What is a post-graduate school of theology?
The Advanced or Doctorate degree.
Approach to Study.
Doctoral program application.
Doctoral contact information.
Sampling of doctoral graduate testimonies.
It is a very new, and yet very old method of study, of contribution, of achievement, and of recognition of achievement and contribution to the propagation and understanding of the Christian faith.
A graduate school is exactly that—a school for graduates, for men and women who have already graduated successfully from other institutions of learning and have proven and demonstrated academic ability. In other words it is a forum for post-graduate studies, and an avenue to higher (usually doctorate) degrees. It is an old method because it traditionally was for gifted graduates to undertake post-graduate studies and research while holding a lecturing post because of the need to remain "on campus". It is a new method because this is a distance learning graduate school. Candidates work from their own homes under the guidance of a mentor , who oversees their progress until their thesis is ready for submission to the Doctoral Review Committee.
It is a graduate school of theology , specifically the theology of Scripture as it came to expression in the sixteenth century Reformed and Presbyterian Reformation on the continent of Europe and the British Isles spreading from there throughout the whole world. Most students will normally have graduated with a first degree from Reformation International Theological Seminary or another Reformed or Presbyterian Seminary, though this is not imperative. It is expected that all students will be more than merely acquainted with the doctrinal stance of Reformation International Theological Seminary which finds its expression in the great Reformed creeds, most particularly the Westminster Confessional Standards (Westminster Confession, Westminster Larger Catechism and Westminster Shorter Catechism) and the Three Forms of Unity (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort.)
YOUR AIM in working with Reformation International Theological Seminary Graduate School should be to gain a recognized Doctorate or other higher level Degree, with the specific aim of furthering and advancing the Biblical and Reformed Christian faith. Normally the School will expect your study and qualification to be allied to a specific Christian vocation or ministry, and not to be an end in itself or for mere self-improvement . You will also normally be expected to seek to add to the wider understanding and promotion of the faith by the publication of your thesis in either book or electronic form, so that it does more than "gather dust" on a seminary’s thesis shelves. (Conversely the challenge is that thesis suggestions, and therefore enrollment, will not be accepted unless they are judged to have publishable and usable potential.) Your mentor will be an experienced Christian academic author with published works, who can advise and help you with this at the appropriate time.
OUR AIM is simply stated. We need another Great Awakening , and we need it urgently . There is no "easy fix" to achieve this. God is sovereign. But when we again see men and women understanding , believing, and living out the Reformed faith of the Bible we may begin to lift up our heads again. But how shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach (and teach, and publish and witness) unless they be sent and trained ? We are to commit the truth of Scripture to faithful men who shall be able to teach others. (Romans 10:14-15; 2 Timothy 2:2)
The fields are white-fields, white to the harvest (John 4:35). If you feel that you might be called to be a co-worker in preparing for that harvest, please read on!
The Doctorate is the highest of all academic distinctions, and is awarded in recognition of a genuine and original contribution to the understanding of a particular subject. To achieve this the candidate must be a student of profound learning, original thought, and extensive research, and his contribution must be acknowledged worthy of achieving the ranks of the Doctorate, by a committee of men themselves holding Doctorate degrees.
In today’s society most ‘Doctorates’ are earned, that is, they are specifically worked towards as a means of acquiring academic standing and the highest of all certificate qualifications, but this was not the pattern in the past. In the great universities of the Middle Ages, and of the Reformation and Puritan periods doctorates were usually honorary. The Senatus or faculty of a university might take note of the achievements and writings of a scholar. He would be proposed by a Professor, and invited to appear before the Senatus where he would be required to verbally "defend" his writings and opinions. This defense would, traditionally, be conducted in Latin throughout. The Senatus would then vote, and if the majority agreed that the candidate was of the required standard they would proceed to award the Doctorate, and so enter him into their scholastic "elite ranks". Slightly later a pattern developed in which candidates might spend most of their active lives within the university precinct as "research fellows," mixing their own studies with lecturing, and working always with an eye to Doctorate standing, and ultimately a Professorship.
Reformation International Theological Seminary aims to utilize the strengths of the past for the needs of today’s world, and so has developed its Graduate School to offer a unique pathway into the ranks of the Doctorate.
Following in the footsteps of the past, for the student with a previous degree, the Reformation International Theological Seminary doctorates are achieved primarily through independent research and writing/lecturing. The study must produce an original work, adding to the corpus of available knowledge on the selected subject.
The written work or thesis should be book length (typically 50,000-125,000 words), and of a publishable quality, with an appropriate number of references to scholarly sources.
The decision to grant or not, as in the past, is made by a panel or committee of three or more Doctors; each of whom will sign the degree awarded.
From what has been said it will be noted that post-graduate, and especially Doctoral degree streams are essentially different from everything in the main catalogue which caters to the Bachelor and Master level student. Here the candidate is not a student as such, nor is he or she under the normal undergraduate restraints as to reporting, written submissions and rigid time scales, nor are several drafts of the thesis required (though it may sometimes happen). In return for this more free atmosphere (equivalent to the research scholar of old) the candidate is expected to be a person of experience and maturity, to be self-motivated and self-disciplined, capable of correcting and improving his own work before submission and, in many ways, acting as the colleague and equal of his mentor and the Doctoral Committee who will appraise his work.
In contrast to the high quality of the RITS post-graduate and doctoral program, you will find it is very competitive in price. Additionally, as noted, it is thoroughly REFORMED in doctrine. We have aimed at keeping our costs as low as reasonably possible by keeping our overhead low, and aiming primarily at ministry instead of money. We believe you will be able to tell the difference both in cost and quality. Many of our students who have been awarded doctor degrees now hold prestigious positions within the Christian community around the globe.
In what you have read so far, we have only touched upon what is contained in our Post-graduate / Doctoral catalog. Please click here to download a copy.
For an application for the doctoral program, click here.
If you have any further questions, you may address them to either of the following:
Dr. Stephen Westcott, Weston-Super-Mare, U.K. [CONTACT US]
Doctoral Committee Chairman
President Geoffrey Donnan, Florida, U.S.A.