Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Education and Congregational Studies

Study how Christian faith is formed and embodied in communities of faith


In the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Christian Education and Congregational Studies program students study how Christian faith is formed and embodied in communities of faith through the integration of insights from theology and the social sciences (psychology, education, sociology, anthropology).


Two key emphases of the program are:


  1. The traditions and practices of Christian religious education in congregations and public life that empower persons for faithful living
  2. The formation of youth in church and culture


Our interdisciplinary emphasis equips students to engage several fields in their research projects such as congregational studies, multi-cultural education, human development, qualitative research, history, and theology.

Meet a Current Student

Adriana (Dri) Rivera, MDiv is an educator with a love for the stories of the city and her people. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Christian Education and Congregational Studies with concentrations in Latina feminist theology and critical pedagogy. As a poet and part of the Puerto Rican diaspora, Adriana is interested in how language and stories (testimonios) can be used for decolonial and life-giving purposes in classrooms, congregations and communities.

Adriana Rivera

Degree Requirements


The PhD in Christian Education and Congregational Studies is a 40-credit hour degree program.


3 Foundational Courses (7-credit hours)

    • Hermeneutics
    • Teaching Seminar
    • Research Seminar


6 to 8 Courses in Major (18- to 24-credit hours)

    • History Theory, and Approaches to Christian Education OR History and Theories of Christian Education OR Approaches to Christian Education (Required Major Course)


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


2 Elective Courses as needed (6 credit hours)


Research Languages and/or Research Tools (2)

  • Research Language & Research Tool Option: One language related to field of research and one research tool related to field of research
  • Research Languages Option: If this option is chosen, then 2 courses in research must be taken as a part of regular course work.


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 Christian Education and Congregational Studies Faculty


I believe the purpose of Christian education is to be emancipatory, to set people free to be children of God and co-creators with God.


Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount
Murray H. Leiffer Associate Professor of Formation, Leadership and Culture

Through my interdisciplinary approach to education, my areas of interest range from Paulo Freire’s work, critical pedagogy, global citizenship, intercultural and postcolonial studies, cultural-historical theory activity (Lev Vygotsky), and liberation theologies.


Dr. Débora Junker
Associate Professor of Critical Pedagogies

Garrett-Evangelical 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

Church leaders are often bombarded with material that hints it is only by human effort the church will be effective. The study of evangelism starts with the assumption that God is active, and that our efforts are only to participate in what God is already doing.


Rev. Dr. Mark Teasdale
E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism

I consider learning a risk-taking (and inevitably painful) adventure in which we pursue knowledge (information), ground self in foundations of integrity (formation), and commit to live and act in ways that ensures essential well-being for all and for this planet (transformation).


Rev. Dr. Mai-Anh Le Tran
Associate Professor of Religious Education and Practical Theology

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 and proficiency in the English language.


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