Doctor of Philosophy


Most of Wesley House’s PhD students apply for the Anglia Ruskin PhD programme through the Cambridge Theological Federation.  Details of the Cambridge University PhD programme can be found here.


Is a PhD for me?

Study toward a PhD is for the person who wants to do in-depth research and has a project in mind. PhD students need to be self-motivated and possess both good time management skills and a keen interest in a specific area of Theology. Studying for a PhD culminates in a dissertation of no more than 80,000 words, based on original research on a focused topic.  The thesis is marked by two examiners and there is an oral examination of thesis (vice voce) at which the outcome is decided. The award is particularly suitable for potential/existing theological educators and for those wanting to create original research that extends knowledge in a particular field.


How long does it take?

Full time the ARU PhD normally takes 3-4 years. Part time the ARU PhD normally takes 5-6 years. Part time students need to be able consistently to spend 15-20 hours per week working on their dissertation.  This includes independent reading, writing, attending skills based learning sessions online, attending research seminars, making presentations and preparing for and attending monthly (full time) or bi-monthly (part time) supervisions.


Who will supervise me?

Wesley House has a team of full time and part time supervisors with a range of expertise. Their profiles and subject specialisms are listed on the staff page. Each ARU PhD student is allocated a supervisory team with experience of supervising and subject relevant expertise. Full time students receive 24 hours of supervision per year and part time students receive 12 hours.


Can Wesley House supervise my topic?

This will depend on your topic and on supervisor availability.  We work only in the field of theology and in interdisciplinary work involving theology.  As a college we focus in the areas of Global Wesleyan Theology, Leadership and Ministry Development and Faith and Public Life about which more detail is given below, but staff specialisms also make some other topics possible.  If you want to explore the feasibility of our supervising your topic, please contact our Director of Research.

  • Global Wesleyan Theology: possible fields include Methodist doctrine and practice in a variety of global contexts, Wesley Studies, Methodist ethics, Methodist education, Methodist ecclesiology, post-colonial theology, Methodist approaches to a range of social, public and practical issues.
  • Leadership and Ministry Development: possible fields include practical theology, interdisciplinary studies involving psychology, social anthropology, sociology and theology; leadership studies, gender studies, faith development studies, ethnography, ecclesiology, ministry, fresh expressions of church, pastoral supervision
  • Faith in Public Life: possible fields include: contextual theology, social issues, disability theology, queer theology, public and political theology, ecumenical and contextual ethics, Christian social ethics, ecotheology and climate change, faith-based activism


Why choose to pursue a PhD through Wesley House?

  • We a have track record of successful completions
  • We provide skills seminars and a research seminar for the support of PhD students in addition to the support provided by Anglia Ruskin University itself
  • We are a community of prayer that takes the life of the spirit seriously as well as the life of the mind.
  • We offer targeted resources for learning for those working primarily online and for those living in college.
  • We are experienced in equipping church leaders and those who want their work to serve the church as researchers and educators
  • We have an inclusive ethos and a diverse study body that provides an environment for intercultural learning and exchange.
  • We collaborate ecumenically within the Cambridge Theological Federation and with partner institutions across the globe.


What qualifications do I need to apply to ARU?

  • A first or upper second-class honours degree, or equivalent, to be admitted to an MPhil with progression to a PhD.
  • A Masters degree, or equivalent, that includes training in research, to be admitted directly to PhD study.
  • Either English as a first language or an IELTS score of 6.5 or above.


Fees & Costs

Further information on fees and costs involved can be found here