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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
William Astley Assessing the RN and RNLN ethical obligations to combatting climate change Professor Esther D. Reed Tim Lenton
James Barge Assessing Organizational Leaders’ Moral Philosophy By Way of MacIntyre’s Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry : Encyclopedia, Genealogy and Tradition Professor Esther D. Reed Avril Mewse
Matthew Bartlett New Insights from a Translation and Analysis of Unpublished Jewish Incantation Bowls from Late Antiquity- Early Medieval period. Professor Siam Bhayro Helen Spurling
Robert Button Envisioning and Performing the Sign of the Cross: A Study of the Figuration of the Cross in Early Christian Tradition Dr Brandon Gallaher Josef Lossl
Esther Chew Su Li Recovering Heilsgeschichte for a Trinitarian Ethic Professor Esther D. Reed Dr Brandon Gallaher
Chloe Church Annunciation and Passion: A Reception-Historical Study of the New Testament in Counter-Reformation Art. Professor Louise Lawrence Alexandra Hoare
Penelope Cowell Doe Queering The Pilling Report Professor Louise Lawrence Professor Susannah Cornwall
Heather Crossley A review into the effectiveness of current Learning From Experience (LFE) processes, with a focus on Human Factors (HF), within the Royal Naval Submarine Service Marine Engineering Branch Professor Esther D. Reed  
Catherine Donner Fear in the life and writings of Thomas More. Professor Esther D. Reed Professor Henry French
James Gregory Worship as participation in the priesting of creation Dr Brandon Gallaher Professor Morwenna Ludlow
Michael Hallett Spinoza on enhancing service member ethical fitness in NATO combat operations Professor Esther D. Reed Dr Jonathan Hill
Eva Hannus ‘Theological anthropology in light of evolutionary and cognitive science’ Professor Christopher Southgate Dr Jonathan Hill
Alistair Harper Can Subversive-Fulfilment provide a fresh approach to understand the engagement between the Christian assembly and the surrounding cultures (Judaism, the Nations, and the Roman State) within the natural flow and development of the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles? Professor David Horrell Professor Morwenna Ludlow
John Herriman From Able Seaman to Admiral, exploring the effectiveness of the Royal Navy leadership development continuum in supporting ethical leadership – problems, possibilities and proposals for improvement Professor Esther D. Reed Barney Dunn
Benjamin Holton Splitting the Sea: Aramaic Cultural Mediation and the Combat Myth in the New Testament Professor Siam Bhayro Professor David Horrell
Scott Jackson The impact of modern-day human factors on initial military training, namely the initial 36-week Royal Marine Commando training. Professor Esther D. Reed Miriam Koschate-Reis
Omer Frank Kalinturk The Historiography of the Paulicians Professor Emma Loosley Professor Morwenna Ludlow
Paul Lambdin An Analysis and Critique of the Theological Context of John Locke’s Political Vision Professor Esther D. Reed Dr Brandon Gallaher
Ellen Lesser The relationship between nonhuman animals and the Christian God Professor Christopher Southgate Astrid Schrader
Hongde Li Universal Salvation and Society: Sergii Bulgakov in dialogue with Gregory of Nyssa. Dr Brandon Gallaher Professor Morwenna Ludlow
Carrie Marsden A Theological Analysis of the Origins of Evil and its Changing Trajectory in the Historical Context of the Reformation Professor Morwenna Ludlow Professor Esther D. Reed
Denys McDonald Paul and the Reconfiguration of Ethnic Identities in Conversation with the “Paul within Judaism” Perspective Professor David Horrell Professor Louise Lawrence
Philippa Meek-Smith ‘A Heart Full of Love?: Public Perceptions, Media Representations, and the Realities of Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy’ Professor Susannah Cornwall Professor Esther D. Reed
Isabelle Mutton Holocaust Memorials in London and Ottawa: Sacred Secular Space Dr David Tollerton James Jordan
Stiofan O Murchadha Can the works of Patrick Kavanagh and Gerard Manley Hopkins complement and enhance the ‘new style natural theology’ as outlined by McGrath? Professor Christopher Southgate Dr Jonathan Hill
Olabisi Obamakin Constructing a Feminist Afropean Biblical Hermeneutical Framework Professor Louise Lawrence Professor David Horrell
Victoria Omotoso Imag(in)ing Jesus in the Universal or Particular: Cross-Cultural Bible Film Reception of The Lumo Project: The Gospel of Mark (2014) and Son of Man (2006). Dr David Tollerton Professor Louise Lawrence
