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Fellowships at a Glance

Possible timeline for fellows in Theology & Practice

  Years One and Two
Teaching Fellowship
Colloquy Participation
Years Three and Four
Exams and Proposal
Teaching Apprenticeship
Colloquy Leadership
Years Five and Six
Teaching Externship
Public Presentation

Fellows do coursework for their areas of study.

Included in the coursework are four seminars related to the Program in Theology and Practice:

  1. Practical Theology, Theological Education, and Religion in a Global Context
  2. Research in Theology and Practice
  3. – 4. Two elective seminars
Fellows take examinations set by their areas.

Fellows complete a major research paper or minor examination on a particular topic in theology, practice, or practical theology. The exam or paper should grow out of the four seminars a fellow took for the program. It may serve as a minor doctoral examination if approved by the faculty in a fellow’s particular area of study.

Fellows make dissertation proposals and begin writing.

After the fourth year students may apply to extend the fellowship for two more years. The Program in Theology and Practice has funding to support every fellow for a full six years, and we hope and expect to fund every fellow through completion of the dissertation.

A financial award to support publication of the dissertation will be made to fellows who complete excellent dissertations by the end of the teaching externship.


Fellows serve as Teaching Fellows for one semester in a course in the Divinity School, the Department of Religious Studies, or another department of Vanderbilt University.

Fellows participate in Vanderbilt University’s program to prepare graduate students to be excellent teachers.

Fellows serve as Teaching Apprentices in a setting that features multi-disciplinary reflection on practice. Teaching Apprentices work as partners with faculty members in planning, leading, and evaluating a seminar. Fellows might do their apprenticeship in one of four settings:

  1. Supervised Ministry Seminar
  2. First-Year Colloquy
  3. Integrative Senior Seminar
In the final years of study Vanderbilt coordinates and pays for a teaching externship in an area theological school. Externships give fellows a chance to develop good habits for combining teaching, scholarship and service. Externs will teach with reduced loads that allow them to complete their dissertations. Each extern will receive mentoring from an experienced faculty member of the school. Externs will also receive teaching and service evaluations from their deans.




Fellows attend a monthly teaching and research colloquy. The colloquy gives fellows a chance to consider the meaning of theological education, reflect on teaching experiences, develop teaching portfolios, and present research in progress. Fellows continue to attend the monthly teaching and research colloquy. Advanced students move into leadership roles in the colloquy. Fellows present their research to a public beyond the academy through Vanderbilt’s Relevant Religion Program.