Research Postgraduate (Ph.D.)

The University of St Andrews is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK. St Mary’s College (the School of Divinity), was founded in 1538, and occupies a beautiful 16th-century quad in the heart of St Andrews. Doctoral students have excellent facilities within the School, including the historic King James Library and the Roundel, a dedicated doctoral study centre overlooking St Andrews’ 12th-century cathedral ruins.

The Ph.D. programme in Systematic and Historical Theology is competitive and rigorous, and is aimed at those who already have the necessary coursework grounding to begin an independent doctoral research project. We welcome applications from suitably qualified candidates in the full range of subjects falling within the field. Please see our staff pages for particular fields of expertise and supervision. Informal enquiries from prospective applicants are always welcome.

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View from the Roundel

The view from the Roundel, the Ph.D. office building © SierraWhiskeyBravo

The focus of the Ph.D. programme is the completion of a doctoral dissertation under the supervision of one or two members of staff, usually in the course of three years of full-time work. Ph.D. students attend the weekly research seminar in theology, and are encouraged to receive language instruction and to attend other lectures, seminars and reading groups as appropriate. The majority of their time, however, is dedicated to independent research.

The School of Divinity and the University as a whole work together to provide doctoral candidates with the skills they need to succeed in an international job market, both academic and non-academic. Paid teaching assistantships are regularly advertised, and are combined with formal and informal teaching training. During the first year of study, students also undergo training in basic research skills, including a formalized GRADskills Programme offered by the University’s Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development. Regular workshops, both general and subject-specific, in areas such as publishing, conference presentations, and job searches are offered by the School and the University.

The School and University offer a number of scholarships and bursaries, though as at all of the most prestigious UK universities, many of our doctoral students are self-funded. Full scholarship information can be found on the University’s funding pages.

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