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

Start date
January, September
Duration
Full time: PhD – 3 years, MA by Research – 1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Distance learning, Doctoral research
Fees

Annual tuition fee 2021/22:
UK: £4,500 full-time, £2,250 part-time
International: £18,810 full-time; £9,405 part-time (distance learning only)
More detail.

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 offer subject specialisms in Biblical studies, Christian theology, Islamic studies, Jewish and Holocaust studies, Pentecostal and Charismatic studies, Quaker Studies and Religion and society.

AHRC funding for PhD students

The University of Birmingham is part of the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C), offering Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD studentships for campus-based programmes. These include a number of Collaborative Doctoral Award opportunities. Each studentship includes research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are open until 12:00 (noon), 13 January 2021.

Find out more

We offer two postgraduate research-only programmes, whether you are looking to complete your academic studies with a PhD or pursue your research at Masters level. Find out more about what to expect from a PhD and MA by Research.

COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

My favourite thing about being a postgraduate I think is being able to study something that I really enjoy. The support of the department is great and there’s a really good postgraduate community.

Shannon

Why Study this Course?

  • World-leading research: Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Theology and Religion second in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise, with over 50% of our research judged to be ‘world-leading’.
  • Global ranking: The University of Birmingham was ranked 34th in the world for Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies in the 2020 QS World University Rankings. These rankings are compiled annually to help prospective students to identify the leading universities worldwide in a particular subject.
  • Partners and community: We have excellent 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.
  • Employability skills: 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.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

Visit our FAQs

Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

  • UK: £4,500 full-time; £2,250 part-time
  • International: £18,810 full-time; £9,405 part-time (distance learning only)

The same fees apply to both campus-based and distance learning study. The distance learning programme fee also includes a fully-funded visit to campus for each full year of the programme.

The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

* For UK postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2021.

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in the 2020/21 academic year. For more information, please read the government’s guidance for EU students.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

How To Apply

Application deadlines

Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2021.

Distance learning students will attend a residential visit in September or January, and those students wishing to attend the September residential are also encouraged to apply by 1 July 2021. The visit will take place at the end of September/beginning of October and you will receive further details once you have accepted your offer.

Six easy steps to apply for a postgraduate research course in the College of Arts and Law

Six steps to apply for our Postgraduate Research courses

Do you have an idea for an interesting research project? You can follow our six easy steps to apply to study for our postgraduate research courses. These include guidance on identifying funding opportunities and writing your research proposal.

Please also see our additional guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Please note: While our PhD programmes are normally studied in three years full-time or six years part-time, and Masters-level research programmes one year full-time or two years part-time, many programmes have a longer length listed in course or funding applications. This is because the course length is defined as the maximum period of registration, which includes a period of supervised study plus a thesis awaited period. The maximum period of registration for a full-time PhD is four years (three years supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For a full-time Masters-level research programme, it is two years (one year supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For part-time programmes, the periods are double the full-time equivalent.

Making your application

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

Our Standard Requirements

 

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK, usually in a relevant area.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent), usually in a relevant area.

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements


Our main areas of research expertise, associated staff and PhD supervision areas are included in the links below for each research area:

We have a wide range of research expertise in the Department. However, if you can not find your area of interest in our research areas, you can email our admissions tutor Dr Deryn Guest for further advice. Please send details of your qualifications, any relevant experience and a short paragraph summarising your proposed research project to d.p.guest@bham.ac.uk. Alternatively, please see our staff page for a full list of staff specialisms.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Theology and Religion

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 5 years, 94% of our postgraduates were in work and/or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2012 - 2017). Many of our graduates go into careers in churches of various denominations. Other students use their transferable skills in a range of employment sectors, including publishing, education and social work. Employers that our graduates have gone on to work for include Church of England, Methodist Church, NHS and University of Birmingham.

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