Ryan Osinski Sacred Scripture in Light of Attachment Theory: Toward a Critical Method of Attachment Analysis in Biblical Exegesis Professor Louise Lawrence Professor Christopher Southgate
Emma Partington A Jungian approach to the Watchers tradition and the treatment of demon possession. Professor Siam Bhayro Professor Louise Lawrence
Abigail Pearson Syriac Magic in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: A Transliteration, Translation, and Analysis of John Rylands University Library of Manchester Ms. Syr. 52. Professor Siam Bhayro Professor Louise Lawrence
Ian Pells Tertullian: a proclaimer of truth or a purveyor of error – A critical re-examination of the treatise against Praxeas Professor Morwenna Ludlow Professor David Horrell
Guiseppe Pezzonni Learning by being & learning by doing:for a new, Christian paideia in the IVth century Cappadocia.The Amphilochius’ of Iconium contribution Professor Morwenna Ludlow  Richard Flower
Annie Porthouse  Thirty-six questions to change your life: Joseph Alleine’s Puritan practice of self-examination. Professor Morwenna Ludlow  Joanna Harris
Gareth Thomas Richards To what extent can De-extinction be considered morally acceptable and theologically justified? Professor Christopher Southgate Professor Esther D. Reed
Leanna Rierson Paul’s Humble Leadership in Light of Contemporary Studies of Humility and Leadership: A Comparative Analysis of Paul’s Deployment of Humility in 2 Corinthians 10–13 and Philippians 1–4 Professor David Horrell Professor Louise Lawrence
Craig R Ross After Analogy: A genealogy and evaluation of the Wittgensteinian Thomist synthesis and the 20th Century “analogous turn” Dr Jonathan Hill Dr Brandon Gallaher
Shoko Saeki The Lost Tribes of Israel and Shinto History: Jewish-Shinto relations and the Japanese Jewish Common Ancestry Theory Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou Dr Brandon Gallaher
Jack Slater Notes Towards a Posthuman Queer Christology: Relationality, Autonomy and Futurity through the body of Christ Professor Susannah Cornwall Professor Louise Lawrence
Lydia Souter 21st Century Holocaust Memorials and Theories of Transnational Memory Dr David Tollerton Chloe Paver
Christopher Edward Steer Building a resilient Navy: an investigation into preparatory mental resilience training for Royal Navy trainees. Professor Esther D. Reed Barney Dunn
Miles Tradewell Pauline salvation and Zion's deliverence Professor David Horrell Professor Louise Lawrence
Charlotte Trombin Onward Christian Soldier?: An intersectional analytical response to hyper-masculine discourse in global ‘Muscular Christian’ men’s groups. Professor Susannah Cornwall Professor Louise Lawrence
Christos Veskoukis Sin and Freedom in John Chrysostom, Nikolai Berdyaev and Hans Urs von Balthasar Dr Brandon Gallaher Professor Morwenna Ludlow
Harriet Walker Therapeutic Aramaic Magic Bowls from Late Antiquity: Patients and Practitioners Professor Siam Bhayro Helen Spurling
Rachael Wooldridge The ‘Story of Christ’ in 1 Corinthians Professor David Horrell Professor 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.

View list of funding opportunities available to students on our research degree programmes in Theology and Religion.

The College of Humanities works closely with the University’s Career Zone to help you gain the skills, experience and expertise employers are looking for. There are a wide range of opportunities to enhance your employability, along with the support you need to make important career decisions.

We have our own Employability Officer who works to develop close links with employers and arranges careers events. Each department has an academic representative who promotes the employability needs and interests of their students. This helps us ensure that employability activities are relevant and appealing to you.

Graduate destinations

Former Exeter Theology and Religion postgraduate students have gone on to research posts at:

  • Azusa Pacific University, USA
  • Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
  • Bethel University, USA
  • Eastern University, USA
  • Cambridge, UK
  • Durham, UK
  • Exeter, UK
  • Oxford Universities, UK
  • Woolf Institute, UK

Former graduates are also employed at Prospect College, Washington DC, the Jamaica Theological Seminary, Sarum College, Rye St Anthony School and Exeter College. Outside education, students have gone on to roles such as working in research and development in the Methodist Church and Christian Concern for One World.

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