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PhD Research

A Doctorate of Philosophy is the highest level of degree that a student can achieve, demonstrating academic excellence through independent, creative thought and the ability to interact with modern scholarship.


To earn a PhD, students must write a 80,000 word thesis on a topic defined by their research proposal under the guidance of a relevant faculty member. PhD students undertake research on their own topics, working closely with their supervisors to write their thesis. Staff at Union College have a long history of supervising successfully PhD theses in a wide range of theological areas.

If you are interested in doctoral research please make initial informal contact with the faculty member responsible for your proposed area of work.

Programme Distinctives

The PhD is an advanced research programme. From the outset, the student focuses on working towards the completion of the dissertation.

The only coursework required will be project specific in order for students to enhance necessary skills, for example, in languages. Students need to be well-prepared from previous study and be able to demonstrate appropriate competence in special skills, such as languages.

From the beginning of their programme students typically focus on a particular area of study. The college offers specialist supervision in Biblical studies, languages, history, historical theology, systematic theology, ethics, and practical theology. Cross-disciplinary work is strongly encouraged.

In line with guidance from the UK Quality Code for Higher Education the PhD is a ‘unique’ qualification requiring original research from students and ‘the creation of new knowledge or originality in the application of knowledge

How to Apply

For our PhD programme, the application process requires those with interest to contact their chosen supervisor directly.

To find a supervisor relative to the area of research you are interested in, see below for details on College research faculty and the institutes we have partnerships with.

Entry Requirements

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Letter of intent (300-400 words)

  • Sample of academic work (2,000 words)

  • Two signed references (at least one of which must be an academic reference)

  • Verified academic transcript(s) and a verified copy (or copies) of degree certificates (and, if necessary, an official English translation)

  • English language requirement certificate (if applicable)

  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (non-EU students)

Programme Fees

Fees for PhD entrants in 2023–24 are as follows:

Home/ROI Supervision:

Full–time £5,895 (per year)

Part–time £2,947.50 (per year)

Annual Registration: £190


Full–time £6,085 (per year)

Part–time £3,235 (per year)

International (includes EU) Supervision:

Full–time £15,450 (per year)

Part–time £7,725 (per year)

Annual Registration: £190


Full–time £15,640 (per year)

Part–time £7,915 (per year)