In recent years, the number of evangelical theological schools in the Majority World conferring the PhD has grown considerably. This article shares results from a survey of twenty-three schools conducted as part of the Doctoral Initiative sponsored by the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education. The results show a steep increase in program offerings and enrollment that will greatly affect faculty development in the Majority World in the coming decade. Implications for both Majority World and Western institutions are also discussed.

Introduction

In the last fifteen years, the landscape of doctoral programs that prepare Majority World theological educators has shifted dramatically1. As the Church has grown, so also have the seminaries and Bible schools tasked with training pastors and leaders for Christian service. Over time, the number of schools has increased, the level of instruction has advanced, and new PhD programs have developed. As recently as fifteen years ago, faculty members seeking doctoral degrees had to enroll at Western institutions, which often required five to seven years of full-time residential study and entailed moving entire families to a new country. After completing their degrees, scholars and family members who returned home would often face cultural readjustment challenges.

Driven by the need for more faculty members, the desire to make the doctorate degree more accessible, and the opportunity to develop more contextually engaged theological reflections, nearly two dozen self-identified Evangelical theological schools located in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe have established doctoral programs. Twenty of those schools have offered doctoral programs since 2004. The number of students enrolled in these two dozen programs has quickly eclipsed the total number of all international students in North American Evangelical PhD programs currently accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). This rapid and significant shift in enrollment represents an inflection point in the history of Evangelical theological education.

This article shares the results of a survey conducted among twenty-three theological schools located in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. The survey findings reflect the current state of these newly developed doctoral programs and indicate a continued trajectory that will have a significant impact on future generations of Church leaders. The findings raise important questions, with both positive and challenging implications for these growing doctoral programs and for the development of theological educators in the Majority World.

The Focus of the Survey

The first of its kind to focus on Majority World theological institutions, the survey was conducted from July to September 2015 at twenty-three schools identified through their connection to the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE). Therefore, the schools share a broadly Evangelical theological identity. Other doctoral programs exist in the Majority World, offered by schools that may align with historic Protestant denominations associated with the World Council of Churches, national universities, or Catholic universities. In many instances, faculty at Evangelical schools may have received training at those institutions as well. Programs with an express purpose to train Majority World leaders and that do not require full-time residency, but are located in the West (e.g. Oxford Centre for Mission Studies), were also excluded. The survey thus focuses exclusively on schools that, by confession and geographic location, fit the focus of the ICETE Doctoral Initiative.

Finally, the survey is limited to research doctorates (PhD or ThD) and do not include professional doctorates like the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) or Doctor of Missiology (DMiss) degrees. While valuable to the Church, these degrees have a different purpose and design than the PhD. In this article, the terms doctoral education, doctoral programs, and doctorates will only refer to the research doctorate degree.

A future update on this work could create an opportunity for longitudinal analysis related to completion rates and enrollment trends of both Western and Majority World programs. Further research might include student experience during and after the doctoral program, and include more demographic information, such as students’ ages, backgrounds, and vocational goals. Over time, following up with graduates to learn about their employment and writing contributions would be beneficial. Similar studies on the doctoral programs of other ecclesial communities would also be valuable.

Members of the ICETE Doctoral Committee regard as credible the doctoral programs at the twenty-three schools studied. They are offered by legitimate institutions and most often involve faculty members known to the ICETE community. Inclusion, however, does not indicate an endorsement and the survey was not designed to evaluate particular programs. The list is not exhaustive, as new programs have been developed since the survey was conducted and a program that should have been included was inadvertently omitted. The list thus provides a representative snapshot in time of a growing group of doctoral programs.

Conducting the Survey

A preliminary survey of seventeen schools took place in 2012 and was followed in 2015 by a more comprehensive survey commissioned by the ICETE Doctoral Steering Committee. By 2015, the Committee had identified twenty-three schools offering more than 60 doctoral degree programs combined. All twenty-three schools responded to the survey by providing data on their doctoral programs (see Appendix 1 for the full list).

In each case, the President (Principal) of the school received an introductory email with a link to an online survey. Either the President or a designee would complete the questionnaire. The survey allowed participants to answer both multiple choice and open-ended questions related to each distinct area of study. Responses were then compiled and analyzed to illustrate the current state of doctoral offerings at these schools. Where appropriate, comparisons have been made with additional information from the 2012 survey and other data.

