Doctor of Philosophy in Archaeology & Biblical History

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Archaeology and Biblical History is a highly flexible program comprised of a 42 unit course of study that may be completed in as little as 2 years, but is designed for 48 months of full time study (approximately 6 units per semester). The student must complete a total of 42 units above a qualifying master’s degree according to institutional policy regarding VIU credits, transfer credits, and allowances for advanced standing based on a portfolio as applicable.

The 42 units are divided into three 14-unit sections: (Section One) courses, workshop, laboratory, and/or arranged (independent) study courses, (Section Two) fieldwork at archaeological excavations, and (Section Three) dissertation.

  • Section One – Courses. The 14 units of courses are completed by fulfilling the requirements set forth in a given syllabus. Courses can be taken either through a residential classroom, distance or arranged course, or by a combination of the two approaches.*
  • Section Two – Fieldwork. The 14 units of fieldwork courses are 2 units each, and must be completed in conjunction with an approved archaeological excavation, field school, or study tour.
  • Section Three – Dissertation. The student will complete a doctoral dissertation (14 units) comprised of original research. The 14-unit dissertation process is designed so that the student makes a significant contribution to the disciplines of archaeology and biblical studies/history.
*Note: A course of the same title taken at the graduate level cannot be repeated at the doctoral level. However, a more advanced, follow-on course can be designed as an arranged course. If the doctoral student has already satisfied the core major requirements at the graduate level, then he/she may complete individually-designed arranged courses or seminars based on the desired focus, in consultation with faculty and approved by the program director.

The three sections combine to form an interdisciplinary program emphasizing organic, cause-and-effect relationships between biblical and ancient Near Eastern history discernable from archaeological, anthropological, and comparative literary inquiry, with the purpose of developing competent, biblically-grounded archaeologists who are able to:

  • Perform and/or direct methodologically sound archaeological research, exploration, and excavation in the field.
  • Demonstrate the historical reliability of biblical narratives via professional publication and media.
  • Contribute to a hermeneutical framework that seeks to comprehend biblical texts in the light of ancient Near Eastern contexts.

This is accomplished by coursework and program requirements completed through:

  • Authorized VIU teaching site locations (30 units of the archaeology portion will be completed at our Albuquerque, NM, teaching site. The remaining 36 units will be completed at our Santa Ana main campus).
  • VIU distance learning.
  • Mandatory fieldwork performed at an authorized archaeological excavation and/or field school in Israel or Jordan.
  • Arranged course (when appropriate).

 

Program Objectives

  • To investigate and demonstrate that ancient Near Eastern history and biblical history, properly understood, constitute the same reality.
  • To develop archaeological research and fieldwork skills to a significant level of competency.
  • To apply dialogical analysis in the interpretation and application of archaeological data vis-à-vis the Bible.
  • To articulate the value of archaeological data in defending the historical authenticity and accuracy of the Bible.
  • To interpret biblical narratives from ancient Near Eastern contexts, including material culture and literature.

 

Admission Requirements

Admission to the PhD in Archaeology & Biblical History requires applicants to:

  • Hold an MA (or its equivalent) from an accredited institution in an appropriate field (ancient Near Eastern history and/or archaeology, biblical history, anthropology, etc).
  • Show high promise of future usefulness to the church and/or society as evidenced by a 500 word essay describing your archaeological goals, past accomplishments in the field, and potential benefit to society and/or the church.
  • Submit a writing sample of a previously completed paper on a topic relating to archaeology and/or biblical history or ancient Near Eastern history.
  • Have reading proficiency in biblical languages (Greek I and II/Hebrew I and II). If applicants have deficiency in biblical languages, admission may still be granted though additional language coursework may be required.
  • Have the ability to handle doctoral level work in the English language. For non-native English speakers, a TOEFL exam may be required.

 

PhD Program Prerequisites

If the student enters the PhD in Archaeology and Biblical History program from the 66-unit VIU MA in Archaeology and Biblical History, then the PhD program will consist of 42 units: 14 units of workshop, laboratory, and/or arranged courses (Section One); 14 units of fieldwork (Section Two), and the 14-unit dissertation (Section Three).

If the student enters the PhD program with less than 66 units in their archaeology Masters program from another institution, then the number of required PhD program units may be raised accordingly to satisfy the deficiency. The PhD program director and VIU Academic Dean will review the student’s degree program, academic portfolio, fieldwork experience, and doctoral transfer credits (if any) in order to determine the configuration of the individual PhD program.

 

Section One: Course Requirements – 14 Units

The student will complete seven of the following workshops, laboratory, and arranged courses for a total of 14 units.

AR1020 Workshop: Ceramic Sorting: Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (2 units)

AR1021 Workshop: Advanced Ceramic Typology (2 units)

AR1022 Workshop: Archaeological Drawing Techniques (2 units)

AR1023 Workshop: Architectural Reconstruction Drawing in Archaeology (2 units)

AR1050 Laboratory: Floatation Sample Analysis (2 units)

AR1051 Laboratory: Faunal and Human Bone Analysis (2 units)

AR1052 Laboratory: Object and Ceramic Conservation (2 units)

AR1180 Arranged Course (2 units)

AR1181 Arranged Course (2 units)

 

Section Two: Fieldwork Requirements – 14 Units

The student will complete the following seven archaeological fieldwork and methods requirements for a total of 14 units (2 units each):


AR1151, AR1152, AR1153, AR1154, AR1155, AR1156, AR1157

The rigor and procedures of archaeological data collection and the fundamentals of excavation methods and techniques are covered in these courses of study. Practical instruction in archaeological protocol(s) are discussed and evaluated. The use of current and emerging technologies, the integration of relevant disciplines, archaeometric techniques, and modern cultural protocols are topics of discussion in the Field School accompanying any approved archaeological excavation. The student will come away with a good sense of how an excavation project is organized, operated, and funded. The student will also gain a wealth of excavation experience, including experience at the supervisory level.

