Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a higher degree by research in divinity or one or more of its associated disciplines. The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy is to qualify individuals who apply a substantial body of knowledge to research, investigate and develop new knowledge, in one or more areas of investigation, scholarship or professional practice. 

Every candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy must have two suitably accredited supervisors. 

Course Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy:

  1. have a substantial body of knowledge at the frontier of a field of work or learning within divinity or one or more of its associated disciplines, including knowledge that constitutes an original contribution to the field;
  2. have a substantial knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to the field of work or learning;
  3. have expert cognitive, technical and creative skills to use intellectual independence to think critically, analyse and evaluate existing knowledge and ideas, undertake systematic investigation, reflect on theory and practice to generate original knowledge within divinity or one or more of its associated disciplines, and demonstrate expert understanding of theoretical knowledge and to reflect critically on that theory and its application;
  4. apply knowledge and skills with intellectual independence, and with responsibility and accountability, to plan and execute an ongoing program of original research, and to understand explicit and implicit ethical considerations to the formulation of a research project;
  5. have skills to present cogently a complex investigation of originality or original research for external examination against international standards, and to communicate research results to peers and the community.

Admission Criteria

To be eligible for admission an applicant must satisfy the Research Committee that he or she has completed one of the following awards at the University of Divinity to the specified standard, or an equivalent award in divinity or its associated disciplines at another higher education provider recognised by the Academic Board to an equivalent standard:
a)    a Masters by research with a 75% average, or where a mark is not available, examiners’ reports which indicate to the satisfaction of the Research Committee that the candidate is adequately prepared for doctoral research; or
b)    a Masters by coursework with a 75% average; or
c)  a Graduate Diploma with a 75% average; or 
d)  a four year undergraduate degree with Honours with a 75% average. 

An applicant must also satisfy the Research Committee that he or she has completed a minor thesis of at least 12,000 words graded at or above 75%. The minor thesis may have been completed either within one of the awards listed above or as part of another program of study.

Course Structure

PhD candidates present their research in a thesis of not more 100,000 words that is examined by at least two external examiners. All candidates must attend a minimum of 8 hours of research seminars each year at the University and either a University Research Day or a research conference each year. 

Normal Duration

2 – 8 years 

Cricos Code



Rev. Dr Kevin Lenehan, Associate Dean (Postgraduate and Research)