Doctor of Philosophy [Biblical Studies]

Asbury Theological Seminary’s 48-hour (plus dissertation work) Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies focuses on either the Old Testament or New Testament in the context of the entire biblical scholarship.

What to Expect from the Degree

The following is an overview of the degree requirements:

  • Successful completion of 48 credit hours as outlined in the Academic Catalog with a cumulative grade point average of 3.30/4.00 or higher);
  • Approval of the Research Readiness Review at the end of the first academic year
  • Attendance of the weekly school seminars and the annual interdisciplinary colloquium of Advanced Research Programs.
  • Modern and Biblical Language Requirements as outlined in the academic catalog.
  • Passing of the comprehensive examinations
  • Approval of a dissertation proposal
  • Completion and successful defense of the dissertation

*Refer to the Academic Catalog for a detailed and full list of graduation requirements.

Admissions Requirements

  • Application Form.
  • Accredited baccalaureate degree; accredited Master of Divinity degree or accredited Master of Arts degree with concentration in Biblical Studies. Accreditation is required by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or holding membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada.

  • Official transcripts of all postsecondary schools attended, sent directly by each institution to the Asbury Seminary Admissions Office.

  • A nonrefundable $50 (US) application fee that includes processing of the application and a personal background check.

  • Four professor or other scholar references completed on the Admissions Office form at

  • A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.50/4.00 for baccalaureate and graduate work is required for admission. The grade point average as calculated by the Admissions Office at Asbury Seminary shall be considered the official grade point average for admission.

  • Submission of a scholarly essay, representing an example of the applicant’s ability to do independent research and reflecting a research interest appropriate to the degree program, approximately 25 pages in length, completed within the last three years. (Please note: writing samples must be submitted in .pdf format, with the applicant’s 6-digit prospective student ID number in place of their name throughout the paper. The prospective ID number should also be the filename of the document. If papers are not submitted within these guidelines, they will be returned to the applicant for proper formatting.)

  • Personal history essay, including a purpose statement noting reason for Ph.D. pursuit, vocational understanding and research specialization. Specific guidelines at

  • A resume or CV detailing education, language skills, and work/ministry experience.

  • 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 native speakers of English, an official score report from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. International applicants may submit the GRE in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS but are not normally required to submit both scores.
  • For applicants whose native language is other than English, an official score report from the TOEFL or IETLS must be submitted. TOEFL scores of 600 paper or 90 internet-based or an IETLS score of 7.5 are expected. Normally, TOEFL or IELTS will not be waived.

  • The Admissions Committee may request the applicant to submit additional materials and/or schedule an interview with a seminary representative.

Personal History Essay:

  1. 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)
  2. Please describe your ministry and vocational experience, including positions held and dates of service.  (350 minimum to 500 words maximum)
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. List the language(s) (including English) used in your research and/or ministry and indicate your relative proficiency.
  6. (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.
  7. (Optional) If you are married, describe your spouse’s attitudes toward your plans for seminary education and future ministry.
  8. Please attach a resume or CV.

Download printable copy.

Hrs Course ID Course Name
Biblical Studies Required Courses (15 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 BT906 Seminar on Biblical Theology
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 (33 credit hours)

The 33 credit hours of elective coursework shall include 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 15 elective credit hours may include 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 January 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: 2023-2024

Degree Total Credits Cost
Ph.D. 48 credits $900/credit hour
Coursework Total $43,200

 PHD900 (Continuation Fee Registration) $900/credit hour each Fall and Spring after post-coursework through degree completion 

Academic Year 2022-2023 All Campuses Fall/Spring All Campuses Summer
Technology Fee $225 per semester $110 per semester
Graduation Fee $200 one-time fee $200 one-time fee
Student Services Fee $160 per semester $80 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.