Our PhD gives you the time and support to explore your theological interests while maintaining your existing commitments.
We have particular strengths in:
- Theology and Philosophy
- Religion, Culture, and Ethics
- Science, Technology, and Nature
- Biblical Studies
- Jewish Studies
- Islamic Studies
Our staff include theologians, sociologists, biblical scholars and philosophers so we can support your research with a range of different approaches and methodologies.
Supervision is provided by research-active staff. With over 10 years experience in running distance learning degrees the department will provide the support you need.
You will be joining a diverse community whose current research projects include:
- Hebrew Bible and New Testament
- Islam and Politics
- Jewish Philosophy
- Philosophy of Religion
- Philosophical Theology
- Religion and Media
- Religion and Technology
- Theology and Continental Philosophy
- Theology and Literature
- Theology and Natural Science
Find out more about some of the existing research themes in the Department
You will complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words, with expert support and advice from your academic supervisors.
This is followed by an oral examination where you defend your thesis.
Recent dissertation examples
- The Significance of Time in Augustine’s Understanding of the Authority of Scripture
- By the Spirit we understand: how do new religious experiences create scripture?
- The Oneness of the Manifold: A Comparative Survey of Mystical Ontologies East and West
- The Word Above All Earthly Powers: The Metaphysics of Creation and Reformed Theology
- Chromatic dialogues: colour and culture in Homer, Herodotus and the Hebrew Bible
- Wisdom as a Model for Jesus’ Ministry: A Study on the ‘Lament over Jerusalem’ in Matthew 23.37-39 and Luke 13.34-35
- Ibn Taymiyya's Contextual Biblical Hermeneutics in Al-Jawab al-Sahih (The Correct Response)
All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.
Masters-level degree or international equivalent
Masters-level degree or international equivalent
|International and EU equivalents|
We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.
For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.
|IELTS||7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)|
|English language requirements|| |
As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.
This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.
Meeting our English language requirements
If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.
If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.
For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.
We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.
We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.
If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.
UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in February 2022.
Additional information for international students
If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.
Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.
For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.
These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).
Thanks to the generosity of donors, there is sometimes dedicated funding available for PhD students in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.
There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.
Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.Postgraduate funding
We have a strong, supportive and welcoming research culture.
With over 10 years experience in distance learning we provide you with a comprehensive package of resources backed up with substantial support.
Your supervisors are always available to provide support and advice by email and MS Teams.
You will have full access to the University's library systems and resources.
We have reciprocal agreements between university libraries, which permit you to use the facilities at the libraries nearest your home.
The university has many distance-learning and part-time researchers so you'll be part of a large community. Find out more about the resources, training and support available.
The department is also associated with two research centres that promote collaborative research both inside and outside the University.
There is no need to visit the University in person to successfully complete your research. However, we will be delighted to see you if you are able to visit - simply arrange with your supervisor the best time for a visit.
- Hear visiting scholars from the UK and overseas
- Present research in progress in a friendly and constructive environment
- Broaden your general knowledge of Theology and Religious Studies
- Gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process
Find out more about our research seminars
You can make full use of the Language Centre facilities for both research-specific learning and personal interest.
We have one of the largest collections of self-developed video resources of any UK university. These explore themes such as:
- Why study... - an ever expanding series where theologians the key issues and concepts of particular topics
- Objects of belief - a series of short films that uncover the rich theologies of items used (or not) in religious practices
- Sacred calendar - explaining key dates, events and celebrations across religions
- Theologians in conversation - theologians discuss their work and the questions they see as significant
You will have access to a range of support services, including:
- academic and disability support
- childcare services
- counselling service
- faith support
- financial support
- mental health and wellbeing support
- visa and immigration advice
- welfare support
Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.
There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:
- international students
- black and minority ethnic students
- students who identify as women
- students with disabilities
- LGBT+ students
SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.
History, politics, gender and faith are intertwined in the biblical texts. A PhD in biblical studies allows you to journey into this world, the historical circumstances underlying it, and arrive at a deeper knowledge of one of the most important texts in human history.
My own research centres on themes of history, politics and gender, seeking to better understand how the ancient context influenced the development of the biblical texts.”
Dr Cat Quine, Assistant Professor in Hebrew Bible
Research Excellence Framework
We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.
- The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is ranked seventh in the UK for ‘research power’, a measure of the quality and scale of research activity
- 97% of our research is rated of international standard with 30% considered world-leading
- More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
- More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
- 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power
This content was last updated on 08 July 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.