Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) in Holistic Child Development

This is a 60 credit hour, research based program intended to prepare participants to engage in theological reflection and undertake original research in the area of holistic ministry to needy children both in the church and outside the church. The program will also develop faculty for HCD programs in theological schools.


The Ph.D. in HCD is a multi-year, inter-disciplinary, research-oriented degree that builds on an earned master’s degree. Graduates of the Ph.D. in HCD will be prepared to teach, to lead specialized ministries for children, and to engage in intensive and original research. It is intended for those who are or will be high-level practitioners and for those who are leaders or administrators of ministries with children.


This program exists to equip leaders, teachers, child advocates, practitioners, and pastors who have the gifts, skill, and capacity to care holistically for children inside and outside the church.



The program envisions equipping leaders and churches with the ethos and mindset for holistic ministry with children.



The program will function on the following values:
Christ-centered education. Program participants are always led to the realization that in ministering to children, Jesus Christ reigns supreme and that every child will be led to a personal relationship of Jesus

Holistic approach to ministering to “the least of these” (Mark 9:37). A holistic approach treats the physical, emotional, and social needs of children as well as the spiritual. The Bible says, “So Jesus grew both in height and in wisdom, and he was loved by God and by all who knew him,” (Luke 2:52, NLT). The curriculum will take into consideration various aspects of child development for holistic ministry.

Intentional and strategic intervention for children in crisis and at risk. Program participants will be challenged to engage Bible-based, professional and relevant interventions that would enable children to grow up in the fear and knowledge of the Lord so they, too, could
minister to others including their families, friends, and others around them.

Learning for life contexts. Classroom interactions are always culture sensitive and instruction, scholarly research, and major projects will always be geared towards various of areas of ministries with children.

Developmental orientation. Attention will be given to development theories and processes within a biblical framework and their implications to ministry. This is intrinsically related to the concept of the individual worth of each child and the value of giving every child respect and consideration.


The Ph.D. in HCD is designed to meet the need of the church and society for competent child advocates, practitioners, and educators. Upon completion of the program the students will have developed the following competencies:

Leadership Competence – as well-informed, passionate and skilled leaders of graduate level and/or grass-roots ministry with children inside and outside the church.
Children in Crisis Ministry Competence – as creative resource persons for ministering with children in crisis in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
Competence as Educators—as effective teachers and mentors in the field of holistic child development.
Research Competence – as scholarly and strategic researchers and thinkers on issues related to children; ability to engage in action research for social change.



Core Units (21 units)
Choose seven (7) of the following:
Biblical Theology of Children and Childhood
Children in Socio-Cultural and Historical Context
Mission with Children at Risk
Transformational Leadership for Holistic Child Development
Advanced Christian Nurture and Development of Children
Transformation Theology
Theology of Compassion
Intervention Strategies for Children in Crisis
Action Research for Social Change

Concentration Units* (15 units)
Choose five (5) of the following:
Child, Church, and Mission**
Approaches to Holistic Ministry**
Child in Changing Contexts and Cultures**
Holistic Nurture of Children**
Physical Development and Public Health
Learners with Special Needs
Children’s Spirituality

Electives and Practicum (9 units)
Any relevant course from other AGST seminaries or from their home country – (6 units)
Practicum (3 units)
Advanced Research Methodology (6 units)
Research Design
Research Analysis and Integration
Project/Dissertation (9 units)
Dissertation Seminar (3 units)
Dissertation Writing (6 units)
Total = 60 units

* Concentration courses with MA-RE in HCD. Doctoral students will have different sets of requirements.
** These are pre-requisites to core units.


Hosted by
Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (APNTS)


Dr. Desiree Segura (Fuller Theological Seminary)
Dr. Marsha Bunge (Christ College, Valparaiso University)
Dr. Daniel Brewster (Compassion International, Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary)
Dr. Sunny Tan (Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary)
Dr. Nativity Petallar (Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary)
Dr. Robert Donahue (Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary)
Dr. Catherine Stonehouse (Asbury Theological Seminary)
Dr. Gustavo Crocker (Eurasia Regional Director for the Church of the Nazarene)
Dr. Phyllis Kilbourne (Crisis Care International)
Dr. Charles Ringma (Professor at large)
Dr. Linda Caringal (Physician)
Dr. Romy Caringal (Asia Regional Director for the Wesleyan Church)
Dr. Pete Malvicini (Asia Graduate School of Theology)
Dr. Fletcher Tink (Director of Bresee Foundation, Adjunct Faculty, Nazarene Theological Seminary)
Dr. Jeyaraj Jesudason (Director of Jubilee Institute, a unit of Jubilee Educational and Social Service of India)
Dr. Lee Wanak (Asian Theological Seminary)
Dr. Rosalind Lim-Tan (Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary)
Dr. Floyd T. Cunningham (Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary)
Dr. Mel Luna (University of the Philippines, Asian Theological Seminary)
Dr. Azriel Azarcon (Dean, Asia Graduate School of Theology-Philippines)



  1. Master’s degree from an accredited institution

  2. Six (6) graduate units in Research Methods

  3. Twelve (12) graduate units of study in Biblical and theological subjects

  4. Portfolio that includes: (a) thesis or other evidence of substantial research; (b) evidence of English abilities. A test of English is required. The student should have the equivalent of 550 (paper-based TOEFL test); and (c) prospective research topic for the Ph.D. – a 3-4 paged essay;

  5. Evidence of or interest in working with children, or at least 5 years of experience in any scope of Christian ministry

    All decisions on admission will be made by the program committee. If the admission requirements noted above are not met, provisional acceptance may nevertheless be offered to an exceptional applicant who may then be required to complete supplementary assignments in addition to his or her regular coursework. He or she will gain full acceptance after having successfully completed 18 credit hours.


  1. E-mail or write for application packet:
    Dr. Nativity A. Petallar (
    Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary
    Ortigas Ave. Ext., Kaytikling, Taytay, 1920 Rizal Philippines, Tel. 63-2-284-3741

    Applications can be downloaded from

  2. Ask an administrator and a member of the faculty of an institution you have attended, as well as your current pastor to provide letters of reference in sealed envelopes and send these to the above address.

  3. Ask all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended to send official transcripts of your academic record to the above address. Prepare a statement describing your vocational objectives and explaining how a Ph.D. degree is related to these.

a. Prepare a statement indicating how your studies will be financed, including specific commitments from any institutions or individuals that may be sponsoring you.

b. Prepare a health certificate indicating your physical fitness to pursue graduate studies.

c. Send your completed application for admission, prospective research topic (a 3 to 4-paged essay), the description of your vocational objectives, the financial statement, and the health certificate, along with the nonrefundable application fee of $50 (US) or the peso equivalent, to the above address.

d. Wait until you have received your letter of acceptance before coming to Manila.




Classes are held October – November and June – July each year

For further inquiries please contact:

Dr. Nativity A. Petallar (
Associate Program Director
Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary
Ortigas Ave. Ext., Kaytikling, Taytay, 1920 Rizal Philippines
Tel. 63-2-284-3741