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Research at Exeter

Watch our webinar to find out more about Theology research and how to apply for a PhD at Exeter.

Postgraduate research in Theology and Religion

We combine a strong commitment to research and scholarship with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Postgraduate students study broadly in the areas of biblical studies, patristics, Christian doctrine, philosophical theology, and the ethical, social and political implications of Christian theology. Some choose inter- or multi-disciplinary topics. There are close links with other disciplines in the College of Humanities and Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. We welcome research degree applications from those wishing to study on a full-time or part-time basis, on campus or at a distance.

In Theology and Religion we adopt a hands on approach to supervising our PhD students and this has proven effective and popular. Our research culture is built on inter-disciplinary communication and interaction, involving our research students at every level.

We support our research students with a series of courses that provide a grounding in all the key research skills you will require to develop, investigate and write-up world-class and cutting edge theological research. Through fortnightly research seminars, the postgraduate study day and involvement in societies our students are part of a vibrant research community.

Arrangements can be made for part-time students who live a considerable distance from Exeter or even from outside the UK, although there is a six-month residency requirement.

Find out more about our MPhil/PhD and MA by Research in Theology and Religion at Exeter.

Our research covers a wide range of areas, these broad headings give an indication of our special interests:

  • Religion and ethics in public life
  • Biblical studies and biblical interpretation
  • Christian theology and the learning church
  • Philosophical reflection and aspects of human life

Explore our research centres and research projects to find out more about our current research topics.

Visit our Theology staff profiles pages for details on individual staff research interests and publications.

Our current PGRs

We're proud of the research carried out by our PhD students. There are currently around 50 PhD students in the Department, many of whom maintain an online personal profile detailing their research activities. Follow the links below to find out more about them and their research projects.

StudentResearch titleFirst supervisorSecond supervisor
Rachel Addison Overcoming the legacy of Eugenics - historical, cultural and religious issues regarding the legitimacy of state involvement in the use of generic technologies. Dr Esther D. Reed Professor Christopher Southgate
Joshua Bryant An Empire Made Safe:The roles of late antique Roman fortified structures in the Eastern frontier region. Professor Emma Loosley Dr Ioana Oltean
Robert William Button The Theology of Ritual in the Russian Orthodox Tradition: Perspectives on the Nikonian Reforms. Professor Morwenna Ludlow Professor Emma Loosley
Philippa Campbellclause Eucharistic Food Ethics: Challenging our Stale Economy with the Bread of Life in an Era of Increasing Food Insecurity. Professor Christopher Southgate Professor Tim Gorringe
Esther Chew Su Li Recovering Heilsgeschichte for a Trinitarian Ethic Dr Esther D. Reed Dr Brandon Gallaher
Elisabeth Cook Implications of Ezra 9-10. Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou Professor David Horrell
Penelope Cowell Doe Queering The Pilling Report Dr Louise Lawrence Dr Susannah Cornwall
Jonathan Curtis Teetotalism as ethical choice. Dr Esther D. Reed Avril Mewse
Catherine Donner The centrality of death in the life and writings of Thomas More. Dr Esther D. Reed Professor Henry French
Paschalis Gkortsilas John Chrysostom and the Greeks: Hellenism and Greek philosophy in the rhetoric of John Chrysostom Professor Morwenna Ludlow Dr Richard Flower
Stephen Goundrey-Smith The Impact of Pharmaceutical Research on the Shape of Human Life in the 20th Century Professor Christopher Southgate Dr Jonathan Hill
Eva Marina Syster Hannus ‘Theological anthropology in light of evolutionary and cognitive science’ Professor Christopher Southgate Dr Jonathan Hill
Alistair Harper ‘Subversive-Fulfilment’: How Acts relates with the Greco-Roman world Professor David Horrell Professor Morwenna Ludlow
Giovanni Hermanin De Reichenf The role of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John within Origen’s and Augustine’s Commentaries. Professor Morwenna Ludlow Dr David Tollerton
David Horner Body and Soul: An evaluation of Richard Swinburne’s arguments for substance dualism Dr Jonathan Hill Joel Krueger
Cherryl Hunt The manner the Bible is read and used in churches. Dr Louise Lawrence Dr Mike Higton
Hyun Kang Establishing a novel eco-feministic model of godfrom Korean folklore. Dr Esther D. Reed Heidi Hadsell
Ha Young Kim Divine Christology and Priestly Sacrifice in 1 Peter. Professor David Horrell Dr Louise Lawrence
Diane Lincoln Emerging Church Dr Esther D. Reed Avril Mewse
Daniel McClellan Divine Agency in Early Israelite and Jewish Literature and Cult Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou Professor Siam Bhayro
Daniel Nessim Didache, Torah, Gentile and Jew: A paradigm of distinction and unity. Professor David Horrell Professor Siam Bhayro
Amy Poppinga Knowledge preceding action. Dr Esther D. Reed Scott Thumma
Louise Prideaux Towards a Christian Theology of Contemporary Culture in the Reformed Tradition Dr Esther D. Reed Dr Louise Lawrence
Leanna Rierson Evaluating Paul’s Power-in-Weakness Claims and Strategies in the Corinthian Correspondence in Light of Current Vulnerability and Humility Research Professor David Horrell Dr Louise Lawrence
Mark Rivers Bland Can money be “made” to glorify God? A proposal for a church-based token currency. Dr Esther D. Reed Professor Tim Gorringe
Carla Roland Theology and Religious Studies. Professor Ian Netton Yahya Michot
David Shaw New testament: Identity and Mission in the Letter of 1 Peter. Professor David Horrell Dr Louise Lawrence
Hyunte Shin New Testament Eschatology and the Environmental Crisis of South Korea: Towards a Contextual Christian Environmental Ethic Professor David Horrell Professor Christopher Southgate
Rebekah Welton A Study of Gluttony and Drunkenness in Narratives of the Hebrew Bible in Relation to the Law of the Rebellious Son in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou Rita Langer
Ying Lam Yip Choosing to Suffer: A Narrative Analysis of the Identity-Making Processes in Philippians Professor David Horrell Dr Louise Lawrence

