Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

PhD Programs

Loyola University’s doctoral program in theology is designed for those who envision a career primarily in teaching and scholarly research at an advanced level. We offer two specializations.

In our Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology (ISET) program, students give particular attention to the ways in which theology (historical and systematic) and Christian ethics intersect with and influence one another in particular thinkers and with respect to concrete theological and ethical questions. Students in our ISET program are admitted with a primary disciplinary focus in either Ethics or Theology.

The New Testament and Early Christianity specialization concentrates on the New Testament and closely related texts in their historical, cultural, and religious context. The interpretation of texts involves the use of a variety of methods, both literary and historical. While studying the New Testament in its multifaceted reality, students explore the fascinating history and culture of contemporary Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds, the richness of the Jewish Scriptures, and the challenging diversity of Second Temple Judaism. 

The study of religion has been called a “field-encompassing field” (Clifford Geertz) in that the understanding of religion involves many disciplines. All of our doctoral programs emphasize interdisciplinary engagement, drawing on historical, linguistic, philosophical, sociological, and literary methods, in addition to the core materials and texts of the fields of Systematic Theology, Christian Ethics, or Biblical Studies.
Theological and Religious Studies Pedagogy
Most of our students aspire to careers that will include teaching. Pedagogical training and experience is an important asset when our graduates embark upon the search for academic employment.

Accordingly, doctoral students who have completed their course work typically take two non-credit courses in Theological and Religious Studies Pedagogy, and also serve as teaching assistants during their third year. The courses provide opportunities to seriously reflect on the craft of teaching and how we, as teachers, might best encourage student learning. Among other activities, students will develop a course syllabus, write their philosophy of teaching statement, and take part in the culminating event: a graduate student symposium on teaching and learning.  

Students receiving financial assistance from Loyola University Chicago for their doctoral studies typically plan and teach their own courses as “Teacher of Record” in their fourth and/or fifth years of study.

Length of Program
Students generally complete the program in five years: two years of course work, a third year preparing and completing comprehensive examinations and the dissertation proposal, and one to two years of writing the dissertation.

For requirements for admission, please click here.