Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.
The School of Divinity is home to a thriving research community. All of our academic staff are engaged in individual research and writing projects and many are also involved in collaborative projects with colleagues across the world.
All applicants must meet our general entry and language requirements.
If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English.
Detailed advice for international students is available here:
The research interests of staff members include theological ethics, social and political ethics, chaplaincy and pastoral studies, homiletics, the ethics of communication (with special reference to the media) and environmental ethics. Both staff and student bodies are ecumenical in composition.
There is a research seminar for staff and students to which visiting speakers are invited. Taught courses, at an advanced level, which contribute to your interest and research needs, may be undertaken where available.
The School of Divinity has consistently scored exceptionally highly in the Research Assessment Exercise, the most recent assessment putting us among the best schools in theology, philosophical theology and religious studies in the UK.
Our researchers currently boast the highest percentage of 4* scores (world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour) of any Scottish university in theology and religious studies.
We have the largest number of divinity research-active staff in Scotland, and the third-largest in the UK. Overall, the RAE ranked us third in the UK with 85 per cent of our research activity judged internationally excellent or world-leading.
Our community comprises 450 students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and nearly 30 full-time academic staff, including internationally respected scholars in a wide range of specialisms.
We welcome students from around the world, from religious and non-religious backgrounds, taking pride in our status as a renowned research centre in a broad spectrum of subject areas.
The large graduate school and the presence of visiting academics from around the world help ensure a diverse and stimulating research environment.
All research students are assigned a primary and secondary supervisor. You are offered a training course in research methods, and are given conscientious supervision from your first weeks through to submission of your thesis. There are also special orientation events for international students.
As a postgraduate researcher you can draw on the outstanding library resources of New College, the University of Edinburgh and the nearby National Library of Scotland.
The School is situated within the New College buildings in the centre of Edinburgh. New College Library is the largest single-site theological library in the UK. Computing facilities and study spaces are made available to all postgraduate students.
The Rainy Hall is a large and impressive student common room housing a refectory, and has wireless internet access.
A large number of scholarships, loans and other funding schemes are available for your postgraduate studies.
Awards are offered by the School of Divinity, the College of Humanities & Social Science, the University of Edinburgh, the Scottish, British and international governments and funding bodies.
Please see Scholarships and Student Funding Services for other funding opportunities:
We offer two types of research degree at masters level, as well as PhD programmes.
These one-year masters degrees by research are designed for students with an academic training in divinity or religious studies (or other relevant subjects) who wish to focus on a particular topic. The programme may be taken as either a Master of Theology by Research or a Master of Science by Research. The difference is one of nomenclature only.
Both involve research training and orientation courses, after which you may either research and submit a single dissertation of about 30,000 words, which comprises the remaining assessment for the degree, or you can take three further courses to provide appropriate background and preparatory study for the topic of your research, and then submit a dissertation of about 15,000 words.
The MPhil requires a minimum of two years’ full-time study. You will be provided with two supervisors.
During the first year you will explore your chosen area of research and refine your proposal. After nine to twelve months a draft of a chapter or a part- chapter will be submitted for discussion at a Review Board, together with a developed proposal for the whole thesis (of no more than 50,000 words).
On the basis of progress-to-date, and the prospects for the research, the Review Board will make a recommendation on the continuation of studies, for which your programme may be confirmed as MPhil status or, exceptionally, promoted to PhD status.
Research towards a PhD requires a minimum of three years’ full-time work under the guidance of two supervisors. For PhD study we look for a proven ability to sustain independent research under supervision, normally in the form of a masters degree involving a dissertation. Since in the British model of doctoral studies there is little formal coursework, and the time available is limited to four years, we look for a substantial degree of preparation in any necessary adjunct skills, including languages. Competence in academic writing in English is also essential.
Progress during the first year is monitored by an end-of-year Review Board at which a full, formal research proposal must be presented, along with a sample of work. The Board will make a recommendation based on its reading of your submission and an interview. You then proceed with your research, culminating in your 100,000-word dissertation.
This article was published on Aug 21, 2013