Concentrations

The Center for Advanced Theological Studies prepares women and men for teaching and academic ministries by offering programs in a broad range of theological disciplines for both the Master of Theology (ThM) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (PhD) degrees.The breadth of the program is reflected in the available concentration options:

Christian Ethics

The PhD in Christian Ethics at Fuller prepares graduates to be knowledgeable in the history of Christian ethics and the writings of major Christian ethicists and to be able to critically assess the different approaches relating normative Christian ethics to biblical and theological grounding. They will develop their own method in Christian ethics. Students will take seven or more seminars during Stage One of their program, choosing from a list that includes the following:

  • Method for Concreteness in Christian Ethics
  • Love, Justice, and Community in a Postmodern Time
  • Jesus and the Moral Life
  • Ethics of Reinhold and H. R. Niebuhr, and John H. Yoder

They will have the opportunity to take one or two graduate seminars in ethics at other universities in the Los Angeles area, or to spend a semester abroad at a graduate school. Students will come into the program with either Greek or Hebrew, and complete two more modern research languages before beginning comprehensive exams.

Church History/Historical Theology

The PhD in Church History and Historical Theology at Fuller prepares graduates to be knowledgeable in historical methods that enable research and writing at the professional level, including a working knowledge of research languages; to understand church history and to be able to interpret the major events and issues of at least two of the following eras: the patristic era, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, or the modern period since the Reformation; to have a specialized mastery of a specific field within church history; and to interpret the subjects and issues of church history and historical theology to the academy, church, and culture.

All students are required to take the Historiography seminar. In addition, they must take an additional six seminars during Stage One of their program from a list that includes the following:

  • Ecclesiology in Historical Perspective
  • The Church in Modern Society
  • History and Development of Pentecostal/Charismatic Movements

Students must have demonstrated knowledge of both Greek and Hebrew before entering the program, and will complete three more research languages (two modern and one ancient) before entering comprehensive exams. These are typically German, French, and Latin.

New Testament

The PhD in New Testament at Fuller prepares graduates to have a comprehensive knowledge of the literature, history, and theology of the New Testament; to have the appropriate linguistic skills for academic study of the New Testament; and to pursue their own research agendas in the service of the church, academy, and society. Students will take the following seminars during Stage One of their program:

  • Research Methods in New Testament Study
  • The New Testament in Its Ancient Contexts

Students must also take Advanced Greek, as well as two seminars in one of these three areas: Synoptic Gospels, Johannine Literature, or Pauline Literature. Students will complete prerequisite Greek and Hebrew before entering the program, and two additional languages before comprehensive exams—one of which must be modern, the second of which may be ancient or modern.

Old Testament

The PhD in Old Testament at Fuller prepares graduates to be knowledgeable in the books of the Old Testament and the context in which they were written; to have advanced skill in Hebrew; and to have the capacity to pursue a research agenda in service of the church, academy, and society. Students will take six seminars, as well as six 2-unit courses in ancient languages, in Stage One of their program. Seminars offered for Old Testament students include the following:

  • Old Testament Critical Methods
  • Ancient Near Eastern and Israelite Religion
  • Old Testament Ethics
  • Old Testament Hermeneutics

Within the Old Testament concentration are three emphases from which students can choose: Old Testament Language, Criticism, and Exegesis; Old Testament Hermeneutics; and Ancient Near Eastern Context of the Old Testament.

In addition to biblical languages, students will be proficient in three research languages, typically German, Aramaic, and a third language determined by the student’s focus.

Philosophy/Philosophical Theology

The PhD in Philosophy and Philosophical Theology at Fuller prepares graduates to be knowledgeable in major trends in modern and contemporary (largely Anglo-American) philosophy and in the literature and methods of philosophical theology; to skillfully interpret, analyze, and critique philosophical and theological texts; and to contribute to current arguments in the disciplines.

Students are required to take the following two seminars during Stage One of their program:

  • Methods in Philosophy
  • Theological Uses of Postmodern Philosophy

Students must be proficient in one modern research language before beginning comprehensive exams.

Practical Theology

The Practical Theology concentration focuses on the theology and practice of the church in service of the missio Dei in multicultural contexts with attention to biblical, theological, socio-cultural, and historic resources. Studies in the Practical Theology concentration address the question, In this cultural context, what kind of leadership is needed to create the environments for faithful discernment and praxis in the life and mission of the church?

Applicants are required to have completed the Master of Divinity degree, including Biblical Greek and Hebrew at the level required in Fuller Seminary’s Master of Divinity program, and to have had the equivalent of three years of full-time ministry experience. In order to demonstrate ministry experience, applicants must submit an executive summary of paid and volunteer positions held—including church and parachurch, part-time and full-time—sketching primary responsibilities and accomplishments.

The following are seminars that have been offered by the Ministry Division in recent years:

  • Practical Theology Methods
  • Conversion
  • Pastoral Psychotherapy
  • Reconciliation, Forgiveness, Healing
  • Supervised Clinical Practice
  • Christian Spirituality

Students may choose one of the following areas of specialization, in which case they will take at least three seminars in this area:

  • Missional Ecclesiology, Cultures, and Leadership
  • Pastoral Care
  • Spirituality, Spiritual Formation, and Evangelism
  • Youth, Family, and Culture

In addition to demonstrated competence in either Biblical Greek or Hebrew at the level required in Fuller Seminary’s Master of Divinity program, students in the Practical Theology concentration are required to complete two modern research languages.

Theology (Systematic Theology)

Students in the Theology concentration will know the main fields of theology, the leading theologians, and will gain an understanding of the various theological methods, the various Christian traditions, and world religions.

Students in the Theology concentration are required to take the Theological Method seminar. They will also take six other seminars in Stage One of their program, choosing from a list that includes the following:

  • Contemporary Christology I: European Trends
  • Contemporary Christology II: Trends in Britain and North America
  • The Politics of Jesus
  • Bonhoeffer
  • Dante’s Comedy: Art/Theology
  • Current Trends in Ecclesiology
  • Pneumatology
  • Christian Theology of Religions
  • Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg

In addition to demonstrated competence in Biblical Greek and Hebrew at the level required in Fuller Seminary’s Master of Divinity program, students will complete three research languages: two modern, typically German and French, and one ancient, typically Latin.

Theology and Culture

Students in the Theology and Culture concentration will gain knowledge of the literature, history, and practice of the field of theology and culture, will be able to research within the discipline, and will have a thorough knowledge of a subdiscipline. All students will take a seminar in Theology and Culture: Methods and a seminar in Christian Ethics. They will choose three other seminars, one in the area of liturgical theology and worship, and two in the area of integrative theology. They will complete these seminars during Stage One of their program, choosing from a list that includes the following:

  • Dante in the Context of Medieval Art and Theology
  • Aesthetic Theology
  • General Revelation
  • Ritual and the Life of Faith
  • Theological Uses of Postmodern Philosophy
  • Liturgical Theology or Liturgical History
  • Word and Meaning

In addition to demonstrated competence in either Biblical Greek or Hebrew at the level required in Fuller Seminary’s Master of Divinity program, students will complete one modern research language, choosing from Spanish, French, and German.