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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Awards & Fellowships

Please see the information below for further information on the Fellowships.

Alan Richardson Fellowship

The Alan Richardson Fellowship is awarded annually, and is endowed to promote research into the exposition and defence of Christian doctrine within the context of contemporary thought and its challenges. The Fellowship was founded in honour of the Very Reverend Alan Richardson, K.B.E., D.D., (1905-75), formerly Dean of York, Professor of Christian Theology in the University of Nottingham and Canon of Durham Cathedral.

We are currently not taking any applications for the vacancy. When the process reopens, information will become available.

For further information, please contact:

Claire Williams (
Department Support Officer
Department of Theology & Religion
Abbey House
Palace Green

Current Fellow

  • Revd. Prof. Stan Chu Ilo (DePaul University, Chicago)

Previous Fellows

  • Prof. Vincent Lloyd (Villanova University, Pennsylvania)
  • Prof. Sam Reimer (Crandall University)
  • Revd Prof. Philip G. Ziegler (University of Aberdeen)
  • Revd Dr Peter Sedgwick (Cardiff University)
  • Dr Paul Shore (Brandon University, Manitoba)
  • Prof. Robin Le Poidevin (Leeds)
  • Dr Christian Smith (University of Notre Dame)
  • Prof. Paul Lakeland (Fairfield University)
  • Dr Ashley Null (Virginia Theological Seminary)
  • Prof. Jean Porter (University of Notre Dame, Indiana)
  • Prof. Paul Griffiths (Duke University)
  • Prof. Ellen Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary, New Jersey)
  • Prof. Nicholas Healy (St. John's University, New York)
  • Dr Douglas Hedley (Cambridge University)
  • Prof. Jens Schjørring (University of Aarhus, Denmark)
  • Prof. David Cunningham (Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Illinois)
  • Prof. Jan-Olav Henriksen (Norwegian Lutheran School of Theology, Oslo)
  • Prof. Stephen Clark (Liverpool University)
  • Prof. John de Gruchy (University of Cape Town)
  • Prof. Adrian Thatcher (College of St. Mark and St. John, Plymouth)
  • Dr David Fagerberg (Concordia College, Minnesota)
  • Dr Mary Charles Murray (University of Nottingham)
  • Dr Denys Turner (Yale University)
  • Prof. Lee Gibbs (Cleveland State University)
  • Prof. Vincent Brümmer (University of Utrecht)

The William Leech Research Fund

The William Leech Research Fund was established in 1988 with monies from the William Leech Foundation, a charitable trust set up in 1960 by the Newcastle builder and philanthropist Sir William Leech.

The research grants programme is designed to promote the application of theological reflection to issues relevant to the life of the North East of England and beyond. Past holders of fellowships have included Peter Selby, Nick Sagovsky, Robin Gill and Philip Sheldrake.

Two types of grant are available: one-year Fellowships are typically taken up at post-doctoral level by scholars near the beginning of their career, while shorter periods of supported leave are available for established scholars or clergy on sabbatical leave, or for lay people with appropriate interests and experience.

For further details, including closing dates, see the Leech Fellowship webpage at:

Leverhulme Early-Career Fellowships in Theology and Religion, Durham University

The department invites expressions of interest from outstanding candidates working on topics related to the activities of our research groups ( ) or to relevant University research centres and institutes.

Further information on the Leverhulme Early-Career Fellowships, including eligibility criteria, can be found here.

Those who wish to express an interest, should contact Prof. Mathew Guest ( to discuss the possibility of applying. Expressions of interest should be sent at the earliest opportunity, and certainly before the end of November 2019.

Congratulations Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Doctor of Divinity

During winter congregation 2020, over 1500 of our students will graduate at ceremonies in Durham Cathedral. We will be joined by family and friends to celebrate their hard work and inspiring achievements, and to wish them well in their future endeavours.

We also award honorary degrees to inspiring individuals, who are nominated by our colleagues, in recognition of their long and exemplary service of national and international acclaim.

This year, we awarded the Archbishop of York an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, in recognition of his service to the Church of England and for the support and encouragement he offers our students and to St John’s College.

