Doctor of Theology
3Years Full Time
Payments Centrelink Approved
6Max Years Part Time
Cricos code: 054711M (English)
From its inauguration the Doctor of Theology (ThD) has been used as the ACT’s premier research degree for graduates who are already engaged in the ministerial profession as aspiring teachers in universities and theological colleges in Australia and overseas. The degree is designed to equip men and women as beginning researchers in the traditional fields of theology and provide a qualification recognised by theological and Bible colleges as well as universities for those who teach in these fields.
288 credit points over 3 years (F/T)
Overall cps: 288
Length: 3 year F/T (6 semesters) or P/T equivalent up to 6 years (12 semesters)
Thesis: 80-100,000 word thesis, excluding bibliography
BTh/BMin Hons, with at least Upper Second Class Honours and at least a Distinction in the thesis, OR
BTh or BMin plus a Graduate Diploma with embedded RTP, with satisfactory completion of Research Methods, an overall GPA≥3.0 and ≥Distinction in a major project of at least 12,000 words, OR
BTh or BMin plus a Coursework Masters (such as MA(Th/Min) or MTS) with embedded RTP, with satisfactory completion of Research Methods, an overall GPA≥3.0 and ≥Distinction in a major project of at least 12,000 words in FoR, OR
MDiv or MMin with embedded RTP, with satisfactory completion of Research Methods, an overall GPA≥3.0 and ≥ Distinction in a major project of at least 12,000 words in FoR, OR
MDiv or MMin plus a Coursework Masters (such as MA(Th/Min) or MTS) with embedded RTP, with satisfactory completion of Research Methods, an overall GPA≥3.0 and ≥Distinction in a major project of at least 12,000 words in FoR, OR
MTS, MA(ChrStuds) or MML with embedded RTP, with satisfactory completion of Research Methods, an overall GPA≥3.0 and ≥Credit in a major project of at least 12,000 words,
Theological and non-theological qualifications deemed by the Research and Research Studies Committee to provide a suitable grounding for Doctor of Theology study.
FoR = Field of Research
N.B. All applicants for the Doctor of Theology must demonstrate competence in Biblical languages required for their FoR. Normally this is demonstrated by an applicant having successfully completed 2 units of language study in a relevant Biblical language and 2 units of exegesis of Biblical text using the relevant Biblical language.
Language Qualifications for NESB: IELTS min 7.5 overall with a min 7.5 in reading and writing, 7.0 in listening and 6.5 in speaking.
This course is registered on CRICOS and is available to overseas students at selected delivery locations. See here for more information.
The degree of Doctor of Theology is the premier research degree of the ACT. It is awarded on the basis of the satisfactory completion of a thesis, though it is also possible that the degree might be awarded on the basis of work(s) published during candidature. The thesis, or portfolio of published works, must constitute a distinct contribution to theological learning and must show evidence of original research and the exercise of independent critical analysis. Although a candidate works under a supervisor, the candidate is expected to demonstrate independence of thought.
The award of the degree may be taken to certify that a candidate has been trained in the techniques relevant to the field of research, and is capable, without supervision, of applying these techniques to other research projects, and has become sufficiently familiar with a significant area of discipline within which the candidate has worked to be able to assess critically the present state of knowledge in the subject and to conceive original possibilities for further investigation with an increasing independence.
- The thesis must embody the results of independent scholarship and research. It may be either a critical and analytical study of existing material or, as is more usual, an original contribution to the subject. In either case it must show evidence of originality and independence of thought, posing a new insight into the topic or formulating an existing issue in a novel and useful way.
- The candidate must demonstrate that he or she is aware of, understands, and is able to read and analyse the literature, including primary source and scholarly material in languages other than English, that is directly relevant to the topic as well as related areas of significance, and is able to make considered judgments.
- The thesis must be a work of appropriate literary standard. While assessing what constitutes a “distinct contribution to theological learning” is no easy matter, one way of gauging whether a candidate’s work meets the criterion is to consider the extent to which the thesis is publishable. Criteria that will help decide whether a thesis is publishable are:
- there is emerging and/or growing interest in the subject area of the thesis such that the thesis, if published, would complement what has been published already, or, the thesis makes a radically new contribution to the subject area;
- the thesis is well-written, its ideas are accessible, and it would lend itself to easy conversion to published format;
- there are well-known, international scholars who could be advocates for the published version of the thesis.
