Christian studies programs are designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the history and principles of Christianity, as well as form a solid foundation of the primary concepts of the Christian religion. As the terminal degree in this field, a doctorate program typically includes advanced curriculum that places Christianity in a historical and ethical context within general religious studies. Christian studies Ph.D. candidates are often well-suited to intensive research and/or education-focused course work, and many students at this level also hone their skills in faith-based leadership and administration. A Christian studies doctorate qualifies graduates to potentially advance their position within church administration, as well as provides eligibility for high-level teaching and research positions in religious studies or related areas of academia.
Why a Doctoral Degree?
A doctoral degree is required for most academic and high-level education occupations involving Christian studies. Completion of an online Christian doctoral degree demonstrates a candidate has obtained the highest-possible educational requirements available in this field. Typically, a doctorate can be completed in around four years and includes invaluable course work in not only basic theological concepts but also skills in evangelism, leadership, management, and communications that can be practically applied in the professional world. Many doctoral candidates pursue a Ph.D. program in order to teach Christian or religious studies in colleges or universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), post-secondary teaching is among the most lucrative careers available with this degree, as professionals in this field made an average annual salary of $80,615 in 2010.
Getting Into a Doctoral Degree Program
While admissions policies may vary from school to school, prerequisites for application to a doctoral program are typically more exclusive to encourage a more focused pool of candidates:
- Master’s degree from an accredited institution in Christian studies or a related subject
- Minimum GPA (not always required, varies by school)
- Application including statement of intent and/or application fees (as applicable, according to school)
Inside a Doctoral Degree Program
Online Christian doctoral programs typically comprise four years of academic study in Christian religion, Biblical study, religious education, and historical research. Doctoral degrees in Christian studies typically require a combination of intensive independent research projects and advanced core curriculum. Common courses may include the Old Testament, New Testament, Bible study, systematic theology, Christian history, and the philosophy of religion. These and similar topics may also be declared as overall concentration subjects for Ph.D. candidates. To complete the doctoral program, students must complete a thesis or dissertation on a topic of their choice.
There are many online doctoral programs for Christian studies and related subjects. A student pursuing a Christian studies doctorate has the freedom to log in to an exclusive e-learning platform to access assignments at their leisure, from anywhere with Internet access. Because many doctoral degree programs are already intended to prioritize self-paced learning and independent study by design, students may find the enjoy the advantages of a Ph.D. offered entirely online. Doctorates in Christian studies typically offer online assignment delivery, abundant Web-based resources, and email and chat communication with professors and peers.
What’s Next for Christian Studies Doctoral Degree Holders?
Ph.D. candidates in Christian studies may be eligible for top positions in academia and research. This terminal degree provides qualifications for high-level jobs involving religious education, such as post-secondary teaching positions, as well as other research-based initiatives, ideal for those who enjoy researching religious history, philosophy, or worship and culture, for example. Many students pursue a doctorate for the purpose of becoming a college professor in this subject, which seems to be quite a lucrative prospect. Post-secondary teachers made an annual average salary of $80,615 in 2010, and are also expected to see jobs grow by 17% by 2020, according to the BLS.