Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Richmond campus

  • The purpose of the Ph.D. degree is to develop scholarly leadership for the church and the many and diverse communities to which it ministers.
  • Our graduates serve in seminaries, colleges, universities, congregations, denominational agencies, and other contexts of pastoral and administrative leadership.


Candidates for the Ph.D. program normally must have received a bachelor’s degree (B.A. or B.S.) from a four-year college or university, and a master’s degree in an appropriate discipline from a college, university, or seminary accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies in the United States or hold an equivalent educational credential from another country.

Residency and Time Requirements

All enrollments in the Ph.D. program must begin in a fall term. The Ph.D. program is designed and intended to be completed within five years of full-time, continuous enrollment from the student’s initial matriculation. Residential enrollment is only required for the first two of five years.

Summary of Course Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

The Ph.D. degree program may be undertaken in Biblical Studies with a concentration in Old Testament, or in Historical and Theological Studies.

The broad requirement for the degree is that each candidate must successfully complete two years of full-time academic study in residence, demonstrate competency in two modern foreign languages, pass five doctoral examinations, and write and successfully (orally) defend a doctoral dissertation within such deadlines as apply for each of these requirements as these are set by Union Presbyterian Seminary.