Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree has two components: (a) the Pre-Doctoral Programme (PDP) and (b) Candidacy, which entails dissertation writing.

SAIACS offers PhD study in eight specializations: Biblical Studies, Old Testament, New Testament, Practical Theology, Christian Theology, History of Christianity, Intercultural Studies, and Religious Studies.

The PhD programme will qualify students for postgraduate-level specialised teaching. Applicants need the capacity for independent research, cogent analytical skills, and have competence in communicating their findings through publishable writing or teaching.

  • Entry Requirements

    • MTh with high second class, B+ average, or equivalent from a college accredited by the Asia Theological Association or other accreditation bodies.
    • Ministry experience of at least 2 years.
    • Competency in oral, aural, and written English equivalent to IELTS 7 or above / TOEFL 100.
    • Tested competency in one or more research languages as relevant to the area of specialization.
    • The candidates are required to articulate with some clarity the area of research they intend to pursue and exhibit familiarity with the field of study.

  • The Pre-Doctoral Programme

    Prior to formal acceptance as a PhD candidate, students join the Pre-Doctoral Programme (PDP) in a department under the aegis of the Head of the department and report to an assigned supervisor.

    During the PDP, students are expected to do the following:

    • Complete the academic requirements, in consultation with the Departmental Supervisor.
    • Participate in periodic doctoral seminars like Doktorklub and other departmental seminars.
    • Complete the language studies, as required by the department and the area of research

    The PDP will normally take 6-12 months during which the Research Methodology, Literature Review, and other modules deemed necessary must be completed.

  • Proposal Defence

    Towards the end of the student’s PDP, the Departmental Supervisor will submit to the Doctoral Committee an assessment of the student’s progress and abilities for research. Upon a positive assessment, which includes an aggregate grade of B+, the Departmental Supervisor will invite the student to submit a dissertation proposal. If the PDP assessment is negative, the student’s studies will be terminated.

    Upon successful defence of the dissertation proposal, subsequent correction and submission, along with dissertation research and writing schedule, the student reaches PhD Candidacy. The student may then proceed with dissertation research and writing.

    The expected timeframe for a student to reach candidacy is one year. During this time the student’s work will involve completion of PDP, submission of proposal, defence of the proposal, correction, and resubmission. An additional 6 months for achieving candidacy may be given, if necessary.

    Students will have two opportunities to defend their dissertation proposal.


  • Award Options

    • Those entering with an MA or an MPhil from a recognised university, along with sufficient theological education, may opt to earn the degree of PhD awarded by the University of Mysore, accredited by the Government of India.
    • Those entering with an MTh from a Theological institution may receive their PhD from SAIACS, accredited by the Asia Theological Association.
    • Students pursuing a PhD awarded by the University of Mysore will have to fulfil the requirements of UoM in addition to the requirements of SAIACS. Please enquire with the Academic Dean for additional details at

  • Period of Study

    Candidates must undertake at least 36 months of doctoral studies (including PDP) in either of two ways:

    • Reside full-time at SAIACS (holidays exempted) for three consecutive years including PDP studies. These full-time students must attempt to complete their entire programme within three years. In some cases, an additional year may be granted, with an extension fee.
    • Live at SAIACS with a flexible schedule as agreed with their departmental supervisor/mentor. The students must attempt to complete their dissertation within four years. In some cases, an additional year may be granted, with an extension fee.

  • Completion Requirements

    • The PhD dissertation must be of international standards, making an original contribution to its field of knowledge. It must be 75,000 to 100,000 words in length.
    • Must submit an essay of the standard publishable in a peer-reviewed journal to the department.


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