Academic Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (PhD)

Through the PhD program, the Seminary seeks to offer theological education at the highest level of academic study in the field of theology and Christian ministry.  The contents of all courses would be informed by developments within the African religious, specifically African Christian and African cultural contexts, within which the institution operates.  The program would also be beneficial to international candidates seeking either to undertake PhD studies in theology within an African context or wishing to audit courses in African Christianity to enrich their experiences.  The general aim of the PhD program is to raise and develop leaders who would through theological education, supervision and pastoral work, help to develop new generations of Christian leadership for the world church with a good understanding of non-Western Christianity. This is an academic degree and would therefore be particularly helpful for candidates who intend to teach courses in theology and ministry at the tertiary level. 

The specific aims and objectives of the program are summarized as follows:

  1. To provide opportunities for research and documentation of important historical and theological developments in the life of the church and theology in Africa
  2. To prepare high-calibre theologians who can bring theology to bear on issues and questions that relate to African religio-cultural, socio-economic and political experiences.
  3. To train theologians who can teach religion and theological studies at university departments for the study of religions, theological seminaries and Bible Schools
  4. To train theologians able to work with churches and religious organizations in the formulation of church polity issues and who can bridge the gap between theology and public life in Africa by bringing theology to bear on issues of public interest.

There would be limited regular classroom coursework component for the PhD program that will involve instruction in research methods in religion and theology.  Candidates would, instead of regular lectures, be required to present seminar papers on topics and issues agreed upon with an assigned tutor that meet the aims and objectives outlined above.  Following the required seminar presentations, candidates would be expected to develop thesis proposals that are relevant to the issues relating but not limited to Christian experiences and theology in Africa and the African Diasporas in particular.

Admission Requirements

Applications for admission to the PhD program are to be directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Trinity Theological Seminary.  All applications for both local and international candidates must be received no later than March 31 of the academic year in which admission is sought.  Applicants would be notified of the status of their admission by May 31 of that same year.  Applicants to the PhD Theology program must normally meet the following requirements:

  1. A First Degree with a grade point average of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale on each transcript submitted
  2. For applicants without a first degree in religion/theology, a Master of Arts degree in those fields would be accepted instead of the BA (Theology/Religious Studies) degree
  3. A Master of Theology or Master of Philosophy Researched Degree in the Study of Religion or Theology

·      This must normally have entailed at least one academic year of coursework followed by a second academic year of thesis writing

·      The thesis of the MTh and MPhil degrees must be at least 30,000 words (approximately 100-120 pages) in length excluding notes, appendices and bibliography.  The thesis for which the degree was awarded must also have been externally examined.

  1. Academic Recommendations

·      Application forms would contain two recommendation forms

·      One recommendation form must be signed by a person who has taught or supervised an academic work of the candidate and the other must come from a church leader of the status of a General Overseer, Superintendent or Diocesan Bishop

  1. Application Fee

·      The application fee of the cedi equivalent of $50 must be paid into the Graduate School Fund of the Trinity Theological Seminary at any ECOBANK branch in Ghana

·      Application forms could then be picked up after submission of the pay-in-slip to the office of the Vice President (Academic)

  1. Statement

·      A statement of no more than one page giving reasons for seeking to pursue the PhD theology program must accompany the application

·      A statement of no more than one page giving the Christian background of the applicant must accompany the application



  1. Sample Writing

·      All applicants would be required to submit along with their application an original copy of their MTh or MPhil thesis (this would be returned to the candidate after the interview)

·      Applicants may be required to write an entry examination set by the Seminary [This may be waived at the discretion of the Academic Board]

  1. Interview: All candidates must in addition to the requirements stated above appear before an interview panel whose decision would be communicated to the Academic Board for a final decision on applications

Additional Requirements

  1. Instruction is offered in English and proficiency in English would be assumed for all applicants
  2. Candidates in Biblical Studies would be required to take courses in Hebrew and Greek at the levels required by the Seminary
  3. Candidates would be required to have basic working knowledge of French
  4. Candidates may be required, during the period of study, to audit courses offered by the Seminary, as shall be determined by the Academic Board

