South African Theological Seminary Phd

South African Theological Seminary Phd

South African Theological Seminary PhD

SATS is proud to offer a PhD in theology, a programme designed to raise up leaders, scholars and ground-breakers in various fields of Christian ministry. It is a fully accredited, fully online programme that provides the opportunity for theological research at the highest academic level.
The results of research conducted by Dr Evan Hunter, Vice President of Scholar Leaders International, has revealed that of all the accredited, majority world, private, evangelical seminaries in the world, SATS has the most doctoral students!
To be admitted into the programme applicants must have achieved excellent results in an accredited MTh programme or its equivalent. Candidates can choose the area of their research and work under the guidance of supervisors specialising in the same field of research. Their studies culminate in a thesis of between 80 000 and 100 000 words (240 to 300 pages).
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 attachments to

Enrolment Requirements

The minimum admission requirement is a relevant Master’s Degree from an accredited institution for which the candidate must have achieved an above-average grade. In the case of foreign qualifications, the institution must be accredited by a recognised accrediting body or by the institution’s national government.


We are registered as a Section 21 company (Reg. no. 2002/005184/08), a PBO (18/11/13/2403) and an NPO (033-343-NPO. Our accreditation and Department of Higher Education registration provide assurance that the quality of our programmes is of the highest standard. Our programmes are therefore nationally and internationally comparable and the credits earned with us are truly “portable”, i.e. they can be transferred to other accredited, registered institutions. The increasing number of international students confirms the acceptability of our programmes around the world. Recently our MTh and PhD programmes were submitted to two of the most frequently used and highly recommended evaluators in the USA, namely the International Education Research Foundation, Inc. ( and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ International Education Services (, and both confirmed that these degrees represent the attainment of a level of education comparable to the equivalent degrees from a regionally accredited university in the United States. Our degrees are also recognised by the German website which provides information about the evaluation of foreign qualifications.
The IQAS (International Qualification Assessment Service) in Alberta, Canada, an independent, secular assessment service used by many Canadian universities to establish the quality of foreign qualifications, has evaluated the SATS B.Th. as the local equivalent of a “three year Bachelor’s degree with a focus in theology”.

Programme Options

Our Doctoral Programme is a research-based programme consisting of a dissertation. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to assign further reading or additional theological courses, 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.
The programme is structured according to 5 phases:
Phase 1
This begins when a person contacts SATS to enquire about a possible doctoral programme and runs through registration, orientation, exploring focus and methods, and finally identifying a research concept.
Phase 2
In Phase 2 the candidate compiles and submits a formal research proposal. This is completed under the guidance of a supervisor specialising in the chosen field of research. This proposal is undertaken according to a prescribed template and has to meet strict academic criteria.
Phase 3
Once the research proposal is approved by the Postgraduate Committee, the candidate can proceed with research and thesis writing under the guidance of the appointed supervisor(s). Phase 3 is the first half of this process and involves the submission of a detailed progress report for review.
Phase 4
In Phase 4 the candidate finishes the research and the draft thesis.
Phase 5
The draft thesis is submitted for internal and external examination and the required improvements are made. The final step is the oral defence of the thesis. When all of these are successfully concluded, the candidate is awarded the PhD degree.


On enrolment, you will be required to complete RES6600 Theological Research Methodology, a course that culminates in the submission of your dissertation proposal to the Postgraduate Committee. You have a maximum of 12 months to submit your research proposal, failing which your registration for the PhD 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.
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. The maximum duration of this programme, which is at level 10 on the Higher Education Qualifications Framework, is six years.

Students from Africa

Several potential PhD 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.


Payment is per phase, which is payable at the beginning of each new phase. Additional costs apply when candidates exceed the time-frames as fixed for each phase.
Click here to see the Doctor of Philosophy in Theology Pricing


To access our application form you may contact the Registrar of Postgraduate Studies, Marilyn Schott on or simply click on Apply Online.
We look forward to being of assistance to you.
Please take extra care when completing the online application form not to use apostrophes, commas, inverted commas, brackets or slashes.


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