Study Process & Procedures

Doctoral Advisory Committee
The Senate appoints the Advisory Committee of at least three members for each candidate upon of the recommendation of the CTE where the student will pursue his/her study. It is composed of the Chief Adviser and two (2) co-advisers, of which one will be outside of CTE.

Functions of the Chief Adviser

  • S/he serves as the convenor of the Advisory Committee meeting.
  • S/he supervises and monitors the progress of the student.
  • S/he leads the review and prepares the reports of the student’s progress.

Functions of the Advisory Committee

  • It designs a program of study for the candidates in their field of study.
  • It submits periodic reports to the Senate through the ATU Dean and upon the recommendation of the CTE Local Academic Coordinator.
  • It periodically evaluates the work done and submits its annual student progress report to the ATU Dean through the CTE Local Academic Coordinator.
  • It prepares and administers the Comprehensive Examination and assesses the candidate’s readiness for writing the dissertation.
  • In case the student is in danger of failing, it issues a written warning to inform the student of his/her status. If the student shows no significant progress in his/her studies a semester after the issuance of a warning, the Advisory Committee can recommend to the ATU Dean through the CTE Local Academic Coordinator for the dismissal of the student from the program.

Methodology Seminars
All candidates are required to attend the two seminars. The seminars include Research Methodology and Guidelines for Doing Theologies in Asia (GDTA).

The Research Methodology Seminar seeks to acquaint students with basic research methodology and to help them acquire relevant skills such as the proper use of reference tools and books, identification of research topics and organization of materials. Emphasis will be placed on the acquisition of skills relating to the formulation of a dissertation statement and the development of supporting arguments. This will be done locally at the respective Centers.

The GDTA Seminar is a two-week intensive study of the Guidelines for Doing Theologies in Asia as a framework for the doctoral study program. It is designed to instil upon the student the importance of contextualization and the value of networking. It also provides an opportunity for the students to share the output of their study in the colloquia. This will be done regionally but organized centrally by the ATU Dean.

Comprehensive Study of Chosen Fields
The student will enrol in three areas of research to expand the scope of his/her course work from any of the Fields of Study. Papers related to the field of interest are required.

Comprehensive Examination
The Comprehensive Examination will be set after the completion of the course work. The examination will help evaluate the candidates’ general competence to integrate all the disciplines taken in their chosen field, and their ability to engage in theological reflection against the historical and cultural background of Asia.

The CTE Local Academic Coordinator will arrange the date of the Comprehensive Examination.

The Chief Advisor, an examiner from the Center, and an external examiner named by the CTE Local Academic Coordinator will read the Comprehensive Examination. The examiners will send their evaluation to the CTE Local Academic Coordinator who will communicate the result to the ATU Dean.

An average grade of B or (GPA – 3.0) is required in the comprehensive examinations. In the event that a candidate does not achieve the required grade for the Comprehensive Examinations, the CTE Local Academic Coordinator will require the candidate for one re-take of examination of the failed subject at an appropriate time.

A dissertation, representing original research in their field, will be required of all candidates. A working bibliography must be submitted to the Advisory Committee for approval of the dissertation proposal. The dissertation may be written in English according to the recommended Turabian Format or in another language of South East Asia for which competent evaluators are available. An abstract of approximately 600 words in English and curriculum vitae of the candidates shall be included. Copies of the abstract should be sent to the regional seminaries and the Asia Journal of Theology. The dissertation shall be read and approved by the Advisory Committee for submission.

When the doctoral candidate’s Advisory Committee members are satisfied with the dissertation, the candidates must submit one (1) copy to the ATU Dean’s office.

On receipt of the external examiner’s assessment (with or without recommendations for revision), the CTE Local Academic Coordinator in consultation with the Dean will then arrange for the oral examinations. The Chief Adviser, an external examiner and the ATU Dean, or somebody appointed by the ATU Dean, who will serve as the moderator, shall conduct the oral examinations.

After the Oral Examinations, the candidates should submit a clean, hard- bound copy each and a soft copy in CD form to:

  • ATU Dean’s office
  • CTE Local Academic Coordinator
  • The Center where the work was done

Upon completion of all the requirements, the CTE Local Academic Coordinator will arrange for the graduation service to take place at either the candidate’s seminary as part of seminary’s graduation service or at ATESEA’ s Annual Meetings/Assembly.

