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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

Theology and Religious Studies is no longer accepting new applications.

The Divinity Faculty at Cambridge has a distinguished international reputation for research, teaching and for the formation of postgraduate students in Theology and Religious Studies. Consistently ranked as one of the top research units in the country in our subjects, it offers postgraduate training at an acknowledged world-class standard.


The teaching officers of the Faculty include leading experts in a wide range of fields:

Biblical Studies

Ancient, Medieval and Modern Judaism


History of Christianity

Christian Theology

Philosophy of Religion and Ethics

Religion and Natural Sciences

Religion and the Social Sciences

Study of World Religions (with special reference to Judaism and Rabbinics, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism)

World Christianities (with special reference to African Christianity)

Each major research area is centred on a senior seminar meeting fortnightly during a term. In practice these seminars are often interdisciplinary in character (such as the D Society in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics and the Hebrew, Jewish and Early Christian Studies Seminar); and a variety of other informal postgraduate seminars and reading groups also help to expand the repertoire of exchange. A number of named lectureships (the Stantons, the Hulseans etc.) regularly bring international figures from outside Cambridge to contribute to the research culture.

First-year PhD students are not registered for any degree and must undergo an examination at the end of their first year. If they successfully pass this then they will be registered for the PhD degree. Candidates submit a thesis of not more than 80,000 words. The thesis title must be approved by the Degree Committee. There is an oral examination on the thesis and the general field of knowledge in which it falls.

Learning Outcomes

PhD students spend most of their time working on their own research.  Any skills required, such as languages, will be assessed by the student's supervisor and training may be provided by the Faculty or the Language Centre. 

Other learning and development opportunities are available through the research skills sessions run by the Faculty in Michaelmas and Lent terms and courses run by the University.  Students should attend and contribute to one of the Faculty's senior seminars.  Students also run their own seminars and reading groups.  Students are given the opportunity to supervise and give lectures for undergraduates.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.

Key Information

3-4 years full-time

4-7 years part-time

Study Mode : Research

Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Divinity

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
May 16, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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