Accelerated MA–PhD Program

Our new accelerated MA—PhD option combines the coursework and research requirements of our traditional MA and PhD degrees into a shorter time frame. This option is designed for highly motivated and academically advanced students who wish to complete their master’s and doctoral degrees in a more efficient and streamlined manner.

Program Duration

Designed to be completed in 5 years.


Year 1: MA tuition
Years 2–5: PhD tuition

For full details, visit our Tuition and Fees page. Scholarships and Financial Aid available.

Program Requirements

Year 1–MA Number of courses
Research Methods course 1
Courses (6-units) in concentration:

Biblical Studies (Old Testament, New Testament)
Ministry Studies
Theological Studies (including Patristics and Church History)

Total courses 4


Year 2-5–PhD Number of courses
Interdisciplinary course:

Biblical Theology (BS)
Theological Contours of Ministry (MS)
Ministry and Evangelical Thought (TH)

Pedagogical course 1
Courses in area of emphasis:

Biblical Studies (NT, OT, Septuagint)
Theological Studies (including Church History)
Ministry Studies

Total courses 7
Modern language exam
3 Comprehensive exams + Oral defence
Dissertation (80,000-100,000 words) + Oral defence

In order to proceed to the PhD program in year 2, the student must meet the following progress requirements:

  • Minimum grade of A- in all four courses (year 1)
  • Completion of biblical language pre-requisites

A student who does not meet these requirements may continue toward completion of the MA program (total 5 courses, plus thesis). The student may still apply to the PhD program upon completion of the MA program.

Modern Language Exam

At least one modern research language, such as German or French, is required for all PhD students. Competence in modern languages is to be demonstrated through a language examination set by the primary and secondary advisors or other suitable person at McMaster Divinity College and is to be decided by the committee of advisors. This requirement must be met before students will be permitted to move into the dissertation phase of the program. The modern language exam should be completed by the end of the first year of study.

Comprehensive Exams

Three written comprehensive exams in the area of emphasis, as well as an oral defence, are required upon the completion of coursework.

Vocational Practice

Vocational practice is required in each term of coursework. It must create meaningful, intellectual, and reflective interaction between the area of emphasis and one’s chosen vocation.


Based on the area of emphasis, a dissertation (minimum 80,000 words) must be written demonstrating expert knowledge of the area and both presenting and supporting a new thesis regarding the subject area. The dissertation will be defended orally.

Faculty Supervision

From the outset, as part of the admission process, students work with a primary supervisor whose expertise and scholarly interests correspond with the student’s area of emphasis. In addition, each student has the support of a supervisory committee, which consists of the primary supervisor, a secondary supervisor, the Academic Dean, and any other members from inside or outside of the College as deemed appropriate. This committee will work closely with the student to assist in planning and approving the student’s program of courses and research, to decide on timing of comprehensive and language examinations, to provide the student with regular appraisals of progress, to decide when the student is ready to write the dissertation, and to give advice during this process.

Admission Requirements

  • Accredited 4-year Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a directly related field (i.e. biblical studies, theological studies, church history, ministry studies, etc.)
  • Minimum B+ average
  • Approved plan for completion of PhD biblical language prerequisites
  • Agreement with Statement of Faith
  • Submission of application and required supporting documents

Application Deadline

Fall Term        March 15
Winter Term  August 1

Save $25.00 on your application fee by applying by December 1 for Fall entry.