Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Committed to excellence in the academy, the community, and the church


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary prepares teachers and scholars for seminaries, church-related colleges, universities, ecumenical agencies, and local congregations. While the program is centered at Garrett, it draws on faculty resources at Northwestern University; the Association of Chicago Theological Schools, which includes four seminaries with PhD programs; and other approved universities. You will not only receive individual attention from faculty members but also a curriculum that can be tailored to your area of interest.

Garrett shaped me to be critical and vocal in raising my concerns, to embody the idea of persistence and survival, to enjoy studying and working, to teach passionately in a class, and to value friendships and communality with the fellow students, faculty, and staff.


Dr. Toar Banua Hutagalungm (G-ETS 2021)

Six Areas of Concentration

PhD students may specialize in one of six concentrations with an optional focus in African American/Black Religious Studies available in any concentration.

The Biblical Studies concentration combines critical historical study of the Bible and contemporary hermeneutical theory and method to provide students with wide-ranging exposure to the discipline in its current diversity and to afford students a rich engagement with interdisciplinary avenues of inquiry.

The Christian Education and Congregational Studies concentration studies how Christian faith is formed and embodied in communities of faith through the integration of insights from theology and the social sciences.

The History of Christianity and Historical Theology concentration focuses upon historical themes, issues, and methodologies.

The Liturgical Studies concentration prepares students to become practical liturgical theologians, who contribute to the ongoing reform and renewal of Christian worship.

The Pastoral Theology, Personality, and Culture concentration studies the integration of theology and psychology with a focus on developing as pastoral theologians and (optionally) as pastoral psychotherapists.

The Theological and Ethical Studies concentration is based on an integration of theological and ethical studies, while allowing a student to have a major area of focus within the two. The concentration presupposes that these disciplines cannot ultimately be separated from each other in Christian understanding.

Meet the Director

Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh is the Harry R. Kendall professor of christian theology and postcolonial studies and director of the PhD program. Her work as a doctoral mentor and guide has extended beyond the seminary. She works closely with the United Methodist Women of Color Doctoral Program, the Forum for Theological Exploration Doctoral Fellowship Program, the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry, and the Asian Theological Summer Institute.

Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh

Access to Premier Academic Resources

The Styberg Library, the Northwestern University Library, and the libraries of the 12 Association of Chicago Theological School libraries provide an extraordinary collection of print and digital resources. In addition, Garrett PhD students may take courses at Northwestern University and at any of four PhD-granting seminaries and universities in Chicago.

Forum for Theological Education

FTE Institutional Doctoral Network

Garrett is a proud member of the Forum for Theological Exploration’s (FTE) Institutional Doctoral Network, which is dedicated to creating conditions for scholars of color to thrive.

Teaching Certificate Program

Thanks to our partnership with Northwestern University, Garrett PhD students have the opportunity to apply to Northwestern’s Teaching Certificate program through the Searle Center once they are admitted to candidacy.

teacher at a blackboard copy hero image
Affording Your Education

All students accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary receive a 100% tuition scholarship!

Diverse, Passionate, and Renowned Faculty


Most importantly, these more recent approaches make possible new insights into the meaning of the biblical text within both its ancient context and our own contemporary context. Instead of the academic study of the Bible undermining our faith, such inquiries reinforce our recognition of the Bible as a cultural product that has meaning for our lives today.


Rev. Dr. Cheryl Anderson
Professor of Old Testament

Garrett provides a unique space to discern and interpret one’s call, the coursework necessary to prepare for a variety of ministries, and the companionship necessary to sustain one on the journey.


Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee
Associate Professor of Christian Education

My goal is to make the historical authors, their worlds, worldviews, and their thought accessible to the twenty-first century student. I strive to bring the past to life so that students can see the relevance of those who have gone before them in the faith and be inspired to teach others.


Dr. James Papandrea
Professor of Church History and Historical Theology

There is a great need for the proclamation of authentic good news in today’s church. The issues faced by 21st-century Christians have never been greater and we all need good news that is real and active in our world.


Rev. Dr. Gennifer Brooks
Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Preaching

As a teacher, scholar, and clinician, it is my intention to create an atmosphere of hospitality and curiosity and to encourage religious imagination in spaces of teaching and learning.


Dr. Rolf Nolasco
Rueben P. Job Professor of Spiritual Formation and Pastoral Theology

I am deeply grateful to be part of a theological institution that embodies a longstanding global sensibility, a deep commitment to creative theological exploration, and a robust practice of interdisciplinary scholarship.


Dr. Hendrik Pieterse
Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Intercultural Theology