STS Doctor of Theology (D.Theol) Programme
1. Purpose of the Programme
The purpose of the Doctor of Theology (DTheol) degree is to provide students with advanced
understanding and mastery of a specific area of theological discipline for teaching and
research in theological schools and other institutions.
2. Goal of the Programme
The goal of the programme is to equip students with competence to engage in original
research and writing in the discipline, critical knowledge of theological and other cognate
disciplines that promote scholarship and fuller understanding of theological knowledge for
the benefit of the ministry of church, academy and society.
3. Expectations/Learning Outcomes
The programme shall demonstrate learning outcomes that reflect the goal(s) of the
programme and show evidence of students’ fuller mastery and competency in the area of
4. Evaluation/Assessment of the Degree Programme
STS Academic Department (Doctoral Committee) shall conduct a regular assessment of the
degree to evaluate the extent of the alignment of the goals of the degree programme to
student learning outcomes. The assessment shall also determine the effectiveness of the
degree programme in terms of the percentage of graduates and their placements.
The DTheol programme is research-based study programme and doctoral students are
expected to do independent and structured studies with their supervisors related to their field
of study/research ( see 8.1, 8.2 & 8.3). At least one ancient language relevant to the area of
studies shall be required (for instance Greek and Hebrew for biblical studies). Oral thesis
defence and the writing of a doctoral thesis/dissertation shall be required.
6.1. Admission is open to students with a recognized MTheol and possessing intellectual
capacity for intensive scholarly studies. The applicant will submit:
• Two copies of the official transcript of records of MTheol from the institution where
the applicants did their MTheol programme.
• Two recent passport photographs (or one for online application).
• Two letters of recommendation: One from the institution where the applicant did the
MTh programme and one from the church/Christian organization/institution official
of the applicant.
• A copy of a recent and complete physical examination.
• A certificate of English language competency: TOEFL result of 600 (or 250
computer-based points) or IELTS: 7.0 or equivalent scores in another recognized
• A proposal for the intended research (10 pages).
• Non-refundable application fee (RM300)
6.2. Application form for admission may be obtained from STS Academic Office or
downloaded from STS website: www.stssabah.org
6.3. Application for admission is to be sent to STS Director of Admission.
6.4. The deadline for submission of application will be either on 1st November (January
intake) or 1st April (June intake).
These programmes require completion within a minimum of four (4) years for fulltime
students and a maximum of six (6) years for part-time students.
8. Study Process and Procedures
8.1. Doctoral Advisory Committee
The Academic Department (Doctoral Programme Committee) will appoint an Advisory
Committee consisting of three members for each candidate: the Chief Advisor/supervisor,
External Advisor/supervisor, and a member of the Doctoral Committee.
8.2. Roles and Functions of the Chief Advisor/Supervisor
• To serve as the convener of the Advisory Committee meeting.
• To supervise and monitor the student’s progress.
8.3. Functions of the Advisory Committee
• To design a programme of guided study for the candidates in their chosen field of
study (courses related to the thesis).
• To submit periodic reports (one report a semester for fulltime candidate and one
report a year for part-time candidate) on the progress of the candidates to the Doctoral
• To prepare and administer the review meetings and to assess whether the candidate is
ready to begin writing the dissertation/thesis.
• To issue a written warning to a doctoral candidate who shows no significant progress
or in danger of failing the doctoral programme.
8.4. Methodology Seminars
Students/candidates are required to attend two methodology seminars (which may be
conducted by ATESEA for D.Theol students/candidates).
8.5. Interdisciplinary Seminars
Candidates are required to attend interdisciplinary seminars organized by the Doctoral
Programme committee and/or by other seminaries (STM, MTS or other seminaries under
ATESEA) during the course of their programme. They are required to have four
presentations: i) thesis proposal ii) first chapter of the thesis iii) first draft of the thesis as a
preparation for pre-viva iv) final draft of the thesis as a preparation for the viva
8.6. Guided Study Courses
Students/candidates are required to do at least three guided study courses including a
literature review as a preparation for the writing of the dissertation/thesis designed and
arranged by the Advisory Committee. The guided study courses will be conducted by the
chief advisor and external advisor during the early stage of the programme. The Advisory
Committee may invite a lecturer in the field of study of the student/candidate from other
seminaries with the approval of the Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme committee to
teach the guided study course.
8.7. Review/Assessment Meetings
This will be conducted for each student/candidate once he/she completes the guided study
courses. The student/candidate will submit a report on the progress his/her studies to the
Advisory committee and the Chief Advisor/supervisor will recommend to the Coordinator of
the Doctoral Programme committee for the student to have the review/assessment meeting.
