New Testament & Christian Origins

The School of Divinity admits students for supervised research in New Testament & Christian Origins toward the PhD, the MPhil, and the MTh/MSc (by research).


Applications are welcome from students with strong academic preparation, whatever religious background you may have.

The academic staff and postgraduate student body represent a variety of nationalities and religious standpoints.

All applicants are required to have a good command of English in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Those whose first language is not English must score a minimum of 600 on the TOEFL or an overall score of 7 on the IELTS.

PhD program

Applicants for PhD work are expected to have strong preparation in New Testament or closely related subjects, and are advised to have read widely and thoroughly in the field. Today, an appropriate masters-level degree programme is usually advised prior to commencing PhD studies.

Before submitting an application, you should also develop at minimum a basic idea of the topic likely to be the focus of your thesis.

You are urged to contact us to discuss your research interests before applying.

We require a statement of your research interest with your application, along with a sample of research writing (in English) of about 5,000 words.

The selection process

In making recommendations for admission to research degree programmes, we apply four main considerations:

  • Does the applicant appear to have the preparation and aptitude to pursue advanced studies in the field with the strong likelihood of successful completion?
  • Does the proposed research seem likely to lead to a publishable contribution to the field?
  • Are the research facilities in Edinburgh suitable and adequate for the proposed research topic?
  • Is there qualified supervision for the applicant s proposed research topic among the staff of the faculty and other departments of the University?

Language requirements for doctoral study

PhD level research requires some competence in other languages.

In addition a good reading ability of Hellenistic Greek, at least a basic competence in biblical Hebrew is expected, as well as the ability to read scholarly publications in German and French.

Some competence in other ancient (such as Latin or Aramaic) or modern languages of scholarship may also be necessary, depending upon the research topic.

In order to avoid lengthening the time spent in their degree studies, it is advisable for prospective students to have at least a basic reading competence in Greek, Hebrew and either German or French at the outset of their programme.

By the end of their first year, a reading ability in Greek, Hebrew, German and French will be expected as a condition for approval to complete a PhD thesis.

We require first year research students to take an advanced Greek readings course to refine and develop their abilities with a variety of Greek texts.

Courses in Hebrew and Aramaic are regularly available in the Faculty, while instruction in Latin, French, German and other languages is available elsewhere in the University.

The research seminar

The Research Seminar in Biblical Studies meets weekly in term, featuring presentations by academic staff, visiting scholars, and PhD students.

All research students are expected to attend this stimulating diet of research presentations.

In addition, postgraduate students are entitled to attend the research seminars of other subject areas in the School, with whom we occasionally also jointly sponsor seminars.

Inquiries and applications

Inquiries are welcome prior to submitting an application. Preliminary interviews are encouraged if a visit is feasible.

Contact Dr Paul Foster for more information.

Professor Paul Foster Professor in New Testament Language, Literature & Theology
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8917

Core staff

Dr Helen Bond Senior Lecturer, New Testament
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8923
Professor Paul Foster Professor in New Testament Language, Literature & Theology
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8917
Prof Timothy H Lim Chair in Hebrew Bible & Second Temple Judaism
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8919
Dr Matthew V Novenson Lecturer in New Testament and Christian Origins
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8942
Dr Sara Parvis Senior Lecturer in Patristics
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8907
Dr Paul Parvis Specialist in second-century Christianity
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8907
Dr Alison Jack Director of Undergraduate Studies, Assistant Principal of New College, Lecturer in Bible and Literature
Tel: +44 (0)131 650 8900

Accessibility menu