Doctor of Theology (ThD) programs in Religious Education are usually designed for individuals who seek to develop their ministerial abilities and teaching skills in a specific religious faith tradition. Students take courses in the core topics related to religious education alongside classes related specifically to their religion of choice. Topics of study include theological curriculum and instruction, spiritual leadership and family life education. In addition to classroom study, doctoral candidates are often required to pass a series of exams that cover a broad overview of religious education topics and specific areas within the student's specialization. They must also submit a dissertation prior to graduation. Graduates often become scholars, teachers and/or researchers.
In order to apply, students must hold a master's degree, and they may need to demonstrate competence in a foreign language, such as Latin or Hebrew. Other required application materials may include letters of recommendation from former college instructors and an in-depth academic writing sample.
Doctor of Theology in Religious Education
Coursework in ThD degree programs can vary significantly depending on the specialization. However, some of the subjects commonly covered include:
- Ministry to at-risk youth
- Leadership in religious education
- Principles of professional development
- Theological foundations of family life and family ministries
- Biblical studies
- Theological psychology
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of doctoral degree programs in religious education are qualified to seek positions in education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), religion educators working in colleges and universities earned an average yearly salary of $75,750 in 2015, while those working in junior colleges earned an average of $72,790 per year.
In 2015, the BLS reported that there were approximately 23,820 postsecondary religion and philosophy teachers employed in the United States. Employment for postsecondary teachers is expected to increase by 13% between 2014 and 2024.
Students who seek a program that combines in-depth religious studies with teacher training can benefit from Th.D. programs in religious education. Graduates are prepared for academic positions in the field.