Doctorate in Theology (PhD / Canonical Degree)

Become Seekers of Knowledge


The Doctorate in Theology is a graduate program that provdes you with the knowledge, skills and training required to carry out original research in the field of theology. The Faculty of Theology at DUC specialises in the following areas: 1) Bible and Culture; 2) Ethics and Anthropology. The principal objective of the doctoral program is to provide you with the opportunity for deeper reflection on a specific theological problem which would lead to an original research contribution within the context of the faculty’s concentrations.

The program aims for students to acquire mastery of the research skills of both primary and secondary sources (in their original languages) and to critically apply the results of their research to current theological questions. You will be invited to participate in active discussions on theological issues in order to foster critical thinking, and master writing and communication skills.

*Candidates are required to complete one full year of residency. 

In Summary

First year:

  • Two research seminars, with one in the area of the candidat’s doctoral research specialisation (as much as possible) – 6 credits – Fall / Winter semesters
  • One methodology seminar that will help prepare for the thesis writing and that will assist to develop the abilities proper to scientific research at the doctoral level – 3 credits – Fall / Winter semesters
  • One oral exam of 9 questions on the thesis project and the two seminars – 3 credits – Winter or Summer semesters

Second year+:

  • Research and redaction of a maximum 300 page thesis, followed by a defense

Admission Eligibility


To be admitted to the Ph.D. program (civil degree), applicants must:

  •  Have a M.Th. or a M.A.Th. from a recognized college or university with a minimum average of B;
  • Be fluent in English or French and have a working knowledge of the other language (French or English). A high level of reading and oral understanding of French is required since French is the main language of the academic courses;
  • A practical knowledge (reading capacity) of another modern language is also required;
  • Have at least a working knowledge of one or more of the ancient languages (Latin, Greek, Hebrew) if the thesis requires research on original sources; The possibility of admitting an applicant who does not have any previous knowledge of these languages and who cannot acquire one before the beginning of the Ph.D. program will be evaluated on an individual basis at the time of admission.


Conditions for admission are the same as for the civil doctorate degree. Obtaining the canonical doctorate, also referred as an ecclesiastical licentiate, requires:

  • A good formation in philosophy meeting the requirements of the canonical doctorate degree;
  • Knowledge of the ancient languages (Latin, Greek, and Hebrew).


After satisfying the requirements of coursework and in accordance with the Dean of the Faculty, you must ask a member of the Faculty to advise you on a chosen thesis topic. This thesis must have a maximum of 300 pages and be a substantial scholarly work showing mastery of a specific field and making an original contribution to theological science. The canonical degree also requires at least the partial publication of the thesis. The thesis can be written in French or English. The doctoral thesis (Ph.D) is defended before a jury of four members (civil degree) or five (canonical degree) designated by the Dean of the Faculty.


With over 140,000 works, our specialized library provides ample material in multiple languages. DUC encourages all students to engage with primary sources. The 5 floor library collects works in their original language, as well as in multiple translations. Registered students may also consult and sign out books from Carleton University, as well as from several other libraries in Ottawa. Nestled in a quiet part of the city, DUC’s library is an urban oasis; its quiet and friendly ambiance encourages reading and writing (while permitting the occasional daydream!). *Graduate students may request access to an individual study room in the library.

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