Know God and Defend the Faith with a PhD in Theology and Apologetics
You have a passion for God’s Word. You have devoted your time to diligent study of the Bible and the writings of major theologians. You are ready to push yourself to the pinnacle of theological scholarship. And you are ready to deepen your own faith and equip a new generation of Christian leaders.
Earn a PhD in Theology and Apologetics, and join the ranks of theologians training up the next leaders of the church.
What is a PhD in Theology and Apologetics? It is a terminal degree that demonstrates your achievement of excellence in academia. Our rigorous curriculum incorporates advanced courses in the Old Testament, the New Testament, apologetics, church history, and theology.
Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Your divinity degree is approved by ATS and has met rigorous accreditation standards. So you can feel confident that your degree is both academically excellent and well-respected among churches, ministries, and nonprofit organizations.
What does a theologian do, and how can you become a theologian?
Theologians dedicate their professional life to the study of Scripture. They fearlessly examine the complexities of Scripture and pull theological truths about God, His nature, and His actions from their interpretation. As a theologian, you will engage with difficult passages of Scripture, wrestle with the big religious issues of the day, and examine how the Church in the past has interpreted Scripture.
Most often, you will find theologians in theological seminaries. Here, they study and research the Scriptures. Then they share their findings with students in a classroom setting. They also write and publish extensively on their work.
A doctorate in theology is the best step to becoming a theologian. With this background, you will be qualified to teach at the university level in a theological school. If you already have a graduate degree in theology or related studies, then you will likely qualify for our PhD in theology online program.
What does apologetics mean, and why combine apologetics and theology?
Our degree is not only a theology program — it is also an apologetics degree. What is the aim of apologetics? It is to share the Gospel message in an understandable way to the people around us.
Christian apologetics, a branch of theology, focuses on defending the faith. The word “apologetics” comes from the Greek word apologia, which means defense. In apologetics, you will demonstrate the reasonableness of Christian beliefs, and you will answer the deepest questions and longings of the human heart.
So many people today are asking complicated questions about God, morality, and the meaning of life. It is important that Christians know how Jesus Christ and the Bible answer these questions and defend Christianity. To do so, Christians must know what the Bible says and how its message relates to today’s questions. With Liberty, you can get a doctorate in theology and apologetics that helps you answer these questions.
Why Choose Liberty’s PhD in Theology and Apologetics?
Benefits of Our PhD Program at a Glance
- Our theology and apologetics degree is an advanced, terminal degree that can help you stand out in your field.
- Unlike many online Bible colleges and seminaries, Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This means that your degree in theology and apologetics will reflect a reputation for quality and academic excellence.
- As a terminal degree, Liberty’s theology and apologetics PhD will provide an excellent credential for teaching at the university level.
- Our intensive-based format pairs the flexibility of online education with the resources of an on-campus experience. You will meet on campus for a week of intensive study. Then you will complete the rest of your coursework online from your own location.
We wanted to combine the best of online education with the resources of our on-campus School of Divinity. That’s why we created a unique, intensive-based format for our theology PhD program. All your courses are online, giving you the freedom to work around your life commitments. Then, once a semester, you will spend a week of intensive study on our campus.
While on campus, you will study under and be mentored by top theologians and scholars in Liberty’s Rawlings School of Divinity. Take your scholarship to the next level by using our extensive research facilities and library. The mentorship and research opportunities provided by studying on campus will be invaluable to you, especially as you move into your dissertation phase.
In our program, you will also complete a dissertation on your interests. Ultimately, a doctor of theology degree is the final step of your educational journey to becoming a theologian.
Benefits of Our Curriculum
Our curriculum combines mentorship, flexibility, and research to prepare you for careers in ministry and scholarship. Within our curriculum, you will be able to choose courses from topics that interest you most. Your dissertation will then build on these interests and allow you to put all you’ve learned through your coursework into practice.
A terminal degree demonstrates mastery of your subject matter. Even more, a terminal degree will open up doors for you to teach at the university level. And because of our accreditation, you can be confident that your education conforms to the highest standards.
You want to transition into an academic or ministry career without having to sacrifice your current life situation. Our academic preparation paired with our intensive format does just that. If you’re ready to minister to others through your scholarship, our program is made for you.