Areas of Study

  1. Systematic Theology including Christian Theology in Africa
  2. Biblical Studies: Old and New Testaments
  3. Church History and Christian Missions
  4. Practical Theology: Pastoral Care and Counseling; Christian Education

Period and Courses of Study

The PhD Theology program takes a total minimum study period of four (4) and a maximum of six (6) years.  This is inclusive of the periods of coursework and thesis writing.  The thesis writing begins in Semester 5 after the presentation and acceptance of the proposal in Semester 4.  The breakdown of a normal study period would be as follows:

i.               Three seminar presentations per semester for two semesters (6 Presentations excluding any courses that may be prescribed)

ii.             Each seminar paper presented must be between 5,000-7,000 words (approximately 18-24 pages) excluding footnotes, bibliography and appendices

iii.            Comprehensive examinations in four areas related to the general area in which a student wants to focus at the end of semester 3

iv.            Doctoral thesis and proposal-writing (4th semester); candidates would be expected to present their thesis proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies by March 31 for approval by the Academic Board by May 31 following their comprehensive examinations.

v.              Two to four years of thesis writing.  This would normally be done under two supervisors (a main supervisor, normally, a member of the Trinity Theological Seminary faculty; supervisors must be of the status of at least a Senior Lecturer with a PhD and a supporting supervisor of similar status who in exceptional circumstances could be selected from an affiliate institution)

vi.            During the thesis-writing stage, the Seminary would arrange for candidates to spend up to six weeks in any of the Seminary’s affiliate institutions to use library facilities and consult with other experts in the field

Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal must be submitted by the end of the fourth semester and on a date to be supplied by the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the Academic Board.  The proposal would be expected to cover the following areas:


·      Working/tentative title

·      Context of the study

·      Statement of the problem the thesis proposes to address

·      Preliminary review of relevant literature

·      Method of study

·      A provisional outline of chapters

·      Select bibliography

·      A schedule for writing and completing the thesis


A Doctor of Theology thesis would be expected to follow the writing style guide provided by the Seminary and must be between 100,000-150,000 words in length (excluding notes, references and bibliography).  It must be typed double-spaced in Times New Roman (font 12).  The final copy is bound in Red.  The thesis would normally be graded as follows:

a.     Unconditional Pass (pass with no corrections)

b.     Pass with Minor Corrections (to be resubmitted within 3 months)

c.     Pass with Major Corrections (to be resubmitted within 4-6 months)

d.     Referred (to be resubmitted within 8-12 months). The referred thesis would be returned for external examination

e.     Fail (withdrawal from program)


The main purpose of the thesis is to allow students to demonstrate their knowledge, creativity and research skills in a given area of theological specialization within an academic environment.  This means that knowledge of one’s field of study, originality, attention to detail, use of primary sources, and the use of clear and viable methodology will be the hallmarks of the doctoral thesis.  Candidates would be expected to pay serious attention to footnoting and bibliographical information.  In this vein, the Seminary has opted for the Chicago Manual of style as its standard writing style for academic purposes.

PhD students become PhD candidates after the approval of their thesis proposals.  On submission of one’s proposal, a student would be assigned a supervisor by the Academic Board. 

PhD Thesis and Oral Examination

  • The PhD thesis must demonstrate that it is an original piece of scholarship
  • The thesis must be prepared and bound strictly according to the guidelines laid down by the Seminary
  • The completed thesis must be submitted to the office of the Director of Graduate Studies by May 31 of the year in which  candidates wish to graduate
  • Candidates for the PhD would be examined orally by external (two would be selected to examine the work) and internal (one to be selected) examiners.  The oral examination would be moderated by a member of the teaching faculty of the Seminary of the rank of a Senior Lecturer and above


For a complete overview of degree requirements, please see the course catalogue.