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About the Programme

Our postgraduate department offers you the chance to engage with cutting-edge research on theology and religion in a wide variety of areas. For us, learning is something that staff and students do together through our dedicated and diverse community.

We have around 150 postgraduate students and 300 undergraduates, who are drawn from many parts of the world. Nearly 40 full-time academic staff include internationally respected scholars in a wide range of specialisms.

A vibrant intellectual and social community

Our postgraduate department ethos is to promote excellence in postgraduate study, within a stimulating and supportive environment. We value equality and diversity in the School community, and an academic culture that is both critical and constructive.

We are one of the biggest centres in the UK for the study of theology and religion with the largest number of research-active faculty members in Scotland and the third largest in the UK.   

Our research environment is enhanced by research seminars: Regular occasions enjoyed by academic staff, research and taught postgraduates. Students also benefit from gatherings with faculty members and fellow students, where we offer a supportive forum in which to discuss issues as diverse as work-life balance or publishing strategies.

Good to know...

We are ranked one of the top five places in the UK to study Divinity and 16th in the world by QS World University Rankings by Subject (theology, divinity and religious studies) 2023.

The School of Divinity was ranked 1st in Scotland and 5th in the UK for research power in Theology and Religious Studies* *Times Higher Education’s power rankings based on REF 2021 results.

New College

Theology and religious studies has been taught at the University of Edinburgh since its foundation in 1583. The School of Divinity is based at New College, an impressive gothic-style building dating from the 1840s, in the heart of the Edinburgh’s Old Town. It commands spectacular views over the city and is a distinctive feature on the Edinburgh skyline, close to the Castle, the National Gallery, Princes Street and Waverley Station.

World-class research libraries

The School of Divinity Library has one of the largest collections for theology and religious studies in the UK. We hold more than a quarter of a million printed items, including many rare and historic books that will provide you with all you need to undertake your postgraduate research.

We offer Masters by research and PhD programmes in the following research areas:

Ethics and Practical Theology

Explore theoretical and practical approaches in areas such as environmental ethics, peace-building, and pastoral theology.

Hebrew and Old Testament Studies

Investigate the Hebrew Bible and its context: poetry and prophecy, theology and ethics and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

History of Christianity

Engage deeply with the Christian past - whether your interests lie in centuries long ago or the near present.

Islamic Studies and Christian – Muslim Relations

Pursue interdisciplinary study of Islamic thought and practice , and of encounters between Christianity and Islam.

New Testament and Christian Origins

Undertake research in exegesis, historical-critical issues, textual and literary criticism, the relation between Christianity and its religious and historical setting.

Religious Studies/Studies of Religions/Study of Religions

Specialise in contemporary, historical or thematic research, in areas such as Asian Studies, History of Religions, /New Religions, and Jewish Studies.

Science and Religion

Bring together the two great truth-seeking disciplines and explore how they challenge and inform each other.

Systematic Theology

Undertake a critical and creative engagement with Christian thought, in a context of intellectual diversity.

World Christianity

Focus on Christianity in and from all parts of the majority world, and on African and Asian churches in the northern hemisphere.

Masters by research in Theology and Religious Studies

If you have academic training in theology or religious studies (or another relevant subject), and would like to develop your interest with a focus on a particular area, the Masters by Research may interest you.

Scholarships and funding

  • Scholarships are awarded on academic merit. Most are open to all, but some are ring-fenced for applicants from certain parts of the world.
  • Awards are made for both Masters and PhD programmes.
  • Typically, awards are for full or partial fee costs. Fully funded awards are exceptional and highly competitive.

Search our scholarship opportunities

Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. Applications for this programme are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full programme details for further information.

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