Theology and Religion - Contemporary Religion and Society specialism PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

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At Birmingham we offer promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in one of the UK’s largest and most diverse Departments of Theology and Religion. We have an outstanding international reputation in the study of all types of religion in the contemporary World including, inter-cultural theology; the exploration of values and cultural practices; practical theology; Islamic studies; contemporary and alternative spiritualities; cyber religion; Jewish Studies; and Sikh studies.

Course fact file

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time; MA by Research – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: January, September

Details

The MA by Research  programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.

The PhD  – the most advanced research degree – leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff.

You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by Distance Learning.

Profiles of our current Theology and Religion doctoral researchers

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Why study this course

This programme sits within our Religious Studies research cluster which aims to provide a context in which postgraduate research can flourish. It draws upon the expertise of academic staff across a variety of disciplines and offers a vast array of research methods and approaches to a range of religions. It also has substantial links with other departmental research clusters, which means your postgraduate research will take place in a fully supported, fully integrated environment.

Moreover, the University of Birmingham is an excellent centre for the study of religion and culture. It has built up good relationships and partnerships with Birmingham's many different communities, and such a rich cultural mix means that it provides an ideal setting to study the relations between Religion and Culture. The city is recognised as one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, with representation from most religious traditions.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,090 full-time; £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Applicants for research degrees should normally have a first- or upper second-class Honours degree in Theology, Religious Studies or a related discipline.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

For applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode only:

As part of the application process for the distance learning study mode, we will ask you to provide evidence to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study for a PhD by Distance Learning. Please be prepared to provide evidence, and details, of the following:

  • Examples of your postgraduate research experience and ability to work independently e.g. papers/presentations at professional and academic conferences or publications in professional journals or previous completion of an independent research project, etc.
  • Full reasons (academic and personal) for registering for the distance learning mode of study rather than by standard full or part-time on-campus options. In particular, how you will be able to carry out your project in your chosen location.
  • Access to local library facilities (where needed)
  • Access to IT facilities
  • Access to communications, including e-mail and visual communication media e.g. Skype and Facetime
  • Access to facilities to support any study-related disability (where appropriate)

You can upload this information at the time of application - when asked to provide supporting documentation - or via your applicant portal once you have submitted your application.

For all applicants:

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Research interests of staff

  • Contemporary and alternative spiritualities, Islam in Britain, Contemporary Sufism, cyber religion
    Contact: Dr Mustafa Draper
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 3613
    Email: m.draper@bham.ac.uk
  • Modern and Contemporary Islamic thought
    Contact: Dr. Haifaa Jawad
    Tel. +44(0)121 41 58337
    Email: h.a.jawad@bham.ac.uk
  • Sikh Studies, Ethnic Minorities, Religion and Law
    Contact: Dr. Jagbir Jhutti-Johal
    Telephone: +44 (0)121 41 58338
    Email: j.jhuttijohal.1@bham.ac.uk
  • Religion and ethics, practical theology contemporary religion and spirituality
    Contact: Professor Stephen Pattison
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5777
    Email: s.pattison.1@bham.ac.uk 
  • Sociology/anthropology of religion; churches in modern Britain; Christian worship 
    Contact: Professor Martin Stringer
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6867
    Email: m.d.stringer@bham.ac.uk
  • Jewish and Holocaust studies
    Contact: Dr Isabel Wollaston
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5662
    Email: i.l.wollaston@bham.ac.uk

Related research

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham’s Theology graduates develop a broad range of transferable skills including: familiarity with research methods; the ability to manage large quantities of information from diverse sources; the ability to organise information in a logical and coherent manner; the expertise to write clearly and concisely and to tight deadlines; critical and analytical ability; the capacity for argument, debate and speculation; and the ability to base conclusions on statistical research.

Over the past five years, over 92% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. For those in further study, teacher training courses remain a popular choice. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including local government, education and charities. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include: British Council; Church of England; Institute of Education; International Greek New Testament Project; Quaker Homeless Action; Queens Ecumenical Theological College; and University of Birmingham.