Practical Theology, Ph.D.

Doctor of Philosophy

School of Ministry

The Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology is both a theological field and a discipline. It is a way of doing theology that begins with a practical concern from experience, from what God is doing in people’s lives, the church and the world today. In our own day, this approach to theological understanding and action is expressed in many ways, including practical theology and its focus on a theology of action that carries Christian witness further toward the fulfillment of God’s promises.
The Ph.D. in practical theology program is built on a rigorous two-year of full-time pre-candidacy studies that emphasize deep theological formation, skills in method and methodology, and engagement with the lived experience of the church today. The program offers a collaborative educational approach that seeks to form a community of learners at the highest level, engaging theological and allied disciplines in critical conversation. Students are trained to produce original research that will launch their careers as scholars, educators and transformational leaders.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

  • University and seminary faculties and administrative positions
  • Highly trained and able high school teachers and leaders
  • Serve as pastors or teaching pastors
  • Professional consultants for churches and related organizations
  • Positions of leadership in church organizations and church-related organizations

Program Details 

Distinctively PBA 

The School of Ministry is all about equipping. We equip passionate young people with the earthly tools and spiritual perspective needed to create positive change in the world guided by the Word of God. We promise a connected, engaging and fulfilling learning experience that will equip you to use your gifts for His Glory. Our programs prepare students through expert instruction in Bible, theology, history and real-world ministry skills. PBA’s multi-cultural, multi-denominational environment is the perfect to prepare our seminary students for dynamic gospel ministries in an ever-changing world. 
As a student studying in any of the graduate programs offered in the School of Ministry, you’ll wade into an ocean of diverse learning opportunities designed to prepare you to positively impact lives.
  • Gain specialized training in ministry
  • Experience spiritual growth with a deeper understanding of God and His Word
  • Practice your ministry abilities through internships, practicum experiences and field service activities
  • Learn in a supportive community


Program’s key differentiators:

  • 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.