This Doctor of Theology, which is designed for the theological reflective practitioner, is a research degree that will enable you to engage in rich theological reflection on practice, with the goal of enhancing and creating biblically faithful, theologically coherent, and contextually relevant ministry practices for the Church at large. The program’s core learning experiences provide a common foundation for seminar-style focused readings and generative research, accompanied by an invitation to integrate and apply. The program may be completed in context but requires four-large group residencies that are completed in person.
Some of the specialized theological fields of inquiry researched by students include biblical theology, historical theology, contextual theology, missional theology, apologetics, semiotics, personhood, leadership theology, and trauma and transformation.
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.
The 42-credit-hour Doctor of Theology is divided into four phases.
Students typically begin the program entry phase in August or January. This allows for time and space to work through the Starting Well learning experience 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 coordinate an appropriate start date.
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.
Core Learning and Specialized Inquiry 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 of North America). Core learning experiences can be taken in any order.
An Historical Imagination (3)
A Global Imagination (3)
An Ecclesiological Imagination (3)
A Formational Imagination (3)
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, ministry practice, or area of research, under the direct supervision of your mentor team.
Readings in Theology and Practice I & II (3 ea.)
Specialized reading and research on the literature and history of your area of specialization
Readings in Theology and Practice III & IV (3 ea.)
Specialized reading and research on the concepts and models of your area of specialization
Readings in Theology and Practice V & VI (3 ea.)
Specialized reading and research on practices and research methods of your area of specialization
Generative Learning Phase
Upon completion of specialization and core learning experiences, you are permitted to take the comprehensive exams, which demonstrate the capacity to integrate and apply across the content of the program. When the exams are completed, 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.
Comprehensive Exam (3)
Dissertation I & II (3)
Program Completion Phase
While engaged in this program, you will walk with a mentor team through:
With a focus on rich theological reflection on ministry practice, the Doctor of Theology will help you develop and deepen your knowledge of theological content, be more fully formed in Christian character, and generate new understandings of the craft of ministry. Through the program, you will develop and demonstrate proficiency in its eight outcomes: Starting Well, Specialized Inquiry: Literature and History, Specialized Inquiry: Concepts and Models, Specialized Inquiry: Practices and Methods, Integration: Macro Context, Integration: Micro Context, Generative Learning, and Continuing Well.
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, and coincide with the core learning and specialized inquiry phases of the program. Whenever possible, ThD 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 Theology program, you will be invited to generate for dissemination high-level scholarly research within a specialized theological field of inquiry toward the improvement of ministry praxis. You will work alongside a mentor team that’s crafted around your specialized field of inquiry, and your entire learning experience may be individualized and contextualized as much as possible toward the exploration of your research focus. Some of the specialized theological fields of inquiry researched by students include biblical theology, historical theology, contextual theology, missional theology, apologetics, semiotics, personhood, leadership theology, trauma, and transformation.
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 Theology student, you will have the opportunity to engage in individualized and guided learning experiences that encourage deep theological reflection on ministry practice within your own context and tradition. Learn more about customized learning here.
Ready to move forward? Here are a few things you’ll need to get started (more details in the catalog).