Doctor of Theology (Latin: Doctor Theologiae, abbreviated DTh, Th.D., DTheol, or Dr. theol.) is a terminal degree in the academic discipline of theology. The Th.D, like the ecclesiastical Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD), is an advanced research degree equivalent to the Doctor of Philosophy.
In the academic study of theology, which is deeply rooted in the Christian religion, doctoral students are often conferred a Doctor of Theology, a Doctor of Philosophy, a Doctor of Ministry, a Doctor of Practical Theology or Doctor of Sacred Theology. However, the Doctor of Ministry is generally understood as a professional doctorate.
In the United States, some of the older theological seminaries began offering the Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) as an equivalent to the research Doctor of Philosophy. In Princeton Theological Seminary, for example, this practice was inherited from the German system of education since the professors involved in establishing the doctoral program were trained in German universities. Though the PhD was the doctorate of arts faculties in German universities (hence the Ph), Princeton Theological Seminary has since switched to using Doctor of Philosophy as its main designation. A similar shift happened at Harvard Divinity School in 2015. Due to the secular push in doctoral studies, Th.D. programs have moved to other known accreditation, like the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) or choose to be only affiliates of accrediting agencies so they have more freedom to teach Christian Doctrine that is more practical for church ministry. For example, the only Association of Theological Schools accredited schools currently accepting students to Th.D. programs are Duke Divinity School and Evangelical Seminary.
In the United Kingdom, the Doctor of Theology is a fairly new doctoral program. Certain universities have begun offering it as a form of practical doctorate, focused on practices and assessed at the same level as the Ph.D. To offer a doctorate that helping distinguishes the more practical nature of the degree, some British universities have adopted the term Doctor of Practical Theology.