Doctor of

Philosophy | Ph.D. Admissions Requirements

ILT seeks applicants who are dedicated, hardworking, and have a high aptitude for postgraduate-level studies. Normally, applicants will have a first degree in theology, usually a Master of Divinity degree. Candidates may also have a Master of Arts degree in a theological, biblical studies, or a philosophical discipline, or a Bachelor of Arts with a major in a theological, biblical studies, or a philosophical discipline. Potential students not meeting these requirements will nonetheless be considered for entry into the Ph.D. program if they demonstrate exceptional promise and ability. Application requirements include:


  • Completion of the online application for the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

  •  Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions.  Applicants are required to have their official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions from all the institutions attended.  Transcripts must demonstrate a minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 point scale or equivalent.

  • Three academic recommendations from persons with knowledge of the applicant’s academic performance.

  • Applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), taken within the last two years. Normally, minimum acceptable scores are: Verbal: 150; Quantitative: 150; Analytical Writing: 4.5. Graduates of ILT's S.T.M. program are not required to submit GRE scores. ILT's Institution Code for the GRE is 4500.

  • An official photo ID.

  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) that is not more than two years old. Normally, minimum acceptable scores for the TOEFL are 26 on the speaking section and 24 on the writing section. Minimum acceptable scores on the IELTS are 8 on the speaking section and 6.5 on the writing section. Please request that your score be sent to ILT. ILT’s DI Code for the TOEFL is 5745.
    More information concerning TOEFL can be accessed at the Education Testing Services website: Information regarding the IELTS can be found at  

  • Application fee of $55 (non-refundable).

  • An Admissions Interview with the Director of the Ph.D. Program.  



In their application, students declare their concentration. ILT offers the following concentrations:

• Biblical Studies

o Old Testament

o New Testament

• Systematic and Philosophical Theology

o Philosophical Theology

o Historical Theology

o Systematic Theology

o Ethics


Students choose a faculty member to be their primary advisor based on their concentration. Students are responsible for contacting their primary advisors and securing their agreement to serve as their primary advisors.



Students applying for the Ph.D. must demonstrate competency in a minimum of one modern language (besides English) relevant to the student’s field of study (usually German or French). Students demonstrate language competency by passing an exam administered by ILT.

Competence in both Greek and Hebrew is required for admittance into Old or New Testament studies at the Ph.D. level. Faculty members will offer courses as needed in other ancient languages required for Biblical studies. Work in theology or ethics must demonstrate proficiency in Latin or Greek as well unless the student’s work requires deep competency in formal logic or other contemporary technical methods or approaches. In such cases, demonstrated competency in these areas may be substituted for the requirement in Latin or Greek.

Qualifying Exams

In order to achieve candidacy in the ILT Ph.D. program, a student must pass three qualifying examinations. The student can select these three examinations from five general areas: Biblical Studies, Theological Ethics, Philosophical Theology, Historical Theology, and Systematic Theology. Bibliographies for these areas will be provided by the faculty. Students normally will be expected to pass their qualifying examinations before the end of their second year of study. Students who have earned an S.T.M. degree from ILT are not required to take the qualifying exams.

Students who are not in Brookings are responsible for finding a proctor according to ILT’s proctoring policy, who will receive, administer, monitor, and return the exam to ILT. Students will have one and a half hours to complete each exam.





Request Information

NC-SARA Approved Institution logo round.

Institute of Lutheran Theology • Copyright © 2021 • All Rights Reserved 

(605) 692-9337 • 910 4th Street, PO Box 833, Brookings, SD 57006-2173 

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Twitter Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon