The Puritan Studies Programme is an academic collaboration for internationally accredited MTh and PhD studies originating in South Africa between the Jonathan Edwards Centre Africa (JEC) in Bloemfontein and the John Wycliffe Theological College (JWTC) in Johannesburg. JWTC was founded in 1996 to thoroughly train qualified men as ministers of Christ. JEC was founded in 2009 through the strategic partnership of Yale University and the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein. As an international hub for the Jonathan Edwards Centre at Yale University, JEC Africa at the UFS offers accessible, affordable, and academically credible programmes in historical theology, primary sources, and religious history.

Historically, the Puritans were generally known as those desiring to 'reform the Reformation' in England during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Such an aspiration involved the burden to transform all of life according to the Scriptures, from the Christian life individually to the Church of Christ corporately. This pursuit included an emphasis upon well-trained ministers with the conviction that higher education and well-formed Christian piety need not contradict one another. So, as the Puritan William Ames (1576–1633) attested, “Theology is the doctrine of living to God” (Theologia est doctrina Deo vivendi). He went a step further, using a Greek term to say that theology is “not unfitly called theozoia” or “living to God.” By all means, for the Puritans, theological study was very academic, but it was always meant to be more than that. They were convinced that, by teaching us about God, theology leads us to Him that we might live for Him and not unto ourselves. PSP seeks to provide a setting where this rich and experiential Reformed theology of the Puritans can be examined thoroughly. At the same time, like the Puritans centuries before at Cambridge and Oxford Universities, PSP seeks to foster an educational environment that is both academically exceptional and spiritually applicable.

JWTC and JEC Africa have identified the need to provide a dedicated academic graduate programme for Puritan studies supported by scholars who share our unified vision and mission. Applicants for the MTh should have the equivalent of an MDiv or BA Honours.  Applicants for the PhD are required to have a master's degree in the field of the Humanities (languages, history, theology, or philosophy). As part of the application process, the student will submit a research proposal, and upon approval, will be assigned a Research Fellow for the supervision of research. This programme will allow a student to complete a non-residential and first-rate research degree at a greatly reduced cost.

The Research MTh programme consists of two modules: (1) An independent study in Research and Methodology or Historical Theology, and (2) a thesis (40 000 words) of original research. The thesis will be commenced upon acceptance of an approved research proposal and examined externally upon completion.

The Research PhD programme consists of a comprehensive thesis of original research. The thesis will be commenced upon acceptance of an approved research proposal and consequent assignment of an internationally recognised advisor and co-advisor. Upon the successful completion of a first chapter, the student will register with the University of the Free State and will have four years (from the date of registration) to complete the thesis. The thesis will then be examined externally by an internationally recognised scholar. The final approved thesis is then defended at the University of the Free State and published by an internationally recognised publisher.

The Puritan Studies Programme has an internationally recognised group of Research Fellows who publish widely, among them Dr Aaron C Denlinger (PhD University of Aberdeen), Dr Joey Pipa (PhD Westminster Theol. Seminary), Dr Bob McKelvey (PhD Westminster Theol. Seminary), Dr Ryan McGraw (PhD University of the Free State), Dr Mark Jones  (PhD University of Leiden), Dr Mark Herzer (PhD Westminster Theol. Seminary), and Dr Michael Haykin (ThD Wycliffe College and the University of Toronto).

Please visit our dedicated website, download the PSP brochure and contact the coordinator of the Puritan Studies Programme, Dr Bob McKelvey, at for further enquiries.


Dr Bob McKelvey, Programme Coordinator
509 4th St, Windber, PA 15963
T: +1 814 254 3115

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