Doctor of Theology

Doctor of Theology (Latin: Doctor Theologiae, abbreviated DTh, ThD, DTheol, or Dr. theol.) is a terminal degree in the academic discipline of theology. The ThD is an advanced research degree equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy.[1][2]


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

United States

In the United States, some of the older theological seminaries began offering the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) 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] The only Association of Theological Schools accredited schools currently accepting students to ThD programs are Duke Divinity School and Evangelical Seminary.[5]

United Kingdom

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 U.S. Education Systems: Research Doctorate Degrees". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  2. "Degree Program Standards" (PDF). ATS. Association of Theological Schools. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  3. "History - PhD Anniversary". Princeton Theological Seminary. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  4. "Degree Programs". Harvard Divinity School. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  5. "Member School Advanced Search". ATS. Association of Theological Schools. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  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.
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