While we are bringing our blog online, we’ve collected some resources from the St Mary’s (that is, the St Andrews Divinity School’s) graduate community, especially for those applying for PhD studies and wanting to get a student’s perspective on the application & relocation process, life at St Mary’s College, etc.
Also have a look at our student profiles and, if you’d like, those of our friends in the Divinity School’s Institute of Theology, Imagination and the Arts for more information about being a graduate student at St Mary’s.
Dr Chris Brewer
Chris Brewer, a recent PhD graduate now working as Manager of Publishing and Strategic Partnerships at The Colossian Forum, kept a blog during his time at St Mary’s which is full of reflections and tips for new applicants and students. It stretches all the way from An Unofficial Graduate Welcome to Last Days as a Graduate Student, with tips on travel grants, conferences and other things in between. Though some of the details are now a little out of date (a Marks & Spencer and an Aldi have now joined the list of supermarkets in town, for example), it’s been full of useful information for those of us who’ve come to St Andrews more recently.
David Rathel, a current PhD candidate in St Mary’s, has maintained a research blog since arriving in Scotland in 2014. He posts writing and research tips and reviews tools that can assist PhD researchers. He has also written reflective pieces in which he discusses how his time in St Mary’s has developed him personally and professionally.
Rebekah Earnshaw, a current PhD candidate in St Mary’s, offers her assessment of life in the St Andrews community. She writes, “I left the sunny skies of Sydney, Australia, in September 2014 to pursue doctoral studies in St Andrews. At least, the community among students and faculty is warm here. Professors John Webster and, now, Mark Elliott have provided invaluable guidance as I’ve explored and grown in my research. The faculty in St Mary’s College are world class. My topic is ‘Creator and creation according to Calvin on Genesis’. I bring together theological and historical insights to illumine Calvin’s thought in this area from the relatively unexamined texts of his Genesis sermons in conversation with his commentary material. I will bring this to bear on contemporary questions within the doctrine of creation, to help us speak well of God and the world together. St Andrews provides excellent facilities and local opportunities. The post-graduate office space in the Roundel fosters a spirit of collegiality across our diverse school; there are disciplines such as systematic and analytic theology, biblical studies, theology and the arts, politics and world religions, and ethics, as well as students and faculty from around the world. The weekly seminars encourage thoughtful engagement with historical and contemporary theology and one another. Coffee hour is great 🙂 The quaint old grey town stands by the sea and nurtures a scholarly and reflective community of many faiths. (As well as just a few golf courses if you’re so inclined.) St Andrews has also opened the world to me. This year I’ve attended the UK Society for Reformation Studies annual conference in Cambridge, the Refo500 annual conference in Copenhagen, the ETS, SBL, and AAR annual meetings in San Antonio, Texas, and even the LA Theology conference is closer to St Andrews than it is to Sydney. Support and encouragement from the School of Divinity make this possible. The world comes to St Andrews, but then St Andrews allows me to go to the world. Studying at St Mary’s College, the school of divinity in St Andrews, has challenged and encouraged me both personally and professionally. I highly recommend it.”