6.11 Doctor of Philosophy
6.11.1 Admission to the...
6.11.2 Registration
6.11.3 Degree Requirements
6.11.4 Hermeneutics and
Biblical Interpretation
6.11.5 Historical and
Theological Studies

6.11.1 Admission to the Program


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Applicants not previously registered at Westminster must present the following credentials to the Office of Admissions. (See application due dates in section 5.1.b).

  1. An application on a form provided by the Office of Admissions (available online at www.wts.edu) including personal statements and a spouse statement, if applicable.
  2. A non-refundable application fee. (International students should see section 5.1.2 regarding requirements pertaining to checks.) 
  3. In place of Personal Statement B as described on the application form, the applicant will provide a statement (1) giving a brief history of the applicant’s academic and theological preparation, (2) indicating reasons for wishing to pursue a program of advanced theological study at Westminster, and (3) indicating the area of interest and vocational objective. 
  4. A full official transcript of all college work, including an attestation of the attainment of a baccalaureate degree, and a full transcript of the applicant’s theological program, including an attestation of the attainment of a first theological degree. A two-year degree (such as the M.A.R. or the Th.M.) is acceptable, but a three-year degree (such as the M.Div.) is preferred. Applicants with a two-year degree should be aware that the Ph.D. preliminary examinations are designed to test whether one has the equivalent of a Westminster M.Div. degree, and therefore they may need to take certain M.Div. courses at Westminster.

    Transcripts of advanced programs in the arts or sciences and in theology should also be submitted. The transcript of the theological program shall contain evidence of knowledge of the original languages of Scripture and of sufficient background in the concentration chosen by the applicant to do advanced study in that area. Preferably, the college transcript should indicate that the college program was devoted largely to studies in the liberal arts. Only applicants who have maintained an overall academic average of at least B plus (or equivalent) in their college and seminary work will be considered for admission as potential candidates for the degree Doctor of Philosophy.

    An applicant previously registered at Westminster may use the transcripts provided in his or her previous application, as long as the applicant graduated within the last five years. 
  5. The results of the Aptitude Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This examination is given six times a year at various centers throughout the world by the Educational Testing Service. Applications to take the examination should be sent to The Graduate Record Examinations, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, or (for far western states) Box 27896, Los Angeles, California 90027. The Educational Testing Service will transmit the examination results directly to Westminster. (Westminster’s code number is 2976; this should be noted on materials sent to Educational Testing Service.) 
  6. Two academic references on Westminster forms from former teachers in subjects closely related to the area of concentration chosen by the applicant. An applicant who has previously received a degree from Westminster need submit only one such reference. 
  7. A church reference on a Westminster form from the minister or session of the church of which the applicant is a member, or from another source approved by the Director of Admissions, stating the estimate of the writer concerning the applicant’s ability and moral character. 

8a. Applicants for the Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, Church History, or Apologetics should submit a paper from their Master’s        program in the concentration in which they plan to study.

8b. Applicants for the Ph.D. in Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation should submit a copy of a major exegetical  research                    paper that they have written that shows their skill in biblical interpretation. 


An applicant who has received his or her first theological degree at Westminster must submit the following to the Office of Admissions.
(See application due dates in section 5.1.b).

  1. An application on a form provided by the Office of Admissions (available online at www.wts.edu) including personal and spouse statements, if applicable.
  2. A non-refundable application fee. (International students should see section 5.1.2 regarding requirements pertaining to checks.) 
  3. An applicant previously registered at Westminster may use the transcripts provided in his or her previous application, as long as the applicant graduated within the last five years. 
  4. The GRE, as described in paragraph 5 above
  5. One academic reference as described in paragraph 6 above
  6. A new church reference must be submitted. The church reference must be from the minister or session of the church in which the applicant is currently a member. 
  7. A paper from the applicant’s Master’s program, as described in paragraphs 8a and 8b above.

Only applicants who have maintained an overall academic average of at least B plus (or equivalent) in their college and seminary work will be considered for admission as potential candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Unless otherwise requested, applications uncompleted by the date stated by the applicant as the date of enrollment in the Seminary will not be retained. No application materials will be returned.

6.11.1.a Notification of Admission

After reviewing the credentials submitted, the Director of Admissions will notify the applicant of the admission decision by letter on or before March 15. In order to confirm their intention to enroll in the Seminary, applicants who have been notified of their admission are required to submit an advance deposit by April 15. If the applicant is admitted after this date, the deposit is due immediately upon receipt of the admission letter. This deposit is applicable to tuition when the student registers for classes. It is not refundable if the student does not enroll. (International students should see section 5.1.2 regarding requirements pertaining to checks.)

6.11.1.b Non-Native English Speakers

The policies pertaining to all non-native English speakers are the same for all degree programs.

6.11.1.c International Students

The policies pertaining to international students are the same for all degree programs.