Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy of Religion

60 Credit-Hours

Fully Online

Flexible Payment Plans

Are You Ready to Invest Serious Time, Study, and Effort in Understanding More About Your Christian Faith and How to Defend It?

The call and need for faithful men and women equipped with a solid foundation of philosophical, theological, and apologetic understanding are greater than ever

The 60 hour Doctor of Philosophy in Philosophy of Religion program at Southern Evangelical Seminary will prepare you with experience and credentials for teaching at a university or Bible college, and it can be completed via our immersive digital campus. Many graduates also go on to write, speak, and engage in public debate and discourse. Whatever your future plans or calling might be, this program will refine your thinking, writing, and ability to engage in conversations at the very heart of our faith.

Read below for the details of this flexible program, and download your FREE ebook to see how such training relates to real-world Gospel issues.

Outstanding Faculty

Our professors are world-class scholars in their particular area of study, and they will be mentoring you and bringing all their advanced teaching expertise to your class experience. You will also have a rich community of faculty mentors, colleagues, and other professionals to learn alongside while you continue to serve in your current ministry or vocational context. Your intellectual life and Christian walk will be eternally impacted in this rigorous and practical Ph.D. program.

Academic Rigor

How do you measure the quality of a school and its degrees? Academic rigor is the core standard. At SES, you will find an exceptional commitment to academic standards. The depth of content in each course is self-evident, and expectations are clear, ensuring a higher quality experience for each student. In addition, your ministry project, and project feedback, will prove invaluable as you continue to fulfill God’s call on your life to proclaim and defend the Gospel.

Flexible Learning Format

A major benefit of the SES Ph.D. program is the ability to complete the entire degree via our immersive digital campus. This program is designed with a flexible format that allows students to set their own pace with regards to the number of classes they take each semester. And the digital campus experience still allows for live-streaming interaction with professors and classmates. You will not sacrifice academic excellence for the convenience of digital-first learning.

The Doctor of Philosophy, which is a terminal program, prepares pastors, teachers, and others for a professional career in academic research and teaching related to apologetics and philosophy of religion. This degree is ideal for those preparing for Teaching, Speaking, Pastoral Ministry, or Missions.

Your Academic Experience at SES

We aren’t catching up with the distance learning trend — SES has been breaking ground and pioneering an immersive digital campus experience for years. As a student, you'll enjoy a flexible, compelling, connected, environment for your studies. All of the easy-to-use technology you’ll need to thrive in seminary is housed in one place and accessed through a single, secure log-in.

Collaborate with your peers through our integrated approach

Interact with professors during many live-streamed classes

Conduct research in one of the most expansive theological libraries ever created

(With our membership as a supporting sponsor of the Digital Theological Library)

In the Doctor in Philosophy of Religion Program, You Will:

See the Vital Need for Apologetics-Focused Education

Engaging real-world issues for the sake of the Gospel

Download Your FREE eBook Today!

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"I had high hopes when I applied for this program, but they have been far exceeded. Thank you so much for putting together a program that is both intellectually challenging and applicable in the contemporary landscape. Joining SES has been the highlight of my academic career!"

Kristen Davis


Courses of Interest in the Ph.D. Program

The Problem of Evil

How and why does evil exist in a world in which a God of infinite power and goodness rules? In this class, you will explore classic philosophical arguments on the subject and examine your own positions.

Contemporary Atheism

This course deals with the most common tenets of contemporary atheism’s arguments and assumptions. You will be equipped to better understand and defend your own positions and arguments for the Gospel.

Philosophical Theology

Delve deeply into the major streams of both disciplines that have shaped doctrine and the direction of the church. We will look at contemporary implications and applications of classical theism to prepare you for further study and ministry.