What Will You Learn in Our Doctorate in Theology and Apologetics?
You are looking for a program that will teach you what you need to succeed as a theologian. Our flexible yet rigorous curriculum will do just that. Our theology PhD program starts with a core of theology, apologetics, and methods and research courses.
In addition to our core classes, you will choose what upper-level courses you want to take for your program. This will allow you to tailor your theological studies to the issues that interest you most.
You can choose from classes in theology, Old and New Testament studies, apologetics, and church history. You can also use the coursework you choose to prepare you for your dissertation, the capstone of your academic studies. Your dissertation will display your research interests and demonstrate your academic prowess. If you are looking to become a theologian and scholar, then completing this degree and its dissertation is a must.
While you are on campus for your intensives, you will choose research mentors and become part of research groups. This will advance your research skills and prepare you for a career in scholarship. With our curriculum, research, and mentoring opportunities, you can reach the highest level of scholarship.
Featured Courses in Our Doctor of Theology Online
- APOL 900 – Seminar in Theological Method
- APOL 910 – Apologetic Method
- APOL 920 – Miracles
- THEO 904 – Bibliology
PhD in Theology Online Degree Information
- This program is intensive-based and includes an integrated dissertation.
- This program contains a Language Proficiency Examination and Comprehensive Examination.
This program falls under the Rawlings School of Divinity.
View the Degree Completion Plan.
View the Graduate Divinity Course Guides (login required).
Career Options for Graduates of our PhD in Theology and Apologetics Degree
- Ministry director
- Professional Christian scholar
- Senior pastor
- University or K-12 school administrator
- University professor
Our PhD in Theology and Apologetics will enhance your full-time ministry potential. You will be ready to pursue leadership and administrative roles across many ministry fields! While individual denominational requirements differ, receiving a PhD in Theology and Apologetics generally meets necessary educational requirements. Even more, a PhD also provides a reliable academic credential for senior church leadership.
You will be qualified for many teaching roles at the university level. And you may also find opportunities for administrative roles in K-12 Christian schools or seminaries.
Highlights of Our Ph.D. in Theology and Apologetics Degree
- Liberty is ranked in the top 1% of more than 2,100 online colleges and universities for academic quality, affordability, and accessibility by BestColleges.com — and ranked as the #2 online school in America by Niche.com. Earning your online PhD in Theology degree program from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition will set you apart from others in your field.
- As a Rawlings School of Divinity Ph.D. student, you will receive a block tuition rate of $2,750 per semester if you take 7-15 credit hours. This can save you up to $6,000 a semester if you are a full-time doctoral student!*
- Your success is our success, which is why we’re committed to providing quality academics at an affordable tuition rate. While other colleges are increasing their tuition, we’ve frozen tuition rates for our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs for the past 4 years ̶ and counting.
- To continue our mission of providing affordable education, electronic textbooks are provided for all undergraduate courses at no cost to you. As a full-time student, this could save you an estimated $800-2,000 per year on textbooks!
- In this doctor of theology degree, you will study under theologians and missionaries with real-world experience and scholarship through our web-based content. Then meet them in person during your intensive course content.
- Customize your doctorate of theology with advanced studies in theology and apologetics specific to your area of scholarship and ministry. Or broaden your research and study with additional electives in biblical studies and church history.
- Be mentored by experts in our online seminary program in both your courses and in your final doctoral dissertation.
*Rawling School of Divinity Ph.D. students taking fewer than 7 credits will be charged the part-time rate of $395.
Admission Requirements for Our PhD in Theology and Apologetics
A regionally or nationally accredited master’s degree* with a 3.25 or above GPA for all previous graduate work is required for admission in good standing. Please visit our admission requirements page for more detailed admissions related information.
All applicants to our theology doctorate degree must submit the following:
- Admission application
- Application fee**
- Official college transcripts showing a completed bachelor’s degree and graduate degrees
- Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE), test scores must not be older than two years
- Writing sample
- Ph.D. questionnaire
- Letter of Intent
- Three signed references on letterhead (two graduate or higher-level academic, one pastoral)
- Professional Vita
- Proof of English proficiency
*Acceptable degrees: Master of Divinity with or without thesis, master’s degree with a theology or apologetics related thesis (will need review by department), or master of arts in divinity field with a thesis.
**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.