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Religions & Theology, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #27 (QS) Manchester, United Kingdom
The full-time and part-time PhD programmes in Religions and Theology involve substantial original research leading to the production of a thesis (of up to 80,000 words) that constitutes a genuine contribution to knowledge. 
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Assessment is based on the thesis and an oral examination.A particular strength of Manchester is the ability of research students to draw on the expertise of specialists in a wide range of disciplines. 

This offers the possibility of developing interdisciplinary projects with high level expertise in both disciplines. For instance, recent PhD students have had supervision jointly between lecturers in: Biblical studies and Roman social history; theology and music; South Asian Studies and sociology. 

There is also training available in a wide range of disciplines that can support a Religions and Theology PhD. For instance, Manchester provides one of the UK's widest selections of language teaching.

The PhD programme is based on supervised independent research. The student-supervisor relationship thus sits at the heart of this programme. Each student has a main supervisor, a co-supervisor and an additional panel member who acts as an independent reviewer. The Religions and Theology Postgraduate Research Officer provides more general academic advice and support.

In addition to regular personal supervision our graduate research students each have a research panel which meets a minimum of two times per year (on more occasions if necessary). 

The research panel increases the breadth of expertise available to the student and widens the informational and networking opportunities accessible to them. In addition the panel reviews the development of the student's research proposal, provides feedback on draft chapters and conference papers, discusses research progress, and provides guidance on the formulation of realistic objectives. 

During the course of their programme, research postgraduates need to develop both broad generic research skills and specialised skills relevant to their specific discipline and field study. Some of these skills will be acquired as part of the skills training that has been developed within the school was well as a range of courses available within the University.

Career opportunities

Many of our Religions and Theology PhD graduates have gone on to leading academic positions in countries such as the UK, USA, South Korea, Australia, Burundi, South Africa. Among past PhD graduates are Morna Hooker, Donald Hagner, W. Ward Gasque, Robert Gundry, Quek Swee Hwa, Seyoon Kim, Ronald Fung, Moises Silva, Charles Wanamaker, David Wenham, Peter O'Brien, Peter H. Davids. Among the posts held by recent PhD graduates are Head of Department at a UK university, Principal of a Bible College in Burundi, Assistant Professor at a Canadian university, and post-doctoral fellowships at a leading Canadian university, at the John Rylands Research Institute, and with a leading European research project based in France. 

The Religions and Theology PhD programme at Manchester also provides development of research skills valuable for careers other than academic teaching. Many professions today require investigative skills. Some in the media spend time researching angles of events that relate to religions. 

Some in the health service investigate the experiences of various cultural groups in accessing services. Many in museums, libraries and other archives require the textual and historical research skills that our courses teach. PhD study in Religions and Theology gives you a high level qualification for a wide range of investigative tasks. More broadly, careers in a wide range of fields are available as for all those graduating with PhD's in Humanities subjects. 

Whatever employment area postgraduates choose, their studies will provide them with transferable skills as well as enhancing their intellectual and personal development.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Full-time duration 36 months
    • Average part-time duration 72 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Areas available for research include: 

  • Biblical studies, esp. Gospels, Paul, Graeco-Roman context; early Christianity, esp. Nag Hammadi and magical texts; 
  • papyri and other manuscripts in the John Rylands Library; Rabbinic and mediaeval Judaism; Jewish thought;
  • Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations; South Asian Studies, including Hindu traditions, Indo-Islamic traditions, Indian philosophy; Christian doctrine; philosophical theology; 
  • applied theology; ecotheology; 
  • theology and technology; contemporary Christianity; religious archives in the John Rylands Library; 
  • Religion and philosophy; existentialism; philosophy of law; ethics; religion and science; Religion and politics; 
  • religion and gender; 
  • religion and diaspora; 
  • religion and conflict. 

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

General Requirements

  • Successful completion of a Masters course with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, with an element of research training, is a prerequisite for entry to a PhD. 
  • A research proposal must be included with the formal application materials. 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    17000 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 17000 GBP per year and a duration of 36 months.
  • EU/EEA

    4195 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 4195 GBP per year and a duration of 36 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.
  • PhD (part-time): UK/EU students (per annum): £2,098

Living costs for Manchester

  • 645 - 1200 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


UK and EU applicants may enter the AHRC Block Grant Partnership competition (see the Funding pages for deadlines). Students of any nationality may enter for the President's Doctoral Scholarships. Both the above are highly competitive, and applicants should discuss applying with the Postgraduate Research Officer as soon as possible. Some awards are also offered by the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures and there are other awards specific to Religions and Theology.

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.


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