Doing a PhD at Queen's

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It is possible to study towards a PhD on a full-time, part-time and split-location basis. A number of research students are based outside of Birmingham, or overseas, but they still form part of the broader research culture we seek to cultivate, through regular seminars and other events. Students undertaking doctoral studies at Queen’s benefit from belonging to such a culturally, socially and denominationally diverse community in which we seek to value difference that enriches our learning and common life.

Completed research projects include those on the following topics:

  • Being Church in Longbridge: Practical Theology of Local Churches in a Post-Industrial Community
  • John Baillie’s Concept of Mediated Immediacy: An Elucidation of its Logic and Meaning
  • Overcoming Self-Negation: An Examination of the Relationship between Junkanoo and the Church in Contemporary Bahamian Society
  • Women's Chosen Practices of Silence
  • Towards an African Communitarian Humanism: Insights for Black Theology in Britain
  • Towards a Pedagogy of Redemption: Theology Taking the Illich turn
  • The Experiences of Transgendered Christians and the Pastoral Response of the Churches

Current research projects of our PhD students include the following:

  • Biblical Battle Narratives and Post-Conflict Sensitivity: Post-Colonial Reading from Contemporary Sri Lankan Perspectives
  • Themes of Education and Training in the Pastoral Epistles
  • The Transition from Home to University for Young Christian Women
  • A Black Theological Response to Poverty in Birmingham Outer Estates
  • The impact made by the book of Esther on the New Testament and Early Christian Literature
  • Developing Critical Practice in Further Education Chaplaincy
  • Black Christian Men’s God Talk: Towards a Liberation Theology of Black Gay Experience
  • A Theological Analysis of Gender Discrimination among Korean Women Missionaries
  • An Investigation into the Problematic Relationship of Christians with a Muslim Background to Traditional Christian Communities in Britain

The supervisory process is core to successful completion of a PhD, and at Queen’s we are committed to providing the highest level of supervision in partnership with our VU Amsterdam colleagues. Supervision takes place in teams of between 2 to 4 persons each of whom brings a variety of subject expertise and experience of research to the team. There is always a full professor from VU Amsterdam on the team who acts as the ‘promoter’ and steers the project through from acceptance by the Doctorate Board at VU Amsterdam to final defence;  Queen’s supervisors work collaboratively, ensuring the sharing of knowledge and expertise. We may also draw upon our external honorary research fellows to enhance the range of subject specialisms and enrich the teams. This means that applicants have access to a large and wide pool of leading world scholars covering every aspect of theological study.

From our supervisory pool at Queen’s and VU Amsterdam we are able to offer supervision in 

  • Biblical Studies 
  • Contextual Theology – including Black and Pentecostal Theologies, Feminist and Gender Theologies, Interfaith studies, Congregational Studies and so on
  • Church/Liturgical studies 
  • Missiology
  • Systematic Theology
  • Historical Theology
  • Patristics
  • Christian Spirituality. 

Please consult staff pages for further details about our research expertise.

Supervisions take place regularly throughout the year, arranged at times and in ways to suit each student (sometimes through Skype if the supervisor or student is at distance). Agreed records are kept with clear goals set at each supervision. Supervisors undertake regular training in order to enhance and develop their skills. Student feedback on the supervision experience is an essential ingredient which enables us to continue to hone and refine the supervisory process. 

Each student agrees a Training and Supervision Plan at the start of their doctoral studies, designed to equip you with the necessary skills you will need for the demanding undertaking of doctoral research and its wider application. This may involve taking some taught courses at Queen’s (for example, a Research methods course on the MA programme or a relevant subject specialist course), online courses at VU Amsterdam and other forms of relevant training. A certificate of successful completion of the Training and Supervision Plan, worth a total of 30 European Credits (ECs), is awarded prior to defending your thesis

A full programme of research seminars and training events is provided by Queen’s staff. This gives opportunities for students and staff to hear and deliver papers on research in progress, and to engage in stimulating dialogue and debate across the range of research interests represented in the community. Students are expected to chair and respond to papers, as well as give at least one paper during their time here. This serves as good training in communicating and defending research and developing skills of critical and creative thinking. It is also a practical way in which we support one another and demonstrate a lively interest in each other’s research. From time to time, the research seminar hosts internationally renowned visiting scholars from beyond the Queen’s community.

Research seminars also offer practical workshops designed to develop and hone the skills needed at different stages of research. For example, workshops cover topics such as the preparation of the dissertation proposal for the doctoral dissertations committee at VU Amsterdam, research methodology and methods, different forms of writing in the research process, and so on.