In addition to preparing graduates to teach at the college level, a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biblical Studies program also can prepare students to conduct research and contribute to publications focused on academic studies of the Bible. Most of the programs can be completed either as a part-time or full-time student and will take about three to five years to complete. The online doctorate offers the flexibility to study from any location over this extended period of study, research, and writing.
Common Courses in a Doctorate in Biblical Studies Online Program
Students may be required to choose between an Old or New Testament primary concentration, with the other testament as the minor concentration or to publish in either an Old or New Testament scholarly study or publication. While variances in course requirements and offerings occur, the following are common courses for a Doctorate in Biblical Studies.
Hermeneutics, Biblical Interpretation
The key to applying the doctorate to a career is interpreting the Bible, and this type of course often introduces students to established principles in biblical interpretation and meaning. Courses might look at both historical interpretations and applications for applying interpretations of the Bible's teachings in today's world. Emphasis is often placed on extracting meaning from biblical poetry, parables, and prophecies.
Advanced Biblical Languages
Students could expect to study various historical language versions of the Bible. This may be offered as one course studying select readings in different languages or as separate courses offered in various languages, like Hebrew and Greek. Courses often concentrate on interpretations of the text and concepts like the syntax and grammar of the languages. Students might learn simple readings in the languages studied.
Biblical Criticism and Apologetics
This sort of course is meant to address the criticisms of biblical truths a scholar of the Bible may face due to various interpretations people may have. In the course, students should expect to learn ways to effectively defend the doctrines of the Bible in a contemporary world. A historical look at ways the Bible has been interpreted and defended in the past may also be included in the course.
Advanced Biblical Scholarship, Research, and Analysis
Students often review in-depth the historical context and doctrines of the Old and New Testaments. Books of the Bible may be studied individually or as groups, like the Gospels. At this level, students may look critically and extensively at specific aspects like authorship, inspiration, and purpose of select books from the Bible. Different versions and critical issues may also be studied.
Teaching and Communicating Biblical Concepts
Since this doctorate prepares students for teaching at college levels, students will probably encounter a class focused on teaching methods and/or communication. Classic pedagogy techniques for post-secondary teaching and ways to engage learners through the incorporation of technology may be topics of this kind of course. Some programs offer or require a teaching practicum that may be included in this teaching and communications focused class.
Dissertation Research and Writing
Students may find several courses required that focus on the dissertation research and writing process. During these courses, students will be expected to show a deep understanding of biblical studies and teachings. Students should find that the dissertation process requires them to demonstrate a distinctive, new way of looking at the concept explored during their years of focus on biblical studies.
Admittance to a Doctorate in Biblical Studies Program
Common requirements to be admitted include a master's degree, transcripts, letters of reference, GPA of at least 3.0, writing samples, and perhaps a letter of purpose about your background and beliefs. The required master's degree will likely have to be in a closely related field like theology. You may have to submit your master's research paper and meet with a committee for approval. Many schools may also have specific language studies requirements connected to biblical studies, such as a background in Greek or Hebrew studies. If any of these requirements are not met, some schools may grant conditional admission status.
An online Doctorate in Biblical Studies may be a convenient option for helping you achieve a goal of teaching Bible-focused courses at post-secondary schools or publishing scholarly writings connected to a study of the Bible. You may find the course studies vigorous, but the flexibility of these online studies often gives the option for full- or part-time study in order to finish the degree within about five years.