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DPhil in Theology and Religion

Different course options

Full time | University of Oxford | 3 years | 01-OCT-23

Study mode

Full time


3 years

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas

Religious Studies

Course type


Course Summary

About the course

The DPhil in Theology and Religion is the research degree for graduate students in the Faculty of Theology and Religion. It involves extensive independent study and the opportunity to undertake and present original research at an advanced level.

This degree offers access to a wide variety of experienced specialists in many different fields of theology and religion, including the study of the world religions; biblical studies; science and religion; ecclesiastical history; systematic theology; ethics; patristics, and philosophical theology. Typically wide-ranging research topics include a study of devotion to the infant Jesus in early Christianity; an exploration of trauma in film and the theology of memory; an investigation into perception and perceptual illusion in early Yog?c?ra Buddhism; and a study of gender and the body in deliverance Pentecostalism. Students develop an extensive range of research skills and expertise in their chosen field of research.

Students admitted to the DPhil will most often have acquired one of the Faculty of Theology and Religion's MSt or MPhil degrees within their area of research, ie theology, religious studies or another closely-related field. Students in possession of an equivalent master's degree from another institution may apply to have this requirement waived. The faculty considers such waivers on a case-by-case basis and may recommend applicants to consider an MSt or MPhil degree in their initial application to the University.

DPhil students become part of an active and vibrant community of graduate research students within the Faculty of Theology and Religion. DPhil students are encouraged to attend and contribute to a wide range of research seminars, workshops and conferences held within the faculty and across the wider Humanities Division. They are also encouraged to attend and participate in the faculty’s professional development sessions, preparatory teaching workshops and graduate teaching training scheme.


DPhil students join the faculty as a Probationary Research Student (PRS) and apply for 'Transfer of Status' usually within their first year (if full-time). There is a further assessment of their work and progress at a more advanced stage of their research, known as 'Confirmation of Status'. The degree is awarded on the successful completion of the research dissertation and an oral examination, commonly called ‘the viva (viva voce).

Graduate destinations

Students with graduate qualifications in theology and religion enter a variety of careers. Many Oxford DPhil students proceed to academic posts in major research universities, liberal arts colleges or church seminaries. Some go on to work for charities and for development, non-profit organisations and think tanks, or in Christian ministry. Others proceed to successful professional careers in the civil service, consultancy, the media and academic administration.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications: a master's degree in a relevant subject; and a first-class or strong upper second-class (67% or above) undergraduate degree with honours in theology, religious studies or another closely-related field. Students admitted to the DPhil will usually have a master’s degree in theology or religious studies from a recognised institution. Entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class undergraduate degree and a grade of 67% or above in a relevant master's degree. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.8 out of 4.0.