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Doctor of Theology (th.D.)

Program overview


The Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) in Pastoral Theology is a terminal degree program designed to provide churchmen with an advanced grasp of Christian ministry. Students hone their skills in both the public and private ministry of the Word of God through an in-depth analysis of a wide array of subject areas. Th.D. candidates can expect extensive reading and writing assignments in addition to completing a substantial research dissertation.

Download the Doctor of Theology Student Handbook


Program Objectives

  1. To provide graduate professional training to those who have achieved substantial graduate education in biblical and theological studies and who have shown outstanding ability and potential for ministry.

  2. To offer effective qualified supervision to students.

  3. To broaden the student’s understanding of the nature and purposes of ministry.

  4. To affect the student’s personal, spiritual, and professional development.

  5. To strengthen the student’s competence in applying biblical and theological reflection to any ministry context.

  6. To expand the student’s knowledge of the basic principles of Christian leadership with special application to Christian ministry both in the church and the community.

  7. To enable the student to establish a growth initiative within his respective ministry that is biblically sound, measurable, and effective.

  8. To engage the student in research and practice, producing practical contributions to the Church and to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

  9. To equip the student to complete a successful Doctoral Project that includes the development of an expository sermon series.

  10. To enable the student to move beyond routinely accepted techniques of ministry toward new dimensions, methods, and outreach.


Course Format

Doctor of Theology courses are delivered via a learning management system. The courses consist of considerable reading and writing assignments. Students can expect approximately 2,500 pp. of reading and an average of 30-40 pp. of written assignments per course. Th.D. courses are undertaken as semi-independent study. Following the completion of each course's written and reading assignments, students complete a live one-on-one competency review with a professor.


Doctoral Professors

All Th.D. professors possess a terminal degree and have significant experience in full-time pastoral ministry. They have learned to integrate biblical, theological, historical, and practical resources into successful ministries. These professors serve as Pastor-Theologians who, having considerable educational credentials, have demonstrated longstanding competence in pastoral leadership.


The present roster of Th.D. professors includes:

Rev. Dr. Michael Beck (Prof. of Theology)

Rev. Dr. Michael Burgos (President, Prof. of Theology and Counseling)

Rev. Dr. Steven Matthews (Prof. of Christian Ethics)

Rev. Dr. Russell Threet (Prof. of Biblical Counseling)


Th.D. Courses (35 Credit Hours)

Theological Research, Writing, and Rhetoric (3 Credit Hours)

Theological Research, Writing, and Rhetoric is designed to equip students with the essential skills and knowledge required to engage in rigorous theological research and produce high-quality academic writing. This course aims to cultivate critical thinking, research competence, and effective communication within the realms of theology, biblical studies, and ministry.


Pastoral Theology (4 Credit Hours)

Pastoral Theology provides an advanced grasp of the qualifications, responsibilities, and calling of the local church pastor. Significant attention is devoted to pulpit ministry, homiletical theory, and sermon development. Students will develop an exegetically informed view of key elements in pastoral theology.


Marriage and Family (4 Credit Hours)

This course consists of an advanced biblical overview of the unique challenges faced in ministry to families. It is focused on accurately and appropriately instructing families in varied situations. Careful attention will be given to pursuing biblical fidelity, genuine heart change, and apprehension of the basis for marriage and the ethical and theological issues surrounding divorce and remarriage.


Ecclesiology (4 Credit Hours)

This course focuses on major issues concerning the doctrine and practice of the church from a biblical context. This will include such topics as the relationship between the church and Israel, the governance structures of the church, the traditional marks of the church, the ordinances of the church, as well as the church’s mission in the world. In addition, current methodological issues surrounding the doctrine of the church will be addressed.


Biblical Counseling Theory and Method (4 Credit Hours)

Biblical Counseling Theory and Method is designed to equip ministry professionals for leadership in ministering and counseling from a biblical foundation. Specifically, the degree is designed for congregational ministers and others who serve in counseling roles. Students will complete a significant amount of the requirements for IABC certification.


Hermeneutics (4 Credit Hours)

This course will provide an expansive immersion in biblical hermeneutics and exegesis with particular emphasis on New Testament interpretation. Students will consider comparative and historical methods for biblical interpretation and delineate theological implications for faith and practice. Drawing upon the course content, students will develop an in-depth exegesis of a specified pericope.


Doctoral Dissertation (10 Credit Hours)

Doctoral Dissertation involves the completion of a research project wherein the student produces a 37,500 word (150 pp.; excluding front and back matter) research dissertation.


Research Defense (2 Credit Hours)

In Research Defense, students formally present their research project to a committee.

Time Limitations

Although Doctoral courses are asynchronous, each course has a time limitation of 20 weeks.

Schedule of Fees

All doctoral students pay a flat tuition subscription of $80 established by the seminary administration. This fee covers tuition only and does not cover the cost of books and the graduation fee. Matriculated students who fail to meet their tuition requirements are placed on academic probation for a period of one calendar week. Students who exceed that week are suspended from their program. Reinstatement involves remitting all past-due tuition fees and the payment of a reinstatement fine of $50.

  • Tuition | $80 per month.

  • Graduation Cost | $65

  • Textbook Costs | Students should expect to invest $60-120 in textbooks for each course. Acquiring used books may significantly reduce this expense.


Admissions Prerequisites

  • An undergraduate degree consisting of at least four years of full-time study.

  • A graduate degree in biblical and(or) theological studies, Christian education, pastoral ministry, religion, or a related field.

  • Longstanding membership in and service to a local church.

  • Proficiency in biblical Greek. Students who do not have training in biblical Greek may take Biblical Greek I-II while completing their other Th.D. coursework.

  • General agreement with Forge Theological Seminary’s doctrinal stance.

  • Advanced proficiency in English.

To Apply:

  1. Download and read the Doctor of Theology Student Handbook.

  2. Complete the application on the admissions page. 

  3. Submit your unofficial transcripts to either or through the application.  

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