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Boston University School of Theology

ThD in Ethics

Contents

General Information

Purpose of the ThD Program in Ethics

Requirements of the ThD Major in Ethics

Requirements of the ThD Minor in Ethics

Ecological Ethics Bibliography

General Information

General information about the ThD degree program through the School of Theology (STH) within Boston University, including contact information for admissions, is available here. Boston University also offers MA and PhD programs in a number of specializations through the Graduate School's Division of Religious and Theological Studies. For general information about these programs, go here.

The ThD program is administered by STH's Advanced Study Committee, which publishes general requirements and policies in the "Doctor of Theology Degree Handbook," available from the School of Theology.

Ethics may serve as a Major or Minor in a ThD program.

Purpose of the ThD in Ethics

The ThD degree offered by the School of Theology (STH) is designed for careers in both academic institutions and Christian churches and religious communities. The ThD degree emphasizes an integrative character within the general sphere of the academic study of Christianity.

The ThD in Ethics has a double emphasis on Philosophical and Religious Ethics (western sources for ethical reasoning, ethical teachings of Christianity and other religions) and on Religion, Social Thought, and the Social Sciences (social analysis and ideologies of globalization, religion and the social sciences, social thought). The aim of the program is to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to analyze complex situations in socially nuanced terms and to reflect ethically on these social analyses with a view to increasing justice and understanding in the world.

Requirements of the ThD Major in Ethics

Requirements for the ThD Major in Social Ethics and Minor in a selected field differ, as described in “Degree Programs” in the School of Theology Bulletin.

Courses

Eight 4-credit courses, including the following required courses:

  • Proseminar in Social Ethics (Social Analysis and Ethical Reflection)

  • History of Western Ethics and Social Philosophy

  • History of Christian Social Teachings

  • Sociology of Religion or Religion and Social Change

  • Comparative Religious Ethics

Languages

Demonstrated competence in two languages. These are normally French and German, though other languages are permitted as research needs require.

Examinations

The Social Ethics faculty conduct qualifying examinations twice each year (April and November). ThD candidates shall take a qualifying examination in their non-social ethics discipline in consultation with the faculty in their chosen minor field. All of the written qualifying examinations in social ethics must be taken in the same examination week, usually in the fifth semester of the doctoral program for a full-time student. The oral examination must be taken within twelve months after the first written examination is taken. For more information about arrangements for written qualifying examinations, consult the Department Chair.

There are two written comprehensive examinations, as follows:

  • Ethics (Western Philosophical Sources for Ethical Reasoning; Social and Ethical Teachings of Christianity and Other Religions); and
  • Religion, Social Thought, and the Social Sciences.

For more information about the exams, see the ThD Ethics Major reading lists. Also see the Ethics Qualifying Examination Question Archive.

There is also an oral comprehensive examination

Dissertation

Following the approval of a dissertation prospectus, the dissertation must be completed and then defended orally.

Requirements of the ThD Minor in Ethics

Those who minor in social ethics shall take a qualifying examination in social ethics in accordance with the format specified above for the social ethics majors. But they are expected to cover a shorter reading list that combines

  • Ethics (Western Philosophical Sources for Ethical Reasoning; Social and Ethical Teachings of Christianity and Other Religions); and

  • Religion, Social Thought, and the Social Sciences.

For more information about the exam, see the ThD Ethics Minor reading list.

Those who minor in social ethics are not required but strongly advised to take the following courses better to prepare themselves for the minor examination:

  • Proseminar in Social Ethics (Social Analysis and Ethical Reflection)
  • Comparative Religious Ethics
  • History of Western Ethics and Social Philosophy
  • History of Christian Social Teachings
  • Sociology of Religion or Religion and Social Change

Ecological Ethics Bibliography

Click here to see the bibliography on ecological ethics and eco-theology.

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