Doctor of Theology

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Doctor of Theology (Latin: Doctor Theologiae, abbreviated D.Th., Th.D., D.Theol., or Dr. theol.) is a terminal academic degree in theology. Often a research degree, it is considered to be the equivalent of a Doctor of Philosophy.[1][2]


In the academic study of theology, which is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition, doctoral students are often conferred a Doctor of Theology, a Doctor of Philosophy, a Doctor of Ministry, or a Doctor of Practical Theology. However, the Doctor of Ministry is generally understood as a professional doctorate.

United States[edit]

In the United States, some of the older theological seminaries began offering the Doctor of Theology as an equivalent to the research Doctor of Philosophy. In Princeton Theological Seminary, for example, this practice was inherited from the German system of education since the professors involved in establishing the doctoral program were trained in German Universities. Princeton Theological Seminary has since switched to using Doctor of Philosophy as its main designation.[3] A similar shift happened at Harvard Divinity School in 2015.[4] Other institutions such as Duke Divinity School continue to maintain the Doctor of Theology degree.[5]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the Doctor of Theology is a fairly new doctoral program. Certain universities have begun offering it as a form of practical doctorate, comparable to the Doctor of Ministry in the United States.[6][7] To offer a doctorate that helping distinguishes the more practical nature of the degree, some British universities have adopted the term Doctor of Practical Theology.[8]


  1. ^ "Structure of the U.S. Education System: Research Doctorate Degrees". International Affairs Office, U.S. Department of Education. February 2008. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Glossary for Application for Approval to Participate". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 23 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "History - PhD Anniversary". Princeton Theological Seminary. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Degree Programs". Harvard Divinity School. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  5. ^ "Doctor of Theology". Duke Divinity School. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "Professional Doctorate in Theology and Practice". University of Winchester. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Practical Theology DTh". University of Roehampton. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "DPT Practical Theology Doctorate". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 23 August 2016.