Msc Dissertation Only Doctoral Programs

Luder-Wycliffe is pleased to announce our newest model of degree acceleration through the mode of Degree by Dissertation (dissertation/thesis).  Although this model (Degree by Dissertation) of learning can be done in a shorter amount of time compared to the traditional course work method, it is by no means less taxing. The Degree by Dissertation program is a very rigorous endeavor, but just as rewarding.

Luder-Wycliffe Theological Seminary offers the Degree by Dissertation to the following degree levels:

  1. Master of Theology (M.Th.)
  2. Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
  3. Doctor of Theology (Th.D.)
  4. Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


NOTE: The Ph.D. degree requirements in the Degree by Dissertation are exactly the same as for the Th.D. Only the subject matter will differ between the two.

Master Degree level requirements are exactly the same as the doctoral level EXCEPT for the dissertation word count. SEE requirement below:

Doctoral Dissertation word count:  75,000

Masters Dissertation word count:   50,000

**The Handbook Description will only include the doctoral level program, since the same protocol is given for the Masters level with the exception of the word count.

** PayPal paying option is at the bottom of this page. Make sure that you fill out your application on the ADMISSIONS Page. Payment and enrollment should be done on the same day.

Doctor of Theology Degree (Th.D.)

Degree by Dissertation

Degree Requirements — Process

Luder-Wycliffe Theological Seminary offers the opportunity to individuals interested in Theological Studies to earn a Doctorate in Theology (Th.D.) for pastors in ministry who have established themselves in their chosen clerical area and have completed Master’s level study in their major field or endeavor. They should also have significant experience within the parameters of their clerical life. Luder-Wycliffe Theological Seminary considers the completion of a Master’s Degree program appropriate academic preparation for admission to the Doctorate by Dissertation program. We follow the British educational model in this respect. at LWTS.

We believe the advanced and experienced Theological student has obtained sufficient academic progress up to this point and is now fully prepared to develop a cohesive and comprehensive dissertation. The primary objective of the program is to provide the opportunity for qualified candidates to produce quality dissertations in an academic environment, working independently, while using the theological school as one of many possible resources. No transfer credit shall be applicable toward this degree, neither shall there be any credit for “work experience” or “life experience.” This is an earned degree and the development of a doctoral dissertation is a major and significant life effort.

Admission to the Luder-Wycliffe Theological Seminary’s Doctorate by Dissertation program is based upon the following criteria:

• Individual participants will have completed a recognized Masters level degree. It is appropriate that this degree be in one of the traditional areas of Christian Religious Studies.

• Participants should have at least a few years of meaningful professional ministerial experience (i.e., pastoral, chaplaincy, religious education). But nevertheless, it is not a requirement.

• The dissertation topic must focus Christian disciplines which may include but not limited to the following:

Theology, Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Theory and Practice of Ministry, Biblical Studies, Christian Ethics, Church History,  Christian Philosophy, Pastoral Care, Biblical Counseling, Eschatology, and Apologetics.

All, however, must have a firm theological premise upon which they are based.

• Participants are expected to be proficient in English language skills. Where English is a second language, it is expected that the participant, at their own expense, shall retain such assistance as to allow them to submit well written and prepared materials as long as the original work and thoughts are of their own creation.

• Participants must have access to a computer, appropriate software, email and Internet, and academic library resources. Typically, all work is expected to be submitted and exchanged on-line via the internet.

• This program is intended for students who are self motivated and can work independently. As with all programs at LWTS, Th.D. students work with the Dean of Academics as well as other LWTS Professors who may serve as their advisors. Students work independently, communicating with the Dean and/or advisors throughout the process.

There is no time limit to complete the Th.D. program. However, at each phase of the doctoral process, prior to progressing to the next element, approval from LWTS is necessary. In order to remain in good standing as an active student, participating degree candidates must demonstrate effective progress toward achieving quality standards at each phase. The candidate must be in ongoing contact with their advisor on a regular basis, which is fundamental to this process.

