Doctor of Theology in Religious Education: Program Info
Most Doctor of Theology in Religious Education (Th.D.) degree programs are designed for individuals who seek to develop their ministerial abilities and teaching skills. Unlike Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) programs in this field, which typically offer a broad overview of theological issues, Th.D. programs are usually designed for those wishing to minister and teach within a specific religious faith.
Doctor of Theology in Religious Education (Th.D.)
Doctorate theology programs in religious education prepare students to become scholars, teachers and researchers in a specific religion. Students are primarily given instruction in core educational topics involved with religious teaching, along with coursework related specifically to their religion of choice. Coursework can include theological curriculum and instruction, spiritual leadership and family life education.
In addition to classroom study, religious education doctoral candidates are often required to pass a series of comprehensive exams and prepare and successfully defend a dissertation. The exams typically cover a broad overview of religious education topics and specific areas within the student's specialization. Dissertations are normally lengthy scholarly reviews of a topic in the student's religious specialty.
Admission prerequisites can include letters of recommendation from former college instructors and an in-depth academic writing sample. Some programs require coursework or verifiable knowledge in a foreign language, such as Latin or Hebrew, which will be used in the program.
Coursework Th.D. degree programs can vary significantly depending on the specialization. However, some of subjects commonly covered in these programs include:
- Methods of ministry to at-risk youth
- Leadership in religious education
- Principles of professional development
- Theological foundations of family life
- Biblical studies
- History of religion
- Theological psychology
- Family ministries
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates from doctoral degree programs in religious education are prepared to seek positions in education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), religion educators working in colleges and universities in 2009 had a mean annual salary of $68,040 (www.bls.gov). Those working in junior colleges earned slightly less, at $65,770 a year.
In 2008, the BLS reported that there were approximately 25,100 employed religion and philosophy teachers in postsecondary education. Overall job opportunities for postsecondary teachers were predicted to increase by 15% between 2008 and 2018.
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