In 2010, ICETE convened the Doctoral Consultation, a three-year project addressing the emerging Majority World doctoral programs. Schools, accreditation groups, and support agencies convened in Beirut (2010), Bangalore (2011), and Nairobi (2012). The Consultation sought to define excellence and identify best practices in doctoral education. The Beirut Benchmarks (2010) outline six qualities of doctoral graduates. These include a comprehensive understanding of the field of study, faithful exercise of crucial skills, research that represents serious inquiry with integrity, a creative and original contribution worthy of publication, contextual relevance that is biblically informed and critically engaged, teaching strengths, and missional impact. The subsequent meetings in Bangalore and Nairobi sought to operationalize the Benchmarks. A Doctoral Steering Committee was established to continue working with the schools and oversee the publication of “best practices” in doctoral education (Shaw 2015).

The emergence of Evangelical doctoral programs in the Majority World has occurred at a time of reflection on and change in doctoral-level education, as evidenced broadly by the work of the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate (CID) in the US and of the Bologna Process in Europe. Changes in doctoral education, described as in a “state of flux,” bring great excitement, as well as concern and frustration, over the degree (Aitchison and Pare 2012, 12). Rather than producing dissertations, schools, according to the CID, should emphasize the “formation of scholars” and develop doctoral programs that have a “fitness of purpose” in order to produce more holistic outcomes (Walker 2008, Nerad and Hegglund 2008). Questions about the doctoral process have also emerged, including those related to the purpose of the degree, program design, collaboration, and the formation of doctoral students who will serve as teaching faculty and as researchers (Ehrenberg, Kuh et al. 2009, Baud and Lee 2009). Pressures related to program duration, completion rates and duration, delivery modes, and finances add further contour to the landscape in which these new programs have emerged.

Findings of the Survey

The survey sought self-reported data on the current state of Evangelical doctoral education in the Majority World, including figures related to enrollments, graduations, disciplines and areas of study, and resources available to support the programs. It did not attempt to provide an assessment of the quality of the programs.

Steep and Steady Growth in the New PhD Programs and Program Offerings

The first Evangelical Majority World doctoral programs were established in the late 1990s by the South Asia Institute for Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS) and Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, which were both offering PhDs by 2000. Since that time, more than twenty schools have started PhD programs (Figure 1). Among the twenty-three schools surveyed, three programs are located in Latin America, ten in Africa, nine in Asia, and one in Eastern Europe. Additional programs have emerged since the survey was conducted from July to September 2015.

In addition to new schools offering doctorate programs, those with existing programs have expanded the number of program offerings at the PhD level (Figure 2). At the time of the ICETE meeting in Bangalore, India (2011), seventeen schools were hosting thirty-six PhD programs. By 2015, the number of schools had increased from seventeen to twenty-three, but the number of doctoral programs offered had increased by more than 80%, from thirty-six to sixty-six programs. Ten schools had only one PhD program, but fi ve schools were offering a PhD in fi ve or more areas. For example, at the Asia Graduate School of Theology in the Philippines, students may pursue a PhD in six distinct areas: Biblical Studies, Theology and Church History, Holistic Child development, Peace Studies, Intercultural Studies, and Transformative Learning. In this study, AGST represents one school with six programs.

Significant Enrollment Increase

The aggregate enrollment in Majority World programs has become significant. By 2012, more than 400 students had enrolled in these doctoral programs. Over the next three years, the number of enrolled students would increase by 50%, bringing the total number of enrolled students to more than 700 (Figure 3).

More than half of the surveyed schools have relatively small PhD programs with fewer than twenty-five students enrolled. Seven schools have ten or fewer doctoral students. However, nine of the programs have twenty-five or more students, and the four largest programs each have more than fifty. The nine “large” programs account for 72% of the total enrollment. The four largest programs are at Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS), South African Theological Seminary (SATS), Programa Doctoral en Teología (PRODOLA), and Torch Trinity, and account for 45% of the total enrollment.

Points of Comparison

For these Majority World schools, the last decade represents a time of rapid expansion of PhD offerings and increased enrollment in doctoral programs. As a point of comparison, the Association for Theological Schools (ATS) accredits forty-seven institutions that offer a PhD in the United States and Canada. These include Evangelical, mainline Protestant, and Catholic schools. In the 2014-2015 academic year, total enrollment of visa students in all ATS-accredited PhD programs was at 638. This figure represents all international students from both the West (Europe, Australia, etc.) and the Majority World. Furthermore, PhD enrollment at ATS-accredited schools has declined by more than 20% since the earliest data available in 2003 (Association of Theological Schools, Head Count Enrollment by Race or Ethnic Group, Degree, and Gender: All Member Schools).

