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

The course of study for the Doctor of Philosophy consists of:
Submission of an annual report throughout the duration of candidature.
b)    Satisfactory completion of confirmation of candidature.
c)    Where relevant, satisfactory completion of requirements of the Human Research Ethics Committee.
d)    Attendance and participation in a minimum of 8 hours of research seminars at the University and either a University Research Day or a research conference approved by the candidate's College during each year of candidature. Satisfactory completion of these requirements must be certified by the College on the candidate's annual report.
e)    Presentation of at least one seminar or conference paper of no less than 20 minutes duration prior to submission of the thesis.
f)    Preparation of a thesis of not more than 100,000 words for examination.

Equivalents to thesis 

Approved alternative forms of presentation of research findings are: 
a)   Exegeted Research Project
A substantial project such as a musical composition, an artwork, field work, a translation, an edition, or scholarly tool such as a lexicon, accompanied by a written exegesis of at least 50,000 words that demonstrates how the project contributes to the production of new knowledge or to a reevaluation or modification of existing knowledge. 
A Portfolio of between 100,000 and 120,000 words in total, consisting of:
i) peer-reviewed scholarship previously published or accepted for publication on a central unifying theme within six years prior to the date of submission
ii) an original, substantial integrating essay of between 10,000 and 50,000 words that demonstrates how the portfolio contributes to the production of new knowledge or to a reevaluation or modification of existing knowledge.
A candidate who wishes to present the research findings in an approved alternative form must obtain permission from the Research Committee prior to admission or within twelve months of the date of admission. 

Normal Duration

2 – 8 years 

Cricos Code



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