Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies

Combine critical historical study with contemporary hermeneutical theory and method


In the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biblical Studies program students develop a major in either Hebrew Bible or New Testament and a minor in the other testament or another area of the theological curriculum, e.g., theology, ethics, church history (Roman era), to name a few.


Our program combines critical historical study of the Bible (through grammatical-historical, cultural, socio-rhetorical, literary, and other approaches) and contemporary hermeneutical theory and method to provide students with wide-ranging exposure to the discipline in its current diversity and to afford them a rich engagement with interdisciplinary avenues of inquiry.

Meet a Current Student

Yichen Liang is a PhD student focusing on the New Testament. Her research interests include the Johannine literature, particularly the Gospel of John and its reception history, metaphorical expressions, and the cross-cultural interpretation of the New Testament from her Chinese perspective. Her master’s thesis discussed the metaphor of light in the Gospel of John in dialogue with the Chinese classic text, Zhuangzi.

Yichen Liang

Degree Requirements


The Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies is a 40-credit hour degree program.


3 Foundational Courses (7-credit hours)

    • Hermeneutics
    • Teaching Seminar
    • Research Seminar


3 Core Biblical Studies Courses (9-credit hours)

    • Methods, Approaches, and Theories of Biblical Interpretation
    • Biblical Theology
    • Introduction to Biblical History and Archeology


3 to 4 Courses in Major (9- to 12-credit hours)


2 to 3 Courses in Minor (6- to 9- credit hours)


2 to 3 Elective Courses (6- to 9- credit hours)


Research Languages

    • Hebrew
    • Greek
    • A modern language


Qualifying Exams

    • 4 written exams
    • 1 oral exam


Dissertation Proposal


Dissertation and Defense

Optional focus in African American/Black Religious Studies


To add a focus in African American/Black Religious Studies, a student would take a minimum of
fifteen hours of courses with specific African American/Black content, as selected by the
student in consultation with their advisor. Persons opting for this focus would have an African American/Black advisor or consulting co-advisor, or as a committee member. At least one of the student’s Qualifying Examination questions would be on a dimension of African American/Black religion. The student’s dissertation would incorporate some element relating to African American/Black religious life and thought.

Our Biblical Studies Faculty


This is such an exciting era to study the Old Testament because traditional approaches are now accompanied by newer ones. As a result of these newer approaches, innovative questions are being introduced to the field. 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.


Rev. Dr. Cheryl Anderson
Professor of Old Testament

My abiding fascination with the potency of “story” is the common thread in my research and teaching in the Old Testament. In the texts of ancient Israel one encounters a world where identity is formed, re-formed, remembered, and cherished through the telling of stories.


Dr. Julie Duncan
Associate Professor of Old Testament

The important thing to me as a teacher is to cultivate in my students an informed love for the details of the Hebrew Bible and of biblical studies, and for active communicative facility with biblical languages.


Dr. Brooke Lester
Associate Professor of Hebrew Scripture

In particular, my pedagogy seeks to proclaim the Gospel in ways that are liberating, critical, and de/re-constructive. I do so by engaging the New Testament with critical interpretive lenses such as postcolonialism, gender and sexuality, socio-economic, race and ethnicity, ableism, and posthumanism/eco-justice among other perspectives.


Rev. Dr. Dong Hyeon Jeong
Assistant Professor of New Testament Interpretation

Over the last twenty years, my teaching and research have focused on culture and the Bible, with a special emphasis on the tasks of building nations, transforming local communities, fulfilling the ideals of culture, saving individuals from chaos, meaninglessness, injustice, and violence and moving them toward wholeness/shalom and beauty/glory.


Dr. K.-K. Yeo
Harry R. Kendall Professor of New Testament

Degree Outcomes


Graduates of this program will be able to:


    • Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of broad areas of their respective disciplines—primary sources, secondary sources, methods, and intellectual foundations
    • Demonstrate the ability to plan and conduct research and make contributions to their field
    • Develop research skills to carry into their future work as scholars
    • Demonstrate skills in oral and written communication to present and publish work in their field
    • Demonstrate competence in teaching their discipline in a designated course on pedagogy and through practical experience as teaching assistants
    • Demonstrate, through service in academy, church, and seminaries, the value of their discipline to the academy and community at large

Next Steps


Garrett accepts applications from students with:


    • A masters degree in religious or theological studies from an accredited college or university
    • Basic knowledge of Hebrew and Greek (one-year each)
    • MTS or MDiv that includes at least 4 biblical studies courses
    • Proficiency in the English language


In response to COVID-19 pandemic, PhD applications WILL NOT require GRE scores. Applications are due by January 20th.