While a number of factors affect enrollment rates in doctoral programs at North American theological institutions, these numbers do not reflect broader trends in higher education. In 2015, the total number of international students enrolled in PhD programs of all kinds in North America had increased by more than 15% over the previous ten years (Open Doors Data International Students: Academic Level). Therefore, declines in PhD enrollment at North American theological schools cannot be attributed merely to tighter visa controls after 9/11 or to the 2008 economic downturn. Rather, PhD enrollments of international students at North American theological schools have declined during a period of general increase in PhD enrollments of international students across all fields of study. At the same time, enrollments in new PhD programs at Evangelical schools in the Majority World were markedly increasing.

A more direct comparison of enrollment could be made with the fourteen ATS-accredited PhD programs at North American schools that self-identify as Evangelical (see Appendix 2 for the list)2. In 2012, the total number of “non-Korean” international students enrolled in the doctoral programs at these fourteen schools totaled 1893. Even if those numbers run counter to current trends of decline and hold steady, the number of Majority World PhD students enrolled in programs at Majority World Evangelical institutions is now multiple times the number of comparative students enrolled in PhD programs at North American Evangelical schools (see Figure 4).

More Majority World Evangelical students are earning PhDs and they are doing so increasingly at schools in their home contexts. By 2015, the number of students enrolled in doctoral programs at Evangelical institutions in the Majority World had eclipsed the total number of international students pursuing PhDs at all theological schools in North America. In addition, the number enrolled in these new programs was significantly higher than that of comparative students at expressly Evangelical schools in North America and perhaps worldwide4. It is clear that the centers of faculty training for Evangelical theological schools in the Majority World have shifted away from the West.

Graduates

While the total number of enrolled PhD students at Majority World Evangelical schools remains quite large, the number of graduates remains relatively small. As of 2015, the twenty-three schools had only produced 262 PhD graduates. 70% of these schools have ten or fewer graduates, including seven schools that had yet to celebrate a doctoral commencement. In fact, two schools (NBTS and SATS) account for 60% of all PhD graduates. Only NBTS has more than fifty graduates (see Appendix 1 for a listing of graduate numbers at each school).

The relative newness of most of these programs largely accounts for the low number of graduates. Thirty of the PhD offerings did not even exist in 2012. Six schools had only begun their doctoral programs in the three years prior to the survey, which is not enough time to produce the first group of graduates. The graduate numbers will undoubtedly increase as enough time passes for students to complete their programs. Between 2012 and 2015, the original 17 schools saw their PhD graduate numbers increase by 53%. Over the next five years, assuming adequate completion rates, hundreds of teachers holding PhDs earned in the Majority World will join faculty and Church leadership ranks.

Characteristics of the Schools and Their Programs

The survey data indicate that schools have developed programs with a variety of program designs, study areas, and levels of resourcing.

Program Design

Doctoral program design varies greatly across Western contexts. In the US, PhD programs often include multiple years of coursework, comprehensive examinations, and the oral defense of a dissertation. In Europe, the thesis is often the only requirement, with attendance of lectures or seminars left to the discretion of students and their supervisors. European programs therefore focus on original research, rather than on coursework (Nerad and Heggelund 2008, 313).

Among the Majority World schools surveyed, only two (less than 10%) follow the “dissertation only” model. The vast majority require students to complete some amount of coursework, though the number of hours varies from program to program. Several of the schools refer to their program design as a “hybrid” of the US and European models.

Fewer than half (48%) of the surveyed schools have designed their programs as full-time residential degrees. Approximately one-third have modular formats, and two schools conduct their programs completely via distance learning. The formats vary, but the more common design includes a more traditional, residential, classroom-oriented approach.

Degree Programs and Areas of Study

Evangelical schools in the Majority World offer PhD programs with more than a dozen areas of study (Figure 6). Most students are pursuing degrees in the core fields of Biblical Studies and Theology. Students can also earn degrees in other fields common in the West, such as Counseling, Education, and Intercultural Studies. In addition, 10% of enrolled students are pursuing degrees in integrated fields, such as Peace Studies, Theology and Development, and Christian Studies. Two of the larger programs at PRODOLA and SATS are more difficult to define by discipline as students can pursue nearly any topic with an approved supervisor5. The breadth of program offerings means that in the coming years, teaching faculty across a variety of disciplines will have earned their degrees from schools in the Majority World.

