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Faculty of Divinity

Title: Research in the Faculty Library. © University of Cambridge. All rights reserved

PhD in Theology and Religious Studies

The PhD is normally a three-year course of full-time study, culminating in a thesis 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.

The Faculty's research environment is internationally respected and admired, supporting a balance of individual research initiatives and larger-scale collaborations. It provides an ideal setting, rigorous and supportive, for research to flourish. It has close links with external research institutions, including the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), Tyndale House, the Von Hügel Institute, and members of the Cambridge Theological Federation, including research centres such as the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide, the Faraday Institute, and the Woolf Institute.

The faculty’s research culture is focused around a range of senior seminars, 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.

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. 

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.

Study for a PhD involves working closely with an individual supervisor. Prospective students should consult the list of University Teaching Officers. Some members of the wider academic community in theology at Cambridge also supervise PhDs.

How to apply

Information about all postgraduate degrees of the University of Cambridge can be found via the postgraduate 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.

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

You should submit your application to the Postgraduate 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.  Click here for advice on writing a research proposal.

Applicants for the PhD will usually have completed a master's degree in theology or religious studies (such as the Faculty's own MPhil), or one with a substantial theological component. Where a candidate is transferring into theology or religious studies from a different discipline, the Advanced Diploma can provide a secure foundation in the subject, in preparation for further graduate work.

Minimum entry requirements

A Master's degree with marks of at least 67 per cent; where appropriate a GPA of at least 3.7.  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.


There is information about sources of funding here.

Further Questions

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