Theological Studies

  • Course of Study Description

The Theological Studies course of study (TS) at Emory supports constructive theology that is generative, diverse, and historically informed. We believe it is essential for students to be exposed to a wide range of methods, perspectives, and theological literatures. Our diversity of faculty contributes to an irenic and interdisciplinary approach. We support graduate work in systematic theology that reflects sympathetic yet critical engagement with the tradition; Black and Caribbean theologies; feminist, womanist, and queer theologies; contemplative thought and practice; continental philosophy; ethics and literature; and interreligious dialogue. We welcome proposals in other areas of theology as well. The progress of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, Africa and African American studies, comparative literature, the Loseling Institute as well as concentrations in Religious Practices and Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding are examples of resources that have further enriched students’ research.

The diversity of research projects listed below gives some sense of the intellectual creativity that is fostered here. Students share less a commitment to a particular theological approach than participation in a community in which the possibilities of theological reflection are continually expanded. At Emory, Theological Studies entails attention to the diversity of human experience and a willingness to mine the tradition for less conventional resources. Our excellent placement record suggests that Emory’s distinctive intellectual formation is respected in seminaries and universities around the country.

The study of religion at Emory refuses to accept the opposition between “theology” and “religious studies.” Students are free to study across the other areas of study within the GDR and around the university. TS itself owes much of its distinctiveness to the synergy between the Candler School of Theology and the Department of Religion. Graduates have gone on to become leaders in churches and seminaries as well as in liberal arts programs. Students are invited to a monthly colloquy at which faculty share work in progress. They have a chance to present papers at a pre-AAR panel each fall. Students also informally meet twice a month at an informal “Stammtisch.”  In these ways, we nurture students’ ability to articulate and defend a theological position of their own in a community of constant challenge and vigorous collegiality.

Preliminary Examinations

TS requires four written exams, which are concluded by an oral defense. Method and content exams are based on a common bibliography that includes texts from ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary periods. In addition, students choose a topic exam and an outside exam, both of which anticipate the subject of their dissertation. Pending lists for exams are composed in consultation with members of the student’s examination committee and faculty of TS.

Special Requirements

Please consult with the chair of the course of study for more information.

Selected Courses

Recent courses have been taught in Feminist Theology and Theory, Narrative, and Women’s Selfhood; Black Church: African American and Caribbean; Virtue Ethics; Schleiermacher; Contemplative Theology: Medieval Women, Bonhoeffer and King; Theological Anthropology; The Use of Bible in Theology; and Theological Ethics and the Novel.

Recent Dissertations and Placements:


Jennifer Carlier,
"Finding God in the Basement: Addiction and Metaphors for Salvation"


Michael Yandell,
"War and Negative Revelation: A Theoethical Reflection on Moral Injury" -
Senior minister at First Christian Church, Greensboro, NC


Rebecca Lee Copeland,
"Remembering the Word: A decentered Approach to Two-Natures Christology" - Assistant Professor of Theology, Boston School of Theology

Ryan Kuratko,
"What We See Outside of Us Is Always Connected to What Is Happening Inside of Us: Teresa of Avila and Buddhaghosa on No-Self Practice, Theology, and Oppression" - Episcopal Religious Life Adviser, Columbia University

Winston D.G. Persaud,
"Possessive Individualism and Human Flourishing: A Christian Theological Response to Globalizing Capitalism" - New American Pathways


Christina Conroy, “Theology After Residential Schools” - Assistant Professor of Christian Theology, Ambrose University

Brian S. Powers, “The End of Violent Myth:  A Reflection on Veteran Trauma, Original Sin and Wartime Violence” - Assistant Professor (Research) Vann Fellow in Christianity and the Armed Forces, Durham University, UK

Rebecca Spurrier, "Works of Love: Beauty and Fragility in a Community of Difference"; Columbia Theological Seminary, Associate Dean for Worship Life and Assistant Professor of Worship

Kyle R. Tau, "Ora et Labora?: On the Ritual Refusal of Work"; United Methodist Church, Ecumenical Staff Officer for Faith & Order and Theological Development


Ashley Gay, "God's Absence is Not Nothing: Thinking the Ab-solute Otherwise"; Simpli.Fi - Ft. Worth, Operations Coordinator

Joshua Ralston, "Law and the Rule of God: A Christian-Muslim Exchange"; University of Edinburgh, lecturer in Mulsim-Christian Relations

Jessica Smith, "On Earth as it is in Heaven: Giving Place to Angels in Christian Theology"; United Methodist Church Director of Research and Planning


Richard Floyd, "Down to Earth: Moltmann, McFague, and the Search for an Ecological Eschatology"

Darryl Dejuan Roberts, "'The Struggle Is Not Over': An Examination of the Impact of the Climate of Religious Freedom during the Civil Rights Movement on the Pursuit of Civil Rights and Religious Liberty" Placement: Senior Pastor, Mt. Welcome Missionary Church

Kirsten Heacock Sanders, "Revelations of Divine Love:  The Incarnation of Christ in Relation to the Doctrine of Creation"; Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; Adjunct Professor of Christian Thought