How to apply

Entry requirements

Applicants for the MPhil/PhD degree must normally hold a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree in an appropriate subject and/or an MA with distinction or near distinction in a degree subject related to the proposed research.

Practice-based Doctorate in Pastoral Theology (DTP), a new degree course launched in September 2013. The DPT is a practice-based doctorate in pastoral theology, normally taking four years full-time or seven years part-time to complete.

The DTP programme consists of three phases of study, taking students through taught modules, an initial research proposal based on a continuing dedicated seminar, to the production of a research thesis which, while shorter than the standard PhD, is expected to be comparable in terms of depth of treatment and originality of focus.

Entry requirements for the DTP are similar to those for MPhil and PhD degrees (see above), but as well as holding a UK Master's degree in a relevant sub-discipline of theology with a merit or above, or an equivalent overseas award, applicants will normally be in full-time or substantially full-time Christian pastoral practice.

It will greatly benefit your studies if you are able to live within reasonable travelling distance of the College whilst you are studying, with easy access to research libraries and facilities. If you apply for part-time study, you must demonstrate that you will spend a minimum of two and a half working days a week in study.

Language requirements (the same for MPhil, PhD and DTP)

If English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence of  your proficiency in English.  We accept a range of qualifications as shown in the list here: English Language Requirements.

Application Documents

The application form can be downloaded here: Postgraduate Application Form (.doc)

MPhil/PhD applicants please include item 1a with your PG Application Form:

A description of the proposed research that demonstrates that you have a clear idea of the body of material from which your research results will be drawn, and, in the case of empirical research, that you have a well-formed understanding of how that research will be conducted. This description should be no more than 1,500-2,000 words (including footnotes) and you should in addition provide a bibliography. 

DPT applicants please include item 1b with your PG Application Form:

A general outline of your involvement in full-time or substantially full-time pastoral practice, leading into a description of your intended area of research and some evidence of a capacity to reflect theologically on that area. This outline should take the form of a piece of written work of some 1,500 words (including footnotes) and you should in addition provide a bibliography.

All Research Degree Applicants (in addition to EITHER 1a or 1b) please submit the following documentation:

2. Two Academic References – please send, or ask your referees to send, two academic references to support your application. These should be from people who will normally have doctorates themselves and/or be accredited lecturers at an institute of higher education. They should have good knowledge of your academic background, and be able to give the College a professional opinion concerning your capabilities.

3. Full transcripts of marks from previous relevant BA and MA qualifications. Note: it is essential to supply actual marks, a copy of your degree diploma or certificate is not sufficient.

4. If English is not your first language, you will be required to provide evidence of  your proficiency in English.  We accept a range of qualifications as shown in the list here: English Language Requirements.

5. A copy of the photograph page of your passport.

6. If you are an overseas applicant and require a Tier 4 student visa you must also provide copies of all your previous visas to date, as well as the CAS letters which have been issued to you. We are required to show these to the UKBA authorities if asked, and it is our responsibility to ensure that you meet all the criteria of eligibility.

It greatly helps to avoid delay if you ensure that all the documentation is included with your application in the first instance, and that referees are encouraged to send their references promptly.

Should I apply as a full-time or part-time student?

Note that full-time research means full-time: if you have significant professional or work commitments, or burdensome home commitments, to which you need to give time, you are recommended to choose part-time registration.  This permits a less pressured progress through the degree.

Application Process

Applicants may send in applications at any time. There is one point of entry to research programmes, ie. the beginning of the Michaelmas Term in any one year (official registration is from 01 October). Please specify your desired starting year in the 'Academic year' box on Page 1 of the application form.

All applications are considered by the Dean of Research Students and the relevant Head of Department. We try to turn these around as quickly as we can, but unfortunately resources do not always allow us to respond immediately upon receipt of the application, so we ask for your patience in this regard. If a response is urgently required please email the Research and Policy Administrator at

Interview Procedures

If your application receives initial approval you may be invited to interview by your prospective supervisors. Please contact the Research and Policy Adminstrator if you have any queries about how to reach Heythrop College.

The Research and Policy Administrator will agree a date with you and the interviewers, and send you an invitation. Your interview will last about half an hour, and you should be prepared to describe your proposed research, give full and considered anwers to questions about it, and explain the direction in which you feel the research might lead. You may like to send examples of your written work, in advance, to the Research and Policy Administrator for onward transmission to your interviewers.

Formulating an initial Research Proposal

To find out more about research at Heythrop please visit our Research Degrees page.

A list of the main research strengths of each department can be found on the Research and Centres home page, and a full list of the research interests of staff can be found in the Staff Publications Database (search by research interests.) In formulating your research proposal you may approach a member of academic staff. If they are willing to help you develop a research proposal, you should not envisage extensive contact or intensive help, but rather one or two (at most) meetings.

If you have any questions about whom you might approach or how you do this, you should contact the Dean of Research Studies, Professor Michael Barnes, by email ( or letter in the first instance.

General guidance and full information on policy and procedures

Full information on all Heythrop research policies and procedures can be found in the Code of Practice for Research Degrees. For information on research ethics please click on the Ethics Committee Code of Practice.

Research Fees

Please see our Money Matters section for details of postgraduate fees and bursaries.

Funding your Research Degree

A number of funding bodies are able to provide full or partial scholarships for research degree study, and the College holds a subscription to the booklet ‘The Alternative Guide for Postgraduate Funding’ which gives useful information on what is available. If you would like a copy please request one from the Research and Policy Administrator at

Page Updated: Friday, July 11 2014