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Graduate funding

Graduate Funding Opportunities

The Faculty of Divinity is delighted to announce a range of funding opportunities for PhD and MPhil students applying to start research in the field of theological and religious studies at the University of Cambridge in the academic year 2019-2020. The university’s competitions for Arts and Humanities Research Council awards and Cambridge Trust awards are all open to eligible applicants to the Faculty. Prospective applicants may also find it helpful to consult the web pages on graduate funding maintained by the University's Graduate Admissions Office.

 

Arts and Humities Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership at Cambridge

AHRC doctoral awards cover fees for Home or EU students, and also maintenance at the university’s standard rates for Home students only. You should fill in the funding box on the application form. See full details of how to apply for the Cambridge AHRC awards.

 

Cambridge Trust awards

You should fill in the funding box on the application form. The deadline is 3rd December 2019. See important information on Cambridge Trust awards.

 

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

You should fill in the funding box on the application form and also complete the personal statement.  See important information on  Gates Cambridge Scholarships. Gates Cambridge Scholars are expected to demonstrate not only academic excellence but also leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others, and it is important to use the Gates section of the application form to convey this information to the assessors.

The deadline for applications for Round 1 of the Gates Cambridge competition (for US citizens normally resident in the USA) is 9th October 2019, and the deadline for Round 2 (for citizens of all eligible countries other than USA, and US citizens normally resident outside the USA) is 3rd December 2019.

Background

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are highly prestigious awards and competition is fierce. There are two rounds: for US nationals and for non-US international students. The scholarships are awarded to applicants who can demonstrate excellence in all four Gates’ criteria: outstanding intellectual ability; leadership potential; a commitment to improving the lives of others; and, a good fit between the applicant's qualifications and aspirations and the postgraduate programme at Cambridge for which they are applying. Full details about the scholarships and the selection procedure are found at the Gates Cambridge Scholarships web site.

Applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Because the Cambridge application form places strong emphasis on intellectual ability, the Gates Trust has requested that candidates fill in a statement supporting their application for a Gates Cambridge Scholarships (up to 500 words) and an additional reference. These should make particular reference to the Gates’ criteria that are not covered elsewhere in the Cambridge application form, viz. leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others.

Important point to bear in mind when applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship

    • Do not reiterate your academic achievements in the Gates section of the application form. There are numerous pages on the application form that should demonstrate your academic abilities. The Gates box and reference are the only places where you can demonstrate your service for others and leadership. There is no need to make a further case for your intellectual qualities.
    • Make sure that you detail the nature of service or leadership. Assessors view significant quantitative information about your academic study: academic grades, professors’ assessment of how students compare to their cohort, degrees studied, languages learnt and to what level. Similar detail should be given about service and leadership. What did you do? How did it make a difference? How many years did you undertake the role? How many people were in the team you led?
    • Don't assume knowledge on the part of the assessors. Applicants often enumerate service and leadership in just a single sentence, and so fail to provide the detail that is needed and assume assessors will understand the service undertaken. Theologians and scholars in Religious Studies often fail to describe what leadership and service can be seen in a mission trip, being a minister of religion or teaching in a religious context.
    • Don't choose as your Gates referee another person who comments on your academic ability. Two academic references are required for any application for postgraduate study in Cambridge. The Gates reference needs specifically to address leadership potential and commitment to improving the lives of others. Your Gates referee may need to be informed that they need to speak to the evidence of you leadership and service for others. Community leaders often get the wrong idea about what they need to do for a "Cambridge application" and write about academic ability, when what is needed is detail about community involvement.
    • Don't write an aspirational statement about future leadership or service. Commitment to others and leadership potential are demonstrated through past activities, however modest. Past leadership or service especially if sustained over a period of time makes more of an impression. The more detail the better.
    • Don't have a narrow sense of what leadership and commitment to the lives of others means. Starting an international charity and managing a team of thirty people are not the only means of demonstrating leadership and service. It can be small things, such as serving in a soup kitchen as part of a team or helping a struggling school pupil with their studies. In addition, note that ‘others’ has not been restricted to human beings.

 

Awards from the Faculty of Divinity

You will be considered for funding when you are offered a place on the M.Phil. or Ph.D. degrees. The deadline for consideration for funding is 3rd December 2019.

Funding decisions are taken on the basis of an assessment of academic ability and research potential, examination results, references and interview but also consideration is given to the suitability of your proposed topic within the Faculty’s research priorities and the availability of expert supervisors.

Bethune-Baker Home/EU MPhil Studentship

Apply to the Faculty's MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion to do any area of Theology for 2020/2021. You should fill in the funding box on the application form saying you want to be considered for Bethune-Baker funding.  The sum awarded will cover the cost of fees (£11,460) at the Home/EU rate.