Supervisors - all students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors over three to four years (full time PhD) or six to seven (part-time PhD) to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of theological research.

Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests or use the search box on the right of this page to find a supervisor.

Mentor - each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.

Graduate School Office - the College of Humanities has a dedicated Graduate School Office that supports our postgraduate research students during their study with us. The Office promotes intellectual and social contact between research students in all our disciplines to foster a vibrant research community within the College.

Funding opportunities available to students on our research degree programmes in Theology and Religion:*

AwardValueApplication deadlineDescription
Fulbright Scholarships: Postgraduate Student Awards Varies Mon 1st Oct 2018 Fulbright US Student Postgraduate Student Awards can be applied to any master's or doctoral degree at any recognised UK university, as well as for independent research projects.
Marshall Scholarships for graduate study Varies Mon 1st Oct 2018 Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom.
Global Education Program Scholarship Fully funded Deadline passed
(Sun 5th Nov 2017)
The Global Education Program (GEP) scholarship is provided by the Russian Government and covers Masters and PhD studies in science, engineering, medicine, education and management in social sphere.
BECAR (Argentina) Fully funded Deadline passed
(Thu 11th Jan 2018)
Postgraduate scholarships offered jointly by Bec.Ar/Universities UK, available for students of Argentinean nationality with a first degree of minimum 4 years. Priority areas are Science, Technology and Innovation. The recipient will be expected to return to Argentina on completion of their studies.
COLFUTURO Scholarships Loan Programme £20,000 Deadline passed
(Wed 28th Feb 2018)
COLFUTURO offers scholarship-loans to provide financial support to Colombian citizens to access high-quality postgraduate study Masters or Doctoral programs abroad.
Sports Scholarship and High Performance Programme up to £3000 plus additional support services & coaching Deadline passed
(Sat 31st Mar 2018)
Sports scholarships are awarded to students of outstanding sporting ability who show evidence of achievement at international level in their chosen sport. We also encourage applications from students who have achieved at national or regional level for consideration onto our High Performance Programme.
Becas Chile (Conicyt) Fully funded Deadline passed
(Thu 10th May 2018)
Scholarships offered for studies in the UK, available for Chilean nationals (and others with permanent residence in Chile) in all areas except Management/MBA/Commercial Law and where the recipient will be expected to return to Chile on completion of their studies.
Sanctuary Scholarship Full tuition fee waiver plus annual living cost grant Deadline passed
(Tue 15th May 2018)
The Sanctuary Scholarship scheme enables individuals seeking asylum and refugees who are not able access student finance to study at the University of Exeter.
Bolashak Scholarship Full tuition fee waiver and living expenses Deadline passed
(Fri 31st Aug 2018)
Offered to Kazakh students by the Kazakhstan Ministry of Education across a range of subject areas for both postgraduate Taught and Research programmes. Award is conferred as monthly stipend in addition to the fee waiver.
University of Exeter Progression to Postgraduate Research Programmes £750 to £1,000 There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered. A tuition fee discount is available to University of Exeter students progressing directly from an undergraduate degree to a limited number of MbyRes, MPhil and PhD programmes in September 2018. This award is available for selected programmes only, please see the main advertisement for details.
*Please note that if you have submitted an application to one of our MPhil/PhD programmes you will not automatically be considered for funding. You must submit a separate funding application, including all required supporting documents, via the link provided in each award to be considered for that award.

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