Ph.D. in Practical Theology


Practical theology at St. Thomas University is both a theological field and a way of doing theology. It begins with a practical concern that comes out of experience, engages that concern in dialogue with the religious tradition and the culture, and through that dialogue discerns wisdom that leads to transformative action.

The Ph.D. program is specifically designed to do the following:  
  • Develop advanced competency in practical theology that appropriates biblical, historical, and contemporary sources.
  • Apply practical theological method and analytical skills in a manner that critically incorporates insights from philosophical, psychology, and social scientific theory and research.
  • Advance the work of practical theology within culture, society, religious formation, and the life of the faith community.
  • Cultivate practical theological skills critical for transformative leadership and advocacy within society, church, and the contemporary theological conversation.
  • Acquire skills necessary to research and teach practical theology at an advanced level.

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 to learn more about the vision of the program. 
Program Design
Stage I: Beginning

A. Inquiry and admission process, culminating in a formal interview with faculty
B. Advance reading or review of core works in the field
C. Advance consideration of scholarly agenda and potential dissertation topics

Stage II: Precandidacy
A. Completion of core coursework (36 credits) and elective coursework (6 credits) over two years
B. Cultivation of expertise in scholarly literature, particularly candidacy examination bibliographies
C. Doctoral candidacy examinations and achievement of candidacy status

Stage III: Dissertation Writing
A. Dissertation proposal defense and start of dissertation research and writing
B. Completion of post-candidacy seminars (12 credits) over two years
C. Dissertation defense and final format approval for submission of dissertation to ProQuest

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Scholarships and Internships
Precandidacy students may be offered a practical theology scholarship, a tuition-based scholarship awarded annually by the dean of the School of Theology and Ministry. This scholarship requires student enrollment in the agreed-upon number of credits and the maintenance of a grade point average (GPA) of a 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale.

Opportunities to teach and research under faculty supervision are available to doctoral students. Appointments are made by the dean, based on an application process, and subject to availability. Internships for precandidates are unpaid, but the senior teaching internships made available to candidates carry a stipend.

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For a description of the program and courses as found in the University’s Graduate Catalog, please click here.
For Frequently Asked Questions about the doctoral program, please click here.

For personal guidance through the application process and to answer any questions you may have, contact Bryan Froehle. He directs the Ph.D. program and is best reached via email at