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Postgraduate research in Theology and Religion
We combine a strong commitment to research and scholarship with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Postgraduate students study broadly in the areas of biblical studies, patristics, Christian doctrine, philosophical theology, and the ethical, social and political implications of Christian theology. Some choose inter- or multi-disciplinary topics. There are close links with other disciplines in Humanities and the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. We welcome research degree applications from those wishing to study on a full-time or part-time basis, on campus or at a distance.
In Theology and Religion we adopt a hands on approach to supervising our PhD students and this has proven effective and popular. Our research culture is built on inter-disciplinary communication and interaction, involving our research students at every level.
We support our research students with a series of courses that provide a grounding in all the key research skills you will require to develop, investigate and write-up world-class and cutting edge theological research. Through fortnightly research seminars, the postgraduate study day and involvement in societies our students are part of a vibrant research community.
Arrangements can be made for part-time students who live a considerable distance from Exeter or even from outside the UK, although there is a six-month residency requirement.
Find out more about our MPhil/PhD and MA by Research in Theology and Religion at Exeter.
Our research covers a wide range of areas, these broad headings give an indication of our special interests:
- Religion and ethics in public life
- Biblical studies and biblical interpretation
- Christian theology and the learning church
- Philosophical reflection and aspects of human life
Explore our research centres and research projects to find out more about our current research topics.
Visit our Theology staff profiles pages for details on individual staff research interests and publications.
Our current PGRs
We're proud of the research carried out by our PhD students. There are currently around 50 PhD students in Theology and Religion, many of whom maintain an online personal profile detailing their research activities. Follow the links below to find out more about them and their research projects.
|Student||Research title||First supervisor||Second supervisor|
|William Astley||Assessing the RN and RNLN ethical obligations to combatting climate change||Professor Esther D. Reed||Tim Lenton|
|James Barge||Assessing Organizational Leaders’ Moral Philosophy By Way of MacIntyre’s Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry : Encyclopedia, Genealogy and Tradition||Professor Esther D. Reed||Avril Mewse|
|Matthew Bartlett||New Insights from a Translation and Analysis of Unpublished Jewish Incantation Bowls from Late Antiquity- Early Medieval period.||Professor Siam Bhayro||Helen Spurling|
|Robert Button||Envisioning and Performing the Sign of the Cross: A Study of the Figuration of the Cross in Early Christian Tradition||Dr Brandon Gallaher||Josef Lossl|
|Esther Chew Su Li||Recovering Heilsgeschichte for a Trinitarian Ethic||Professor Esther D. Reed||Dr Brandon Gallaher|
|Chloe Church||Annunciation and Passion: A Reception-Historical Study of the New Testament in Counter-Reformation Art.||Professor Louise Lawrence||Alexandra Hoare|
|Penelope Cowell Doe||Queering The Pilling Report||Professor Louise Lawrence||Professor Susannah Cornwall|
|Heather Crossley||A review into the effectiveness of current Learning From Experience (LFE) processes, with a focus on Human Factors (HF), within the Royal Naval Submarine Service Marine Engineering Branch||Professor Esther D. Reed|
|Catherine Donner||Fear in the life and writings of Thomas More.||Professor Esther D. Reed||Professor Henry French|
|James Gregory||Worship as participation in the priesting of creation||Dr Brandon Gallaher||Professor Morwenna Ludlow|
|Michael Hallett||Spinoza on enhancing service member ethical fitness in NATO combat operations||Professor Esther D. Reed||Dr Jonathan Hill|
|Eva Hannus||‘Theological anthropology in light of evolutionary and cognitive science’||Professor Christopher Southgate||Dr Jonathan Hill|
|Alistair Harper||Can Subversive-Fulfilment provide a fresh approach to understand the engagement between the Christian assembly and the surrounding cultures (Judaism, the Nations, and the Roman State) within the natural flow and development of the narrative of the Acts of the Apostles?||Professor David Horrell||Professor Morwenna Ludlow|
|John Herriman||From Able Seaman to Admiral, exploring the effectiveness of the Royal Navy leadership development continuum in supporting ethical leadership – problems, possibilities and proposals for improvement||Professor Esther D. Reed||Barney Dunn|
|Benjamin Holton||Splitting the Sea: Aramaic Cultural Mediation and the Combat Myth in the New Testament||Professor Siam Bhayro||Professor David Horrell|
|Scott Jackson||The impact of modern-day human factors on initial military training, namely the initial 36-week Royal Marine Commando training.||Professor Esther D. Reed||Miriam Koschate-Reis|
|Omer Frank Kalinturk||The Historiography of the Paulicians||Professor Emma Loosley||Professor Morwenna Ludlow|
|Paul Lambdin||An Analysis and Critique of the Theological Context of John Locke’s Political Vision||Professor Esther D. Reed||Dr Brandon Gallaher|
|Ellen Lesser||The relationship between nonhuman animals and the Christian God||Professor Christopher Southgate||Astrid Schrader|
|Hongde Li||Universal Salvation and Society: Sergii Bulgakov in dialogue with Gregory of Nyssa.||Dr Brandon Gallaher||Professor Morwenna Ludlow|
|Carrie Marsden||A Theological Analysis of the Origins of Evil and its Changing Trajectory in the Historical Context of the Reformation||Professor Morwenna Ludlow||Professor Esther D. Reed|
