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PhD applications

PhD in Theology and Religious Studies

Course Code: DV21

The PhD is normally a three-year course of full-time study, culminating in a dissertation of no more than 80,000 words, based on original research on a focused topic. It is also possible to pursue the degree part-time over five years.

The Faculty of Divinity is one of the largest centres for theological research in the UK. There are 22 University Teaching Officers, covering six core areas: Christian Theology, History of Christianity, New Testament, Old Testament, Philosophy of Religion and Religious Studies. Information about academics and subject areas can be found under 'People' and 'Subjects' on the main site menu.

How to apply

In advance of your application, you should contact a potential supervisor regarding your dissertation.

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 PhD in Theology and Religious Studies is here.

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

All applicants must submit a research proposal of around 1,000 words and a sample of written work. Written work should between 25 and 30 pages long.

Applicants who do not have the research experience to be admitted directly to the PhD programme may be asked to do the Certificate of Postgraduate Study in Theology and Religious Studies.  The Certificate can under these circumstances be counted toward the requirements for the PhD degree if the student is allowed to continue to the PhD.

Minimum entry requirements

A Master's degree with marks of at least 67 per cent; where appropriate a GPA of at least 3.8.  Applicants who are currently taking the Faculty of Divinity's M.Phil. degree must achieve an overall average of at least 71 per cent and at least 71 per cent for their thesis.

Further Information

The University has exceptional research collections. The nearby University Library (UL) has more than eight million print items and numerous unique archives. The colleges each have their own collections and archives, often housing manuscripts of national and international importance. The library of Tyndale House contains a collection of relating to contemporary Biblical Studies of international renown.

The faculty’s research culture is focused around the senior seminar, which meet regularly during term time. Here, 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 'Subjects' section of the main menu.

Alongside these seminars there is also a wide range of informal reading groups. A list of reading groups can be found under the 'Research' section of the main menu. The faculty also has a number of endowed lectures which see leading academics visiting the faculty. Again a list of endowed lectures can be found in the Research' pages. 

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