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Department of Theology and Religion

Integrated PhD

The PhD with Integrated Studies is a hybrid degree allowing students to combine a classic PhD with taught preparation roughly equivalent to a taught MA, within a single four-year programme (eight years part-time).

In Year 1, students will be registered as taught postgraduates. Like MA students, they will study five modules: three optional 30-credit modules, and two core modules, Resources, Methods and Interpretation and a short Dissertation.

However, those two core modules will be assessed to a higher threshold than for the standard MA. During the Resources, Methods and Interpretation module, students will be required to produce a 2000-word research proposal for their doctoral thesis. The aim is to ensure that by the beginning of year 2 of the programme, students will be ready to embark on independent research.

Years 2 - 4 are a classic British PhD programme, leading to the submission of a 100,000 word thesis.

Students who pass all the elements in year 1 may choose to exit with an MA qualification at that point instead of progressing to the doctoral stage. They may choose whichever specific MA qualification for which they have chosen the relevant optional modules.

In the event that a student fails to pass one or both of the Year 1 core modules at the higher Integrated PhD threshold, but does pass them at MA standard, the student will exit at the end of Year 1 with an MA.

Who is the Integrated PhD for?

The Integrated PhD is aimed at students who are intending to pursue doctoral research in Theology and Religion but who are not yet ready to embark on independent research. Candidates may apply solely on the basis of undergraduate studies, or may have some postgraduate experience.

Candidates are of course welcome to apply regardless of their national background. However, the Integrated PhD may appeal particularly to those from academic cultures where taught elements within a PhD programme are the norm.

International students may also find that the immigration formalities involved in applying for a four-year programme will be simpler than those involved in pursuing a one-year MA followed by a separate three-year PhD.

What does it cost?

Durham University's standard fees apply. The fee for year 1 is at the taught postgraduate rate, and the fees for years 2-4 are at the research postgraduate rate (which is slightly lower for home / EU students).

How do I apply?

The admission criteria are the same as for taught MA programmes: essentially, a good first degree in Theology and Religion or another relevant subject. Applicants are also asked to indicate their intended research topic, but the full doctoral research proposal is composed during the first year of the degree.

How do the two dissertations relate to one another?

The short, Year 1 dissertation (12000-15000 words in length) and the full doctoral thesis (100000 words in length) are separate pieces of work. It would be normal for students to use the short dissertation to begin exploring their doctoral research topic, and some overlap between the two is to be expected. It would not be appropriate simply to recycle sections of the earlier dissertation into the doctoral thesis, not least because students would be expected to have progressed intellectually during the course of their studies.

How do I know who my research supervisors will be?

Students are encouraged to discuss their projects with prospective supervisors before applying, and it will often be possible to give an informal indication of a likely supervisory team at this stage. However, the final decision about the supervisory team for the doctoral dissertation can only be made once the doctoral research proposal has been submitted half-way through Year 1. In all cases students will be consulted about the appointment of supervisors.

The supervisor of the short Year 1 dissertation may well also be the lead supervisor of the doctoral thesis, but this will depend on choice of topics and staff availability.

If you have any further questions about this programme, please contact our postgraduate admissions team.