Application to the LWTS Th.D. program is an on-line process at

Once the student has been admitted to the degree program, full payment of this fee will be an acknowledgement by the student as accepting the LWTS admission process and to the Doctorate by Dissertation Program which will culminate at its completion with the award of a Doctorate in Theology (Th.D.) degree, once all work has been accomplished, and all fees and tuition are paid. There is no graduation fee at LWTS for this particular degree. The diploma is included in the tuition payments.
Once the candidate has been accepted, and has acknowledged that acceptance by paying the registration fee, they will be categorized as a Candidate for the Doctor of Theology degree.

Manuscript guidelines for preparation and presentation of the dissertation will be provided to the student when the student has registered as a Doctoral Candidate by payment of the program costs.

Participants pursuing the doctorate degree by dissertation shall complete a ten-phase process equivalent to typical work beyond the Master’s degree in a traditional doctoral program which shall include —

1. Determination of the Dissertation Topic. In conjunction with the LWTS, develop a dissertation topic appropriate for this level of academic achievement. All materials for the Degree by Dissertation throughout this process should be transmitted to the candidate’s advisor, which will be appointed once enrolled into the program.

2. Approval. The student will receive official LWTS approval of the dissertation topic. At this time the student may begin developing the research methods philosophy upon which the development of their dissertation with be based.

3. Research Methods Development. Develop and present a strategy for researching the approved dissertation topic. This will include research methods to be used, materials that will be used in this research and location of these materials to the student. Lists of possible primary and secondary sources should be included in this document, whether or not they are actually used in the final development of the dissertation. The length of this document will be solely driven by the nature of the research. The student should be as comprehensive as possible in this process as it will assist and guide them in the development of the final dissertation itself. This is the first document submission after the approval of the dissertation topic and this research strategy must also be approved before continuing on in the process.

4. Obtain Research Methods Approval. Once the dissertation topic has been approved, and the research methods established, the student may then begin to develop the body of the dissertation. As this writing process continues, the student is encouraged to engage the school through the Office of the candidate’s advisor  for ongoing reflection, direction and guidance.

5. Submit Initial Dissertation Text for Review. Once the body of thought of the dissertation has been fully developed, it shall then be submitted for evaluation and comment. The submission should only include a Title Page, body of the subject matter, and endnotes (or footnotes). They should be formatted as recommended in the formatting guide. The word count requirement for this degree is 75,000. The body of the dissertation manuscript should meet or exceed 250 double spaced typewritten pages.

6. Dissertation Critique. The dissertation will be critiqued at this point, presenting to the student specific comments, concerns and suggestions for improving the document. These shall be presented in a detailed and identifiable written format for the student’s response.

7. Dissertation Defense.. The student shall then “defend” their dissertation, responding in writing and/or oral to the specifics of the issues raised by the Critique. All items identified in the Critique must be responded to with the student either justifying, in detail, the rationale for the area of concern, or present how they will reconsider the material presented.

8. Rewrite/Modifications to the Initial Dissertation Text. Once LWTS has conferred with the student on their response and come to agreement on any and all issues presented, the changes/modifications will then be made to the body of the dissertation.

9. Submission of Completed Dissertation, Ready for Publication. The rewritten dissertation is submitted in final form including all front matter as required in the Manuscript Guidelines with proper formatting and including (as appropriate) a summary, conclusions, bibliography and appendices.

10. Final Approval — Degree Award. Once the final dissertation document is submitted, and approved, LWTS will award the student the doctoral Degree in Theology. This represents the conclusion of the degree process.

No transfer credit shall be applicable toward this degree; neither shall there be any credit for “work experience” or “life experience.” This is an earned degree and the development of a doctoral dissertation is a major and significant life effort.

TUITION – Degree by Dissertation

Tuition for the Th.D. and Ph.D. by Thesis programs at LWTS is $2,500.00.

Tuition for the M.Th. and M.Div. by Thesis programs at LWTS is $2,250.00

It is payable in monthly installments, minus the down payment. Each monthly payment should be no less than $150.00


SUBMISSIONS – Degree by Dissertation

1 — Determination of the Dissertation Topic / Proposal Process.
During this phase of the process, participants prepare a formal proposal related to their concept of a dissertation topic. The proposal is completed under the direction of the student’s advisor at LWTS. The dissertation topic should be unique and represent a contribution to the theological area of the student’s choice.