Teaching and Supervising Faculty

The twenty-three schools reported a large number of residential faculty members actively teaching in their PhD programs. The total number of 233 does not include visiting faculty, outside supervisors, or external examiners. Student-to-faculty ratios vary greatly among institutions and across various areas of study. For example, in fields such as Counseling, Ethics, and Translation Studies, the student-to-faculty ratio is greater than 7:1, while in fields such as Biblical Studies, Theology, Church History, and some of the integrated fields, the ratio is less than 2:1. Given the low ratios in so many key areas, most faculty members focus their attention at the Master’s, Bachelor’s, and certificate levels.

Although the number of residential faculty members is large, few among the 233 have experience as primary dissertation supervisors. Some of the doctoral programs are so new that faculty have yet to develop supervisory experience; therefore, outside supervisors are needed. Other schools, such as AGST, PRODOLA, and SATS, rely on experienced faculty from other institutions by design. The large faculty numbers reported by the schools indicate a desire to involve residential faculty to a larger extent in their doctoral programs. Training and experience remain two of the greatest needs. In some disciplines, very few faculty members exist in comparison to growing student enrollments. Schools may have a particular need for targeted additions to their faculties.

Library Resources

In the survey, schools also reported on their library holdings. Of the twenty-three schools, only six have libraries with 50,000 or more volumes. Only one school, SAIACS, has a library with more than 100,000 volumes. About half of the schools (11) have between 25,000 and 50,000 books. Three reported less than 25,000. Another three (programs at PRODOLA and the Asia Graduate School of Theology) are consortium-based, do not have campuses, and therefore rely on outside libraries for student use.

All of the schools surveyed reported some level of access to electronic resources. However, the level of resourcing varied considerably. Thirteen schools have access to the ATLA database. Eleven reported access to EBSCO. However, only seven schools have access to both. Other electronic resources included online journals, specific database and bibliographic resources, and additional electronic access through partnerships with other schools and libraries.

Approximately half of the schools (11) publish their own academic journals. Eight produce issues twice a year. The others publish less frequently.

Partnerships

Every school in the survey is in some form of partnership with Western institutions or faculty members (Figure 7). Two schools are involved in informal arrangements with Western faculty members. Several of the schools have formal Memoranda of Understanding with Western schools. The most common partnerships involve outside faculty teaching and supervising doctoral students. Other partnerships involve study trips for students to access larger library holdings for their research. Five of the schools receive accreditation through or conduct a joint program with another school.

Partnerships thus enable schools to augment their resources for their doctoral programs. Although these partnerships represent important connections between Western and Majority World programs, schools reported a wide variety of partners, including other schools in the Majority World.

Implications

Much like how the centers of Christianity have shifted from the West (see Robert 2000, Jenkins 2002, Sanneh 2009, Sunquist 2015), doctoral training for Evangelical students from the Majority World has also shifted dramatically to the East and South. Trends of rising student enrollments, new PhD programs, and expanded program offerings indicate that an increasing number of pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers will be trained by professors who have earned their degrees at institutions within their own cultural contexts.

Positive Implications for the Schools

The increasing availability of quality doctoral education has several positive implications for the Church. First, Majority World programs directly address issues of achievability related to time, travel, and study expenses (Cunningham 2007, Starcher and Stick 2003). Residential PhD studies in the West come with considerable costs, including tuition and school fees, higher costs of living, and international travel. Furthermore, institutions must release developing faculty members for extended periods when they study and hope they will return after their degrees. The impact of cultural transitions (upon leaving and returning) takes a toll on both scholars and family members who travel abroad. Majority World programs alleviate many of these pressures as they are less expensive, are often located within a student’s regional or cultural context, and may provide students with opportunities to continue their teaching and ministry while studying.

In addition to logistical and economic advantages, Majority World programs provide increased opportunities for contextual theological engagement. Meaningful engagement requires more than geographic proximity. Higgs states that for a program to be African, it must do more than take place on African soil; rather, an African program “directs its attention to issues, concerns and theoretical or conceptual underpinnings of African culture” (Higgs 2008, 448). Similarly, Caldwell adds that Asian programs involve more than the physical location and ethnic makeup of faculty; instead, they must address Asian issues and engage Asian pedagogies (2010, 32). The survey did not assess the degree to which such engagement occurs. However, the schools surveyed share both an implicit and explicit value in helping doctoral students to address important issues within their contexts. An in-depth study of three schools demonstrates that faculty and students perceive that such engagement is happening (Hunter 2014).

