Online Practical Theology Phd Programs
Credit Hours
Years (Avg.)
Class Type
100% online, 8-week courses
Transfer Credits
Transfer in up to 50% of the degree total
Next Start Date
Jun 26, 2023
Liberty University is accredited by SACSCOC

Use Theological Understanding and Research to Meet Needs in Your Church and Community with a PhD in Practical Theology

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.

Why Choose Liberty’s PhD in Practical Theology Program?

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 Not only that, but electronic textbooks are included for all divinity courses2 at no cost to you – saving you an estimated $800-2,000 per year on textbooks.

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.

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

2Electronic textbooks are not provided for courses that fall under departments outside the School of Divinity.

Military Tuition Discount

Lead your field with the doctoral degree you want – at a price you’ve earned. As a thank-you for your military service, Liberty University offers current and former service members like you or your spouse multiple pathways to earn a doctoral degree for only $300/credit hourFind out how you can take advantage of this unique opportunity and reach the pinnacle of your profession – for less.

What Will You Learn in Our PhD in Practical Theology Degree?

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.

Featured Courses

  • PRTH 701 – Ministry Foundations for Practical Theology
  • PRTH 702 – Philosophical Foundations for Practical Theology
  • RTCH 710 – Teaching Methods
  • RTCH 805 – Research Methods

Course guides coming soon

Degree Information
Admission Requirements

Highlights of Our Practical Theology PhD Program

  • We are recognized by multiple institutions for our academic quality, affordability, and accessibility. Our commitment to excellence also helped us rank among’s top 3 online schools in America. Earning your online degree from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition can help set you apart from others in your field.
  • 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 our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for the past 8 years – and counting.
  • To continue our mission of providing affordable education, electronic textbooks are included for all divinity courses3 at no cost to you. As a full-time student, this could save you an estimated $800-2,000 per year on textbooks!
  • 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 a semester!4

3Electronic textbooks are not provided for courses that fall under departments outside the School of Divinity.

4Credits taken below 7 and above 15 credit hours are charged at the part-time rate.

PhD in Practical Theology Online Degree Information

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Potential Career Opportunities for Graduates of Our Practical Theology PhD Program

  • Author
  • Church staff leader
  • Parachurch ministry leader
  • Pastor
  • Professor

Admission Requirements for the PhD in Practical Theology Degree

A regionally or nationally accredited master’s degree with a 3.0 or above GPA is required for admission in good standing. Please visit our admission requirements page for more detailed admissions-related information.

All applicants must submit the following:

  • Admission application
  • Application fee*
  • Official college transcripts showing a conferred seminary master’s degree from an accredited institution with at least 15 hours of Bible, theology, or church ministry-related courses
  • Writing sample: 10 pages from prior academic coursework
  • School of Divinity Questionnaire
  • Departmental approval
  • Proof of English proficiency (for applicants whose native language is other than English)

*There is no upfront application fee; however, a deferred $50 application fee will be assessed during Financial Check-In. This fee is waived for qualifying service members, veterans, and military spouses – documentation verifying military status is required.