2 — Research Methods Presentation.
The Research Methods presentation is intended to guide the participant in developing the direction and methodology for effectively preparing a written argument in a quality academic pursuit. The student should list specific resources to be considered such as libraries, museums, other academic institutions and scholarly individuals. Additionally, details and examples of texts and manuscripts to be considered in developing the dissertation should be presented, indicating the scope and intention of the writing effort. If statistical research is to be part of the students work, the student should present how this will be done in a professional manner, care being given to the possible confidential nature of the information being obtained. Proper safeguards of confidential information must be presented and maintained at all times.

3 – Conduct of Dissertation Project – Initial Submission of Draft Text.
Following approval of the dissertation topic and the research methodology, participants will begin their research project. The dissertation may take the form of a traditional “research” project or it may be a major scholarly project of the type appropriate to the particular theological discipline. Whichever approach to the dissertation is chosen, the resulting project must demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge in the field and represent a meaningful and original contribution to the betterment of the theological community.

The dissertation project may be conducted by quantitative, qualitative, or participatory action research. The body of the dissertation manuscript should meet or exceed 250 double spaced typewritten pages and be structured according to a set of approved manuscript guidelines provided separately. Dissertations must follow the guidelines provided by LWTS for such projects.

4 — Dissertation Defense.
Once the participant has prepared and delivered the dissertation manuscript, the faculty will conduct a formal review process. When completed, questions, concerns and suggestions will be sent to the student for their consideration.

Following receipt of the research manuscript, it typically takes the faculty two to four weeks to complete the physical review and prepare questions and commentary for student response/defense. The dissertation Critique is intended to allow detailed investigation of the underlying review of the literature, the dissertation methodology, the mechanics of the project, presentation of the findings, and the preliminary conclusions of the doctoral candidate.

The student is required to respond in writing and/or oral to each of the points raised by the Critique. This is the “defense” portion of the dissertation process.

One outcome of the dissertation review/defense process is a set of final expectations directing the participant through the remaining tasks for completing an acceptable dissertation manuscript.

5 — Submission of Final, Approved Dissertation.
Upon the participant’s completion of the final tasks, submission of the dissertation in publishable form, including completed front matter, abstract, contents, appendices, etc., as well as the receipt of any needed records and documentation, LWTS will issue a letter of completion to the participant. It will then make preparation for issuance of the transcript of record and diploma certificate once all tuition and fees have been paid.


Degree by Dissertation tuition costs.

Th.D. and Ph.D.   …………………………………….$2,500.00


M.Th. and M.Div.   …………………………………………….$2,250.00

Full Th.M. Program Cost $2,250.00
Full M.Div. Program Cost $2,250.00
Full Th.D. Program Cost $2,500.00
Full Ph.D. Program Cost $2,500.00
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Qualification group

PhDs and Doctoral degrees


Perhaps you have a burning intellectual curiosity about something, wish to advance your career or even change career direction and increase your employability and earning capacity. Either way you can be sure that studying towards a Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Education or Doctor of Musical Arts will give you fresh knowledge, allow you to discover new things and develop new skills.

A doctoral degree is the highest academic degree offered at UC. Those who earn it must demonstrate significant intellectual achievement, high scholarly ability, and great breadth of knowledge. 

The UC PhD is a research-only degree (no coursework) which can be completed in over 80 disciplines, carried out under academic supervision and using world class facilities.

In addition to your thesis research, UC offers a number of workshops and seminars for thesis students to develop general skills such as career planning, time management, networking and communication skills. See the 'Further study' section below for more details. 

A number of scholarships and awards are available for doctoral students.

For social networking and events, UC's Postgraduate Student Association (PGSA) is run by postgraduates for postgraduates and works closely with the Dean of Postgraduate Research to enhance the UC postgraduate student experience. 

Entry requirements

The minimum requirements to apply for doctoral study are that you should have completed, or be in the process of completing, a research-focused honours degree or master's degree. For PhD study you must achieve this degree at either the level of first-class or second-class division one (or equivalent).

