You will research your chosen topic in consultation with your supervisors.
The PhD requires an original contribution to knowledge through writing a thesis. This thesis embodies an original contribution to knowledge either by:
- exploration and discovery or
- re-appraisal and critique of a fresh and distinctive nature.
Hence, an emphasis is placed on a thorough mastery of the literature of the field, usually in the original languages, as well as a creativity which grows out of interaction with a research supervisor who is producing creative work. We endorse John Henry Newman’s maxim that a university education has at its central core the creative meeting of minds.
- One of the leading theological departments in the UK for research:
- ranked eighth for ‘research power' (REF 2014)
- 97% of our research is of international quality (REF 2014)
- Dedicated support, facilities and training through the Graduate School
- Active culture of dialogue and discussion both within the Department and across the university
- Research seminar programme for support and constructive criticism
Applicants apply to the PhD in either 'Theology' or 'Religious Studies', and they should choose the one that they wish to appear on their degree. The choice has no bearing on and supervision arrangements.
See the Department of Theology and Religious Studies website for more on what it is like to study and research with us.
We have particular strengths in the following areas:
- Theology, Philosophy, Culture and Science
- Islamic Studies
- Jewish Studies
- History of Theology
- Bible Studies
Find out more about our key areas of research
Research students in the department are currently working in the following areas:
- Old Testament/Hebrew Bible
- New Testament Theology
- Philosophical Theology
- Philosophy of Religion
- Systematic Theology
- Historical Theology
- Theology and Science
- Theology and Literature
- Jewish Studies
- Islamic Studies
Your thesis will be a maximum of 100,000 words, inclusive of footnotes and bibliography.
All research students have access to:
- dedicated study space
- excellent IT network
- photocopying and printing allowance
- inter-library loan service.
The University library has online access to all books published in Britain and Ireland from the beginning of printing to 1800.
The Graduate School supports all postgraduates and early career researchers at the University, with dedicated study spaces, training courses and placement opportunities.
We have a strong and supportive research culture.
- the chance to hear visiting scholars from the UK and overseas
- opportunities for staff and postgraduates to present research in progress in a friendly and constructive environment.
These occasions also allow you to broaden your knowledge of the subject and gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process.
Find out more about our research seminars
The department is also associated with two research centres that promote collaborative research both inside and outside the University.
AHRC Doctoral Award-holders
You complete a portfolio of research training provision, to be devised in consultation with your supervisor.
You may also register for German and French reading modules as needed for your research and make full use of the Language Centre facilities.
The University provides a range of support and information to enhance your student experience.
You will have access to:
- academic and disability support
- childcare services
- counselling service
- financial support
- visa and immigration advice
- welfare support
English language courses
Our Centre for English Language Education offers presessional English courses to help develop your English and study skills.
The centre is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK, so you can be sure that the teaching and facilities are high-quality. You can also access free English language support alongside your academic course.
University of Nottingham Students’ Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or speak to the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.
There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:
- international students
- black and minority ethnic students
- students with disabilities
- LGBT+ students
SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.
Researcher training and development
The Graduate School training and development programme empowers postgraduate students and early career research staff to develop the skills required in their research and future careers.
We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.
As the academic profiles of members of staff indicate, most are experienced supervisors, several with former research students in academic posts.
Details of research supervisors can be found on the Department website.
Initially I was attracted by the research reputation and publications of some of the staff.During my PhD, I was very impressed with the University of Nottingham and the support on offer for students.
Careers and professional development
Average starting salary and career progression
For postgraduates from the School of Humanities, six months after graduation:
- 97.9% were in employment or further study
- the highest salary was £36,000
- the average salary was £20,500.
Source: known destinations and salary data for full-time, home, postgraduates extracted from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17.
Careers support and advice
Whether you are considering a career within or outside academia, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate.
Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.
Fees and funding
There is a range of funding to support your studies. This can be from national, University or School/Department sources. Our step-by-step guide to funding sets out the different options available.
School and Department funding
The School of Humanities has information on funding available for its PhD students.
National and University funding
Our Student Services has information on university-wide and national and international funding.
The Careers Service also has links to a range of funding databases for postgraduate study.
Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Programme
The Midlands4Cities programme provides funding, enhanced support, expert supervision and excellent networking opportunities for PhD candidates.
Students with additional needs
Students with a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty (for example dyslexia) may apply for a Disabled Students’ Allowance.
Tuition fees and funding may be affected by the UK’s exit from the European Union. For more information see our Brexit information for future students.
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.