Doctor of Philosophy in Liturgical Studies

Contribute to the ongoing reform and renewal of Christian worship


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Liturgical Studies is designed for persons who seek advanced studies in Christian worship. Students will be prepared to become practical liturgical theologians, who contribute to the ongoing reform and renewal of Christian worship. The program will provide a strong foundation through historical, theological and pastoral study, including multi-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Meet a Current Student

Rev. Michelle Whitlock is a practical theologian currently focused on intergenerational liturgy. She is passionate about the full inclusion of all ages in corporate worship. Her work has explored narrative theology, developmental theory, the formational nature of liturgy, theology of the child, and the theology of play.

michelle whitlock

Degree Requirements


The PhD in Liturgical Studies is a 40-credit hour degree program.


3 Foundational Courses (7-credit hours)

    • Hermeneutics
    • Teaching Seminar
    • Research Seminar


8 Courses in Major (24-credit hours)

    • Sacramental Theology
    • Liturgical Theology
    • Baptism & Reaffirmation
    • Eucharist
    • Ritual Studies
    • 3 additional classes in liturgical studies


3 Courses in Minor (9-credit hours)


2 Research Languages

    • Latin, Greek, or Hebrew
    • French, German, or Spanish


Qualifying Exams

    • 4 written exams
    • 1 oral exam


Dissertation Proposal


Dissertation and Defense

Minor in Homiletics


Students who choose Homiletics as their minor are required to complete the following courses:

    • Teaching Preaching
    • History and Theology of Homiletics
    • Another focused course in preaching


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 Liturgical Studies Faculty


I am a pastor, therefore a teacher of the faith. I am a teacher of the faith, therefore a teacher in and for the church for the sake of the world. Whether I teach liturgy (my primary area of scholarship), or music, or spirituality, or any other related topic, I do so with these ends in heart and mind.


Rev. Dr. E. Bryon Anderson
Ernest and Bernice Styberg Professor of Worship

Preaching occurs in the context of worship and offers us an opportunity to experience God’s presence not only in the words of scripture, but also through the people’s encounter with the divine presence in the context of their lives.


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

I teach students to engage Christian liturgical and theological traditions in a manner that is attentive and responsive to contextual issues of power that relate to human and other creaturely bodies on the personal, communal, and social levels.


Rev. Dr. Andrew Wymer
Assistant Professor of Liturgical Studies

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.