In the following domains, Graduates of the Doctor of Theology will be able to:
Knowledge and understanding
- Demonstrate substantial expert knowledge at the frontier in an area of the traditional fields of Theology;
- Evaluate the various research principles and methodologies in an area of the traditional fields of Theology;
Inquiry and Analysis
- Assess the received body of knowledge in an area of the traditional fields of Theology with a view to identifying areas that require further research;
Problem Solving and Integration
- Formulate problems and questions, assemble data and literature, construct a theoretical and methodological framework, develop coherent evidence-based perspectives as the basis of independent expert inquiry;
- Design and execute an independent investigation leading to an original and significant contribution to knowledge in an area of the traditional fields of Theology;
- Demonstrate understanding of and compliance with ethical matters related to human participant research;
- Present theoretical bases, methodologies and results of research to, and engage with, non-specialists, peers and the scholarly community;
- Present research in writing suitable for publication, including a thesis of 80,000-100,000 words or portfolio of published work;
Teamwork and Professional Practice
- As a leader and in groups, apply expert authoritative knowledge and understanding to ministry contexts and the wider community;
Engagement with the World
- Bring authoritative expert professional capacity to engagement with the challenges of contemporary Christianity, society and the wider world;
Continuous Learning and Development
- Demonstrate capacity independently and collaboratively to generate new knowledge and understanding by original research in the traditional fields of Theology.
$8,880 per semester for full-time (48cp) domestic students (2021 course fees and credit points).
For more information about tuition fees, FEE-HELP, and student payments, view tuition fees.
- All candidates must initially apply through a supervising college approved to prepare candidates for the ThD degree using the required ACT form.
- All applicants with non-ACT qualifications must submit original or certified copies of transcripts or certificates of all tertiary study completed in theology or ministry to the Research and Research Studies Committee, which will determine granting candidature.
- All candidates initially have provisional status. Candidates must satisfactorily complete all Confirmation of Candidature requirements by the end of their first full time year (or part time equivalent) of candidature to progress to full candidate status.
- Candidates will be supervised at an affiliated college of the ACT approved to prepare candidates for the ThD.
- Supervisors must be registered as either principal supervisor and/or co-supervisor on the ACT Register of Supervisors.
- Candidates and their supervisors must complete and submit the Higher Degree by Research Annual Progress Report to the Postgraduate Candidate Officer of the ACT via the postgraduate coordinator in the candidate’s supervising college by the due date. Where unsatisfactory progress is reported the Research and Research Studies Committee may require the candidate to ‘show cause’ why candidature should not be terminated.
- It is the candidate’s responsibility to be aware of and fully comply with all rules and regulations related to the Doctor of Theology. The online version of the ACT HDR Candidate’s Handbook provides the most up to date version of the rules and regulations.
- The candidates must be aware of the prescribed word limit for ThD theses. Theses must be at least 80,000 and no more than 100,000 words in length. See Guidelines for Theses in the ACT Higher Degree by Research Handbook.
- The candidate should expect to submit to the supervisor coherent accounts of the research to date according to the agreed Research Plan.
- Candidates should accept responsibility for maintaining negotiated regular communication with the supervisor and the progress of research agreed upon. If impediments arise, these should be immediately discussed with the supervisor.
- Higher Degree Research candidates may not be granted more than two (2) semesters of suspension of candidature during the term of their candidature, and may be granted no more than two semesters of extension of candidature prior to the examination phase of their candidature. The R&RSC will accept applications for suspension beyond the two semester limit on a case by case basis only for extraordinary circumstances, supported with written evidence.
- Under exceptional circumstances, the Research and Research Studies Committee may vary the period of candidature.
Approved for delivery at
Approval to deliver a course does not guarantee that this course will be available in a given year – please contact a college about current availability.
Brisbane School of TheologyLearn more
New South Wales
Christ CollegeLearn more
Laidlaw CollegeLearn more
Malyon Theological CollegeLearn more
Melbourne School of TheologyLearn more
New South Wales
Morling CollegeLearn more
Presbyterian Theological CollegeLearn more
Queensland Theological CollegeLearn more
Ridley CollegeLearn more
New South Wales
Sydney Missionary & Bible CollegeLearn more
Trinity Theological CollegeLearn more