Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy is the highest degree available for theological and biblical studies. It combines deep scholarly research with training in effective writing and communication to prepare you to serve Christ and his global church.

The Doctor of Philosophy program offers specialization in two fields: Biblical Studies (concentrations in Old Testament or New Testament) and Historical & Theological Studies (concentrations in church history, systematic theology, or apologetics).
Westminster’s integrated training will prepare you to:

Demonstrate mastery of core methods and tools of theological research

Gain expertise in a chosen field of theological or biblical study

Produce scholarly work that contributes to the advancement of a major field of study

Deepen your theological understanding to better serve in pastoral ministry, teaching, or further academic scholarship

Communicate compellingly through writing and teaching

at a glance



Years To Complete


Delivery Platforms

on-campus only
online only
Both On-campus & Online

Biblical Languages

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Deadline January 1st

“No other factor in my many years of theological training has done more to define who I am as a theologian and set the trajectory for continued development as a pastor and professor as my PhD studies at Westminster. The Van Tillian contours of the integrated curriculum are an invitation to epistemological humility and eschatological hope. Here, precision meets the pastoral, acumen the affectional, thus yielding informed minds and enflamed hearts.”

DAVID FILSON, Pastor, Christ Presbyterian Church
integrated training
The Doctor of Philosophy program combines deep theological study with rigorous research methods under the guidance of expert faculty.
Our curriculum is crafted to be cumulatively sequential and thoroughly integrated.

Each discipline derives its content and methodology from Scripture and therefore necessarily draws on—and informs—all other disciplines.

Core Courses
3–4 courses

Hermeneutical & Biblical Studies

  • NT Use of the OT

  • Critical Methodologies

  • History of Interpretation

  • Hermeneutical Foundations

Historical & Theological Studies

  • Historical & Theological Methodologies

  • Apologetics of Cornelius Van Til

  • The Westminster Standards

3–4 courses

In addition to your core courses, you will also take elective courses that typically serve to inform your dissertation. PhD students in Hermeneutics & Biblical Studies choose three electives, and students in Historical or Theological Studies choose four.

3 Readings

In order to ensure that you are well-read within your field, you will also take three readings courses in which you will read and digest key texts relevant to your research.

Research Languages
2 exams

Students need to demonstrate proficiency by way of exam in two of the following languages: Latin, German, French, or Dutch.

Students will conduct independent research, work constructively with exegetical and theological problems, and ultimately contribute to knowledge in their subject field through a dissertation that is worthy of publication. Students’ dissertations will culminate in an oral defense before the faculty.
Westminster’s expert faculty is made up of dynamic biblical scholars who are personally invested in mentoring and training the next generation of specialists in the Bible.
Scott Oliphint
Nate Shannon
Iain Duguid
Old Testament
David Garner
Systematic Theology
Vern Poythress
Systematic Theology
Brandon Crowe
New Testament
Jonathan Gibson
Old Testament
Todd Rester
Church History
Guy Waters
New Testament
Stephen Coleman
Old Testament
Mark Garcia
Systematic Theology
Brian Mattson
Systematic Theology
Sinclair Ferguson
Systematic Theology
Peter Lillback
Church History
David Filson

The Doctor of Philosophy will prepare you to serve in a wide range of contexts.


Teaching & Professorship

Seminary Leadership

Continuing academic scholarship

Writing & Publishing


To better equip the global church, Westminster offers the Master of Divinity online, on-campus, or through a hybrid experience you design.

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A better way to learn online, for when you need to stay.

Flexible programs that fit your life.

Engaging and innovative classroom environment.

Easy-to-use technology connects you to a global community.

Immediate application in life and ministry.

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Deep community and discipleship through shared daily life.

Programs intentionally crafted for ministry preparation and deep academic study.

Unparalleled access to expert faculty who are invested in your life and ministry.

Life-on-life fellowship in a diverse and like-minded community.

Communal rhythms of prayer and worship woven into all areas of campus life.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the time expectations for the PhD program?

The recommended timeline for the PhD is four years. Most coursework must be
completed in-residence at Westminster’s campus. The maximum time to complete is
seven years.

What are the admissions requirements for the PhD program?

In addition to Westminster’s standard admissions requirements, applicants to the PhD program must also submit a GRE score, a writing sample, and a dissertation proposal. The writing sample should be no more than 10 pages and should be from work completed in a master’s program focused on the applicant’s desired PhD concentration. The dissertation proposal should be a half-page summary.

What fields of study are offered for the PhD program?

The PhD program is offered in two fields: biblical studies and historical & theological studies. The historical and theological field offers three concentrations: church history, systematic theology, and apologetics. The biblical studies field offers two concentrations: New Testament and Old Testament.

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