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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
Marshall Scholarships for graduate study Varies Mon 30th Sep 2019 Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom.
Fulbright Scholarships: Postgraduate Student Awards Full tuition waiver for one year of Masters / PhD & living stipend Tue 1st Oct 2019 Our UK Partnership award with Fulbright is available for Masters or Doctoral students who are USA or dual USA:UK citizens wishing to study at the University. The award takes the form of a tuition fee waiver for the first year of graduate study (either Masters or PhD) and a living stipend. We also accept scholars in receipt of Fulbright 'Open Awards' (also referred to as the All Disciplines Award).
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships 2020 (for least developed countries and fragile states) Tuition fees, approved fares and stipend Wed 30th Oct 2019 Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for candidates from the least developed countries and fragile states in the Commonwealth, put forward by various nominating bodies, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.
Said Foundation Scholarships Varies Fri 1st Nov 2019 The Said Foundation offers around thirty postgraduate scholarships to nationals from Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine and Syria who are also permanent residents in these target countries.
US Department of Education - Federal Student Loan Variable Tue 30th Jun 2020 The federal government offers a number of financial aid programs, including these loans, to help pay for your education.
FashionForest Scholarship 10,000 DKK (approx. £1,175 GBP) Deadline passed
(Fri 1st Mar 2019)
The FashionForest scholarship is awarded yearly to one or more researchers, students and former students at Danish and foreign educational institutions who are in need of support for a theoretical or practical project in connection to an educational purpose.
Becas Chile (Conicyt) Fully funded Deadline passed
(Wed 8th May 2019)
Postgraduate 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
(Fri 17th May 2019)
The Sanctuary Scholarship scheme enables individuals seeking asylum and refugees who are not able access student finance to study at the University of Exeter.
Sports Scholarship Scheme up to £3,000 plus additional support services worth £3,500 Deadline passed
(Fri 31st May 2019)
Sports scholarships are awarded to students of outstanding sporting ability who show evidence of achievement at international level in their chosen sport.
Cornwall Heritage Trust Scholarship £1000 Deadline passed
(Thu 15th Aug 2019)
A one year award of up to £1000 for one or more postgraduate students producing dissertations/theses centred on an aspect of Cornwall's heritage who will be registered for the coming academic year.
2019 Commonwealth PhD Scholarships for citizens of high income Commonwealth countries See CSC website for more information Deadline passed
(Wed 28th Aug 2019)
Applications are now open for 2019 Commonwealth PhD Scholarships for citizens of high income Commonwealth countries. Funded by the UK Department for Education (DfE), these scholarships support excellence in UK higher education and sustain the principles of the Commonwealth. Candidates will be selected based on their potential to lead in the pursuit of global excellence in research and knowledge, as well as academic merit and the quality of their plan of study.
Alumni scholarships for Doctoral-level study £750-£3,000 dependent on programme and fee status Deadline passed
(Sun 15th Sep 2019)
A tuition fee discount is available to suitably qualified University of Exeter alumni starting a postgraduate research degree in the 2019/20 academic year.
University of Exeter Alumni Scholarship £750 - £3000 There is no application for this award. You will be automatically considered. A tuition fee discount for all University of Exeter alumni who start a postgraduate degree with us in September 2019.
*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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