Full Course Listing

PH1010 Problem of Evil (3)
PH1012 Philosophy of Science (3)
PH1015 Religious Epistemology (3)
PH1016 Thomistic Philosophy (3)
PH1017 Contemporary Atheism (3)
PH1018 Philosophical Theology (3)
PH1020 Problems in Philosophy (3)

BS1001 Biblical Criticism

CE1005 Teaching Theory & Practice (3)

SM1005 Reading Seminar I (3)
SM1006 Reading Seminar II (3)

LC1001 First Research Language Competency (0)
EX1000 Comprehensive Exam Preparation (0)
EX1001 Comprehensive Exam (written) (2)
EX1002 Comprehensive Exam (oral) (2)
DS1000 Dissertation Proposal Preparation (2)
DS1001 Dissertation Research (9)


  • A graduate degree from an accredited institution and at least 15 graduate hours in philosophy. (Certain apologetics courses may substitute for some of the philosophy requirement.)
  • Present evidence of potential for original academic research by submitting a 20–25 page research paper or thesis in the area of philosophy of religion.
  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in previous graduate studies.
  • Submit adequate test scores no older than five years from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General
    Test (GRE Code: 0005).
  • Undergo an interview with the admissions committee or its representatives.
  • Take and pass an entrance exam that allows the applicant to demonstrate basic knowledge in theology, biblical
    studies, apologetics, and philosophy of religion. The entrance exam must be taken within two weeks of receiving the study questions.
  • Applicants who do not meet the requirements must be admitted to other graduate programs to complete recommended and required work to remove deficiencies. Such students will be required to maintain a 3.5 GPA and demonstrate superior research skills.

A Valuable Degree with Exceptionally Affordable Tuition

Prospective students are almost always surprised to learn how affordable we keep our degree programs at Southern Evangelical Seminary.

You need effective training for ministry — not a crippling load of student loan debt. The value of a degree here pays off through your entire career and truly has an eternal value as well.

As a result, we're delighted to tell you that you'll have a very difficult time finding a better tuition rate than what we offer at SES: $600 per credit hour.


per credit hour

Read more about our current tuition rates, flexible payment plans, and financial aid opportunities.


Financial Aid & Discounts

Why Should You Seriously Consider Studying at SES?

You almost certainly have at least some basic — and perhaps even advanced — knowledge of Christian apologetics. Many new students at SES have studied books like Tactics by Gregory Koukl, Lewis' Mere Christianity, or I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by SES alum Frank Turek and SES co-founder Norman Geisler. These are all very helpful resources, but perhaps you have reached that point in your self-guided research where you hit a wall or find yourself out of your depth.

Apologetics, theology, and even Bible study will never reach their potential without being grounded in sound philosophy. It's not a matter of whether you're doing philosophy. It's a matter of whether you're doing it well or poorly. You can be a good philosopher without being a good apologist or theologian, but it does not work the other way around! Giving you the philosophical foundation you need for both theology and apologetics is just one of the ways that a degree or certificate from SES will serve you well.

Built for Your Calling

Whether you are pursuing full-time vocational leadership or personal ministry growth, this program is designed to provide a path for your success.

Full-time Ministry

Full-Time Ministry

Christians are called to be salt and light in our world, and leaders should be equipped to confidently engage the ideas shaping today’s culture. Apologetics training is essential for breaking down barriers and effectively leading others. As you pursue God’s calling on your life through ministry, a seminary education will maximize your impact.

Personal Ministry

 If your personal study hasn’t yielded the growth you’re looking for, formal training can equip you to answer hard questions and present the truth in love. Being grounded in apologetics prepares you to be fruitful in all aspects of your personal ministry. Our apologetics program offers structured training you need to share the faith and defend truth in everyday life.


Ready to Apply Now?

Start the admission process today. You can begin in just a few minutes by filling out our initial application and it will open the door for us to have an exploratory conversation about your educational priorities and hopes for ministry. We have an entire team at SES who is ready to help you in the process of discerning your gifts and calling to ministry so you can engage our culture in the conversations that matter the most.

Compare the Ph.D. with Other SES Degrees

Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in Apologetics


For a more traditional seminary degree with an apologetics focus, this M.Div. may the right path for your future ministry

Master of Theology (Th.M.)


If you simply can't decide, and just love to learn, the Th.M. may be for you as you take nearly every course SES has to offer

Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Apologetics


This extremely practical and hands-on degree will prepare to for apologetics ministry in a variety of ministry contexts