Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Philosophy of Religion

Perhaps you have come to a place where you want to invest serious time, study, and effort in understanding more about your Christian faith and how to defend it.

We live in a world and culture full of competing arguments and claims about the nature of reality and the existence of God. 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 Ph.D. 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. As an example, take a moment to read the blog post “Why Philosophical Proofs for God are Better Than Scientific Proofs for God” by Dr. Brian Huffling, the director of the SES Ph.D. program.

Students in the Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion Program Will:

  • Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of philosophy and apologetics
  • Develop a thorough understanding of philosophical issues related to science and theology and be equipped to engage in current cultural issues and debates in these areas
  • Apply your extensive philosophical training to issues including science, worldviews, history, religions, and various apologetic systems
  • Cultivate skills for teaching a number of philosophical and theological topics in an academic setting or many different teaching ministry scenarios
  • Refine your abilities for research and writing in all of the degree’s core subject areas

Courses of Interest

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.

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!

Current Student

Download Our Preview for a Deeper Look at This Degree

If you’re wondering if the Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion program could be a good fit for your interests and calling, take a program preview with you today. With it, you will discover:

  • Deeper insights about potential applications for this degree in teaching and ministry
  • Details about the Ph.D. objectives, course list, and degree requirements
  • Information regarding the course delivery options that will fit with your schedule
  • Further steps you can take to continue learning about this degree

Ready to advance your ministry? — Download Your Program Preview Today!

Admissions & Tuition

Admissions at SES is a simple, four-step application process, and it begins with an online application. Prospective students such as yourself generally have questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our admissions staff. We very much want to hear about your priorities and give you all the information you need as you consider seminary training.  

One of the most remarkable benefits of an education at SES is our affordability. Discover our highly competitive current tuition rates as well as our financial aid opportunities.

The following specific requirements are necessary for admission to the Ph.D. program (students lacking these specific requirements may complete courses in the appropriate areas to qualify):

Provisional Acceptance

  1. 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.)
  2. Present evidence of potential for original academic research by submitting a 20–25 page research paper or thesis in the area of apologetics or philosophy of religion.
  3. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in previous graduate studies.
  4. Submit adequate test scores no older than five years from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (GRE Code: 0005).

Applicants who do not meet the requirements for provisional acceptance 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. Such students may be required to submit an acceptable thesis prior to acceptance as a Ph.D. student.

Full Acceptance

  1. Undergo an interview with the admissions committee or its representatives.
  2. Take and pass an entrance exam that allows the applicant to demonstrate basic knowledge in theology, biblical studies, apologetics, and philosophy. Study questions may be downloaded HERE.

Why Southern Evangelical Seminary?

In so many ways, apologetics stands out as one of the hallmarks of our entire curriculum. Along with our other academic and theological pillars, we work hard to give students the equipment they need for proclaiming and defending the Gospel in the midst of a hostile culture. Before you go, take a copy of a thoughtful resource for prospective students. It underscores the critical importance of advanced apologetics training for anyone writing, teaching, or involved in ministry. Download your copy now: 3 Reasons for Seminary.

SEMINARS – 6 hours
SM1005 Reading Seminar I (3)
SM1006 Reading Seminar II (3)

PHILOSOPHY – 21 hours
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)

ELECTIVES – 12 hours

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)
TOTAL HOURS: 60 hours

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