2100 S. Summit Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57105

(800) 440-6227


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To inquire about a specific program, please complete our Request Info form.

We are so happy you are interested in applying to Kairos University. If you have questions, please visit this page. Or, if you are ready to take the next step, begin by filling out this form below.

Doctor of Philosophy

A transformational journey of discipleship focused on helping you develop vocational excellence in your current or desired context – all on your time and from wherever you are.


Develop and deepen your knowledge of a chosen academic or professional discipline and generate new understandings of your vocation through faith-informed reflection on human flourishing.


The Doctor of Philosophy is a research degree that will enable you to engage in deep, faith-informed reflection on questions that are relevant to professional practice. The program is aimed at creating and supporting scholar-practitioners who will contribute to the mission of human flourishing. The program blends aspects of both European and American models of doctoral education with core learning experiences, providing a common foundation for seminar-style focused readings and generative research accompanied by an invitation to integrate and apply. This program is designed for individuals in secular vocations. The program may be completed in context but requires four large-group residencies that are completed in person.

Some examples of specialized fields of inquiry students can engage in are transformative leadership, business, trauma-Informed care, practices of reconciliation, philosophy of science, historical studies, ethics, anthropology, and semiotics.

Most students begin in August or January to align with the start of core courses on September 1 and February 1. Some students start in other months and work on their specialization or build a mentor team while waiting for the start of the next core course.




Only $600/month




From anywhere




Customized for you




Stay rooted in Christ


Why pursue a Doctor of Philosophy with Kairos?

By inviting Kairos to walk on this journey with you, you’re seizing a unique opportunity to deepen your faith while simultaneously developing the content, character, and craft to flourish in your vocation. You’ll develop a mentor team that walks with you throughout the entire program. And then, we will invite you to integrate discipleship, vocational excellence, and proficiency learning.


Program Breakdown

The 42-credit-hour Doctor of Philosophy is divided into four phases.

Students typically enter the program in August or January. This allows for time and space to work through Starting Well before starting core learning experiences, which begin each September and February. In some cases, if additional pre-work is needed to begin the program, you will work with the enrollment team to create a plan for starting the program.

Program Entry Phase

This phase will prepare you for doctoral-level reading and writing, encourage you to develop habits and patterns for successful progress through the program, assist you in identifying a tentative research focus, and conclude with the identification of a mentor team to guide you through the remainder of the program. This phase must be completed prior to your first full semester.

Starting Well (3)


Core Learning Phase

Each fall and spring, you will have the opportunity to complete a 12-week scheduled integrative learning experience in order to provide a common foundational content and context for the learning in the program. Each 12-week scheduled integrative learning experience requires a three-day intensive residency experience in Sioux Falls, SD (some exceptions may apply for students outside North America). Core learning experiences can be taken in any order.

Imbricating Well: Theology and Anthropology

Imbricating Well: Theology (3)
Imbricating Well: Anthropology (3)

Imbricating Well: History and Epistemology

Imbricating Well: History (3)
Imbricating Well: Epistemology (3)


Specialized Inquiry Phase

Simultaneous with the completion of the integrated learning experiences, you will be engaged either individually, or with a group of fellow students, in specialized inquiry (consisting of intentional, guided learning) within your chosen discipline.

Specialized inquiry is done at your own place and under the direct supervision of your mentor team.

Inquiring Well: Literature and History

Inquiring Well: Literature (3)
Inquiring Well: History (3)
Self-paced mentored experience of appreciatively inquiring into and developing an advanced understanding of the literature and history of an area of focused inquiry

Inquiring Well: Concepts and Models

Inquiring Well: Concepts (3)
Inquiring Well: Models (3)
Self-paced mentored experience of appreciatively inquiring into and developing an advanced understanding of the concepts and models of an area of focused inquiry

Inquiring Well: Practices and Methods

Inquiring Well: Practices (3)
Inquiring Well: Methods (3)
Self-paced mentored experience of appreciatively inquiring into and developing an advanced understanding of the practices and methods of an area of focused inquiry


Generative Learning and Research Phase

Upon completion of core learning experiences and self-paced special inquiry, you will take a comprehensive exam to demonstrate the capacity to integrate and apply across the content of the program. Following your comprehensive exam, you will begin the process, under the continued direction of your mentor team, of creating a full-length disseminable dissertation or, with approval, a related artifact that accomplishes the same learning objectives.

Creating Well

Comprehensive Exam
Creating Well: Research Design (3)
Creating Well: Dissertation (3)


Program Completion Phase

Continuing Well (3)

Program Overview

While engaged in this program, you will walk with a mentor team through:

Program Outcomes

With a focus on faith-informed reflection on human flourishing, the Doctor of Philosophy will help you develop and deepen your knowledge of an academic or professional discipline, invite you to be more fully formed in character, and assist in creating new understandings of your chosen vocation.

Through the program, you will develop and demonstrate proficiency in its eight outcomes: Starting Well, Imbricating Well (Theology and Anthropology), Imbricating Well (History and Epistemology), Inquiring Well (Literature and History), Inquiring Well (Concepts and Models), Inquiring Well (Practices and Methods), Creating Well, and Continuing Well.

Residency Experiences

Learning is not done in isolation. In addition to journeying alongside a mentor team, you will come together each fall and spring for a three-day, on-ground residency experience. The residencies will take place in Sioux Falls, SD (students outside of North America may participate in online residencies) and coincide with the core learning phase of the program. Whenever possible, residencies will be scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays during the annual fall and spring Kairos gatherings. Residency experiences create opportunities for community and connection and are helpful for personal encouragement and for the chance to learn from the experiences, perceptions, and wisdom of others who are asking many of the same questions.


As part of the Doctor of Philosophy program, you will be invited to generate for dissemination high-level scholarly research within a specialized field of inquiry toward the improvement of human flourishing. You will work alongside a mentor team that’s crafted around your specialized field of inquiry. Examples of specialized fields of inquiry include, but are not limited to, transformative leadership, business, trauma-Informed care, practices of reconciliation, philosophy of science, historical studies, ethics, anthropology, and semiotics. Early in your program, you will, first, identify a disciplinary specialization, which will aid in the selection of a personal and vocational mentor and then a tentative research focus so your entire learning experience can be individualized and contextualized as much as possible toward the exploration of that focus.

Customized Learning Experiences

Learning experiences in Kairos are built around an invitation for students to explore some aspect of their vocation, Christian thought and practice, or the human experience. As a Doctor of Philosophy student, you will have the opportunity to engage in individualized and guided learning experiences that encourage faith-informed reflection on human flourishing within your own context and tradition. Learning experiences can range from individualized learning to small cohorts to large group gatherings. Learn more about customized learning here.

Get Started

We’d love to help you discern if this is the next best step for you. Start a conversation with us today or check out our “Discerning Your Calling” step-by-step guide.

Ready to move forward? Here are a few things you’ll need to get started (more details in the catalog).

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended (and high school diploma for bachelor’s students) for all bachelor’s, graduate certificate in theological studies, master’s, and doctoral students.
  • On a case-by-case basis, certificate of completion for Training in Spiritual Direction students may be asked to provide official transcripts.
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher (or 3.0 for PhD, ThD, DPC, DMin, MACO, & MAMFT applicants).
  • A completed application for admission and all admissions materials.