Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil)

Do you want to understand your career as a calling?  Discover Omega Graduate School’s Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in the Integration of Religion and Society.

Gain the knowledge and confidence to lead, publish, and change the world at Omega Graduate School (OGS).  The OGS Doctor of Philosophy in the Integration of Religion and Society program is designed to integrate faith and work in a meaningful way.  OGS’s doctoral program enables students to enhance their work skills through academic research and interdisciplinary skills.  OGS graduates work in a variety of fields where research is a strong component, from political consulting to market research and medical research, to careers in social service, business, ministry, and education.

The OGS degree program is designed to be productive and rewarding and to fit the unique needs of working adults. The faculty and staff are dedicated to supporting students in balancing their work, family, and academic commitments. The Doctor of Philosophy in the Integration of Religion and Society is designed to help graduates make a positive Christian impact worldwide.

Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) Degree Program Details

The doctoral program is designed with the goal of integration of religion and society.  The program consists of courses in six structured, short-term residency-based cores and a dissertation phase.  Because the degree is interdisciplinary, students focus research on a social problem in their area of interest.  Successful completion of the dissertation leads to graduation.

DPhil Degree Requirements

The DPhil program consists of 72 credit hours of the following courses offered in six week-long intensive residencies called “Core” sessions with online tutorial-style instruction for 30, 60, 90, and 120 day assignments.

Additional requirements:

  • European reading and research trip (an annual tradition since 1981)
  • Library of Congress reading and research trip
  • Doctoral dissertation

Completion time:  4-6 years

Degree Program Expectations

As a result of academic study, students are expected to develop and exhibit:

  1. Clarity of English in both speech and written work
  2. Evidence of understanding research methodology
  3. Proficiency in research statistics
  4. Ability to gather evidence and synthesize findings
  5. Mastery of literature related to dissertation area
  6. Competency in critical inquiry of unsolved or unresolved social problems

Course Work Timeline

  1. Orientation Workshop (Core 1)
  2. Short Term Residences (Cores 2-6)
  3. Dissertation Phase (typically spanning a period of 2-3 years) including:
    1. Proposal development
    2. Proposal defense
    3. Conducting the Research
    4. Writing the dissertation
  4. Degree validation
  5. Graduate Colloquy

Four Levels of the DPhil Degree Process

There are four levels in the DPhil degree process: (a) Admission to graduate studies, (b) matriculation for a degree program, (c) candidacy for a degree, and (d) degree validation.  The Academic Affairs Council supervises the process from admission to candidacy; the Graduate Research Council supervises the process from candidacy to graduation.

A student is matriculated to the Doctor of Philosophy program after foundational studies are assessed, and any deficiencies are removed.  Students must matriculate for the DPhil to participate in Cores 3, 4, 5 and 6.  The following requirements must be fulfilled for matriculation to doctoral studies: (a) A total of 32 graduate semester hours at the master’s level including 30 cohesive hours in support of the OGS course of study. (b) Attendance at the Program Orientation Workshop which is Core 1.  (c) Completion of assignments related to Program Orientation Workshop and Core 2. (d) Possession of basic computer skills, unless exempted by the American Disabilities Act. (e) Control of an E-mail address or regular access to a fax machine.

Once matriculation is attained in the DPhil program, a student remains at the matriculation level until the completion of all course requirements.  When all requirements are completed, the Academic Affairs Council advances the student to candidacy.

Candidates for the DPhil must achieve degree validation to participate in Core 7.  Core sessions are offered during three academic terms.  Normally, students will divide their participation into one core session per term until all sessions are completed in sequence.  Students must complete all course work connected with the previous core before attending a successive core.  Core 7 participation is part of the Graduate Colloquy.

The DPhil program is divided into two parts: the course of study and the dissertation process.  The course of study has three stages: first third (Cores 1, 2); middle third (Cores 3, 4); and upper third (Cores 5, 6).  The dissertation process (Core 7) has four stages: proposal development under the Graduate Research Council, the proposal defense, the writing and defense of the dissertation under the Graduate Research Council, and the degree validation stage that verifies the error-free copy of the dissertation and authorizes the candidate’s degree.  The dissertation stage is divided into 20 steps with advisors, readers, and faculty supervision at each step.

An extensive course syllabus with bibliography is provided for each course.  Tutorial guidance generally includes an overview of the subject and an introduction to the sources of knowledge in the field and is presented by lecture with informed participation by the students.  Tutorial guidance is followed by specific developmental and research assignments under the guidance of the faculty.  Faculty directed research in prescribed sources and available resources constitutes an essential part of the course of study.  The educational goal is to excite and direct the self-activity of learners who are engaged in personal research and study.

First Third Course of Study (Cores 1 and 2)

The first third begins with the Program Orientation Workshop (Core 1) and introduces the program, explains the curriculum, orients the applicant to the academic performance expectation, assesses strengths and weaknesses, and generally assists the applicant in determining suitability of the program for meeting his or her educational needs.  An applicant becomes an admitted student after the Program Orientation Workshop (POW) when all admissions assessments are made and the student signs a financial contract.