The Burney Studentship in Philosophy of Religion

Apply to the Faculty's MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion for the Philosophy of Religion pathway from October 2020.  One or more grants which will partially cover the costs of the MPhil, for example by covering fees at the home rate of £11460.

Applicants should fill in the funding box on the application form saying they want to be considered for funding from the Burney Fund. 

Crosse Studentship

The Crosse Studentship will be offered for funding towards a PhD in the Holy Scriptures in Greek and Hebrew, Ecclesiastical History and Christian Doctrine from October 2020. The studentship will cover fees and maintenance for a PhD at the University’s home/EU rate. It is tenable for one year and will be renewed for a further two subject to satisfactory progress.  The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant’s academic record, the research proposal, and any other indications of outstanding academic merit.

Applicants should fill in the funding box on the application form saying they want to be considered for the Crosse Studentship.

Hartwell and Sheikh Zayed MPhil Studentship in Islamic Studies

Applicants who have applied to the Faculty's MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion to do Islamic Studies for 2020/2021 and filled in the funding box on the application form will be automatically considered.  The sum awarded will cover the cost of fees (£11,460) and maintenance (£10,305) at the Home/EU rate.

Applicants should fill in the funding box on the application form saying you they want to be considered for funding from the Sheikh Zayed and Hartwell Funds.

Kirby Laing Studentship in New Testament Studies

The Kirby Laing Studentship has been made available by the generosity of the Kirby Laing Foundation, and is available for those studying within the field of New Testament Studies.

The sum awarded will cover the costs of fees and maintenance at the Home rate following University guidelines, and may be offered to a student undertaking study at MPhil or PhD level. In the case of a PhD student it will be available for one year in the first instance and will be renewed to a maximum of three years subject to satisfactory progress.

Applicants should fill in the funding box on the application form saying they want to be considered for a Kirby Laing studentship. The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant’s academic record, the research proposal, and any other indications of outstanding academic merit.

Peregrine Maitland Studentship

The Peregrine Maitland Studentship will be offered to candidates for graduate study from October 2020 whose research concerns the study of subjects arising from or affecting the spread of the Christian Religion, the comparison of the Christian Religion with other religions, and the contact of Christian and other civilisations. Preference will be given to candidates wishing to prepare themselves for missionary work. The studentship which will partly fund the costs of a PhD up to £15,000 is tenable for one year and will be renewed for a further two subject to satisfactory progress. Applicants should fill in the funding box on the application form saying they wish to  be considered for a Peregrine Maitland studentship.  The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant’s academic record, the research proposal, and any other indications of outstanding academic merit

Shapiro Studentships in Jewish Studies

Apply to the Faculty’s MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion to do Jewish Studies for 2020/2021.   You should fill in the funding box on the application form saying you want to be considered for Shapiro funding.  The maximum possible value would be £11,460 (the course fee at the Home/EU rate).

Theological Studies Home/EU MPhil Studentship

Apply to the Faculty's MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion to do any area of Theology for 2020/2021, though preference may be given to those working in Old Testament. Applicants should fill in the funding box on the application form saying that they want to be considered for funding from the Theological Studies Fund.  The sum awarded will cover the cost of fees (£11460) at the Home/EU rate.

Other Funds

Several Cambridge colleges have historical funds to support graduate studies in theology, religion and philosophy of religion. Prospective students are encouraged to consult college web pages and consult the Cambridge Funding Search.

Polkinghorne Studentship in the Philosophy of Religion

Queens' College, Cambridge, is offering a Polkinghorne Studentship to support a student on the Philosophy of Religion pathway in the Faculty's MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion in the academic year 2020/2021.  The award is open to Home, EU, or Overseas students, but the value of the studentship will be limited to £11,460 (the level of the Home/EU fee rate for 2020-2021).  The award will be made on the basis of the Faculty of Divinity's assessment of the academic ability and research potential of applicants.  The studentship is tenable only at Queens' College, and preference may be given to an applicant who makes Queens' College their first choice.  Applicants should apply for the MPhil programme via the University's Graduate Applicant Portal, indicating that they wish to be considered for funding.  The submission deadline for applicants wishing to be considered for funding is 3rd December 2019.

This studentship has been made possible by the endowment generously bestowed upon Queens' College by its former President, the Reverend Dr John Polkinghorne, KBE, FRS.

Trinity Studentship in Theology

Apply to study for a PhD in the Faculty.  The studentship is administered by Trinity College and successfully applicants will be a member of Trinity.  The studentship will cover fees and maintenance.  The deadline for this studentship is Friday, 17th January 2020. 

Westminster College, Cambridge: Lewis and Gibson Scholarship

This Scholarship has its own page.