Our Ph.D. in Practical Theology begins with a two year program of coursework designed to train scholar-leaders to work within a diversity of theological specializations which emphasizes deep theological formation, skills in method and methodology, and engagement.
Students learn to engage, produce, and present scholarly work with the relationship between theology and context in the 21st century.
The program offers a collaborative educational approach that seeks to form a community of learners at the highest level, engaging theological and relevant disciplines in critical conversation. You will be trained to produce original research that will launch your careers as scholars, educators and, pioneering leaders.
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Our students come from all over the world and represent a wide range of Christian traditions. We are thus both “intercultural and interconfessional.” This creates exciting conversations and leads to new insight for doctoral learning community members while learning from their colleagues. Intercultural and interconfessional conversation is a must for quality scholarly production and this is uniquely part of the seminar experience.
We train our students to present at academic conferences from their very first semester. We run an academic conference at the end of each semester and coach our students for success from the start.
This focus on a theology of action, both as theologizing from the praxis of ministry as well as entering into the entire Christian theological enterprise from the standpoint of praxis, is at the heart of this doctoral program. We seek to provide robust scholarly formation through a community of teaching and learning that embraces spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions.
This is the only Ph.D. in Practical Theology (PT) offered by our faculty in theology,
biblical studies, and ministry. Our unique focus gives students an extraordinary depth.
We do “all PT all the time” without distraction. We have no other doctoral program
specialization in theology, biblical studies, or ministry. Other institutions that
offer the Ph.D. in Practical Theology offer other doctoral specializations and relatively
few courses and attention to practical theology.
We define PT using both definitions, which is atypical and gives students many more options. We approach practical theology as both “theologizing from the practice of the arts of ministry” and “a point of entrée into the entire theological enterprise from the standpoint of praxis.” This gives space for student interest and engagement. We encourage and support a wide range of specializations.
Our students come from all over the world and represent a wide range of Christian traditions. We are thus both “intercultural and interconfessional.” This creates exciting conversations and leads to new insight for doctoral learning community members as they work within their particular context while learning from their colleagues. This is especially appropriate for practical theology since the emphasis is on practice, not dogmatic theological debates. Intercultural and interconfessional conversation is a must for quality scholarly production and this is uniquely part of the seminar experience.
We train our students to present at academic conferences from their very first semester.
We run an academic conference at the end of each semester and coach our students for
success from the start.
Students can petition for permission to pursue study on a distance basis by participating live in the precandidacy courses, which are offered Mondays and Thursdays 5-9pm ET, via Zoom.
Applicants must have at least a master’s degree in theology or a closely related field from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or the recognized equivalent, if the degree is from outside the United States. Applicants without a graduate degree in theology or a closely related field may be considered if they hold a recognized master’s degree and have 15 graduate credits in theology. Applicants in the process of completing the master’s degree at the time of admission will be considered if they can demonstrate the likelihood of completing that degree on or before the start of doctoral study. Official transcripts of all studies in institutions of higher education must be sent directly to the Office of Admissions from the institutions attended by the applicant. The most recent degree is generally the most important to document. Applicants should arrange for transcripts to be sent to Palm Beach Atlantic University, ATTN: ADMISSIONS, 901 South Flagler Drive, PO Box 24708, West Palm Beach, FL 33416. Official electronic transcripts may be sent to Data_Team@pba.edu or Beth_Ross@pba.edu.
Applicants who have completed graduate level coursework at an institution outside of the U.S. that is not accredited by a U.S. regional accrediting organization or the equivalent must have a course-by-course and GPA equivalent evaluation conducted by an accredited member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). PBA is a corporate client of Spantran, a NACES member. PBA can directly provide Spantran copies of the official transcripts received by PBA. Applicants can request a Spantran transcript evaluation form, which includes payment information for Spantran credentials review, and return that form as part of the application process. The typical processing time for credentials review is 10 business days.
Applicants are urged to submit an academic-style curriculum vitae following a generally accepted format of their choosing. Such formats ordinarily include a listing of a person’s educational history, experience, and honors or awards. Entries should be given in descending chronological order. Any publications or conference papers presented should also be listed, ideally in a format following the Chicago Manual of Style. A traditional resume is acceptable in lieu of a formal curriculum vitae.
The writing sample should demonstrate the applicant’s readiness to embark upon scholarly research and writing. It will ideally be theological in nature and reflect an area of the applicant’s current scholarly interest. It may consist of one or more papers but must include no fewer than twenty pages. Applicants are encouraged but not required to follow the Chicago Manual of Style in their writing sample.
Applicants should request at least three recommendations that give evidence of scholarly potential as well as personal skills for the applicant as a self-motivated and peer learner within a scholarly community of teachers and learners together. These letters should mention how long and in what capacity the recommender has known the applicant, offer some specific observations about the applicant’s personal qualities and readiness to proceed to a Ph.D. in practical theology, as well as scholarly interests, if known, and potential to learn effectively at a distance, if is something about which the recommender feels competent to comment. At least two of the three letters should be written by a scholar holding the doctoral degree, ideally a theologian, who should specifically attest to the readiness of the applicant for theological scholarship. Recommendations should be in the traditional form of a letter on letterhead and should be sent as scanned attached files to the Program Director directly from the person writing the letter of recommendation.
Applicants from a country where English is not the primary language of instruction are required to submit the results of an English language proficiency exam, such as the TOEFL (minimum 79), IELTS (minimum 6.5) or Duolingo (minimum 105). This is not required for applicants holding an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in the U.S. or for applicants who have completed a course of study in the English language outside of the U.S
This is a 3-5 page articulation of the applicant’s background and aspirations sufficient to understand why the applicant seeks a Ph.D. in practical theology. The applicant should show understanding of the approach and design of the Ph.D. program, including particular course requirements as appropriate to the applicant’s interests. Specifics regarding an applicant’s intellectual interests, including potential dissertation research, should be included. Headings should be used. Some find it helpful to address three major questions: “Why a Ph.D.?” “Why practical theology?” “Why PBA?” Applicants who desire to participate on a distance basis (synchronous only, courses meet on Mondays and Thursdays from 5-9pm Eastern Time) should include a brief request to pursue pre-candidacy studies on a distance basis, noting sufficient computer equipment, internet access, and online experience to facilitate participation from a distance. They should also note their acceptance of the requirement to participate in person for the opening weekend and end-of-semester academic conference in every fall and spring semester of pre-candidacy.
This is the single most important part of the process. It occurs after all other required documentation has been submitted by the deadline, which is ordinarily January 31. Because faculty are collectively responsible for admission decisions, the personal interview is before core doctoral faculty. Interviews are organized and scheduled by the director of the Ph.D. program, ordinarily for late February. They are to take place via videoconference using an Internet-based video connection with the applicant. Applicants are responsible for ensuring the quality of their signal and equipment