Ph.D. in Renewal Theology – Biblical Studies

School of Divinity

Among the fastest growing seminaries in the nation

2,200+ alumni serving in 47 states, DC and 42 nations

250 senior pastors & 125 presidents of organizations

Be Equipped to Lead

Grow in pastoral leadership and equip emerging church leaders across the globe with the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Renewal Theology – Biblical Studies. This doctorate degree in biblical studies offers advanced theological studies for those called to ministry through the church, academy, military or in nonprofit settings. It develops you as a leader, researcher and teacher. Delivered online with a two-week on-campus residency in Virginia Beach each semester, it also allows you to maintain your current work-life context.

Advance Your Knowledge

Explore the academic and spiritual aspects of biblical studies, history and theology.

Customize Your Strategies

Develop instructional planning, strategies and assessment.

Establish Your Academic Reputation

Publish original research in in your chosen field on topics such as ancient Israel, charismatic gifts, the Holy Spirit, and more.

Online w/ Residency

15-week Course Sessions

Scholarships Available

Online w/Residency




Take Your Career to the Next Level

On completing the Ph.D. in Renewal Theology – Biblical Studies degree, you will be able to:

  • Apply advanced hermeneutics to interpret the Bible.
  • Employ historic and contemporary approaches to biblical studies from a Renewal perspective.
  • Use advanced academic research methodologies.
  • Apply the experience gained from a practicum in an area of ministry or missions.

Career Opportunities

  • University Faculty
  • Research
  • Consulting
  • Nonprofit Executive Leadership

$78,790 Mean annual wage of Philosophy and Religion Teachers, Postsecondary. - Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017

Click any section below for additional information

2018-2019 Semester Check-In Deadlines:

All new students are expected to check-in for the semester 2 weeks prior to the session start date. Students should apply, be accepted, enroll in their first courses, and confirm a plan to pay for their courses prior to this date.


Semester Check-In

Session Start Date

Session A

Wednesday, August 15

Monday, August 27

Session M

Wednesday, September 12

Monday, September 24

Session B

Wednesday, October 17

Monday, October 29

Session C

Wednesday, January 2

Monday, January 14

Session T

Wednesday, January 30

Monday, February 11

Session D

Wednesday, March 6

Monday, March 18

Session E

Wednesday, May 1

Monday, May 13

Session F

Wednesday, June 12

Monday, June 24

International Applicants

International student applicants should allow at least 4-6 weeks for an admission decision to be made once all required documents have been submitted to the appropriate offices and the applicant has followed all processes and procedures required for an admission decision.

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for acceptance into the Ph.D. program in the School of Divinity, The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) requires applicants to have completed an M.Div. degree or masters-level equivalent (e.g., M.A., MRE, MACE) or a first-graduate theological degree providing equivalent theological background with a minimum of 72 credit hours from a regionally accredited, post-secondary institution or an institution accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

In addition, applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy program should have:

  • a cumulative master's GPA of at least 3.5
  • a desire and ability to write a dissertation from a Renewal perspective in the area of biblical studies, Christian theology or global Christian history
  • a high aptitude for scholarly research and writing as well as reading comprehension
  • a high intellectual achievement and scholarship as evidenced by college transcripts and the applicant's writing sample
  • spiritual maturity and integrity of character
  • personal goals consistent with the mission of Regent University
  • a positive recommendation from a clergy member
  • understand and accept the Statement of Faith

Students will be required to competently use the language(s) in which relevant primary texts are written, as well as those in which there is important secondary material during both their course of studies and their dissertation research. This includes at least one ancient and one or more modern languages.

Doctor of Philosophy Application Process (Ph.D.)

1. Submit Your Application
Complete the School of Divinity Application for Admission.

2. Submit a Clergy Recommendation
Request the Clergy Recommendation Form. It can be completed online or through the mail by your current pastor or ministry leader.

3. Complete Your Admissions Questionnaire
Please complete a brief admissions questionnaire based on your professional goals and interests, and provide thoughtful and thorough responses. This will give us a better opportunity to get to know you and see how your objectives align with our programs. Once completed, the questionnaire will be sent directly to an enrollment counselor who will be in touch with you to help complete the rest of your application. Access the Admissions Questionnaire.

4. Academic Writing Sample or Graduate Degree Paper (with Citations)


Our Ph.D. program seeks to prepare scholars for advanced research, practice and leadership in academic, church and ministry settings through designated study, involving one of four concentrations: Biblical Studies, Christian Theology, History of Christianity and Practical Theology. The academic writing sample assesses your ability to think critically and compose an original written work, not previously written, based upon your chosen concentration area as indicated on your Ph.D. application. The Admissions Committee must ensure that your writing acumen is at a level commensurate with the demands of doctoral level academic writing.

