The University of Aberdeen has a long-established international reputation for excellence in theological research, publication and teaching, and a flourishing community of graduate students from the UK and overseas.

Systematic Theology in Aberdeen

Systematic theology is a major research concentration. The department has one of the largest groups of post-graduate research students in the field in the UK, attracted by the publications of its teachers and by its positive ethos; many students come to study topics in constructive Christian doctrine or the theologies of classical and modern Christian thinkers. Students can expect rigorous training in the history and contemporary articulation of Christian doctrine through attentive supervision and an extensive programme of seminars. 

There are close working relations with those undertaking research in other theological fields, especially moral, philosophical and practical theology, the history of Christianity, and the study of Scripture.


We are interested in hearing from students wishing to undertake postgraduate level work on Systematic Theology at the doctoral level. Please contact one of the supervisors below if you are thinking about applying for a PhD in their subject area.

Professor Tom Greggs: Tom Greggs offers supervision in ecclesiology; pneumatology; soteriology and eschatology (especially universalism); theologies of the religions and inter-faith conversation; public and political theology; historical theology (especially Origen and the constructive use of patristic sources); evangelical theologies; Wesley; Karl Barth; and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Professor Paul Nimmo: Paul Nimmo offers supervision in constructive systematic theology; historical and contemporary Reformed theology; historical and contemporary Scottish theology; the doctrine of God; Christology and pneumatology; soteriology; ecclesiology and sacramentology; the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher; and the theology of Karl Barth.

Professor Philip Ziegler: Phil Ziegler offers supervision in contemporary Christian dogmatics (including postliberal and public theologies); eschatology, theology and apocalyptic; the doctrines of justification and election; christology and soteriology; the theological bases of Christian ethics and politics; and the history of modern Protestant theology, in particular the theologies of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Søren Kierkegaard.

In addition to the above supervisory team, the Department of Divinity is also delighted to have a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Systematic Theology. The current postholder is:

Dr Daniel Pedersen whose research interests in systematic theology span modern theology, from the Reformers, through Leibniz and Spinoza, to the nineteenth century and beyond. His current research project, Schleiermacher’s Theology of Sin and Nature (Routledge, 2020) focuses on Schleiermacher’s account of sin with an eye to overcoming key puzzles relating to agency, normativity, and the natural (in more than one sense) in light of evolution.

PGR Students

Some current (and graduated) students and their projects from the University of Aberdeen include:

  • Kait Dugan, ‘Toward an Apocalyptic Theology of Death’
  • Tyler Frick, ‘The Teleologically Ordered Being of God: Reconsidering the Divine Attributes in the Theology of Karl Barth in Light of His Mature Doctrine of Election and Later Christology’
  • Danielle Hayward, ‘The “actualisation of confession”: Karl Barth’s insistence upon proclamation as dynamic reality’
  • Declan Kelly, ‘ “God Vindicated and Satan Overcome”: An Exploration of the Three-Agent Soteriology in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics
  • Taylor Lankford, ‘The Nature of Theological Rationality: Torrance, Pannenberg, Webster’
  • Arthur Wong, ‘Freedom and Eschatology in Bonhoeffer’s Theology’

The following are some selected publications relating to Systematic Theology by staff at the University of Aberdeen:

Professor Tom Greggs

  • “Communio Ecclesiology: The Spirit’s Work of Salvation in the Life of the Church,” in Myk Habets (ed.), Third Article Theology: A Pneumatological Dogmatics (Minneapolis: Fortress Press: 2016), 347-66.
  • “Legitimizing and Necessitating Inter-faith Dialogue: The Dynamics of Inter-faith for Individual Faith Communities.” International Journal of Public Theology 4, no. 2 (2010), 194-211.
  • New Perspectives for Evangelical Theology: Engaging God, Scripture and the World, editor (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010), xvi + 223pp., ISBN: 978-0-415-47733-8 (paperback); 978-0-415-44356-2 (hardback).
  • “Sola Scriptura, the community of the church and a pluralist age,” in Angus Pattison, Theologians on Scripture (London: Bloomsbury, 2016), 79-92.
  • “Why does the Church need academic theology?” Epworth Review 33, no. 3 (April 2006): 27-37.

Professor Paul Nimmo

Dr Daniel Pedersen

  • Schleiermacher’s Theology of Sin and Nature. Routledge, 2020.
  • The Eternal Covenant: Schleiermacher on God and Natural Science. DeGruyter, 2017.
  • “‘Irenaean’ or ‘Schleiermacherian’?: An Evolutionarily Plausible Account of the Origins of Sin,” Theology and Science, vol. 14, No. 2., 2016
  • “Spinoza and Reformed Theologians on God,” Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy, vol. 7., 2015
  • “Schleiermacher and Reformed Scholastics on the Divine Attributes,” International Journal of Systematic Theology, vol. 17, No. 4., 2015

Professor Philip Ziegler


Some helpful links for further information and resources in Systematic Theology include: