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KLC PhD Supervision in Partnership with Union Theological College

Rev Principal W Gordon Campbell


We are very pleased to share the below announcement, courtesy of The Kirby Laing Centre, regarding their partnership with UTC towards a new Doctoral Research Initiative: 

KLC is delighted to announce that we have entered into a relationship with Union Theological College, Belfast, whereby we will work with them to assist in developing a cohort of supervisors who will supervise PhDs for UTC. 

This fits squarely with our mission: Christian research across the disciplines oriented to the question How then should we live? Done well, and with the freedom - indeed the imperative - to have one’s faith at the heart of one’s work, doctoral research is profoundly formative and an essential contribution to the missio Dei. It is becoming harder in the West to find places where rigorous scholarship can be done coram deo. Like UTC, KLC wants to become such a place. 

UTC is a Presbyterian college with a long history of ministerial training and University level education. It is evangelical in conviction. Recently the College received a renewed Royal Charter (2021) - the original dates from 1881 - ensuring it can continue to develop as a Theological University with postgraduate degree-awarding powers. The College welcomes students from all backgrounds and staff come from a variety of evangelical perspectives. 

Research can be a lonely affair. Thus, we need communities of which research students can be a part, and KLC is deeply committed to this. We aim to embody intellectual community rooted in spirituality. Between KLC and UTC students will be inducted into vibrant intellectual communities with many possibilities for friendship and dialogue about their work. 

KLC is deeply concerned to think through all its work from a Christian perspective. Recently we hosted a meeting of potential supervisors and later this year and in the years to follow, in partnership with UTC, we will run a mentoring course for supervisors. Central to this will be the development of a missional approach to research, one that undercuts Western individualism and seeks to promote research as part of the great missio Dei. This is an exhilarating possibility! 

I am a great advocate of the British PhD. No course work is required, and students get on with researching their chosen topic. However, doing a PhD can be costly, and so we are delighted to announce that KLC will provide significant scholarships for students entering UTC’s programme through KLC. The number of scholarships will be limited and the process competitive. Candidates who are accepted will also be appointed as Fellows of KLC for the duration of their studies.  

The details - how to apply, who to contact, areas we will supervise, cost involved - all this and more will start to appear on the KLC website in the coming weeks. For now, if you wish to express an interest in doing a PhD under UTC supervision you can write to KLC’s Director of Studies, Rev Dr Michael Wagenman at study@kirbylaingcentre.co.uk. And do please spread the word!”

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