Most Affordable Th.D. Degrees 2017-2018

This is a ranking of Th.D. programs according to affordability (2017-2018). These nine programs are among the only doctor of theology available in the United States. The programs ranked here represent a broad spectrum of Christianity including Seventh Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Evangelical Protestant, and Presbyterian traditions. The ranking includes programs offered by many different types of institutions including universities, seminaries, and theological foundations. In an age where most Th.D. programs have been rolled into Ph.D. programs, these are rare degrees in the United States. Tuition information in this article was gathered from College Navigator and from each school’s individual program page.

#9. Duke University Divinity School

Durham, North Carolina

Duke University-Top Th.D. Degrees

Duke University’s Divinity School is ranked #1 in the world for theology by the Roman Catholic theological journal First Things.


Th.D. students at Duke can earn additional certificates in reflective and faithful teaching, and gender, sexuality, theology, and ministry. This program is interdisciplinary in nature and research-oriented. Students work within theological disciplines like Bible, church history, theology, ethics, homiletics and Christian formation. Those traditional areas of study are further combined with disciplines like political science, peacemaking and reconciliation, medicine, and the arts.

Tuition: $49,500

#8. Candler School of Theology at Emory University

Druid Hills, Georgia

Emory University-Best Th.D. Degrees

Emory University is affiliated with the protestant Methodist denomination.


The doctor of theology in pastoral counseling program at Emory provides supervision in pastoral counseling according to the standards of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and can be used to meet the supervision requirements for admittance as member to both organizations. The program is comprised of core courses, a practicum, elective courses, qualifying examinations, and dissertation.

Tuition: $39,800

#7. Seventh Day Adventist Theological Seminary of Andrews University

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Andrews University-Most Affordable Th.D. Degrees

This Th.D. program offers a staggering 25 areas of concentration across seven broader areas of study.


This Th.D. program offers fields of study in biblical studies, historical/biblical studies, historical/missiological studies, missiological/biblical studies, theological/biblical studies, and theological/historical studies. Students can drill down further into emphasis areas like church history, mission and New Testament, archaeology and history, exegesis and theology, and languages and literature.

Tuition: $25,128

#6. La Salle University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

La Salle University-Best Th.D. Degrees

La Salle is a university in the Roman Catholic Lasallian tradition.


La Salle University offers areas of concentration in founder’s studies, Catholic studies, Christian spirituality, and church ministry. Some of the courses available in this program are religious women in the United States, the American Catholic experience, social justice in the Catholic tradition, mystics: ancient and new, the medieval experience of women, and alternative systems for religious education.

Tuition: $23,020

#5. Boston University and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston University-Ten Most Affordable Th.D. Degrees

This Th.D. program is a collaborative offering between Boston University and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.


Boston University School of Theology and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary provide students from both schools with a close working relationship that allows for the pooling of resources. The joint Th.D. program in Missiology offered by these schools includes courses on anthropology and missions, theology of mission, theologies of dialogue, and history of Christian mission. There are six required courses, and students will select the other six courses according to their area of interest.

Tuition: $19,500

#4. Graduate Theological Union

Berkeley, California

Graduate Theological Union-Ten Most Affordable Th.D. Degrees

Graduate Theological Union offers Th.D. students a vast number of options in multiple areas of religious study.


The Graduate Theological Union offers both Ph.D. and Th.D. students the opportunity to choose between thirty concentrations from among four departments. The four departments are sacred texts and their interpretation, historical and cultural studies of religion, theology and ethics, and religion and practice. Concentrations include anthropology of religion, art and religion, New Testament, rabbinic literature, aesthetics, ethics, practical theology, and liturgical studies.

Tuition: $18,975

#3. Interdenominational Theological Center

Atlanta, Georgia

Interdenominational Theological Center-Ten Most Affordable Th.D. Degrees

The Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Counseling program at ITC is administered in collaboration with other seminaries in the Atlanta Theological Association.


The Th.D. in pastoral counseling degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center is a terminal Ph.D. equivalent degree for students whose interest in pastoral counseling is either professional or theological. The degree meets the standards of both the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Graduates are eligible for membership in both organizations.

Tuition: $13,500

#2. Graduate Theological Foundation

Mishawaka, Indiana

Graduate Theological Foundation-Online Th.D. Degree

Graduate Theological Foundation requires applicants to the Th.D. program to have an undergraduate and master’s degree and five years accumulated experience in a ministry or vowed religious order.


GTF is not a traditional university, college, or seminary. The programs are not regionally accredited as it is a Theological Foundation, not a traditional school. However what sets GTF apart from shady diploma mills are its relationships with schools like Oxford University (where students can spend time studying on exchange), and the fact that many alumni with graduate degrees from GTF have their degrees recognized by the regionally accredited universities where they teach as full members of the faculty. You can see a list of organizations that employ the alumni of GTF Here. The lack of accreditation has nothing to do with quality. Rather the school’s innovative distance learning and online Th.D. degree and other programs, combined with the interreligious nature of the school, mean it falls outside the box of regional accreditation bodies and the Association of Theological Schools. This online Th.D. program utilizes a fully digital library.

Tuition: $9,425

#1. Faith Theological Seminary

Baltimore, Maryland

Faith Theological Seminary-Most Affordable Th.D. Degree

FTS is a Presbyterian seminary and counts among its alumni Francis Schaeffer, a notable Presbyterian theologian.


The Faith Theological Seminary Th.D. program requires applicants to have an advanced, M.Div. level reading proficiency in biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek. Students must also be proficient in two research languages of French, German, or Latin. The primary areas of focus for this program are biblical hermeneutics, biblical theology, biblical history, and biblical exegesis.

Tuition: $5,130

TD Staff
June 2017

This has been a listing of the most affordable Th.D. degrees for 2017-2018.