Practical Theology*

Complete your doctoral degree in Practical Theology

The Practical Theology concentration encompasses the broad areas of Chaplaincy, Preaching, Pastoral Theology, and Moral Theology. In this concentration, you may choose to focus your research in any of the major areas of practical theology. If you want to make an original and significant contribution to your area of study and, as a result, contribute to a more accurate understanding of the message of Christ as found in Scripture, the Practical Theology concentration is for you.

What You’ll Learn

  • Research and write at an advanced level in practical theology under the functional authority of Scripture.
  • Make a scholarly contribution to the field of Chaplaincy, Preaching, Pastoral Theology, or Moral Theology.
  • Present research results in a professional, organized, coherent, and structured manner in both written and oral form.
  • Function responsibly in the context of a supervisory relationship while exhibiting CIU’s core value of victorious Christian living.

Program Length

Three years of full-time study or five years of part-time study.

Is the Program Offered Online?

This degree is offered fully online with no residence requirement.

Why Study Practical Theology at CIU?

  • Program design allows you to focus on research and writing from the beginning of your studies.
  • Non-residential modality allows you to pursue your degree without relocating.
  • Experienced faculty mentors provide individualized guidance in areas of their particular expertise.
  • Accredited regionally by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and nationally by the Association of Biblical Higher Education.

Locations Offered
45 credit hours
Program Length
3 years
  • Instructors and leaders in global theological education
  • Seminary and University instructors in North America
  • Academic deans
  • Consultants on theological education
  • Authors and editors

Course of Study (45 hours)

Foundation  Course Credit Hours (9)
PTH 9200 Issues and Methods in Practical Theology 3
PTH 9400 Principles of Teaching, Learning, and Course Design 3
PTH 9900 Practical Theology Dissertation Proposal 3


Dissertation Course Credit Hours (36)
PTH 9901-9903 Practical Theology Dissertation Research 1-3 18
PTH 9904-9905 Practical Theology Dissertation Writing 1-2 15
PTH 9906 Practical Theology Dissertation Defense 3


Admission Requirements

In addition to the general graduate application requirements of the university (see the Admissions section for details), applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Proficiency in graduate-level theological studies, demonstrated by completion of an accredited Master of Arts (MA), Master of Divinity (MDiv), or Master of Theology (ThM) degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5. As part of the degree, you must have completed 4 semesters of either/both biblical languages, 4 semesters of pastoral, practical, or applied theology, and a thesis or major research paper.
  • Proficiency in conducting research and writing at the graduate level, demonstrated by completion of a Master’s thesis or a major research paper (approximately 5,000 words).
  • Submission of a research proposal (approximately 500 words) that meets the following parameters:
    • Preliminary title and short statement of the topic.
    • Brief overview of the general area of study, including the current state of knowledge and recent debates on the topic.
    • Research questions that will guide the study and research methods that will be used.
    • Anticipated contribution of the study.
    • Preliminary bibliography of relevant and recent works.
  • Interview with admissions committee considering academic readiness, dissertation aim, personal maturity, and career goals. Students with deficiencies in any area must address those deficiencies to the satisfaction of the committee before they are fully admitted to the program.
  • Because of the non-residential delivery of the program, students must demonstrate access to adequate and reliable online service, as well as to a theological library.
  • Two professional references.