Doctor of Philosophy in Theology
What is our goal?
In line with the mission of St Augustine College, our doctoral programme in Theology seeks to promote intellectual and ethical leadership by contributing the resources of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to form ethical and intellectual leaders who by combing career competence with social and moral responsibility for the common good will benefit the life of the nation as a whole. The objective of our individual and personalised approach to each and every candidate is to ensure that all our doctoral graduates in Theology
- have produced a highly original argument, analysis or interpretation, which contributes in a significant way towards an ongoing academic debate in a given field of Theology;
- are highly proficient in methods of theological research;
- have a critical understanding of the most advanced research in the area of theology in which they specialise;
- are able to participate in scholarly debates, to make a critically reasoned original contribution to knowledge and to undertake independent research resulting in the (re)interpretation and expansion of theological knowledge; and
- are capable of presenting and communicating effectively their research to specialist and non-specialist audiences and to contribute to the ecumenical and inter-faith as well as ethical and social challenges that confront the African continent today.
How is it done?
Doctoral degrees at St Augustine College are obtained through research only. The candidate, in conversation with the Theology Department, submits a pre-proposal for the project. Once this is accepted by the Faculty Higher Degrees Committee (FHDC), a supervisor is appointed to direct the student to prepare a full proposal; this should not take more than six months. Once the proposal has the FHDC's approval, the candidate embarks on the proper research and writing of her or his dissertation. The minimum registration for a doctoral degree is two years, during which the candidate undertakes the project under the direction of the supervisor or, in some cases, two co-supervisors (this may be suggested by FHDC especially in the case of multi- or interdisciplinary research projects, which are encouraged at St Augustine College).
Our doctoral candidates are encouraged to consult not only with their supervisor(s), which happens on the regular basis, but also with other lecturers at the College, the Head of Department and the Academic Dean. If necessary, contact with the scholars from other institutions, both national and overseas, can be facilitated. Apart from St Augustine's library, our doctoral candidates have access to a number of electronic resources subscribed to by the College. We also facilitate their access to the libraries at other universities if their research requires. Every year Doctoral Seminars are held at the College to enable all the candidates to present their work in progress and receive feedback on their findings and their methods of research from the Faculty members.
There is no strictly defined word limit for a doctoral dissertation, but most of the research papers submitted by our candidates in Theology range between 300-500 pages. Once finalised, the dissertation is sent out for a blind review to two external examiners, one of whom is an international scholar. The supervisor(s) also write(s) a detailed report on the research paper in question. Then all the reports are evaluated by the FHDC and, depending on the reviewers' comments and any required corrections, the degree may be granted to the candidate.
The final step in the process is the publication of the successful doctoral dissertation. Even though the decision whether to do that or not belongs to the author herself or himself, as an institution we encourage our doctoral graduates to publish their work and thus make it available to a wider audience.
Examples of doctoral dissertations in Theology
To give some idea about the variety of theological themes and methodological approaches chosen by our recent doctoral graduates, we include the list of selected topics of the successful doctoral dissertations in Theology over the past few years.
- The Filioque versus communio: Towards a resolution of the impasse (Michelle Coetzee, 2014)
- A Trinitarian theological response to gender challenges in the context of HIV/Aids in Southern Africa (Nontando Hadebe, 2013)
- The Canonical Delict of Abortion and its Punishment, with particular reference to Namibia (Marek Fischer, 2007)
- Empathy: The way of the cross: The life of Edith Stein (Ruth Maria Becker)
- The joint declaration of Augsburg and Paul Tillich's Christology (Luis Maria Fernandez, 2004)