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Faculty of Divinity

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MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion

The MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion is a nine-month Masters course offering an opportunity for advanced study across the full range of subject areas represented in our internationally-acclaimed Faculty. For some students, it offers is a foundation for a PhD, while for others it is preparation for work in a wide variety of other sectors, including journalism, charities / NGOs, policy research, law, or government. Our cohort includes students coming straight from an undergraduate degree, others returning to university after a couple of years, those further out from their degrees, and some in retirement.

The modular structure of our MPhil either for a focused area of specialisation or an interdisciplinary approach. Either way, students draw on the expertise of a Faculty of leading scholars. Following the specialised route, the student takes modules from within a single pathway (for instance Philosophy of Religion or New Testament and Early Christianity). For interdisciplinary study, modules can be combined from across pathways.

Students come to Cambridge to study to advanced level on the MPhil for many different reasons. Some intend to pursue doctoral studies immediately afterwards, others do not. Some come straight from an undergraduate degree, others are returning to university later in life, to gain new skills and understanding for work, or in retirement. All have studied theology, philosophy of religion or religious studies to some extent before: for some the MPhil follows focused studies in the area; for others it allows students to cement and expand an interest previously pursued as part of a cognate discipline, such as English or philosophy.

The Faculty is delighted to offer the MPhil on both a full-time and a part-time basis. Part-time students need to be able to attend the classes and seminars, but the course is split over two academic years. For more information see this page.

Pathways and Modules

Pathways and their modules have individual pages.

The MPhil develops from year to year, with the launch of new modules. Topics may occasionally not be offered because of staff leave or changes.


Course Structure

Students take two taught modules, one in each of the first two terms (Michaelmas and Lent Terms) of the three-term year. For each module, the student must submit an essay of not more than 5,000 words in length. The two taught modules are supplemented by the study of a language or an exercise offering methodological skills. Taught modules normally take the form of four two-hour seminars over the course of a term. The module taken in Michaelmas Term will be in the student’s principal subject area (e.g., Christian Theology, New Testament, etc.), as also defined by the subject of the dissertation. 

Most students chose a second term module from the same subject-specialist pathway as for the first term. However, where an interdisciplinary combination is desirable, a combination across pathways is often possible. (This is to be discussed with the MPhil course coordinator.)

The two essays and either the exercise or language form the first half of the MPhil. The second half is a dissertation of between 15,000 and 20,000 words. This is the opportunity for the student to pursue a focused area of research in detail, with expert supervision.

MPhil students are expected to attend the research seminar associated with their area of study. These meet regularly during term time and bring academics from Cambridge, the UK, and further afield to read and discuss papers. There are currently nine research seminars. Student are encouraged to attend more than one such seminar, should they wish. They may also wish to audit undergraduate lectures, and the classes of another MPhil module in the second term, with the agreement of the module leader.


Further information

For information on how to apply and admissions requirements, see this page. There is information about sources of funding here.


If you have any questions about the application process and the course contents then please contact the