Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Leadership (Ph.D.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Leadership (Ph.D.)


The Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Leadership (Ph.D.) is a 60-credit-hour, research-based degree designed to produce cognitive and skill development in the areas of theory and praxis of leadership and education for application in the academy and faith-based organization. Empirical research is conducted requiring scholarly, solution-oriented, problem-solving thinking and skills within the context of a learning community. This design and delivery model is uniquely structured in a way that sets the Ph.D. apart from other doctoral degrees at Liberty University.

Program Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Appraise biblical and theological principles as they relate to educational and leadership philosophy, theory, and practice.
  • Evaluate the foundational knowledge-base, the character qualities, and essential skill sets to effectively lead a faith-based organization.
  • Synthesize teaching, learning, and group theory as foundational elements of effective leadership.
  • Create empirically-based research based on the knowledge of the literature of the discipline in order to provide solutions for educational and ministerial leadership problems.

Program Specific Admissions Requirements

In addition to general requirements for admission to the School of Divinity, applicants for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Leadership must submit the following for review:

  1. An earned seminary degree (or graduate degree in a related area) with at least 36 hours (or equivalent such as a Master’s with a thesis) from a regionally accredited seminary or university.
    1. All official transcripts must be submitted as part of the application process. Other graduate degrees may be considered as qualifying; however, applicants that possess these degrees (or applicants with seminary degrees with insufficient biblical or theological training may need to take an additional 15 hours of Bible, Theology, or Leadership courses in order to be admitted to the program.
  2. An earned grade point average of 3.0 or higher in all previous graduate work.
  3. School of Divinity Questionnaire
  4. A minimum 10-page paper (from prior academic coursework (excluding cover page, table of contents, and bibliography))

Transfer Credit

Transfer hours may not exceed 30 credit hours for the Ph.D. program. Transfer credits can only be accepted towards cognate courses. Course work must be within the previous seven (7) years from a regionally accredited program to be accepted. Courses must have a grade of B- or higher to be eligible for consideration for transfer credit. Correspondence studies or life experiences will not be accepted for transfer credit. Credits from a prior degree earned through Liberty University are considered transfer credits.

Dissertation Process

A dissertation is required and is completed in a two-phase process. The first phase is embedded in the program course curriculum. In this phase, the necessary research skill development is scaffolded throughout the course sequence. Upon completion of 700 and 800 level course requirements and comprehensive exams, the student then enters the second phase of the dissertation process under the direct supervision of a dissertation committee.

Once students enter the dissertation phase two of their degree (900 level), they must maintain continuous enrollment (Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters) until they complete all degree requirements. If they do not, they will break enrollment, and they will be required to apply for readmission if/when they wish to resume the pursuit of their degree. They will have to complete their degree under the Degree Completion Plan (DCP) in effect at the time of their readmission.

Time Limits for Degree Completion

The time limit for completing the degree from the date of admission to the program is seven (7) years for the Ph.D. Only in unusual circumstances may the student be granted an extension. Granting of an extension of time will usually result in additional requirements. Any student who does not complete coursework within the permissible time limit, for any reason including discontinued enrollment, must reapply for admission. A student may reapply only once and will be subject to the current standards and curriculum. The Ph.D. Graduate Committee in the CCFS will determine if any previous courses are sufficiently time-sensitive and must be repeated. Beginning with the date of readmission, the student’s time limit for degree completion is determined by the number of hours remaining.

  • Academic Teaching and Leadership Role
  • Faith-Based Organizational Leadership Role
  • Ministry or Missions Leadership Role
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