PhD in Philosophy of Religion (Coming Fall 2022)
Program Director: Thomas Baker, PhD ([email protected])
The PhD in Philosophy of Religion is a 60-unit program designed for mature Christian postgraduates who desire in-depth academic study in the area of philosophy of religion. Its approach, in the tradition of classical theism and Thomistic philosophy, is designed for those who appreciate the full inspiration and inerrancy of the Word of God. We encourage applications for admission from those who desire to cultivate a scholar’s mind and a pastor’s heart, and conduct advanced research in the areas of philosophical theology, philosophy of religion, philosophical apologetics and moral philosophy.
The program’s design is suitable for those who cannot relocate, take leave of employment and desire the flexibility.
- No residency requirement (the oral defense may be required to be in residence)
- International students are welcome
- Choose between part-time and full-time study
- 4-7 years for full-time study, and 5-9 years to complete your part-time PhD
- Regular contact with your research professors
Program Learning Outcomes
VIU is committed to quality education with the following program objectives:
- To learn how to analyze and defend the historic Christian faith against philosophical objections.
- To articulate advanced knowledge of philosophy, theology, apologetics, and Biblical studies.
- To demonstrate the ability to perform advanced and original research in the areas of philosophy, theology, apologetics, and Biblical studies.
- To communicate and defend the Christian faith effectively in both academic and ministry settings.
- To demonstrate a love for the truth of God and the willingness to reach people from various backgrounds with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The applicant should possess an academic graduate degree from an accredited institution (or equivalent) of at least 60-units (or the MDiv with apologetics and/or philosophy) in an area related to their proposed research. (VIU and SES graduates may be granted advanced standing with a graduate degree of 48-units or more which would waive the 60-unit minimal requirement). The applicant’s graduate program should contain a minimum of the following set of fulfilled graduate level courses:
- Four systematic theology courses (12 semester units)
- One logic/critical thinking/symbolic logic course (3 semester units)
- 15 semester units of philosophy courses
- 15 additional semester units in the areas of either philosophy, apologetics, theology, or religious studies or a combination of these.
If these prerequisites are not satisfied at the time of admission, the candidate may be accepted into the PhD program with the provision these prerequisite courses will be fulfilled prior to achieving candidature status. If the applicant holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy or closely related field, this also will be considered in the admissions process.
The applicant must also submit a writing sample not co-authored that is greater than 15 pages. The sample should be in the subject matter of philosophy and exemplify graduate level writing and research with footnotes. In addition, letters of recommendation from previous faculty and clergy are required
Though the GRE and MAT exams are not required, after applying to the program, the student may be invited for an interview and subsequent written entrance exam prior to acceptance. The entrance exam will allow the student a limited preparation time and then test the student’s ability to respond to graduate level philosophy questions.
The PhD in Philosophy of Religion program may allow, upon successful review of official transcripts, up to 6-units of previously earned doctoral credit to be transferred from another accredited institution. This credit will be evaluated by the Registrar and Academic Dean for suitability of transfer. Please send official academic transcripts to the VIU Registrar.
Continued Enrollment Requirements
All PhD students prior to candidature are required to take a minimum of three courses per year. Exceptions can only be granted by the Academic Dean.
The student will be promoted from PhD Student to PhD Candidate by action of the faculty only when all classwork, language requirements, and comprehensive exams have been completed successfully with an overall GPA of 3.50. The student must also be in good overall standing with evidence of Christian character. This is also when the student will be deemed ABD (all-but-dissertation). Only after achieving PhD Candidacy will the student be able to begin the dissertation process.
The dissertation process involves submitting a dissertation prospectus for approval. Upon approval, the student will be guided by the dissertation supervisor until the dissertation is completed and passes the oral defense. The student’s dissertation must constitute an original contribution to learning, give evidence of systematic study, and ability to relate the results of such study to the general body of knowledge in the subject area. The dissertation must be written in Turabian style formatting with a minimum length of 80,000 words.
Oral Defense (Viva Voce)
After submitting an acceptable dissertation, the candidate will be required to give a live in-residence oral defense of their research to no less than three faculty readers/examiners, one of which may be from another institution. This will give opportunity to the candidate to explain and correct any misunderstanding of their research, and offer the examiners a chance to test the knowledge and research contained in the dissertation.
Program Curriculum and Stages
The PhD course of study is completed in 4 stages as described below.
Stage 1 – PhD Coursework (51 units)
Philosophy Coursework (45 units)
Students will complete courses in the field of philosophy of religion, philosophical apologetics, and philosophical theology.
Electives Coursework (6 units)
Students must complete two elective doctoral courses of their choice, which may either be two independent research classes directed by the faculty or approved doctoral courses from the catalog.
Stage 2 – Language and Comprehensive Exams (P/F)
The student will be required to pass a language competency exam of an approved language related to their dissertation research. This exam will test the student’s ability to translate within a specified time limit using only an approved lexicon. Preparation for the exam will be through independent study.
There will be three timed written competency exams and one oral examination for the program.
Stage 3 – Dissertation Prospectus, Research and Writing (9 units)
Students will submit to the program director a comprehensive proposal for their dissertation research. Upon approval, students may commence research and writing of the dissertation.
Stage 4 Dissertation Oral Defense (P/F)
Students will be required to orally defend their dissertation before a minimum of 3 examiners.
Upon successful completion of the program courses with at least a 3.5 GPA, competency exams, research language, written dissertation, oral defense, and a positive faculty recommendation for graduation, the candidate will receive the PhD in Philosophy of Religion granted by Veritas International University.
|PhD in Philosophy of Religion (PhD)|
|STAGE 1: Philosophy of Religion – 27 units|
|PH1010 Thomistic Metaphysics (3)||PH1035 Moral Philosophy (3)|
|PH1015 Thomistic Epistemology (3)||PH1040 Philosophy of Science (3)|
|PH1020 Religious Epistemology (3)||PH1045 Influential Philosophers & Philosophies (3)|
|PH1025 Natural Theology (3)||PH1050 Philosophical Problems (3)|
|PH1030 Philosophy of Mind and Body (3)||PR: RW499 Research Methods & Technology (P/F)|
|Philosophical Apologetics/Theology – 18 units|
|AP1010 Theodicy: The Problem of Evil (3)||AP1030 Philosophical Apologetics (3)|
|AP1015 Socialism, Diversity, Justice, and Bible (3)||TH1010 Theological Problems (3)|
|AP1025 Issues in Biblical Criticism (3)||CE1010 Teaching in Higher Education (3)|
|Electives – 6 units|
|PHR1010 Directed Research in Philosophy of Religion I (3) or Elective (3)||PHR1015 Directed Research in Philosophy of Religion II (3) or Elective (3)|
|STAGE 2: Language Competency – Pass/Fail|
|PHR1100 Language Competency Preparation and Examination|
|Comprehensive Exams Prior to Dissertation – Pass/Fail|
|PHR1105 Metaphysics and Epistemology Written Competency Exam||PHR1115 Philosophical/Theological Problems Written Competency Exam|
|PHR1110 Moral Philosophy Written Competency Exam||PHR1120 Philosophy of Religion Oral Competency Exam|
|STAGE 3: Dissertation – 9 units|
|PHR1200 Dissertation Prospectus (P/F)|
|PHR1300 Dissertation Research and Writing (9)|
|STAGE 4: Oral Defense – Pass/Fail|
|PHR1400 Oral Defense (3 examiner minimum)|
|Total Semester Hours: 60|