In the academic study of theology, which is deeply rooted in the Christian tradition, doctoral students are often conferred a Doctor of Theology, a Doctor of Philosophy, a Doctor of Ministry, or a Doctor of Practical Theology. However, the Doctor of Ministry is generally understood as a professional doctorate.
In the United States, some of the older theological seminaries began offering the Doctor of Theology as an equivalent to the research Doctor of Philosophy. In Princeton Theological Seminary, for example, this practice was inherited from the German system of education since the professors involved in establishing the doctoral program were trained in German Universities. Princeton Theological Seminary has since switched to using Doctor of Philosophy as its main designation. A similar shift happened at Harvard Divinity School in 2015. The only Association of Theological Schools accredited schools currently accepting students to Th.D. programs are:
In the United Kingdom, the Doctor of Theology is a fairly new doctoral program. Certain universities have begun offering it as a form of practical doctorate, comparable to the Doctor of Ministry in the United States. To offer a doctorate that helping distinguishes the more practical nature of the degree, some British universities have adopted the term Doctor of Practical Theology.