|Denys McDonald||Paul and the Reconfiguration of Ethnic Identities in Conversation with the “Paul within Judaism” Perspective||Professor David Horrell||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Philippa Meek-Smith||‘A Heart Full of Love?: Public Perceptions, Media Representations, and the Realities of Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy’||Professor Susannah Cornwall||Professor Esther D. Reed|
|Isabelle Mutton||Holocaust Memorials in London and Ottawa: Sacred Secular Space||Dr David Tollerton||James Jordan|
|Stiofan O Murchadha||Can the works of Patrick Kavanagh and Gerard Manley Hopkins complement and enhance the ‘new style natural theology’ as outlined by McGrath?||Professor Christopher Southgate||Dr Jonathan Hill|
|Olabisi Obamakin||Constructing a Feminist Afropean Biblical Hermeneutical Framework||Professor Louise Lawrence||Professor David Horrell|
|Victoria Omotoso||Imag(in)ing Jesus in the Universal or Particular: Cross-Cultural Bible Film Reception of The Lumo Project: The Gospel of Mark (2014) and Son of Man (2006).||Dr David Tollerton||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Ryan Osinski||Sacred Scripture in Light of Attachment Theory: Toward a Critical Method of Attachment Analysis in Biblical Exegesis||Professor Louise Lawrence||Professor Christopher Southgate|
|Emma Partington||A Jungian approach to the Watchers tradition and the treatment of demon possession.||Professor Siam Bhayro||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Abigail Pearson||Syriac Magic in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: A Transliteration, Translation, and Analysis of John Rylands University Library of Manchester Ms. Syr. 52.||Professor Siam Bhayro||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Ian Pells||Tertullian: a proclaimer of truth or a purveyor of error – A critical re-examination of the treatise against Praxeas||Professor Morwenna Ludlow||Professor David Horrell|
|Guiseppe Pezzonni||Learning by being & learning by doing:for a new, Christian paideia in the IVth century Cappadocia.The Amphilochius’ of Iconium contribution||Professor Morwenna Ludlow||Richard Flower|
|Annie J Stephenson||Thirty-six questions to change your life: Joseph Alleine’s Puritan practice of self-examination.||Professor Morwenna Ludlow||Joanna Harris|
|Gareth Thomas Richards||To what extent can De-extinction be considered morally acceptable and theologically justified?||Professor Christopher Southgate||Professor Esther D. Reed|
|Leanna Rierson||Paul’s Humble Leadership in Light of Contemporary Studies of Humility and Leadership: A Comparative Analysis of Paul’s Deployment of Humility in 2 Corinthians 10–13 and Philippians 1–4||Professor David Horrell||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Craig R Ross||After Analogy: A genealogy and evaluation of the Wittgensteinian Thomist synthesis and the 20th Century “analogous turn”||Dr Jonathan Hill||Dr Brandon Gallaher|
|Shoko Saeki||The Lost Tribes of Israel and Shinto History: Jewish-Shinto relations and the Japanese Jewish Common Ancestry Theory||Professor Francesca Stavrakopoulou||Dr Brandon Gallaher|
|Jack Slater||Notes Towards a Posthuman Queer Christology: Relationality, Autonomy and Futurity through the body of Christ||Professor Susannah Cornwall||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Lydia Souter||21st Century Holocaust Memorials and Theories of Transnational Memory||Dr David Tollerton||Chloe Paver|
|Christopher Edward Steer||Building a resilient Navy: an investigation into preparatory mental resilience training for Royal Navy trainees.||Professor Esther D. Reed||Barney Dunn|
|Miles Tradewell||Pauline salvation and Zion's deliverence||Professor David Horrell||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Charlotte Trombin||Onward Christian Soldier?: An intersectional analytical response to hyper-masculine discourse in global ‘Muscular Christian’ men’s groups.||Professor Susannah Cornwall||Professor Louise Lawrence|
|Christos Veskoukis||Sin and Freedom in John Chrysostom, Nikolai Berdyaev and Hans Urs von Balthasar||Dr Brandon Gallaher||Professor Morwenna Ludlow|
|Harriet Walker||Therapeutic Aramaic Magic Bowls from Late Antiquity: Patients and Practitioners||Professor Siam Bhayro||Helen Spurling|
|Rachael Wooldridge||The ‘Story of Christ’ in 1 Corinthians||Professor David Horrell||Professor Louise Lawrence|
Supervisors - all students have a primary and a secondary supervisor who provide regular, high quality advice, support and direction in their academic endeavours. You will work closely with your supervisors over three to four years (full time PhD) or six to seven (part-time PhD) to develop, investigate and write-up a project at the cutting edge of theological research.
Visit our staff profiles for more information about individual research interests or use the search box on the right of this page to find a supervisor.
Mentor - each student will also be assigned a mentor who will take on a pastoral role and mediate on any problems that arise during the period of study. Your mentor will keep in regular contact and will provide background stability and support.
View list of funding opportunities available to students on our research degree programmes in Theology and Religion.
We are committed to making your PhD a rewarding experience that will develop your skills and expertise. Undertaking a postgraduate degree with us also provides you with access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.
Former Exeter Theology and Religion postgraduate students have gone on to research posts at:
- Azusa Pacific University, USA
- Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
- Bethel University, USA
- Eastern University, USA
- Cambridge, UK
- Durham, UK
- Exeter, UK
- Oxford Universities, UK
- Woolf Institute, UK
Former graduates are also employed at Prospect College, Washington DC, the Jamaica Theological Seminary, Sarum College, Rye St Anthony School and Exeter College. Outside education, students have gone on to roles such as working in research and development in the Methodist Church and Christian Concern for One World.