These new programs also have an opportunity to address several needs related to doctoral education, as described in the literature. The broader push for socially relevant dissertations (Nerad and Heggelund 2008) mirrors the desire for research that serves the Church (Poerwowidagdo 2003, Starcher and Stick 2003). Both the Beirut Benchmarks (2010) and the Best Practices in Doctoral Education (Shaw 2015) stress the importance of addressing contextually relevant issues. New programs can attend to issues such as preparing educators for careers in teaching (not just equipping graduates with research skills) and for roles in administrative leadership (Starcher and Stick 2005, Walker 2008, Danby and Lee 2012). Furthermore, contextually engaged research further advances theological development in the Majority World Church (Hunter 2014, 165-171).

The dramatic shift in the enrollment of Majority World Evangelical PhD students demonstrates the perceived viability of Majority World programs that helps to counter what Caldwell has referred to as “subtle colonialism,” which presumes that all good training must be done in the West” (2010, 33). However, this may not yet be fully evident as some in Majority World programs may experience a sense of inferiority toward those in larger and more established Western programs (Hunter 2014, 121). Yet, as more faculty members hold degrees from Majority World institutions, students will recognize more and more the viability, importance, and value of these programs.

Challenging Implications for the Schools

The rapid growth of viable doctoral programs outside the West has many positive implications for theological education and for the Church. However, some questions and challenges have also emerged.

First, enrollment has greatly outpaced graduation rates. While the newness of the programs contributes to this discrepancy, concerns for completion rates exist nonetheless. Researchers have identified the overall time students spend working toward PhDs globally and the challenges related to completion rates (Ehrenberg, Kuh, and Cornell Higher Education Research Institute 2009). In South Africa, less than 10% of doctoral students graduate within five years (Nerad and Heggelund 2008). According to a report by the Auburn Center, theological schools in the US follow a similar pattern, with the average completion time for a PhD being seven years (Bleier and Wheeler 2010). Distance programs that enroll students who continue to teach and serve in ministry during their studies often take much longer to complete. Time will tell how many of the more than 700 currently enrolled Majority World Evangelical doctoral students will complete their degrees.

A second concern relates to issues of accreditation and academic rigor. Some Evangelical regional accrediting bodies have not yet developed accreditation standards for PhD programs. In some cases, schools have received accreditation from the state by meeting government academic standards. In other cases, programs cannot receive accreditation until they have existed for a certain number of years and produced a minimum number of graduates. In addition to such systemic challenges, questions of academic standards arise. Enrollment has outpaced the development of faculty and library resources, raising concerns over academic viability. Further questions arise from a perceived dichotomy between contextual engagement and academic excellence (Hunter 2014, 172). The ICETE Doctoral Initiative began in part to support schools in developing academic and contextual credibility. Resources such as Best Practices in Doctoral Education (Shaw 2015) can help schools to pursue excellence in all areas.

Third, the need for trained faculty who can supervise dissertations presents a particular challenge. Despite reporting a large number of residential faculty members engaged in their PhD programs, seventeen schools also reported a need to use outside supervisors for doctoral dissertations. Time will hopefully address this challenge as residential faculty gain experience. However, it will be important for schools to intentionally support faculty members in cultivating supervisory skills and experience.

A fourth area of concern is the lack of library resources available for doctoral research. The survey revealed that most schools have a relatively low number of library holdings as compared to their Western counterparts. Determining the suitability of a collection for doctoral research would require in-depth research at each institution. However, it is clear that financial constraints limit the growth of libraries even as schools increase their doctoral program offerings. Most schools also remain under-resourced in their access to electronic databases and online journals. Issues related to consistent internet access and bandwidth pose additional challenges.

Partnerships represent one solution for addressing students’ need for greater access to resources. Through nearby universities or study trips abroad, students can supplement their access to library resources as institutions continue to upgrade their holdings. Nevertheless, the need remains for more contextually focused, locally generated resources. As schools continue to create cultures of research and to generate theological reflection, they will also help to build (slowly) this needed portion of the collection.

Finally, the rapid development and expansion of PhD programs raise the question of sustainability. Will schools be able to find sufficient qualified applicants to maintain current enrollment levels or begin new programs? If applicants exist, are there enough faculty positions for gradates to fill at theological schools in their regions? While comprehensive data may not exist, school leaders believe that institutions in the Majority World have a great need for faculty and scholars trained at the doctoral level. The maturation of master’s-level programs and the push for increased credentials among faculty members teaching at all levels would indicate that the overall need for doctoral graduates remains, even as local needs may vary.

