Update: see my March 2009 post: Advice about Duke Th.D. and Ph.D programs in theology
Lots of news: This fall I am starting Duke Divinity School's Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) program. We bought a house today in Durham, NC. And we are having baby 2 in September!
Below I have answered the basic questions.
What is the Th.D.?
The Th.D. stands for Doctor of Theology. It is the equivalent to the Ph.D. Duke University's Graduate Program in Religion
has offered an outstanding Ph.D. program for many years. The Th.D. will be headquartered in Duke Divinity School. This is only the second year that the Th.D. degree has been offered by Duke Divinity School. Like Duke, Harvard University has a Ph.D. and Harvard Divinity School has a Th.D. I will be able to take courses at Duke University.
This degree differs from the Doctor of Ministry or D.Min. which is offered by many seminaries. The D.Min. is a degree which can be done by pastors while they are in full-time ministry. The D.Min. takes about three years and pastors spend a couple of weeks a year on campus at the seminary. It is loosely equivalent to another masters degree. The Ph.D. or Th.D. are 4-7 year full-time academic degrees that prepare people for work as professors.
What do you hope to do with the Th.D.?
I hope to serve as professor of Christian ministry at a Christian college or seminary. I also hope to continue in church leadership.
What are you going to study?
My area of concentration is ""Scripture and the Practice of Leading Christian Communities and Institutions." I'm hoping to do qualitative research on a few innovative churches and effective church leaders and analyze them through the foci presented by Duke professor Richard Hays in his book Moral Vision of the New Testament. The foci are cross, community and new creation. Duke has an outstanding faculty and I hope to learn from many of them.
How long is the program?
The first two years I take three courses per semester. I'm trying to decide what to take next year. Here
is the list of courses. The third year I prepare for comprehensive exams and nail down my dissertation proposal. The fourth year I crank out that dissertation. However, most people in the Duke University Ph.D. in Religion take 5-7 years so we'll see.
When are you moving to North Carolina?
We bought a house today in Durham and the closing is June 15 so we will move from Upland, IN around then. We were in Durham last week for a Th.D. orientation day and house-hunting.
What will Amy be doing?
My wife Amy Rowell
is going to be having Baby Rowell #2 around September 26th. We're excited. Hopefully she won't have this one two months early like last time. We're very excited about baby 2.
We are also really praying that she will find a pastoral position in a church. She is interested in the areas of adult discipleship, preaching, women's ministry, small groups and pastoral care. Amy is currently serving as a professor of Christian Ministry at Taylor University where she teaches courses such as Personal Foundations for Ministry and Ministry by Women in the Contemporary Context. She has her MDiv from Regent College and won the preaching award there. She has served on the pastoral staff at a number of churches. Thanks for praying that she will find a position where she can use her gifts.
Do you have any advice about applying for Ph.D. programs in church leadership?