In applying for admission, students are required to identify one Concentration or combination of Concentrations in which to focus their studies. The Advisory Committees ordinarily consist of two faculty members from the chosen Concentration, and must have one faculty member identified with another Concentration. Students’ Concentrations, as interpreted by their Advisory Committees, will determine coursework distribution, areas for comprehensive examinations, and, of course, domains for eventual dissertation work.
There are currently four Concentrations in the Joint Ph.D. Program: Biblical Interpretation; Religious and Psychological Studies; Religion Social Change; and Theology, Philosophy and Cultural Theory. The following text provides brief descriptions of each of the four Concentrations, along with relevant guidelines for students and their Advisory Committees to plan coursework.
This research program focuses on Hebrew Bible and Early Christian (canonical and apocryphal) literature. Students in this concentration will have competence to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the languages, literature, history, and religion of ancient Israel and early Christianity. In addition to teaching competencies, graduates will be prepared to conduct research and scholarship in biblical studies. Students may specialize in select areas of either Hebrew Bible or the New Testament and their cognate literatures.
Application in this concentration presupposes a minimum of one year of Hebrew and one year of Greek, along with demonstrable usage of each language within the last three years. The application process for this concentration also requires a research paper in biblical studies, preferably an analysis of a biblical text, and it assumes general background in biblical literature and history.
The student develops a study plan in consultation with the Advisory Committee. Prior to advancement to degree candidacy, students in the Biblical Interpretation (BI) concentration are expected to have acquired a thorough mastery of both Hebrew and Greek. Proficiency in these languages is assessed in the preliminary interview. Most students are required to take at least two, two-credit reading courses in Hebrew and/or Greek as part of their course work in the Program. Such requirements may be waived if there is evidence of mastery at the time of matriculation. Comprehensive exams will examine the student’s grasp of critical issues and biblical interpretation generally and readiness to pursue dissertation research. Questions are developed by the student and the Advisory Committee.
In addition to the three required Core courses required of all students, BI Concentration students are required to take three of the following courses during the coursework portion of their program. These courses are designed to give students basic competencies in the skills, methodologies, and background of biblical studies. Particular emphases of each course will vary somewhat depending on which of the BI faculty are teaching them in any particular quarter.
1) Methods in Biblical Studies (4 credit hours)
This course concentrates on a range of methodologies used to interpret biblical texts, from classical historical critical methodologies, to contemporary methodologies. The course will be taught every other year. Canonical emphasis will be determined by the faculty member’s area of concentration. Accommodations will be made for the study of how particular methods are used within each sub-discipline.
2) New Testament Language and Texts OR Hebrew Bible Language and Texts (4 credit hours)
These courses are designed to increase students’ facility and proficiency in biblical Greek and Hebrew. They are intended to teach students how to interpret texts using the most sophisticated scholarly resources, tools, and technology. They cover issues such as advanced grammar, textual criticism, work with manuscripts and other material evidence, and other related issues and skills pertaining to the use, reading, and study of written evidence of biblical and related texts. The courses are taught every other year, on an alternating schedule.
3) Hebrew Bible Environments OR New Testament Environments (4 credit hours)
These courses take up the study of the history, society, culture, religions, and other aspects of the larger world within which the biblical materials were developed and used. They are taught every other year, on an alternating schedule.
Additionally, students are required to participate in the Colloquium in Biblical Interpretation (2 or 3 credit hours) at least once during the coursework phase of their degree program. The Colloquium addresses key themes, issues, or topics in the field of Biblical Studies. This course will be offered every year, with the focus for the Colloquium determined by the BI faculty member(s) in charge that year. Ideally, the entire BI faculty will participate in, or contribute to, the Colloquium.
The concentration in Religion and Psychological Studies (RPS) has two emphases: (a) Religion and Behavioral Sciences and (b) Pastoral Theology and Care. Other combinations are possible.
(a) The Religion and Behavioral Sciences track is designed to help persons explore the relationship of behavioral sciences, personality theory, and religion. Students in this track will be prepared to do research and teach in the fields of religion and personality and psychology of religion. Graduates from this track would, therefore, be in a position to teach at the college, university, or seminary level in the general field of psychology of religion. Successful degree candidates will be conversant with other disciplines and methods of inquiry in religious studies.
(b) The Pastoral Theology and Care track is designed to train persons critically and constructively to relate theological and psychological resources to spiritual/pastoral care, clinical work, teaching, and research in the field of pastoral theology and care. The stipulations of this track are consistent with the membership requirements of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. This track is not designed to prepare persons to meet the requirements for licensing as clinical psychologists, though many of the courses have been used as a partial basis for licensure in the State of Colorado as a Professional Counselor.
A specialization in either of these tracks presupposes an appropriate master's degree. Preference in admission will be given to those entering the Religion and Behavioral Sciences emphasis who have at least an undergraduate major in psychology or its equivalent. Preference in admission will also be given to those entering the Pastoral Theology and Care emphasis who have more than one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, and who have had clinical experience in Pastoral Counseling.
The concentration in Religion and Social Change (RSC) is an interdisciplinary research program focusing on the relation of religions and societies. Religion functions sometimes to conserve values in the midst of change; sometimes to inhibit urgently needed change, and sometimes to empower and motivate qualitative change. The concentration provides a scholarly context for pursuing descriptive, analytic and constructive examination of these complex interrelationships between religions and societies. A commitment to explore the ways religious thought may contribute to responsible engagement with contemporary societal and global challenges is a major dimension of this concentration. A critical aspect of this exploration is the systemic whole of globalization within which particular contexts and problems are located.
Academic disciplines especially germane to this interdisciplinary concentration are social sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, international studies); religious, intellectual and cultural histories; and critical reflection (ethics, philosophy, theology, cultural theory). An assumption of this program is that the interrelationships of religions and societies are most fruitfully understood through a combination of descriptive, historical and critical theories and methods.
Within this concentration, special resources are available in:
In addition to the three required Core courses required of all students, RSC Concentration students are required to take two of the following courses during the coursework portion of their program: 1) Postcolonial Discourse and Other Myths, and 2) Topics in Religion and Social Change. Each Seminar will be taught by a faculty member or a team of faculty members from within the Concentration on a topic germane to the Concentration. The Seminars will be offered every other year on a rotating basis and will count for 4 or 5 quarter hours of credit.
The Theology, Philosophy, and Cultural Theory (TPCT) concentration comprises four subfields:
• Comparative Studies
• Cultural Theory
Students graduating from this concentration will have developed competency to teach at least one undergraduate course in each of the four subfields. They will also be prepared to do research, publish, and teach in their subfield of specialization. Admission into this concentration presupposes a master's degree with an appropriate background for study in the subfields.
For the purposes of this concentration, the subfields may be characterized as follows:
Students concentrate in, and demonstrate extensive knowledge of, one of the four subfields, which will be regarded as the student's special field of expertise.
Students are expected to take courses relevant to the subfields as they are offered. Regular colloquia are also offered each year by area faculty. These colloquia focus on the bibliographies developed by the area. Students are required to take at least two of these colloquia during the coursework phase of the program. Normally, a colloquium in at least one subfield will be offered each year on a rotating basis.