Doctor of Philosophy [Biblical Studies] (Ph.D. [Biblical Studies])

Asbury Theological Seminary’s 48-hour Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies prepares you to be a Christian scholar, teacher and servant-leader by engaging with research in a specific discipline. Focus on either the Old or New Testament as you prepare you to teach others in a domestic or international classroom.

As part of the program, you’ll experience a unique blend of classroom and practical learning. Upon completing your degree, you’ll have a new understanding of biblical studies and a fresh love for God and neighbor developed through knowledge, practice and service. For interested students, Teaching Internships with seasoned faculty may be pursued.

Complete your degree on the Kentucky campus as a full-time residential student in as few as five years.

What to Expect from the Degree

As you complete your degree, you will

  • Acquire advanced knowledge of the discipline, research methods and interperative theories in your field of study.
  • Integrate a comprehensive knowledge of appropriate literatures to your area of study, including applicable skills.
  • Engage in original research around an appropriate question, problem, or opportunity.
  • Critically reflect on the learning, teaching and researching dimensions of theological scholarship in the church and academic communities.

*Refer to the Academic Catalog for the exact wording of Program Learning Outcomes.

Admissions Requirements

Application deadline: January 5

  • Application Form.
  • Personal History Essay, with resume or CV attached.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions where you received postsecondary academic credit.
  • An accredited bachelor’s degree.
  • An accredited Master of Divinity degree or an accredited (two year or 60 semester hours) Master of Arts degree with concentration in Biblical Studies.
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.5/4.0.
  • 4 references from professors or other scholars, completed on the Admissions Office form.
  • GRE Verbal Score of 160 or above (600 on the old scale) and 5.0 Analytical
  • Writing Sample of academic work, approximately 25 pages, completed within past 3 years and reflecting both the ability to complete independent research and a research interest appropriate to the degree program.
    • Submit writing samples in .pdf format.
    • Use your 6-digit prospective student ID number in place of your name throughout the paper.
    • Use the prospective ID number as the filename of the document.
    • If papers are not submitted within these guidelines, they will be returned to the applicant for proper formatting.
  • Intermediate-level competency in Biblical Hebrew or Koine Greek, and at least an introductory-level competency in another Biblical language.
  • Facility at an introductory level with German and French (or a second research language cognate to student’s area of study.)
  • For students whose native language is other than English, a TOEFL score of 100 (Internet) or 600 (paper) or an IETLS score of 7.5.
  • $50 Nonrefundable Application Fee
  • Background Check 

Personal History Essay:

  • Share your life story and at what point you began your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Talk about your growth since that time and what brings you to apply to Asbury Seminary’s Advanced Research Program.  Include your thoughts on how you would like to see your faith grow during your time in this program. (350 minimum to 500 words maximum)
  • Please describe your ministry and vocational experience, including positions held and dates of service.  (350 minimum to 500 words maximum)
  • Statement of Purpose – Describe briefly the reasons you are prompted to pursue study in the particular program area you have chosen and what you hope to gain through the program.  Give specific goals, and personal or professional needs.  (350 to 500 words maximum)
  • Research Interests – State your preferred concentration in the program you have chosen (Old or New Testament).
  • Give a short summary (15-20 words) of your research interest.
  • Provide a brief reflection indicating possible research interests. This reflection should start with a summary of your interests in less than 20 words. (350 minimum to 500 words maximum)
  • List the language(s) (including English) used in your research and/or ministry and indicate your relative proficiency.
  • (Optional)  If you feel your cumulative grade point average or academic test scores do not adequately reflect your abilities to flourish at Asbury Seminary, please explain.
  • (Optional) If you are married, describe your spouse’s attitudes toward your plans for seminary education and future ministry.
  • Please attach a resume or CV.

Download printable copy.

Hrs Course ID Course Name
Biblical Studies Required Courses (12 credit hours)
3 OT901* Research Methods in Old Testament Interpretation
3 NT901* Research Methods in New Testament Interpretation
3 BS905** Seminar in the History of Interpretation
3 CD920* Instructional Theory and Development
0 BS901 Seminar in Biblical Studies

Register and attend required, non-credit Biblical Studies seminar weekly for two years (four semesters, fall and spring). Each student presents at least one paper.

* full-time Ph.D.[B.S.] students are required to complete these courses within the first year of study

**full-time Ph.D. [B.S.] students are required to complete these courses by the end of the second year of study

Elective Courses (36 credit hours)

The 36 credit hours of elective coursework shall include no less than 18 credit hours of 900-level courses in Biblical Studies and languages cognate to Biblical Studies. Courses defined as “languages cognate to Biblical Studies” are OT651, OT701-706, OT707, BS710-711, NT601, NT605 and NT700. The remaining 18 elective credit hours may include Biblical Studies courses at the 600 or 700 level and MC, MD, ME, MH courses, upon approval of the student’s faculty advisor through academic petition.

Additional Requirements

  • Approved Review for Research Readiness no later than the end of August of the first academic year.
  • Attend required, non-credit Advanced Research Programs Interdisciplinary Colloquium as scheduled until coursework is completed.
  • Biblical Languages
    • Demonstrate advanced-level of competency in one biblical language (either Hebrew or Greek) by the conclusion of the first year.
    • Demonstrate intermediate-level of competency in the other (second) biblical language by the conclusion of the first year.
    • Aramaic (OT701) must be taken by the end of the second year of coursework.
  • Modern Languages
    • Demonstrate competency in German by the end of December of the first academic year.
    • Demonstrate competency in French (or another research language cognate to student’s area of study) by the end of August of the first academic year.
  • Cumulative GRP of at least 3.30/4.00.
  • Pass the comprehensive examinations base on coursework and 75-100 normative and influential sources in the field of study.
  • Successful completion of a dissertation proposal.
  • Completion and successful defense of the dissertation.
  • Fulfillment of all degree requirements in not more than eight calendar years from the first term of enrollment.
  • Submission of all revised dissertation copies and finalization materials.

Asbury Seminary is committed to providing you with a quality theological education and practical skills for a lifetime. We offer more than 400 scholarships annually and our Ministry Partners Program helps you graduate with minimal debt.

Cost of Attendance: 2018-2019


Total Credits



48 credits

$795/credit hour




 PHD900 (Continuation Fee Registration) $795/credit hour each Fall and Spring after post-coursework through degree completion 

Academic Year 2018-2019

All Campuses Fall/Spring

All Campuses Summer

Technology Fee

$140 per semester

$70 per semester

Graduation Fee

$200 one-time fee

$200 one-time fee

Student Services Fee

$115 per semester

$55 per semester


Postgraduate Support Scholarships are available to Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Theology students based on criteria of merit and need. 

To apply

  • Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Complete the Asbury Financial Aid Application
  • Complete a Postgraduate Support Scholarship Application, including a 1000-word essay describing your passion for research and how it will equip you for the future.
Apply Now!