LANGUAGE PROGRAM (Prerequisites)

Ancient Greek is a prerequisite for the TAOI Ph.D. in Orthodox Studies prior to matriculation, in addition to which one other ancient tongue is required, such as Latin, Syriac, Hebrew, Coptic, Armenian, Romanian, Slavonic, Georgian, Arabic. With regard to the latter requirement, assistance may be provided by the TAOI upon request. Proficiency is also required in at least one modern language other than English. French and German are strongly recommended, but proficiency in other modern languages might also be acceptable, depending on the character of the proposed topic of research.


The stages through which students accepted into the TAOI Ph.D. Program must pass before achieving the academic title, Ph.D. in Orthodox Studies, may be described as follows:

  • Matriculation (Supplicant Status). Students are initially matriculated into the TAOI Ph.D. Program as Supplicants. Supplicant status signifies acceptance into the first two years of the TAOI Ph.D. Program, which consists of 12 credit hours of regular coursework for the first year; and 6 credit hours of Coursework plus 6 credit hours of Seminars /Tutorials for the second year of the program (see Course Descriptions above).
  • PhD Candidate (Doctorandus) or ABD Status. Upon successful completion of the first two years of doctoral studies, the student attains to the status of Ph.D. Candidate (Doctorandus), which is oftentimes referred to as the “All But Dissertation” or ABD status.
  • PhD Thesis Supervisor and Topic. In the third year of the Ph.D. in Orthodox Studies, the Ph.D. Candidate will concentrate exclusively on writing his or her doctoral dissertation, having chosen a topic approved by the Faculty as worthy of original research at the highest academic level, based, that is, on a unique investigation of sources in the relevant original ancient tongue(s), in consultation with the best secondary sources available in their respective languages, under the aegis and supervision of a specialist appointed by the TAOI Ph.D. Faculty.
  • Appointment of Examiners. The Ph.D. dissertation being submitted in a timely manner, that is to say, within the maximum period allowed of no more than seven academic years from matriculation, the TAOI Ph.D. Faculty will appoint 1 internal and 1 external examiner, who, together with the Ph.D. thesis supervisor, will read the thesis diligently and prepare questions for the Defense (Viva Voce).
  • Graduation Ceremony. On the appointed day, the successful Ph.D. Candidate will present him- or herself before Congregation, that is to say, before the Metropolitan, Board of Trustees, Faculty, Students, and the wider community, whereupon he or she shall be recognized as, and proclaimed, Doctor of Philosophy in Orthodox Studies. The Graduation Ceremony will be followed by a celebratory Graduation Banquet.


The Faculty of the TAOI Ph.D. Program is currently led by three full professors: the Very Rev. Dr. Michel E. Najim, Director of the Ph.D. Program and Professor of Patristics and Church History; the Very Rev. Dr. Joseph J. Allen, Director of AHOS, and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Ministry; and Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Assistant Director of the Ph.D. Program, Registrar, and Professor of Patristic Theology and Dogmatics;


For further details regarding the TAOI Ph.D. Program in Orthodox Studies, please contact the Office of the Registrar:

Office of the Registrar
The Antiochian Orthodox Institute
1020 Baseline Rd
La Verne, CA 91750

Phone: (909) 447-0647
Fax: (570) 319-1348