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Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Religious Studies

Course Description

Candidates may study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, a postgraduate degree offered by the University of Cambridge. At Westcott, this is ordinarily part of a four-year training programme, which includes the equivalent of three years of full-time study on the PhD and a year to complete and fulfil the training expectations for ordination. The course is delivered within the Faculty of Divinity. It is particularly suitable for those identified as Potential Theological Educators.

Further information about this award is available from the Divinity Faculty.

Entrance Requirements

A candidate for the PhD must be matriculated as a member of one of the Cambridge Colleges. Those studying for the PhD remain active at Westcott during the course of their degree programme. To gain admission as a student, the candidate must have a Masters degree with marks of at least 67% (71% in the case of the Cambridge MPhil) or a GPA of at least 3.7. To secure funding from Ministry, the candidate would need to secure a discretionary award from the Research Degrees Panel as a Potential Theological Educator. Candidates for whom English is a second language must be able to meet English language requirements as set by the Cambridge University Graduate Admissions Office.

Teaching and Learning

PhD students work closely with a supervisor appointed by the Faculty of Divinity. They also attend relevant senior seminars in the Divinity Faculty.


Candidates for the PhD must complete an 80,000 word thesis. They must complete an assessment at the end of their first year of study. Before submission of their thesis, they must apply for the appointment of examiners.

Integration with Training for Ministry

In addition to the PhD, candidates for licensed ministry are required by the House to participate fully in the formational life of Westcott House, attend Ministry for Life and Short Intensive Courses, and complete contextual training through attachments and placements. Ordinands will have to take further studies in order to fulfil any further training expectations required by the House of Bishops.

Non-Cambridge Doctoral Programmes

Candidates for licensed ministry may also train at Westcott as candidates on Doctoral programmes at any other University approved by the Research Degrees Panel of Ministry.