldwide church today and of ways in which cultural and religious contexts challenge and enrich theological education.

Know your Christian history: Students will learn about key figures and issues in the history of Christian thought and throughout church history.

Solid methodology: The Grace Bible Reformed University PhD program teaches and practices a solid methodology of theological research. You will be introduced to proper research methods and their application as well as to important theological issues and developments.

Broad range of biblical and theological topics: GBRU enables teaching competency across a variety of biblical and theological topics through a broad range of coursework and comprehensive examinations. In addition, each PhD concentration provides depth and breadth of learning in a specific area.

Insightful pedagogy: The PhD program offers instruction in pedagogy that provides insights, skills, and practice in teaching. Courses are innovative and engaging, built on the learning and expertise of world-class professors.

Supportive community: At GBRU, you will find a supportive community from the first course to the last chapter of the dissertation. Faculty, staff, and fellow students are here to support you throughout your PhD journey.

Significant financial support: GBRU PhD students will find substantial financial support and options for reasonable living expenses soon. You are guaranteed to receive tuition support between 25% and 100%. Library and study space resources: GBRU will use libraries nearby for local students, but those students online will use what they can find in their area.

How to Apply

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