In order to assess your writing ability, please compose a 1500-word original essay, not previously written, which includes the following: (1) a topic of your choice that falls within one of the four concentrations mentioned above; (2) a demonstration of conceptual sophistication; (3) an obvious flow of thought from paragraph to paragraph; (4) critical thinking skills; and (5) evidence of independent judgment. Finally, in your conclusion, include what you think the work of the Spirit contributes to the topic you have chosen to discuss. References or citations are not required.


If you are opting to submit the Graduate Degree Paper, please ensure this is a submission that contains citations.

Your academic writing sample or graduate degree paper should be emailed directly to the Admissions Office at using the subject line: DIV Doctoral Application Pieces.

5. Submit your Unofficial College Transcripts
We are able to examine and view your unofficial transcripts from U.S.-based schools, which indicate successful completion of bachelor's and master's degree programs, in order to review you for an admissions decision. Please submit your unofficial transcript to our Admissions Office by email to using the subject line: DIV Doctoral Application Pieces.

Non-U.S. transcripts must be evaluated by an NACES-approved company. For further details, please review the International Admissions Checklist on the International Students Admissions page.

International Applicants: Please visit the International Students Admissions page for a more detailed explanation of the Regent University application information and to determine whether or not you qualify as an international student.

*Upon conditional acceptance to the program by review of unofficial transcripts, Regent University's Admissions Office will attempt to obtain your official transcripts from your U.S. degree-granting institutions, which indicate successful completion of bachelor's and master's degree programs. We will notify you if your previous institutions will not release transcripts directly to us.

6. Government-Issued ID
To ensure academic integrity, Regent University requires a copy of a government-issued ID. Simply scan and upload a copy of your driver's license, high school ID, passport, permanent resident card or official government ID card, using our secure and convenient online tool. If you would prefer to take a picture of your government-issued ID and email that to our office, please attach your ID and email to with the subject line: Government ID.

7. Pay Your $50 Application Fee
Your application will be fully processed once we have received your nonrefundable application fee. Mail a check payable to "Regent University" to Enrollment Support Services (see address below), or submit your payment online over a secure server.

8. Mail all documents that are completed offline to the following address:
Regent University
Enrollment Support Services
1000 Regent University Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23464 USA
Phone: 757.352.4127 | Fax: 757.352.4381

We will acknowledge receipt of your application and schedule an admissions interview when your file is nearing completion. Admissions interviews may be conducted in person or by phone.

After all application materials are received, the completed application will be reviewed by the Divinity admissions committee. When decisions are made, you will receive written notification. Financial aid and housing requests are reviewed after decisions have been announced in writing.

If you have questions about the School of Divinity's admission process and our programs or to verify that we have received your application materials, please contact us.

Note: All items submitted as part of the application process become the property of Regent and cannot be returned.

2018-19 Tuition Rates

Degree Level / Program Cost Per Credit Hour

Ph.D. in Renewal Theology

$650 per credit (In-state & Out-of-state)

2019-20 Tuition Rates

Degree Level / Program Cost Per Credit Hour

Ph.D. in Renewal Theology

$650 per credit (In-state & Out-of-state)


Student Fees Per Semester

University Services Fee (On-Campus Students) $700

*Rates are subject to change at any time.

Learn more about scholarships and financial aid.

The online with residency Ph.D. program is designed for pastors, educators and missionaries to be able to study while remaining in their ministry context; therefore, you are able to stay in your work and/or ministry setting and travel to campus for residencies each semester (fall, spring and summer). Residencies last for two weeks and include:

  • in-seat class time
  • orientations
  • academic, professional development, and training sessions
  • fellowship opportunities
  • time for group work and access to the University Library

These residency sessions usually occur in mid to late-October, the last week of February/first week of March, and the last two weeks of June.

Students spend a total of 22 weeks of residency (either here or on research sites, as agreed upon with advisors and approved by the director) spread out over the duration of their program.

1. How should I go about choosing a Ph.D. program?
This is a great question, and you should invest some time into considering the issues. Part I of this book provides very helpful information on choosing Ph.D. programs, and we highly recommend it: Nijay K. Gupta, Prepare, Succeed, Advance: A Guidebook for Getting a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Beyond (Pickwick, 2011). Note: The book is not limited to Biblical Studies Ph.D. programs.

