School of Divinity

Equality, Diversity and Respect in the School of Divinity

All members of the School of Divinity are expected to treat each other with respect, regardless of ethnicity, disability, gender (including transgender), age, sexual orientation, or beliefs (including lack of religion or beliefs).

Athena SWAN Silver Award logo

The School of Divinity achieved an Athena SWAN Silver Award in 2018 for its commitment to gender equality, following a Bronze (GEM) Award in 2014.

The University’s “Dignity and Respect Policy” states:

“The University has a strong and long-standing commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and to promoting a positive culture which celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness. Our staff and students are our greatest assets and all members of the University community should expect to be able to excel, and to be respected and valued for their unique perspectives and contributions. Integrity, collegiality and inclusivity are central to the University’s values. In accordance with these values the University is committed to providing an environment in which all members of the University community treat each other with dignity and respect, and where bullying, harassment and discrimination are known to be unacceptable.”

Race / Ethnicity / Nationality

For more on the University’s support for race equality see Celebrating Diversity

Sex / Gender

The School of Divinity welcomes staff and students of all genders. The School has been working actively to improve gender equality at every level, and holds an Athena SWAN Silver Award for its commitment to promoting gender equality in Higher Education.

Gender Equality At Divinity


The School commits to respecting and supporting all staff members and students who identity under the trans, genderqueer, and non-binary umbrella terms, including but not limited to individuals who identify as transgender, genderfluid, bigender, agender, etc.


Furthermore, the School commits to:

  • Identify students solely using their preferred name, rather than gender-specific pronouns, in class and on assignment feedback sheets.
  • Respect an individual’s pronouns should they decide to disclose them.
  • Respect and support staff members and students regardless of if they decide to transition or at what stage of the transition process they are at, where transition encompasses name changing, pronoun changing, gender affirming surgery, etc.
  • Use gender inclusive language in our handbook, advertising materials, etc.
  • Provide gender-neutral toilet facilities.
  • Address any acts of transphobia, trans+ gender violence, and trans+ discrimination in accordance with the University’s anti-discrimination policies.


Religion and Belief

The School of Divinity welcomes staff and students from all faiths and none. Although we cherish our historic links with the Church of Scotland, whose building we still inhabit, no faith commitment is required for our courses in Theology or Religious Studies, and students and staff have a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds.

University societies exist for all major religious traditions and beliefs, including Humanism.

Find Student Societies at the University of Edinburgh


Sexual orientation

Rainbow Flag At Old College

The School of Divinity welcomes staff and students of all sexual orientations.

The University has a student LGBT+ society and there is also an LGBT staff network.

Student LGBT+ Society

LGBT Staff Network



The School of Divinity is committed to supporting all our staff and students.

The University has a Student Disability Service and a Disabled Staff Network, students can also seek advice from their Personal Tutors or from the Student Support Officers in the Divinity School office.

Student Disability Service

Disabled Staff Network


Further Sources of Support

At the School of Divinity, we do not tolerate any inter-personal problems related to diversity, but should they occur, you are welcome to approach the Equality and Diversity Officer for advice and support.

You can also approach the Equality and Diversity Officer if you think you have experienced discrimination or harassment by a member of staff or student of the School of Divinity, regardless of whether or not this happened on University premises. In addition, university staff can contact a trained Dignity and Respect Advisor and university students can get specialist advice from the Advice Place.

More information about the University’s Equality and Diversity policy, as well as alternative sources of support can be found here on the Edinburgh University Equality and Diversity pages.

Edinburgh University Equality and Diversity

Dignity and Respect Advisors

The Advice Place


Dr Philippa Townsend, Equality and Diversity Officer

Dr Philippa Townsend

Chancellor's Fellow: New Testament and Christian Origins

Contact details



Annual Reports