Explore postgraduate research

For those called to serve the kingdom through scholarship at the highest levels, Trinity College offers two postgraduate research degrees: the Master of Theology (MTh) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The expertise of the faculty, the confessional nature of the college, and our flourishing community of more than 60 postgraduate researchers make Trinity an excellent context in which to take one’s first steps into the academy.

As a postgraduate student, you can study full-time, part-time, in residence at Bristol, or by distance learning. Trinity’s research degrees are fully validated by the University of Aberdeen, an ancient Scottish university with a globally recognised reputation for excellence in the study of Christian theology.

If you are interested in studying for a higher degree through Trinity, we strongly encourage you to begin by browsing through this list of our current faculty and their specialised research areas. Once you have identified a potential supervisor, you may contact them directly to begin a discussion regarding a possible supervisory relationship.

If you want to discuss potential projects and supervisors, you can contact our Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Jamie Davies. For any questions about applications or any administrative issues relating to our postgraduate research programme, please contact our Postgraduate Administrator.

Studying at Trinity

The MTh degree involves writing a 40,000 word thesis and does not include mandatory course attendance. The nature of the thesis is defined by the student’s research proposal and is written under the supervision of a relevant faculty member.

Normally, the minimum entrance requirement for admission as a student for the research master’s is a degree with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in an appropriate field, or its equivalent (e.g., 3.5/4.0 in a GPA system). Students are also expected to have facility in research languages requisite for the project proposed.

The MTh programme can be finished in 12 months of full-time study, or 24 months of part-time study, with completed theses assessed by viva voce examination. Distance-based students are expected to come to campus at least once a year for our annual postgraduate conference (normally held at the end of June), or more frequently at the discretion of their supervisor. Non-UK/EU students who wish to study residentially must secure a Tier 4 student visa.

To earn the PhD, students must write a 100,000 word thesis on a topic defined by their research proposal under the supervision of a relevant faculty member. PhD students will read on their own topic and work closely with their supervisors to define the research and compose the thesis.

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 (e.g., 3.5/4.0 in a GPA system). It is preferable that you hold a master’s degree in the chosen area of study as well. Students are also expected to have facility in research languages requisite for the project proposed.

The PhD programme can be finished in 36 months of full-time study or 72 months of part-time study, with completed theses assessed by viva voce examination. Distance-based students are expected to come to campus at least once a year for our annual postgraduate research conference (normally held at the end of June), or more frequently at the discretion of their supervisor. Non-UK/EU students who wish to study residentially must secure a Tier 4 student visa.

As an ordinand at Trinity, you can benefit from our large postgraduate research community.

Our ordinands have the option to pursue a research programme (MTh or PhD) as part of their ordination training; you would simply complete both our usual application form and our research application form.

Questions? Contact admissions@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk for questions about ordination training or pavla.slugenova@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk for questions about postgraduate research.

In this 1-minute video, you can meet Ben, a Trinity ordinand pursuing doctoral studies as part of his training.

Each year, at the end of June, we welcome our postgraduate students from around the world to come and join us in Bristol, staying at Trinity for our annual postgraduate research conference.

The conference includes three days of paper presentations from students (topics have included everything from the theology of stillbirth to Bonhoeffer’s theology of preaching and contemporary nationalism in Northern Ireland). There are also a keynote lecture from a senior scholar, evenings out together, and the option at the end of the conference to participate in a Saturday sightseeing trip and a Sunday barbecue.

For some this is the first time presenting a paper; for others a chance to develop ideas raised in previous years. Either way, the atmosphere is supportive and encouraging.

Download a postgraduate research programme application form hereAll postgraduate research applications should be sent to Postgraduate Administrator Pavla Slugenova (pavla.slugenova@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk). Pav can also be of help to you if you have any questions about the PGR application process.

Applications for research degrees are considered twice a year by our Research Applications Committee. Deadlines for applications are 1 October and 15 January, with the committee usually meeting in late October and early February.

If you are a Church of England candidate going through Research Degree Panel (RDP), please get in touch with the Postgraduate Administrator regarding additional deadlines.

Along with the application form, all applicants are to submit (by email to our postgraduate office) the following supporting documents:

  • Research proposal
  • A writing sample that demonstrates skills commensurate with the nature of the proposed thesis (no longer than 5000 words)
  • Official academic transcripts (please arrange for these to be sent directly from the institution from which you graduated)
  • PDF copies of certificates of completed studies
  • Personal statement

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate their English language ability by submitting scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The minimum required overall score for the IELTS (academic) exam is 6.5.

You are also required to furnish us with two academic references from people who can speak knowledgeably of your suitability for the course of your choice. See our guidance for academic referees hereLetters of reference should be emailed directly by your referees to our postgraduate office as a PDF (pavla.slugenova@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk) .

The personal statement should be no longer than 1000 words and should contain the following: details of your aptitude for study; reasons why you have chosen the programme; details of any practical experience relevant to the programme; relevant responsibilities; periods of study abroad; relevant outside interests; reasons for wishing to study at Trinity College and, where appropriate, reasons for wishing to study in the UK.

If you intend to study on a part-time basis whilst also being employed, we must also receive a letter from your employer indicating their awareness and support of your studies. This may be either submitted directly to the college by your employer or included with your application materials. If you are uncomfortable requesting such a letter from your employer, please contact the Postgraduate Administrator (pavla.slugenova@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk) to explain your situation. It is expected that full-time students will not be employed during their studies.

If you hope to pursue a research programme as part of your ordination process, in addition to sending the items above to the postgraduate administrator, please contact admissions@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk, so you can complete the application form to become an ordinand at Trinity.

Programmes

Certificate in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Three-year Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Graduate Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Postgraduate Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Master of Arts in Theology, Ministry and Mission

Modes of Study

Ordination Training

Theological Study (Independent)

Programmes

Postgraduate research
programme

Come and visit us

The best way to find out if we’re the right fit for you is to come and visit us. We have several Open Days and Open Afternoons during the course of a year. If those dates don’t work for you, don’t worry – we can arrange for you to visit another time. We look forward to meeting you!

Signup to our monthly newsletter

You can unsubscribe anytime. For more details, review our Privacy Policy.