2. When can I begin the program?
We currently accept cohorts to begin each fall, spring and summer semester.

3. When is the deadline for application?
Application deadlines can be found on the Admissions tab on this page.

4. If I am accepted to the Ph.D. program, can I defer my acceptance to another semester?
If you are accepted to the Ph.D. program in Renewal Theology and you decide to defer, your application will be reevaluated by the Ph.D. admissions committee. Your application would then be reviewed along with all other applications for the next year, and a new admissions decision would be made. If you wait longer than a year and wish to attend the Ph.D. program, you will need to submit a new application.

5. How many credits should I plan to take my first semester?
Students generally take six credit hours each semester during the coursework phase of the program.

6. What courses will I be taking?
Students will generally take two courses during their first semester: Theological Studies & the Academy and Theological German. If students have already met their modern language requirement, or if German is not required for their research interest, they may take another elective or core course. For information about Doctor of Philosophy courses see the University Catalog.

7. How long will it take me to complete my degree?

The Doctor of Philosophy program will take 4 - 7 years to complete, depending on how long the student takes to complete the dissertation. Coursework can usually be finished in 2.5 - 3.5 years.

8. How many hours is the Ph.D. Program?
The program includes 48 hours of coursework, including 24 hours of track electives and 12 hours of non-track electives; plus exams and dissertation.

9. Do I have to be enrolled every semester?
Students are expected to enroll every semester (fall, spring and summer) until they have completed the program.

10. How often will I be required to come to campus?
The Ph.D. program is designed for pastors, educators and missionaries to be able to study while remaining in their ministry context; therefore, students are able to stay in their work and/or ministry setting and travel to campus for residencies each semester (fall, spring and summer). Residencies last for two weeks and include in-seat class time; orientations; academic, professional development and training sessions; fellowship opportunities; and time for group work and access to the University Library. These residency sessions usually occur in mid to late-October, last week of February, first week of March and the last two weeks of June.

Students spend a total of 24 weeks of residence, usually at the rate of two weeks per semester (either here or on research sites as agreed upon with advisors and approved by the director) spread out over the duration of their program.

11. Will I have to come to campus after I finish coursework?
Yes, students come to campus during the qualifying exam and dissertation phases of the program to take exams and conduct research for the dissertation. These weeks will be counted toward fulfillment of the required 24 weeks of residency (see above).

12. How frequently are the courses offered?
Courses are offered on a rotating basis during all three semesters each year (fall, spring and summer). Full-time students participate in two courses per semester.

13. How many hours each week should I expect to devote to my studies?
Our students report that they expect to spend an average of 35-50 hours per week on their doctoral studies, depending on how many classes they are taking during the semester.

14. Are there language requirements for admission (Greek, Hebrew, German, etc.), and if so, are there entrance examinations?
Students are required to use proficiently at least two ancient or modern research languages in which the primary and secondary texts relevant to their disciplines are written. The required languages will be determined by concentration and in consultation with the advisor. Usually students will matriculate into the program with proficiency in at least one relevant ancient or modern language, and then gain proficiency in another ancient or modern languages during their coursework. Students may be required to pass a recognized language certification program or standard language proficiency exam to demonstrate proficiency.

15. Are students assigned faculty advisors?
Students are matched with faculty advisors upon acceptance based on their research interests.

16. What is the dissertation process? Are there oral defenses?
Students who pass the qualifying exams proceed to the dissertation phase which includes submission and acceptance of a proposal, writing of the dissertation and an oral defense held on campus in Virginia Beach.

17. How long should the dissertation be?
Dissertations will normally be between 40,000-80,000 words.

18. Is the Doctor of Philosophy program accredited?
Regent University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The School of Divinity is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Commission on Accrediting and has been authorized by the ATS to offer masters and doctorate degrees. Learn more about Regent’s accreditation

Th.M. Option

Students who do not continue in the program after the coursework phase (either those who complete all coursework requirements but failed the qualifying exams or those who passed the qualifying exams but did not successfully defend the dissertation) may opt to pursue a Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree in the School of Divinity. Upon approval of the Academic Dean and the student’s advisor, the student will be registered for the appropriate culminating experience course on the master’s level (if deemed necessary). Students will be responsible for tuition and fees for the culminating experience course(s) at the regular master’s-level tuition rate. Degree conferral will be contingent upon completion of all of the coursework requirements in the Ph.D. program, successful completion of a culminating experience and payment of all tuition and fees.

Ph.D. in Renewal Theology – Biblical Studies