Grading System
ATU adopts the Letter Grade with percentage equivalents:



A 4.0
  • Work of excellent quality.
  • Demonstrates full grasp of course content.
  • Originality/innovative expression and analytical skills.
  • Able to integrate/relate content to other areas of study.
A- 3.7
 B’ 3.3
  • Mastery of the course content.
  • Ability to critically analyse/critique concepts; and bring a fresh perspective to them.
  • Clear communicative skills.
  • Presentations are of good quality, with  only minor flaws
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C’ 2.3
  • Work is marginal for the course.
  • Able to recognize course concepts.
  • Unable to communicate clearly
  • Presentations are deficient in many areas.
C 2.0
C- 1.7

A student who decides to withdraw from the program is required to:

  • Write the Dean of ATU noted by the CTE Local Academic Coordinator.
  • The Dean of ATU will inform the ATU Senate, and the sending school of the student who withdrew from the program; and
  • The student is required to reimburse the Center, ATESEA and the sending school for the scholarship assistance extended to him/her.

A student who drops a course is required to re-enrol in the course.

Cross Enrolment
A student who intends to cross enrol in other centers may be allowed only when:

  • The CTE Local Academic Coordinator recommends for approval the desired courses for cross-enrolment;
  • The desired course(s) is(are) not offered in the Center; and
  • The student wishes to spend the school term in his/her country and enrol in the subjects during the term.

Incomplete Work
A student must remove his/her incomplete grade within a semester. Any student who fails to do so within one year shall be considered as failed (F) and is required to repeat the course.  A student may be warned, placed on probation if his/her work is unsatisfactory

Graduation Requirements
A successful completion of the following academic requirements:     

  • Two Methodology Seminars which include Research Methodology Seminar and GDTA Seminar;
  • Three areas of research, in which papers pertaining to the chosen field are written;
  • A comprehensive examination; and
  • A dissertation of not more than 100,000 words.

For transferees from other schools who want to graduate under ATU, the candidate is expected to successfully complete the following:

  • Two Methodology Seminars Research Methodology Seminar and GDTA Seminar;
  • At least one area of research, in which a paper pertaining to the chosen field is written;
  • A comprehensive examination; and
  • A dissertation of not more than 100,000 words.

Procedures for Application for Graduation

1. The application for graduation should be filed in duplicate copies at the Dean’s Office of ATU and CTE Local Academic Coordinator not later than three (3) months before the end of the semester.
2. The Dean sends the application to the Senate with appropriate recommendations;
3. The Senate re-evaluates and confirms the recommendations.

Award of Degree
When the Advisory Committee is satisfied that the candidate has completed all the required work for the degree of Doctor of Theology, it shall report this fact to the Senate through the CTE Local Academic Coordinator and the ATU Dean for approval.

The Senate shall in turn recommend the award of the degree of the Board of Governors. The Dean or his/her designated representative shall confer the degree. The diploma shall carry the words “conferred by the ATESEA Theological Union.”

Time Limitation
This study program is designed for completion within a minimum of three (3) years and a maximum of six (6) years. A one (1) year extension may be approved by action of the Senate.

Student’s Academic Records
The permanent record of the student is kept at the Center of his studies and the ATU Office.

The student should maintain a record of courses, credits and his grades.

Copies of the student’s official record are available upon the request by the student.

Issuance of Honourable Dismissal and Transcript of Records
The honourable dismissal is issued upon completion of the program or approval by the ATU Senate through the recommendation of the CTE Local Academic Coordinator and the ATU Dean.  A student who wishes to severe his/her enrolment at ATU by transferring to another school may request for an honourable dismissal through writing to the CTE Local Academic Coordinator.  The issuance of honourable dismissal may be granted upon the recommendation of the CTE Local Academic Coordinator and approval of the Dean of ATU.   The official transcript of records will be sent directly to the school to which the student is officially registered and upon request by the said school from the Center /ATU Office.   A student is entitled to several copies of the transcript of records provided the record has not been transferred to another school.

Requirements for the Release of Records at the Center

  • Student clearance
  • Student Identification Card
  • Letter of Authority from the student concerned if the request is made through a representative
  • Identification Card of an authorized person

If the ATU Dean accepts the recommendation for dismissal, the student may appeal to the ATU Dean in writing.  The ATU Dean is authorized by the Senate to investigate the case. And, if necessary the ATU Dean will create a Doctoral Hearing Committee composed of the ATU Dean, the CTE Local Academic Coordinator, Chief Adviser and an external member designated by the Senate.  The decision of this committee is final.

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