The purpose is to review/assess the student’s readiness for the dissertation writing. The
review/assessment will be attended by a member of the committee, advisors/supervisors (the
Advisory committee) and the student/candidate.
• All students/candidates are required to write a dissertation (80,000-90,000 words
excluding bibliography & appendixes). The dissertation must be an original
contribution to the state of scholarship of the chosen topic of study.
• The students/candidates will be working closely with their respective
advisors/supervisors during the dissertation/thesis writing.
• The candidates will be given an opportunity to teach a course related to their field of
study in the final year of their programme under the supervision of the Chief
• Upon completion of the dissertation/thesis writing, the Advisory Committee will
inform the Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme committee.
• The Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme committee will make the arrangements
for the oral thesis defence (voce viva).
8.9. Examination of Thesis: Written Thesis & Thesis Oral Defence
8.9.1. The candidate will submit to the Office of the Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme
three copies of his/her thesis. All copies of the thesis will be bound in temporary form and
one copy in electronic form. The length of the thesis will conform to the prescribed
requirements (80,000 words excluding bibliography & appendixes). The thesis must be
written and presented in accordance with the current guidelines and format (Kate L.
Thurabian/Chicago Style for Students & Researchers).
8.9.2. The thesis must be the candidate’s own work, with no hint of plagiarism and must
reach a satisfactory standard of literary presentation.
8.9.3 Before a student/candidate submit a thesis, the chief advisor/supervisor must sign
a Certification of Thesis form, to be submitted with the thesis, stating that the thesis conforms
to the requirements of the regulations.
8.9.4 The Doctoral Programme Committee appoints three examiners (two external and one
internal). A members of the Doctoral Programme committee will be the moderator during the
oral thesis defence. The two advisors/supervisors will attend the oral thesis defence as
8.9.5 The examiners will be expected to report in writing two months from the receipt of the
thesis and make a recommendation that the thesis be placed in one of five categories:
(a) that the award be granted
(b) that minor amendments be made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Doctoral
(c) that major amendments be made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Doctoral
(d) that a significantly revised thesis be re-submitted for examination
(e) that the award not be granted.
An examiner will be replaced if the report is not received within two months.
8.9.6 In the event of a disagreement arising amongst examiners, the Doctoral Programme
Committee may appoint a fourth examiner.
8.9.7 In the event of a re-submission of the thesis, the Research Committee may appoint the
same examiners or may appoint one or more different examiners. The same examination
process will apply except that examiners will be asked to make a recommendation in one of
• that the award be granted
• that minor amendments be made to the thesis to the satisfaction of the Doctoral
• that the award not be granted.
8.9.8 Examiners’ Reports
Students/candidates will be given a copy of the examiners’ reports at the completion of the
examination process (after the oral thesis defence). Examiners’ names will be included unless
a written request to the contrary has been received by the Coordinator of the Doctoral
8.9.9 Submission of the Completed Thesis
When any editions as determined by the Doctoral Programme committee in light of the
examiners’ reports have been completed, two bound copies of the thesis and one electronic
copy (properly formatted) are to be submitted to the Office of the Coordinator of the Doctoral
A student/candidate who decides to withdraw from the programme is required to write to the
Coordinator of the Doctoral Programme committee with the approval of his/her Advisory
10.1. If the student/candidate’s progress is unsatisfactory within a year (for fulltime student)
two years (for part-time student), the Advisory Committee will ask the student/candidate to
show cause why his/her studies should not be terminated. Unsatisfactory progress (such as
not submitting any required assignment, plagiarism or unsatisfactory work) occurs when
there is no evidence that production of the thesis has been advanced by identifiable further
research, constructive meetings of the candidate with the supervisor, or written drafts, and
where there are insufficient grounds for special consideration.
10.2. Any show-cause submission by the candidate will be considered by the Advisory
committee and the committee’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Doctoral
Programme committee. The committee may recommend the termination of the
student/candidate, continuation of student/candidate, or imposition of conditions on
continuation of the student/candidate.
10.3. If the student/candidate does not show cause, the Advisory Committee will recommend
termination of candidature to the Doctoral Programme Committee.
10.4. A student/candidate who has been terminated may have recourse to the appeals
procedures set out in the Handbook under General Academic Regulations. The decision of
the Appeals Committee is final.
11. Graduation Requirements
Fulfil all the academic requirements and pay all the fees.
12. Tuition and other Fees (Tentative)
• Application fee: RM300 (Non-refundable)
• Tuition fees and other miscellaneous fees: RM24,000 (fulltime: 4 years; part-time: 6
years & maximum length of studies: 10 years)
• Extension fees: RM6,000 (per academic year)
• Graduation fees: RM500