Graduate Theological Union

Doctoral Program

The GTU offers both the PhD and the ThD degree. Both are advanced academic degrees intended to prepare students for professional careers in teaching, writing, and scholarship, as well as for leadership opportunities with religious organizations, social service agencies, foundations, museums, libraries, publishing, and in educational institutions.

Beginning in fall 2016, students entering the PhD or ThD program at the GTU can choose their fields of study from among more than thirty concentrations grouped into four interdisciplinary departments. The new doctoral curriculum builds on the ecumenical, interreligious, and interdisciplinary strengths of the GTU, and offers enhanced opportunities for both specialization and cross-disciplinary study. The GTU’s doctoral program utilizes the depth of faculty expertise made possible by its eight member schools and more than a dozen academic centers and affiliates.

The academic disciplines represented by a diverse range of faculty, combined with multidenominational and interfaith cooperation, provide a rich environment for developing one’s academic voice. The GTU has the faculty and research resources to offer a distinctively interdisciplinary approach to scholarship within one’s specialized concentration.

The Ph.D. program places theological or religious studies in the context of university research disciplines, and students are required to engage such a discipline in order to provide an additional critical and theoretical dimension to their work. Most students pursue this dimension of their program by working with a faculty member from the University of California at Berkeley, just a block away from the GTU.

The Th.D. program has a specific theological emphasis, and is designed for students whose intellectual goals will gain focus through a theologically-defined academic lens.

Applicants to the doctoral program must have a Master of Divinity, or a Master of Arts degree in Theology, Religion, or a closely related field, and a bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited institution. All applicants are considered for the Presidential Scholarship, which provides funding for the recipients' first two years in the doctoral program.

Click the links below to find out more about each of our four doctoral departments—and the available fields of concentration.

Read more about our doctoral curriculum in this article from the Fall 2015 edition of Currents.