Table 1.  Core Schedules

Course #

Core 1

PHI 800 Transformative Learning and Adult Education  2
COM 803 Hermeneutics and Communication  2
PHI 809 Transforming Self-Concept for Leadership Development  2
SR 953 Research for 21st Century Scholarship  1
PHI805 Faith Learning Integration and Interdisciplinary Studies  2
Core 2
SR 968 Sociological Methodology: Interpreting Changing Cultures  2
PHI 815 Sociological Integration of Religion & Society  2
LDR 807 Transformational Leadership  2
SR 851 Interdisciplinary Research  1
SR 953 Research for 2st Century Scholarship  1
PHI 834 Teaching Practicum 1: Course Design  1
Semester Credits First Third 18

The curriculum requires advance preparation for each stage in the course of study so the student can be an informed participant in class.  Each stage has advance assignments required for participation in residency core sessions and post-class assignments to be completed after core sessions.

Middle Third Course of Study (Cores 3 and 4)

The middle third of the program requires assessment for matriculation.  Matriculation denotes eligibility to continue toward a degree.  Core 3 is considered a matriculation workshop.  Once attained, a student remains at the matriculation level until completion of the course of study requirements, and qualifying interviews.

Table 2.  Core Schedules

Course #

Cores 3

PHI 923 Contextualization for Social Change  2
PHI 943 Orthodoxy and Orthopraxis  2
SR 958 Research Design and Methodology  2
COM 968 Statistics for Social Research  2
SR 953 Research for 21st Century Scholarship  1
PHI834 Teaching Practicum 2: Instructional Methodology  1
LDR813 Organizational Dynamics  2
Core 4
COM 822 Persuasive Communication  1
COM912 Advanced Communication: Leadership, Culture and Change  2
LDR811 Personnel Dynamics in Organizations  2
SR 958 Research Design and Methodology  2
COM 968 Statistics for Social Research  2
SR 953 Research for 21st Century Scholarship  1
Semester Credits Middle Third 22

The following requirements are fulfilled before a student is matriculated:

  1. Adequate completion of the Program Orientation Workshop and the academic assignments related to Cores 1 and 2.
  2. Completion of a master’s degree with (30) cohesive graduate hours in support of the OGS Program of Study.
  3. Demonstration of certain basic professional academic skills unless exempted by the American Disabilities Act and so documented.  Basic skills include the word processing, editing, and printing functions of a standard computer program.
  4. A personal e-mail address or access to a Fax machine.

The Reading and Research Seminars offered in UK are part of the required seminars for the DPhil.  A student whose health or handicap prevents travel to England may complete alternate sessions on campus in Tennessee.

The DPhil program requires a trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  The Library of Congress experience and the Bodleian trip serve as opportunities to develop research skills for lifelong scholarship.

Upper Third Course of Study (Cores 5 and 6)

Table 3.  Core Schedules

Course #

Core 5

SR 958 Research Design and Methodology  2
COM 968 Statistics for Social Research  2
LDR 815 Transforming People Problems  2
SR 953 Research for 21st Century Scholarship  1
SR 823 Researching Alternate Fields  1
PHI 823 Ethics in a Global Society  2
LDR 810 Cross Cultural Dynamics  2

Core 6

SR 958 Research Design and Methodology 2
COM 968 Statistics for Social Research 1
SR 953 Research for 21st Century Scholarship 1
HI 812 Morality and Law in a Global Society 2
SR 852 Dissertation Foundations 2
SR 822 Research Related to Dissertation 1
Semester Credits Upper Third 21


Candidacy means that a student has completed all course work.  A student must:

  1. Demonstrate ability to use the English language with clarity in both speech and writing.
  2. Evidence specialized competence in general research methodology.
  3. Manifest proficiency in statistics for completion of a dissertation.
  4. Complete all core requirements.
  5. Complete a qualifying interview.
  6. Demonstrate competency to gather data and synthesize findings that lead to new knowledge about a significant problem or issues in a field of knowledge.
  7. Demonstrate subject matter mastery of literature related to a dissertation area.
  8. Demonstrate competency in critical inquiry of unsolved or unresolved problems.

During candidacy the student is supervised by the Graduate Research Council for a major research project and dissertation.  The Graduate Research Council guides a candidate in developing a research proposal.  When the proposal is satisfactorily defended, the student is authorized to proceed with gathering and analyzing data and writing a dissertation.  The sequenced tasks that guide a research project and development of a dissertation are listed in Table 4.

Table 4.  Core 7 (Graduate Colloquy) Courses

Core 7

SR 812 Planning/Proposal Writing  4
SR 963 Research Proposal Defense  1
SR 812 Dissertation Writing/Publication  6
SR 966 Dissertation Faculty Defense  1
Semester Credits Core 7 12

Degree validation requires 72 Semester Credits. 

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