The Program in Theology and Practice seeks to address two related needs: for professors in fields directly related to the arts of congregational ministry (like pastoral theology, homiletics, worship, and congregational leadership), and for professors in every field who can connect their academic work to the practice of ministry. The program hopes to form a generation of professors who do “practical theology” in both of these senses – and in ways we cannot yet imagine. Funded by major commitments from the Lilly Endowment and from Vanderbilt, the program will involve 25 Vanderbilt faculty members, 20 experienced ministers, 50 graduate students, and eight different theological schools. For additional information please see the Theology and Practice Manual.
The program awards five fellowships each year to Ph.D. candidates in Religion at Vanderbilt. Fellowships pay full tuition and provide stipends of $17,500 for up to six years of study. The first years feature coursework in a fellow’s primary area of study and special interdisciplinary seminars in theology and practice. Fellows then take examinations and begin to write dissertations that approach the work of their fields with questions of practice in mind. The final years can include additional funding that allows fellows to finish their dissertations while teaching in area theological schools. Fellowships also provide financial support for publication of outstanding dissertations.
Fellows will be selected from candidates admitted to any of the eight Ph.D. programs in the Graduate Department of Religion. The fellowships are particularly suited to people who hold the Master of Divinity degree and have experience in ministry. Vanderbilt values diversity in every aspect of its community and especially encourages women and people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to apply for the fellowships.