The Doctor of Theology degree is a three-four year program of study designed to prepare the student for a teaching ministry on the highest level of theological education in Asia. It includes one academic year of residence study, at least sixteen weeks of Supervised Teaching, ordinarily in a faculty position in a theological school or extension program, and a research dissertation. This course of study is designed to develop the student’s knowledge of a major and a minor field of study, the Christian ministry in general, literary and survey research, and the practical skills of the teaching ministry.
Applicants must have earned the B.A. degree or its equivalent in scope and the M.Div. degree or its equivalent in scope and the M.Div. degree or its equivalent in scope and content. Ordinarily, they must have earned a minimal grade average of 3.5 (or A-B) on a scale of 4.0 (or its equivalent) in their M.Div. course of studies. Applicants must have been engaged in vocational Christian service for at least two years (other than Seminary Field Education), preferably beyond M.Div. studies, and should intend to engage in a teaching ministry in some program of theological education after completing their graduate studies. Applicants must have passed the doctoral entrance examination in Theology.
The Doctor of Theology course includes the following basic requirements:
The candidate will select a major and a minor field of study. In Biblical Studies, the Area Learning Center decides requirements in Hebrew and Greek for entrance into the program.
All students ordinarily are required to participate in an intensive program of Supervised Teaching as a faculty member in a program of theological education in the country where they minister. In cases where this is not possible, the Associate Dean, with the approval of the Dean, may make special alternate arrangements for the students to fulfill the Supervised Teaching requirements. They perform their teaching ministries under competent supervision. At least eight two-hour conferences are held with the Field Supervisor over a period of at least sixteen weeks. Field Supervisors seek to assist students with their professional, emotional, and spiritual development in the context of a teaching ministry. Field Supervisors will be appointed by the Associate Dean in consultation with the student.
The student will prepare four copies of a dissertation of between 150 and 250 (not including the bibliography and appendixes) on a topic related to his or her major field. In addition to a thorough research of accessible literary sources, it shall include a major survey research project conducted in the country where the student ministers, but this is not required in cases where adequate literary sources exist for contextualizing the dissertation content. The prospectus of the dissertation is to be formulated in consultation with the student’s Supervisory Professor and submitted to the Area Learning Center one (1) year prior to graduation, for approval by the ALC Faculty and the Associate Dean. A copy of the prospectus abstract will be forwarded the Dean. If the prospectus is written in a language other than English the Area Learning Center will forward an English synopsis to the Dean. The dissertation shall be submitted in final form to the Supervisory Professor at least 120 days before graduation. It must be recommended for approval or rejection by the Supervisory Professor and Second Reader and approved by the Faculty and the Associate Dean. A copy of the dissertation abstract should be submitted to the ABGTS Dean. One copy of the approved thesis will be filed at the Administrative Office, one in the Area Learning Center Library, one in the student’s home seminary library, and one will be returned to the student.
The dissertation shall be in standard dissertation form and of acceptable academic quality. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term papers, Theses, and Dissertations (latest edition) is the guide for English form and style. Students are encouraged to publish their works with appropriate acknowledgement to be given to ABGTS.
After completing the required course work, the student will prepare and defend a prospectus which describes the proposed research topic. This prospectus will be at least 20 pages in length (excluding bibliography). The student, accompanied by his/her supervisor, will defend the prospectus before the faculty. In the event that the supervisor may not be present, the student has the option to request a circulated prospectus defense. In this case, the Associate Dean will request the faculty members to evaluate the prospectus privately. If there are problems, the Associate Dean will meet the faculty and supervisor to determine a course of action. Upon approval of the prospectus by the faculty, Associate Dean, and the Dean, the student may proceed with research and writing for the dissertation.