Ph. D. in Theology

The Patrick F. Taylor Ph.D. in Theology

Ph.D. in Theology
Dr. Michael Dauphinais, Program Director: 239-280-2538
Mrs. Susan Nutt, Administrative Assistant: 239-280-1629

Graduate Theology
Ave Maria University
5050 Ave Maria Blvd.
Ave Maria, FL 34142

Graduate Theology Faculty
Dr. Michael Dauphinais
Fr. Robert Garrity
Fr. Matthew Lamb
Dr. Steven Long
Dr. Roger Nutt
Dr. William Riordan
Dr. Thomas Scheck
Mr. David Tamisiea
Dr. Michael Waldstein

Admission Requirements and Financial Aid
Applicants must possess an M.A. in Theology or related discipline (such as Philosophy or Classical Languages) and should have completed at least 12 credits of undergraduate or graduate coursework in philosophy. They must submit:

  • Official GRE Score Report from ETS
  • Seal-bearing transcripts (from all institutions attended)
  • Completed and signed application with $50 application fee (non-refundable)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of intent (1500-words): intellectual autobiography, academic/research interests and goals, and Christian-ecclesial commitment
  • Academic writing sample (min. 8 pages)

Those accepted into the program will be offered a full tuition-remission scholarship. They must, however, pay the technology fee, the activities fee, and the graduation fee. Students may also be awarded annual stipends.


Program Requirements
  • Twelve doctoral-level theology courses (48 credits), maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Four courses (16 credits) in candidate’s major (systematic or moral)
  • Three courses (12 credits) in candidate’s minor (biblical, systematic, or moral)
  • Two courses (8 credits) in the remaining area (biblical, systematic, or moral)
  • Two required courses: THEO 691 Ancients, and THEO 692 Moderns (8 credits)
  • One additional course (4 credits)
  • Reading proficiency in Latin, Greek, and one modern language (French, German, or Italian), demonstrated by proficiency exams or approved AMU courses (with a grade of B- or higher)
  • Successful completion of oral and written comprehensive exams
  • Successful defense of an approved dissertation
Candidates who are judged to have significant lacunae in their prior academic formation in theology or philosophy will be directed to take courses that complement the Ph.D. curriculum.

Plan of Study
The requirements listed above are to be completed during a four-year residency, as follows:

Years One and Two
Complete all required coursework and language proficiency courses or exams. By the end of Year Two, submit a comprehensive-exams reading plan to the program director, and schedule the written and oral exams for the following November. Prepare for comps over the summer.

Year Three—Fall Semester
Register for THEO 699: Residential Research & Dissertation (1 credit). Ask a faculty member to be your dissertation director, discuss and refine the topic, and begin your research. Serve as research assistant to an assigned faculty member (not necessarily your director). Take written and oral comprehensive exams in November as scheduled.

Year Three—Spring Semester
Register for THEO 699. Serve as a teaching assistant to an assigned professor, and attend an assigned undergraduate course throughout the semester. Ask two professors to be readers on your dissertation board (one of these may be external to the department or to the university). Submit your dissertation proposal to the program director and to the dissertation director. Once the proposal has been approved by your board, and both the proposal and the composition of your board have been validated by the entire Theology faculty, you may begin writing.

Year Four
Register for THEO 699. Teach one section of an undergraduate course per semester (normally THEO 105 Sacred Scripture, THEO 205 Sacred Doctrine, or THEO 400 Living in Christ). Complete and defend the dissertation. The “Application for Ph.D. Degree” form is available from the registrar. It must be returned to the registrar, along with a check in the amount of the graduation fee ($155), early in the semester in which the student intends to graduate.

Terms of the Residency
Throughout the residency candidates are expected to maintain full-time status and to devote themselves to studies as to a full-time occupation. They are encouraged to take advantage of the sacramental and spiritual life of the university as an integral element in their theological formation.

The tuition-remission scholarship and living stipend remain in effect throughout the four-year residency, provided the candidate is in good academic standing (see below), maintains full-time status, and follows the above course of study in a timely fashion. If the dissertation has not been successfully defended by the last day of August following Year Four, the candidate will need to register for THEO 698 Non-residential Research & Dissertation, and pay tuition (1 credit hour) and any applicable fees, for each subsequent semester, in order to remain enrolled in the program until the dissertation has been successfully defended. The faculty is under no obligation to accept for defense any draft of a dissertation submitted more than eight years after matriculation.

Continuance in the Program and Leaves of Absence
Continuance in the program is subject to faculty review each semester. Candidates must maintain good academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or higher) to retain the tuition-remission scholarship and the living stipend. If a candidate receives a final grade of C+ or lower in any course, he or she will be required to retake the course or, at the program director’s discretion, to resubmit selected assignments. A candidate who receives two or more grades of C+ or lower in a single academic year will be discontinued from the program.

If personal circumstances require the interruption of studies, the student should inform the program director immediately and must apply for a leave of absence. At the director’s discretion, a leave may be granted for a fixed period. A student who interrupts studies without an approved leave of absence is considered to have withdrawn from the program and must reapply if he or she wishes to return.

Tuition and Fees
Full-time graduate tuition for the 2014-2015 academic year is $495 per credit. The technology fee is $200 per year, the activities fee $100 per year, and the graduation fee $155.

Housing and Food
Limited graduate student housing is available in the Middlebrooke townhouses, near campus. Graduate students may purchase a meal plan or individual meals from the dining facility on campus.

Career Prospects
AMU’s Ph.D. program has an excellent track record in placing our graduates. Currently they hold academic or administrative posts at Assumption College, the Augustine Institute, Ave Maria University, Benedictine College, Holy Spirit College, John Brown University, John Paul the Great Catholic University, St. Gregory’s University, St. Paul Seminary, Thomas Aquinas College, the University of Mary, and the University of St. Thomas (Houston).

Forms and Helpful Links

Inquiry Form

Application Form

Ph.D. Course Descriptions

Academic Calendar

Academic Catalogue