Doctor of Philosophy in Theology

360 Credits on NQF level 10

SATS is the only evangelical institution in South Africa with an accredited Ph.D. degree.


Our Doctoral programme is a research-based programme consisting of a dissertation. There is NO coursework in our Ph. D. programme. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to assign further reading or additional theological subjects, should it be deemed necessary.

Our doctoral programme allows you to undertake research on any theological topic. You will conduct your research under the supervision of one or two experts in the chosen field(s) of study. Our doctoral supervisors have been carefully selected to provide you with the high academic standards and the levels of service excellence for which we have become known.


On enrolment you will be required to complete RES6600 Theological Research Methodology, a course which culminates in the submission of your dissertation proposal to the Postgraduate Committee. The first phase of the Ph.D. consists of preliminary research culminating in the submission of your research proposal. You have a maximum of 12 months to submit your research proposal, failing which your registration for the Ph.D. will lapse.

If and when your dissertation proposal is accepted, under the guidance of your supervisor you will be required to write a dissertation consisting of 80,000 to 100,000 words, (12 point font, one-and-a-half spacing). There is no examination.

All work is submitted and returned via email, except for the final bound copies. Full details pertaining to the formatting of your dissertation are contained in RES6600. Your dissertation will be assessed by two independent External Examiners, as well as an Internal Examiner, your supervisor, and if it is successful, you will be awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree at the next Graduation Ceremony. Should you obtain a mark of 75% or above, the degree will be awarded cum laude. The maximum duration of this programme, which is at level 10 on the Higher Education Qualifications Framework, is six years.

On achieving this qualification, students will be able to:

  1. Identify, understand, interpret, integrate, apply and communicate a body of new knowledge (original research) in interaction with existing knowledge (current state of research in the field of study).
  2. Apply logical, theoretical, analytic, creative and systematic thinking, effectively to solve a range of problems within a focused research context.
  3. Exhibit the ability to identify and address issues of ethical action and social responsibility in the field of research.
  4. Apply principles of sound research practice in collecting, organizing and evaluating information in terms of a critical understanding of relevant research methodologies, techniques and technologies.
  5. Be aware of, and be able to interact constructively with, multicultural and multi -faith communities, from a theological perspective.
  6. Apply the insights of one or more disciplines to identify and critique issues of church and society.
  7. Students from Africa

    Several potential Ph.D. candidates from Africa have told us that the demands made upon them as Christian leaders prevent them, in their own country, from giving the attention that their Ph.D. studies would require. They have pointed out that the only solution is to leave their country for a short time in order to devote their full attention to their research.

    If this is what it is like in your country, why not spend a month or two in Johannesburg, which would be a lot cheaper than going to the US or the UK? There are a number of guest houses close to the seminary, which of course has an excellent library and internet access, providing the perfect place for undisturbed research.

    Entrance Requirements

    To register for a Doctoral programme prospective students must have an appropriate Masters Degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate field, from an accredited institution. Certified (notarized) proof of the above should accompany the application form, together with a certified (notarized) copy of your ID or valid Passport.

    The Seminary offers a free, no obligation evaluation of your transcripts, which can either be faxed to us at +27 11 234 4445 or scanned and sent as email
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    To access our application form you may contact the Registrar of Postgraduate Studies, Leschenne Rebuli on or simply click on Apply Online. We look forward to being of assistance to you.


    Research Proposal Tuition Fee (a max. of 12 months) R19450 ($3 400)

    The candidate has a maximum 12 months to complete the research proposal, after which the applicant’s registration lapses.

    Thereafter, students are required to pay the annual tuition fee of R19450 ($3 400) for each year enrolled, with a minimum payment of two consecutive years (including the proposal year). Should a fifth or subsequent year be necessary to complete the programme, the annual tuition fee will be levied.

    Fees are increased annually in January.

    See Doctor of Philosophy Supervisors