Online PhD in Practical Theology Ministry Masters: Lead with Love and Learning


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100% online, 8-week courses

Transfer in up to 50% of the degree total

Are you passionate about helping Christian leaders serve their congregations? Do you want to conduct valuable theological research and use it to address ministry-related problems? With Liberty University’s 100% online Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Practical Theology, you can learn how to apply theological understanding and inquiry to meet the practical, real-world needs of Christian communities.

Through the study of practical theology, you can become equipped to take theological ideas beyond the realm of academic study and apply them to every aspect of Christian thought, worship, and life. By completing this PhD program, you can prepare to engage in practical theology in churches, parachurch organizations, religious nonprofits, and even secular settings. You could go on to produce scholarly writings, teach at a university or seminary, serve as a church staff member, or develop material to distribute to Christians seeking guidance for ministry questions.

With our practical theology PhD program, you won’t just gain theological knowledge – you can develop the research, teaching, and ministry skills needed to transform the lives of individual people and entire communities. You can learn to apply theology to challenges in church growth, spiritual formation, social issues, preaching, church administration, educational ministries, family life, and more. That way, you can help Christians in all walks of life live out theological principles in everything they do.

*The PhD in Applied Apologetics, PhD in Bible Exposition, PhD in Christian Leadership, and PhD in Practical Theology are not approved by the Commission on Accrediting of The Association of Theological Schools but are approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Ranked in the Top 10% of’s Best Online Schools in America

What Sets Us Apart?

  • Private Nonprofit University
  • 600+ Online Degrees
  • No Standardized Testing for Admission
  • Transfer in up to 75% of an Undergrad Degree
  • Transfer in up to 50% of a Grad/Doctoral Degree

Liberty has been a pioneer in distance learning since 1985 – and we’ve used our years of experience to craft an online practical theology PhD that offers the perfect blend of quality, affordability, and accessibility. By partnering with us for your degree, you’re choosing a world-class school with a commitment to spiritual and professional excellence as well as flexible course scheduling.

Unlike many Bible colleges and seminaries, Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Additionally, our divinity courses are taught by seasoned professionals who have years of experience in ministry and academia. Under the guidance and mentorship of our esteemed faculty, you can grow in your faith and prepare to address ministry challenges in the church and throughout the world.

At Liberty, we want to help you prepare for the next step in your ministry career by offering you affordable tuition rates. As a John W. Rawlings School of Divinity PhD student, you will receive a block rate of $2,750 per semester if you take 7-15 credit hours. This can save you up to $6,000 per semester!1

Maybe you’re worried that school will get in the way of your other commitments and priorities. If so, we have just what you need. Our PhD in Practical Theology degree is available 100% online with mostly 8-week courses and no set login times – so you’ll have the freedom to further your education without putting your life on hold.

  1. Credits taken below 7 and above 15 credit hours are charged at the part-time rate. ↩︎

Our PhD in Practical Theology online is made up of 3 main sections: foundational courses, specialized research courses, and dissertation writing/defense courses. Together, these classes can provide a solid, well-rounded foundation for solving practical theology- and ministry-related problems.

Within the foundational courses, you’ll learn about ministry as an expression of practical theology, the challenges and opportunities related to ministry in the contemporary context of the 21st century, and the various expressions of the practice of ministry. You’ll also explore the philosophical foundations for practical theology and receive an introduction to teaching and learning processes – including syllabus development, lesson planning, and evaluation of student progress for a variety of institutional settings.

Additionally, your foundational courses will provide an overview of the dissertation research and writing process, including the tools, skills, and resources needed to complete a dissertation. You can also learn how to select a topic for your doctoral research and successfully defend a dissertation. Through these foundational studies, you can prepare to develop original research findings when you complete your dissertation later in the program.

Next, you’ll complete a sequence of research courses focusing on literature review, topical research, and dissertation presentation. This includes fine-tuning your dissertation proposal, developing a presentation of what you hope to demonstrate in your dissertation project, and learning how to position your own research within the broader scholarly conversations taking place about your topic.

Lastly, you will use all of the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired throughout the program to write and defend your dissertation. Upon completion of your degree, you can be better equipped to actively engage in practical theology in churches, parachurch organizations, and relevant secular endeavors.

Degree Completion Plan (PDF)

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Not sure what to choose?

Speak to one of our admissions specialists to help you choose the program that best fits your needs.

Your success is our success, which is why we are committed to providing quality academics at an affordable tuition rate. While other colleges are increasing their tuition, we have frozen tuition rates for the majority of our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for the past 9 years – and counting.

Electronic textbooks are provided for many divinity courses* all for one convenient fee. To continue our mission of providing affordable education, this fee is waived for students who enroll by Summer 2024 D-term.

*Electronic textbooks are not provided for courses that fall under departments outside the School of Divinity.

Doctoral Divinity Block Rate (7-15 credit hours) $2,750
Doctoral Divinity Part Time (0-6.99 or over 15 credit hours) $395/Credit
Military Doctoral Divinity Block Rate (7-15 credit hours) $2,700
Military Doctoral Divinity Part Time (0-6.99 or over 15 credit hours)* $395/Credit

*Eligible current and former military service members and their spouses may qualify for a special rate of $300/credit hour (learn more).

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Submit your application online or over the phone.


Liberty University is dedicated to providing world-class educational experiences to military students across the globe.

Who May Qualify?

  • Active Duty
  • Reserve/National Guard
  • Veterans/Retirees
  • Spouses of Service Members and Veterans/Retirees
  • Current Department of Defense Employees

Available Benefits:

  • Discounted divinity block rate – $2,700 per semester*
  • Additional discount for veterans who service in a civilian capacity as a First Responder
  • 8-week courses, 8 different start dates each year, and no set login times (may exclude certain courses such as practicums, internships, or field experiences)

*Credits taken below 7 and above 15 credit hours per semester are charged at the part-time rate of $395/credit hour.

Eligible current and former service members and their spouses may qualify for a special rate of $300/credit hour (learn more), but the $300/credit hour doctoral military rate cannot be combined with the First Responder Discount.

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