6.11.5 Historical and Theological Studies
This is a single degree program, within which are offered the following three concentrations: 1) Church History, 2) Systematic Theology, and 3) Apologetics.
For students in all of these concentrations, twelve doctoral-level courses are required. Normally, ten of these courses must be taken at Westminster and two must be taken at the doctoral level at another accredited university or seminary. Of the ten courses to be taken at Westminster, five must be in the student’s concentration (the concentration within which the dissertation will be written), one must be in each of the other two concentrations, and three may be electives from either the Ph.D. Historical and Theological Studies program or the Ph.D.- Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation program. It is expected that students will maintain a balance between classroom/seminar courses and independent/directed reading courses. Up to five of the twelve courses may be directed reading or independent studies. Courses may require approval from the student’s academic advisor.
All course work must be completed within three years of the student’s initial registration in the Ph.D. program. The residency requirement of two years is an absolute minimum length of time that the student should expect to study on campus in course work. Only students who already have reading knowledge of French and German, who are able to waive the preliminary exams, and who are able to devote full time to their studies will actually be able to complete all the necessary requirements within a two-year period. If students need to complete preliminary studies or work to finance their education, they should plan to spend a longer period of time in residence.
Students who have attained the first theological degree at Westminster may, upon petition to the Ph.D. Field Committee for Historical and Theological Studies, be granted permission to take up to four of their twelve courses at another accredited, doctoral-level institution. A student who is granted such permission must still take five doctoral courses at Westminster in the chosen concentration, one doctoral course in each of the other two concentrations in the field, and one elective as a directed reading course, or elective course from among the doctoral course offerings in either the Historical and Theological Studies field or the Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation field.
The written comprehensive examinations test the student’s knowledge of each of the three concentrations within the field. In the student’s chosen concentration, extensive and in-depth knowledge is expected. The student will be required both to analyze and to evaluate the central documents and ideas within that concentration, and an ability to contribute creatively to discussion of the fundamental problems in the concentration must be demonstrated. In each of the other two concentrations in the field, the student is expected to show a general familiarity with basic issues and trends and to be aware of the contributions of specific individuals. In all three concentrations, the student must reflect on the Seminary’s own heritage and perspective, although no student is ever required to agree with the Seminary’s position on any issue. Detailed descriptions of the requirements for all of the examinations, including recommended reading lists for the examinations, are available to matriculated students from the Academic Affairs Office.