For international applicants, our International Office, in consultation with your host department, look at your qualifications and transcripts to ensure that you have the necessary background required to complete a doctoral degree at UC. You are also required to meet the English language requirements for admission.

Identifying a supervisor

As part of the admissions process, you must identify a potential research supervisor before submitting a formal application to enrol in a PhD. A supervisor must be an academic member of staff at UC. Over 500 academics at UC have expertise in a large variety of topics. To identify experts in a given area and to find out about the research interests of staff in your discipline, you can search the Department/School website or the UC Research Profile database.

If you identify any possible supervisors, please contact them directly to discuss your potential research topic and ascertain whether suitable supervision might be available. When you have identified a supervisor who is willing to support your application to enrol please complete the admissions documents.

Specific qualification entry requirements

If you are applying for Doctor of Musical Arts study, you will typically require an audition, interview and/or submission of previous academic work and recommendation from the School of Music.

Find out how to apply for PhD and Doctoral degrees.

If you have any questions or would like some more information please fill in an enquiry form.

Qualification options

During your doctoral degree you will investigate a research topic and develop your research skills, culminating in the submission of a thesis for examination. The thesis undergoes examination by two independent examiners prior to you having an oral examination.

Your thesis must:

  • be an original contribution to knowledge/understanding in its field 
  • meet internationally recognised standards for doctoral research in its field 
  • demonstrate knowledge of literature relevant to the field to which it belongs, and the ability to exercise critical and analytical judgment of that literature 
  • be satisfactory in its method, in the quality and coherence of its expression, and in its scholarly presentation and format.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A Doctor of Philosophy involves extensive and sustained original research in a subject of your choice, with the results being presented in a thesis. It is normally the highest academic qualification available and is a mark of intellectual ability and independence, critical thinking, self-discipline and commitment. PhDs are offered in a wide range of subjects at UC, and are by thesis only.

Doctor of Education (EdD)

A Doctor of Education is a specialised doctorate designed for professionals in education, health sciences, and related fields. Built on a cohort model of inquiry, the Doctor of Education provides a structured, supportive, rigorous approach to doctoral study. The Doctor of Education builds leadership and commitment, fosters scholarly excellence, and allows candidates to connect educational research with questions of professional practice, in particular leadership. International students will need to pay international fees for this doctorate.

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

The Doctor of Musical Arts is a doctoral degree that is specific to advanced research in music composition or performance. It comprises scholarly research in the form of a supervised research thesis and performance practice in the form of public music performance or the presentation of compositions. International students will need to pay international fees for this doctorate.


You can begin a PhD on the first day of any month of the year and should regard study and research as a full-time occupation throughout the calendar year. The minimum period of enrolment if you are a full-time candidate is 36 months and you should normally complete your thesis within 48 months. There are provisions for you to apply for part-time study, in which case the minimum period is 55 months and you should complete your thesis within 74 months.

The first two years of the Doctor of Education degree are part-time for all and enrolment is on a single date annually for all students.

Structure of the programmes

The doctoral programmes are structured in PhD reporting milestones to track your progress. These must be submitted to the Dean of Postgraduate Research and approved every six months.

The exact structure of programme will vary based on the nature of the research being undertaken and agreed to with your senior supervisor. 

Further study

Additional skills and training opportunities

In addition to providing world-class research supervision and facilities, the University of Canterbury is committed to providing PhD students with a range of opportunities to engage in a broader research-based experience, equipping students with research skills, introductions to professional networks and enhanced career opportunities. That is, the UC doctoral graduate will not only be recognised for the quality of their research thesis but will also have additional research skills and experiences.

While doing a doctorate at UC, students have the opportunity to participate in:

  • transferable skills workshops
  • research design and statistical analysis workshops for PhD students
  • 'Surviving your Thesis' seminars
  • networking opportunities, within and outside the university
  • presentation experience
  • social events.

Many doctoral students also have the opportunity to undertake teaching assistance work. 

For all enquiries about PhDs and Doctoral degrees

Please fill in the form below

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