The student has multiple options for the completion of fieldwork requirements. A minimum of two field seasons at an approved excavation project in the Near East is a base requirement. Unit evaluations are based on the number of ACH of experience gained. Generally, 1 unit is allowed for each week (45 ACH) of participation. Additional assignment credit can be given based on project rigor and related items such as associated research, writing, and publication. A total of 14 units of excavation and related experience is required to fulfill the 14 units of this Section.

 

Section Three: Dissertation and Procedure/Guidelines – 14 Units

Under consultation of the Program Director, the student will select an acceptable topic on which to perform original research and write a doctoral dissertation (AR1551 Dissertation). The dissertation shall conform to SBL or Turabian format, with the text-proper being no less than 250 pages (not including bibliography, appendices, charts, tables, figures, etc.), and not exceeding 500 pages. Three VIU PhD faculty members and one external reader shall constitute the students dissertation committee. The topic must be: 1) a unique contribution to the field of study and 2) incorporate aspects of both archaeology and biblical history. The dissertation shall be defended before the committee and other members of the VIU PhD faculty. (See the AR1551 syllabus for details).

 

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive exam must be completed in order to determine the student’s proficiency in archaeology and biblical history, archaeological analysis, and the relevant literature. The comprehensive exam may be scheduled with the program director after all coursework and fieldwork have been completed. After the comprehensive exam is complete, the student may enroll in AR1551 Dissertation.

 

Time Limits

Students must complete all coursework, field study, and comprehensive exams within 5 years of first registration into the program. Students will then have 3 years from completing the comprehensive exam to complete the dissertation and live defense (Viva Voce) along with subsequent revisions.

 

For VSA program inquires, contact the director, Dr. Steven Collins, [email protected]

 

PhD in Archaeology & Biblical History Program Overview
Section One – Required Courses – 14 Units (choose seven courses)
AR1020 Workshop: Ceramic Sorting – Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (2 units)

Hands-on experience in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) Archaeology Research Center, working with diagnostic pottery sherds. The student will learn and practice ceramic sorting by field, square, locus, and archaeological period, according to TeHEP needs and protocols.

AR1021 Workshop: Advanced Ceramic Typology (2 units)

Hands-on experience in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) Archaeology Research Center, working with diagnostic pottery sherds. The student will learn and practice advanced techniques for period and sub-period ceramic types based on vessel morphology, fabric (paste), surface treatment, decoration, and firing.

AR1022 Workshop: Archaeological Drawing Techniques (2 units)

Hands-on experience in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) Archaeology Research Center through which the student will learn techniques for producing drawings of artifacts (objects and pottery) for publication.

AR1023 Workshop: Architectural Reconstruction Drawing in Archaeology (2 units)

Hands-on experience in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) Archaeology Research Center through which the student will learn techniques for making archaeological reconstruction drawings of ANE architecture for publication.

AR1050 Laboratory: Floatation Sample Analysis (2 units)

Hands-on experience in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) Archaeology Research Center through which the student will learn methods of isolating organic material from excavated soil samples by floatation, and slide preparation for microscopic analysis.

AR1051 Laboratory: Faunal and Human Bone Analysis (2 units)

Hands-on experience in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) Archaeology Research Center through which the student will learn methods of identifying animal and human bones (and teeth), the proper means of recording the data, and analytical approaches to the collected data.

AR1052 Laboratory: Object and Ceramic Conservation (2 units)

Hands-on experience in the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) Archaeology Research Center through which the student will learn methods and skills for cleaning, conserving, and preserving excavated artifacts, including objects of stone, metal, wood, bone, ivory, ceramic, clay (unfired), glass, and other materials.

AR1180 Arranged Course (2 units)

This is a custom-designed course of study determined by the student in consultation with faculty and approved by the PhD Program Director.

AR1181 Arranged Course (2 units)

This is a custom-designed course of study determined by the student in consultation with faculty and approved by the PhD Program Director.

 

Section Two: Archaeological Fieldwork & Methods – 14 Units
One 5-day participation week (= 45 Academic Contact Hours) in the field is equivalent to 1 credit hour.
AR1151 AR1152
AR1153 AR1154
AR1155 AR1156
AR1157
Comprehensive Exam – Pass/Fail
Complete and pass the written comprehensive exam prior to AR1551 Dissertation.
Section Three: Dissertation – 14 Units
AR1551 Dissertation

After the comprehensive exam is complete, the student may enroll into AR1551 Dissertation. The topic must be: 1) a unique contribution to the field of study, 2) incorporate aspects of both archaeology and biblical history, and 3) provide a logically reason, methodologically sound, and readable account of the student’s investigation, analysis, findings, conclusions and implications of the study. The length of the dissertation shall be 250-500 pages and shall be defended before the committee and other members of the VIU faculty. (See the AR1551 syllabus for details).

Total Semester Hours: 42