The doctoral dissertation is expected to manifest the student’s firm grasp of theological method and criticism and his/her ability to control and marshal pertinent data around some original specialized topic.
The dissertation must fulfill all the requirements of the Graduate School of the Ateneo de Manila University regarding form, style, and method of registration. The doctorate thesis should be between 180 and 220 pages in length with an upper limit of 250 pages.
a) PhD-Th Dissertation Proposal: Guided by a mentor officially appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the student prepares a written dissertation proposal containing the following:  Statement of the Problem;  Scope and Limitations;  Significance of the Study;  Methodology; and  Bibliography.
The proposal (excluding bibliography) should normally not exceed 10 pages and should follow the LST Style Manual based on Turabian, 6th edition.
Once approved by the mentor, five (5) copies of the dissertation proposal are submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who appoints a panel of professors to examine it. On a date specified by the school the student defends his proposal before the panel.
The oral defense consists in  a clear presentation (for about 15 minutes) of the written proposal by the writer, covering the basic problem or theme of the dissertation, its scope and limitation, its importance, and the basic sources (bibliography) and methods to be used;  each professor reviews the proposal with the writer through questions, suggestions, etc., usually for a period of 10 to 15 minutes, depending upon the particular needs of the proposal.
The professors may offer brief written recommendations, analyses, suggestions, etc. to the writer, copies of which are also given to the mentor and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
b) PhD-Th Dissertation Writing: After the proposal has been approved by the panel, the doctoral student may now proceed to writing the dissertation chapter by chapter. All throughout the writing of the dissertation the student must seek the guidance of this mentor. Each chapter must be approved by the mentor one at a time.
The doctoral dissertation should be between 180 and 220 pages in length with an upper limit of 250 pages. In addition, it should follow the LST Style Manual (based on Turabian, 6th edition). The dissertation must make an original contribution to the field of concentration and must manifest an appropriate standard of scientific theological research.
c) PhD-Th Dissertation Public Defense: When the whole dissertation is finished and meets the approval of the mentor, it is submitted to the school. The Vice President for Academic Affairs appoints a second reader, who, ideally, should come from the panel that examined the dissertation proposal. It is the task of the second reader to ascertain that the dissertation is ready for public defense. He/she has the right to order any changes in the dissertation he considers necessary for it to be truly ready for defense. In case of an unsolvable conflict between the second reader and mentor, an independent panel appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs will decide the issue.
After the second reader declares the dissertation ready for defense, unbound copies of the dissertation are submitted to the other readers who, together with the second reader, shall make up the panel of professors for the defense. A date for the defense is then scheduled.
After the successfully defending the dissertation, the student must submit to the school two bound copies of the corrected and approved final edition of the dissertation.