Theology and Religion - Philosophy of Religion 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 with a number of postgraduate researchers in the area of the philosophy of religion.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

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.

Why study this course

As a doctoral researcher on this programme you will become part of the  John Hick Centre for Philosophy of Religion. Launched in 2011, the mission of the Centre is to foster excellence in teaching and research in the philosophy of religion from a global perspective.Members of the Centre are dedicated to promote critical thinking about the metaphysical, epistemological and moral questions concerning religion, belief, and reality. The activities of the Centre include a regular seminar for staff and students, a visiting speaker programme, academic conferences, collaboration with other scholars (nationally and internationally) in developing research projects, and postgraduate teaching to nurture the next generation of philosophers of religion.

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

  • Philosophy of Religion, Contemporary Theology, Religion and the Arts
    Contact: Dr David Cheetham
    Tel: +44 (0)121 415 8335
    Email: d.cheetham@bham.ac.uk

  • Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Mind, Applied Ethics
    Contact: Professor Yujin Nagasawa
    Tel: +44 (0)121 41 46055
    Email: y.nagasawa@bham.ac.uk

  • Hindu Studies
    Contact: Dr Sharada Sugirtharaja
    Tel: +44 (0)121 41 5661
    Email:  v.s.sugirtharajah@bham.ac.uk

  • Christian-Muslim relations, Islamic philosophy
    Contact: Professor David Thomas
    Tel: +44 (0) 121 415 8373
    Email: d.r.thomas.1@bham.ac.uk

  • Philosophy of Mind, Schopenhauer and Spinoza, Philosophy of Religion
    Contact: Dr Mark Walker
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6059
    Email:  m.t.walker@bham.ac.uk

  • Global Ethics, Virtue Ethics, Bioethics
    Contact: Professor Heather Widdows
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 8399
    Email: h.widdows@bham.ac.uk

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.