Research course

Religions and Theology

The University of Manchester · School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Entry requirements

Successful completion of a Masters course with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, with an element of research training, is a prerequisite for entry to a PhD. A research proposal must be included with the formal application materials.

The University requires you to reside within a commutable distance from Manchester during your time as a registered student, unless you are on approved fieldwork/a formal placement or are on a period of Submission pending. This is to ensure that you are able to meet attendance expectations and participate in wider research activities within your discipline area and/or School. Should you be unable to do this at any point during your programme, a formal case must be made to the Faculty office, together with the full support of your supervisor(s). The University reserves the right to reject such a request where it is considered that your residency could have a detrimental impact on the progression and engagement of your studies.

Months of entry


Course content

The full-time and part-time PhD programmes in Religions and Theology involve substantial original research leading to the production of a thesis (of up to 80,000 words) that constitutes a significant contribution to knowledge. Assessment is based on the thesis and an oral examination.

Areas available for research include: Biblical studies, esp. Gospels, Paul, Graeco-Roman context; early Christianity, esp. Nag Hammadi and magical texts; papyri and other manuscripts in the John Rylands Library; Rabbinic and mediaeval Judaism; Jewish thought; Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations; South Asian Studies, including Hindu traditions, Indo-Islamic traditions, Indian philosophy; Christian doctrine; philosophical theology; applied theology; ecotheology; theology and technology; contemporary Christianity; religious archives in the John Rylands Library; Religion and philosophy; existentialism; philosophy of law; ethics; religion and science; Religion and politics; religion and gender; religion and diaspora; religion and conflict. For further information on staff research interests visit

A particular strength of Manchester is the ability of research students to draw on the expertise of specialists in a wide range of disciplines. This offers the possibility of developing interdisciplinary projects with high level expertise in both disciplines. For instance, recent PhD students have had supervision jointly between lecturers in: Biblical studies and Roman social history; theology and music; South Asian Studies and sociology. There is also training available in a wide range of disciplines that can support a Religions and Theology PhD. For instance, Manchester provides one of the UK's widest selections of language teaching.

The PhD programme is based on supervised independent research. The student-supervisor relationship thus sits at the heart of this programme. Each student has a main supervisor, a co-supervisor and an additional panel member who acts as an independent reviewer. The Religions and Theology Postgraduate Research Officer provides more general academic advice and support.

In addition to regular personal supervision our graduate research students each have a research panel which meets a minimum of two times per year (on more occasions if necessary). The research panel increases the breadth of expertise available to the student and widens the informational and networking opportunities accessible to them. In addition the panel reviews the development of the student's research proposal, provides feedback on draft chapters and conference papers, discusses research progress, and provides guidance on the formulation of realistic objectives. During the course of their programme, research postgraduates need to develop both broad generic research skills and specialised skills relevant to their specific discipline and field study. Some of these skills will be acquired as part of the skills training that has been developed within the school was well as a range of courses available within the University.

artsmethods@manchester ( ) is a programme of talks, workshops and events running throughout the academic year which explore approaches to arts research, research methods and the dissemination of arts & languages research at the University of Manchester.

The School of Arts, Languages and Cultures Graduate School offers dedicated state of the art facilities to research students, including common rooms and workstations. The Graduate School is a thriving inter-disciplinary community where postgraduate students can meet, access resources and organise events. Funds are available for students to organise conferences and travel to attend events and undertake research. Within Religions and Theology our doctoral students also participate in a thriving disciplinary research culture. There are regular research seminars in Religions and Theology, Biblical Studies, and Jewish Studies. Research students are also welcome at a wide range of seminars in other parts of the School, for instance in Linguistics, or in gender, sexuality and culture. Religions and Theology students get the opportunity to meet and discuss with a range of major international scholars who visit to deliver seminars, public lectures (The Manson Memorial Lecture in New Testament, The Sherman Lectures in Jewish Studies, The Ferguson Lecture in Theology). Many of our students undertake some undergraduate teaching, following appropriate training which is offered to all doctoral students. There are opportunities to organise, participate in, and present papers at conferences led by PhD students and joint events such as the Manchester-Durham-Sheffield PhD student conference in Biblical Studies.

Information for international students

Students whose first language is not English require:

an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing component


a TOEFL score of 600 paper-based test or 100 internet-based test


a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 70 overall with 70 in the writing component


an overall Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III grade of Merit with Merit in the writing component.

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

The School offers a limited number of bursaries and studentships on a competitive basis, details of which can be found via the links below.

Please note that whilst we do not have closing dates for programme applications, all funding competitions have a specified deadline for submitting the funding application form and a separate (earlier) deadline for submitting the online programme application form, both of which will be stated in the funding competition details below:

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
72 months

Course contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
+44 (0)161 275 3559