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MPhil applications

MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion

Course Code: TRM4

The MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion is a nine-month Masters course that offers the opportunity for advanced study in across the full range of subject areas represented in the Faculty. Students can draw on the expertise of leading scholars from a wide range of subjects, which allows both for specialistation and for interdisciplinary approaches. The MPhil is designed for students who wish to study their subject of interest at an advanced level, but also to enable those who wish to undertake further research at doctoral level to acquire the necessary skills and understanding.

How to apply

Information about all postgraduate degrees of the University of Cambridge can be found via the graduate admissions page of the Graduate Admissions Office, the central body which deals with all graduate applications for the whole University. The set of pages on the MPhil in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion is here.

You should submit your application to the Graduate Admissions Office following the guidance on that admissions page.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible. This is particularly important for applicants seeking Gates or Cambridge funding, who should note the following deadlines.

When you apply you should submit a research proposal of around 500 words, along with a sample of written work between 20-25 pages in length.

Seminar courses and subject areas offered 2017-18

  • Anglican Studies: Michaelmas Term - History of Anglicanism; Lent Term - Theology of Anglicanism
  • Christian Theology: Michaelmas Term - The Christian God; Lent Term - Gesture, Perception, Event or Theology and Literature: Tragedy or Theology and the Natural Sciences: Materiality and Embodiment
  • New Testament and Early Christianity: Michaelmas Term - Exegesis and Method in New Testament Study; Lent Term - Themes in the New Testament and Early Christianity
  • Old Testament: Michaelmas Term - The Formation of the Hebrew Bible; Lent Term - The Biblical Wisdom Literature: definition, classification, social context and theology  or The Significance of the Septuagint
  • Philosophy of Religion: Michaelmas Term - Philosophy of Religion 1; Lent Term - Philosophy of Religion II  or Theology in the Anthropocene
  • Religions of Antiquity: Michaelmas Term - Christians in Late Antique Alexandria
  • Study of World Religions: Michaelmas Term - Law for the Gentiles?: Universalism and ritual purity in Judaism, Christianity and Islam; Lent Term - Anthropology of Islam in Contemporary Europe or Before the Qur'an: Texts, monuments, perceptions
  • World Christianities: Michaelmas Term - Christianity, Identity and Social Change; Lent Term: Themes and Topics in the Study of World Christianities

While each module is offered formally within a track, modules can often be combined across tracks. The 'Theology of the Anthropocene' module, for instance, would be available beyond the philosophy of religion track.

Many of these seminar courses and subject areas will be offered in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

Minimum entry requirements and Prerequisites

Applicants in all subject areas are expected to have achieved 1st class or 2.1 honours degree with marks of at least 67%; or a GPA of at least 3.8; or performance at an equivalent level in an honours degree.

New Testament and Early Christianity applicants are required to have at least two years study of New Testament Greek.

Philosophy of Religion applicants must have a strong philosophical background and relevant theological knowledge.

Old Testament applicants must have knowledge of the relevant biblical languages, notably biblical Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

Religions of Antiquity applicants must have knowledge of Greek or Latin.

World Christianities applicants need to have a first degree in Theology, Religious Studies, History, Anthropology or another discipline involving contemporary cross-cultural study.

Part-time M.Phil. Option

Applications are now open for the part-time M.Phil. course. The course content is the same as that for the full-time M.Phil., but delivered over two academic years. Minimum entry requirements and prerequisites are the same as for the full-time M.Phil.

Course Structure

The focus of the MPhil is on the cultivation of research skills. To that end, students are required to complete a thesis of between 15,000 and 20,000 words in length (including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography) on a subject approved by the Degree Committee. Students are assigned a supervisor for their thesis in the Michaelmas Term.

Students are also required to take two modules, one in Michaelmas Term and one in Lent Term, and one exercise. Modules normally take the form of four, two-hour seminars over the course of a term.  The module taken in Michaelmas Term must be in the student’s principal subject area (e.g., Christian Theology, New Testament, etc.). Student can take in the Lent Term a module of their choice. For each module, the student must submit an essay of not more than 5,000 words in length, or an equivalent exercise, at least one of which must fall within the same subject area as the candidate’s thesis or be otherwise suitably related to it.

The exercise component of the course can be fulfilled in one of three ways:

either (i) one paper of three hours' duration on a language chosen from a list of languages published by the Degree Committee.

or (ii) one exercise on a subject chosen from a list of subjects for exercises approved by the Degree Committee.

or (iii) an alternative exercise within the candidate's chosen subject area

M.Phil. students are also expected to attend the senior seminar associated with their area of study. These meet regularly during term time and are occasions where academics from Cambridge and elsewhere read and discuss papers. There are nine senior seminars, covering the six subject areas listed above, plus Hebrew, Jewish and Early Christian Studies, Patristics and World Christianity. More information about the senior seminars can be found under the ‘About us’ section of the main menu.

Further information

If you have any questions about the application process and the course contents then please contact the Graduate Studies Co-ordinator.