In addition, many schools rely on scholarship support for students at all levels. PhD studies are particularly cost-intensive because of the need for small student-to-faculty ratios in doctoral seminars, as well as for one-on-one supervision and mentoring during the dissertation process. Therefore, finding enough funding to support growing PhD programs will be critical. Before launching additional programs, schools should consider carefully the needed areas of study, and the required human and library resources. Schools should also consider program formats that will best serve student and faculty needs in their regions at this time.

Opportunities for the Future of Doctoral Programs

In this “time of flux” for both broader doctoral education and theological education, Evangelical seminaries in the Majority World have an opportunity to try new ideas, experiment with different program formats, and develop models that best serve their unique contexts. Integrated programs such as Theology and Development represent one such response to a significant contextual need. Although they face challenges in developing credibility, young programs can be more innovative in their responses to a changing environment because they are less encumbered by institutional and historical structures.

Findings from the survey may have direct implications for Western schools as well. The rise of Majority World doctoral programs has coincided with declining numbers of international students in ATS-accredited Evangelical PhD programs in North America. The correlation between the shifting enrollments suggests that some students who would have entered North American programs have instead enrolled at schools in their home contexts. Trends indicate that this may continue at even higher rates over time. However, through new partnerships, multiple institutions may now play a role in the formation of doctoral students. Western schools are no longer the only option for PhD students and may need to consider new ways of contributing to the development of faculty members at Evangelical theological schools in the Majority World.

Finally, newly developed doctoral programs can emphasize the value of contextual engagement in the formation of doctoral students by further developing residential faculty who can bring intracultural critique to their supervision of doctoral students. Increased opportunities for writing, publication, access to regional theological journals, and the development of new resources will also serve students and promote deeper theological reflection.

Conclusion

The data from the 2015 survey of twenty-three Evangelical schools in the Majority World indicate that a significant shift has already occurred in enrollment patterns for doctoral education. If most of the enrolled doctoral students graduate and obtain teaching positions at theological institutions in their home contexts, then these new PhD programs will greatly influence theological training for future generations of Christian leaders across the Majority World. At the same time, rapid growth also places a strain on the faculty, library, and scholarship resources needed to sustain doctoral programs, requiring new partnerships and creative strategies. As programs develop and expand, they will not only contribute to the formation of future faculty members, but also shape emerging models of doctoral education at theological schools. The shifts documented above have happened quickly and the trajectories would indicate that the landscape has changed, perhaps permanently.

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Footnotes

1 In this article, “Majority World” refers to nations located outside the “West.” Historic terms such as “Third World” or “Developing World” often carry a pejorative connotation. Directional terms such as “West” and “Global South” are more neutral, but have their limitations, as the regions discussed do not fall neatly within geographical lines. For example, Latin America is clearly in the Western hemisphere, but is not generally considered as “the West.” On the other hand, Australia is in the Southern hemisphere, but is more often associated with the resources and power found in Europe and North America. Majority World is a positive term that reflects the global population distribution in general and the concentration of Christians in particular, as the majority of Christians worldwide now live in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

2 Evangelical students study in PhD programs at other schools, but these fourteen schools align theologically with the Majority World schools.

3 Demographic information of students can be difficult to obtain due to privacy laws and differences in recordkeeping. Therefore finding a precise number of Majority World students can be difficult. At the time of the initial survey, schools supplied the number of international students (excluding Korean students) enrolled in the PhD program. Korean numbers were treated separately as they are often large and differed from the 2013 comparison.

4 Enrollment numbers at other Western institutions in the UK, Western Europe, Australia, etc. have not been collected. Most of the theological schools in these regions belong to larger universities and do not always embrace the same confessional institutional identities as their counterparts in North America and the Majority World. Therefore, it is likely that the number of students from the Majority earning a PhD at Evangelical schools within their home contexts
is already larger than the total number of Majority World students earning their degrees at Evangelical schools in all of the West.

5 Both PRODOLA and SATS have unique distance education models that allow students to pursue their degrees off-site. Both have very little infrastructure and rely primarily on supervisors from other institutions who agree to work with their enrolled students. These programs provide the credentials and framework for the student and mentor to complete the dissertation. In the survey, both schools indicated only one program offered, but their students write dissertations that reflect a variety of disciplines that would be reported as separate programs by other schools.

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Evan Hunter

Evan Hunter has worked with ScholarLeaders International since 2004. He currently serves as Vice President. Through SL, he has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of theological leaders across the Majority World. He holds a PhD in Educational Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He and his family live near Minneapolis, Minnesota.