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Loyola University Chicago

Department of Theology

Ph.D. Programs

Loyola University’s doctoral program in theology is designed for those who envision a career primarily in teaching and scholarly research at an advanced level. 

Starting in the fall of 2010 specializations will be offered in two areas:  Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology and New Testament and Early Christianity. The first, Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology, features a new and innovative curriculum that replaces the two specializations previously offered in Constructive Theology and Christian Ethics. The second, New Testament and Early Christianity, maintains the focus on historical and linguistic skills, but at the same time seeks to bring its students into conversation with other students in theology through interdisciplinary course work and opportunities for advanced theological study.

Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology (ISET):

The PhD in Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology represents an effort to rethink the riches of the Christian theological tradition to meet the intellectual, societal, and ethical challenges that confront humanity in the 21st century. The challenges people face today are complex and multi-faceted and encompass both theoretical concerns and practical choices on both the societal and personal levels. To meet these challenges the customary partition of disciplines must give way to new interdisciplinary dialogues, even as the typical divorce of theory from concrete practice must give way to more comprehensive solutions where theory and practice mutually inform each other. At its best, a Christian life is one of both intellectual and practical virtue, and the Roman Catholic tradition of this Christian life has been insistent that the intellectual and practical virtues are inseparable.

The program in Integrative Studies in Ethics and Theology seeks to respond to the challenge of these times by bringing together into one program the bodies of scholarship that have grown up around the central ethical and theological questions of the Christian experience of God. Indeed, the separation of systematic theology, ethics, and spirituality is a relatively recent development in the history of Christian thought, and while the separation has been advantageous to each area, it has also frequently meant the obscuring--and even loss--of the broader perspectives in which certain themes and problems must be situated today. Moreover, since the fields of theology and ethics share many common historical figures and texts (e.g., Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Luther) as well as methodological concerns (the use of scripture, the relationship to reason and experience), integrating the two fields at the outset of doctoral students’ careers makes eminent sense, enabling students to understand better the ways that the two fields both connect and diverge. To this end, all students in the program participate in an interdisciplinary seminar in the spring semester of each of the two years of coursework. In these seminars, students focus on a common theme that touches on both areas of concentration (e.g., Forgiveness, Theological Anthropology in a Consumer Economy, Creation and Ecology). The seminar will be led in alternate years by a faculty member from Theology and one from Christian Ethics and involves close reading and analysis of key texts. Common reading lists and comprehensive examinations provide further opportunities for integration and dialogue.

Integration cannot take place without concentration, and so all students in the program also focus their advanced study in one of two focal areas that provides them with the expertise they need for their future careers in the profession: systematic theology or ethics. Through course work in their chosen area of focus, comprehensive examinations, and finally the dissertation, students will demonstrate their ability to serve the needs of today’s academic and professional communities.

ISET Faculty:

New Testament and Early Christianity (NTEC):

The New Testament and Early Christianity specialization concentrates on the New Testament and closely related texts in their historical, cultural, and religious context. The interpretation of the texts involves the use of a variety of methods, both literary and historical. While studying the New Testament in its multifaceted reality, students explore the fascinating history and culture of contemporary Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds, the richness of the Jewish Scriptures, the challenging diversity of Intertestamental Judaism.

Since Fall 2010, the New Testament and Early Christianity specialization has entered into a scholarly agreement with the Sorbonne of Paris in its École Pratique des Hautes études (i.e., two sections: "Sciences Historiques et Philologiques," and "Sciences Religieuses") and with the University of Bologna in its PhD Program "Studi Religiosi: Scienze Sociali e Studi Storici delle Religioni". These prestigious relationships with two among the most ancient Universities of Europe allow for the exchange of faculty and students, and a new sharing of scholarship, networking and common endeavor.

NTEC Faculty:

Theological Pedagogy:

Since teaching is frequently a significant part of our graduates’ professional goals, doctoral students who have completed their course work typically take two non-credit courses in Theological Pedagogy and also serve as teaching assistants. The courses provide mentoring, videotaping, assistance in the development of syllabi, and opportunities for students to reflect on their philosophy of teaching. Participants create a professional file to parallel their academic Curriculum Vitae.

Length of Program:

Students possessing an MA can complete the program in five to six years: two years of course work, a third year of preparation and completion of comprehensive examinations and the dissertation proposal, and one to two years of writing the dissertation.

Hispanic Theological Initiative Consortium:

Click here to learn about Loyola's participation in the HTIC.

For requirements for admission, please go to: 
Application Requirements


Department of Theology · 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Crown Center, Room 300, Chicago, IL 60660
Phone: 773.508.2350 · Fax: 773.508.2386 · E-mail: theology@luc.edu

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