Research opportunities encompass all the major sub-disciplines of theology.
Research is supported by regular seminars in each discipline and by a vibrant programme of interdisciplinary seminars. There are frequent opportunities to hear prominent visiting speakers, including the annual Gifford Lectures.
Supervision and support are directly provided by faculty, who will work with you to develop your emergent research interests into a critical academic thesis. Applicants are strongly advised to correspond with potential supervisors about their interests and ideas prior to starting an application.
The sources and norms of Christian doctrine and scripture, including creation, providence, soteriology and ecclesiology, public theology, patristic, Reformation and post-Reformation historical theology, and modern German Protestant thought, especially Barth, Bonhoeffer and Tillich.
Specialists: Professor Tom Greggs, Professor Paul Nimmo, Professor Philip Ziegler
Scripture and ethics, the ethics of the Lutheran tradition, Bonhoeffer, medical, social and economic ethics and ethical questions concerning disability.
Specialists: Dr Brian Brock, Professor Philip Ziegler, and Dr Michael Laffin.
Research in Church History concentrates on female spirituality in the medieval period, and the interactions between literacy, perceptions of monastic space and religious practices.
Contact Dr Marie-Luise Ehrenschwendtner
Disability studies, healthcare, Christian responses to historical traumas and the critical theory of religion. The University of Aberdeen also hosts the Centre for Spirituality, Disability and Health.
Specialists: Rev Professor John Swinton, Dr Brian Brock, Dr Kenneth Jeffrey, Dr Leon van Ommen, Dr Katie Cross
Old Testament and Hebrew Bible
Deuteronomistic history, exilic and post-exilic prophecy, and texts such as Leviticus, the minor prophets, the psalter, the Wisdom of Solomon and the Septuagint. We hold the Biesenthal Collection (one of the most complete Judaica collections in the UK), and the Daube collection of Roman and Ancient Jewish Law.
Specialists: Professor Joachim Schaper and Dr Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer
New Testament theology, Second Temple Judaism, Apocalyptic, Philo, the Johannine corpus, Pauline literature, and early Christian writing practices. The school is also home to serious theological interpretation of the New Testament, particularly in relation to pastoral theology.
Specialists: Professor Grant Macaskill, Dr Katherine Hockey, Dr Tomas Bokedal
Divinity research centres
Divinity research is also embedded within our research centres:
Aberdeen Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability
The Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability focuses on the relationship between spirituality, health and healing, and the significance of the spiritual dimension for contemporary healthcare practice.
Led by former mental health nurse Rev Professor John Swinton, the Centre helps academics, researchers, practitioners and educators to work together on innovative and creative research and teaching projects.
Find out More
Aberdeen University Centre for Ministry Studies
The Centre for Ministry Studies is a collaboration between the University, Christ’s College and the Church of Scotland. The Centre works closely with churches and organisations from all traditions to facilitate ministry education, research and training for lay and ordained people. The Centre provides education and training to support people in their ministry wherever they are, and make this as widely accessible as possible.
Find out More
The Kairos Forum focuses on the spiritual and religious needs of people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities, facilitating the crafting and empowerment of ‘communities of belonging’, both within religious and secular settings. It also provides specialist services and resources to enable and empower people with disabilities to experience dignity, respect, care, access and participation within well-formed and empathic communities.
The principal role of Christ's College in Aberdeen is to oversee the preparation of ministerial candidates for the Church of Scotland. The College works with academic staff in Divinity to ensure candidates are well prepared for the ministry, and organises extramural lectures and seminars and an annual lecture. It also maintains the Divinity Library, and distributes bursaries and prizes to outstanding students.
Normally, the minimum entrance requirement for admission to the PhD is a degree with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in an appropriate field, or equivalent. It is preferable that you hold a Masters in the chosen area of study as well.
Alongside your application form, you will need to upload the following supporting documents online:
- Copies of your undergraduate and graduate degree certificates
- Academic transcripts for your undergraduate and graduate degrees.
- Two academic references; either the details of your referees provided on your application form or uploaded online with your application.
- Your research proposal
- If English is not your first language and you have not studied previously at an institution in the UK, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking an IELTS, TOEFL or PTE academic test.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.