(9 Jan 2020) » More about Congratulations Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Doctor of Divinity

Gabby Thomas: A Woman Making a Difference!

Congratulations to CCS member Gabby Thomas who was nominated as one of Durham's Women Making a Difference, an award set up to celebrate International Women's Day 2019. Gabby's nominator said:

Gabrielle gave our first lecture in theology and made us all laugh by showing a photograph of herself with a fake white beard. Whilst it was a bit cheesy she explained that in studying early Christian theology we might get the idea that only men can do theology but actually it's for anyone - including women. Because she did this early on I've been able to think about how it's possible for me, as a young woman, to be a theologian. She's really inspiring and always has time for my questions, and always answer emails! Gabrielle tells us that women can do theology. We don't get lots of female professors and so when we do it's important to be a brilliant teacher and gets us really engaged in her lectures. She's also kind which matters.

You can find more CCS women making a difference listed on our staff pages!

(18 Mar 2019)

Alec Ryrie appointed to Divinity Professorship at Gresham College

Gresham College, London’s oldest Higher Education Institution, is delighted to announce the appointment of Alec Ryrie to the Divinity Professorship, which dates back to 1597.

Professor Ryrie is a leading authority on the history of Christianity. His first lecture series will explore how atheism has developed over the course of history and the role it plays in Christian culture.

(17 May 2018) » More about Alec Ryrie appointed to Divinity Professorship at Gresham College

Rob Haynes received the Dissertation of the Year Award from the Wesleyan Theological Society

Congratulations to Rob Haynes, who received the Dissertation of the Year Award from the Wesleyan Theological Society. 

(5 Mar 2018) » More about Rob Haynes received the Dissertation of the Year Award from the Wesleyan Theological Society

The Expanded Reason Awards winners have been selected

After receiving 367 works from 170 universities and over 30 countries, the international jury, meeting at the University Francisco de Vitoria, has chosen four winners and two honorable mentions that best answered the challenge of actively promoting a dialogue between sciences and theology/philosophy. The Awards ceremony will take place at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Vatican City on September 27th. Honorable mention for Christopher Cook and the MA in Spirituality, Theology & Health of the Department of Theology and Religion

(3 Aug 2017) » More about Christopher Cook & the MA in Spirituality, Theology & Health

Durham professor elected Fellow of British Academy

Durham University theologian, Professor Douglas Davies has been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in recognition of his outstanding contribution to research in the humanities and social sciences.

(1 Aug 2017) » More about Durham professor elected Fellow of British Academy

Theology and Religion at Durham ranked 3rd in the Guardian University Guide League Tables 2018

Students graduating this year from the Dept. of Theology and Religion will have an advantage. The 2018 Guardian University Guide League Tables has ranked Durham’s Dept. of Theology and Religion 3rd in the UK. According to the same table, the Dept. of Theology and Religion was ranked 2nd in terms of employability with 90% of graduates finding graduate-level jobs, or further study within six months of graduation. To view the tables, please follow the link:

(19 May 2017) » More about Theology and Religion at Durham ranked 3rd in the Guardian University Guide League Tables 2018

Theology and Religion at Durham ranked 3rd in the world

Theology and Religion at Durham University has been ranked 3rd in the world by the 2017 QS World University Subject Rankings which are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. It is the first year that QS has included rankings in this subject area.

(24 Apr 2017) » More about Theology and Religion at Durham ranked 3rd in the world

Durham University is ranked 5th in the UK according to the Good University Guide 2016

The Department of Theology and Religion is delighted that Durham University is ranked 5th in the UK according to the Good University Guide 2016, an improvement of one place from the previous year. Almost 90% of subjects were ranked in the top 10 with Theology and Religion ranked 2nd. This latest ranking follows the rise of 31 places in the QS World University Rankings 2015/16 - which placed Durham 61st globally - consolidating its position as one of the world’s leading universities.

(30 Sep 2015) » More about Durham University is ranked 5th in the UK according to the Good University Guide 2016

Student Awards

Congratulations are due to two of our students who have been nominated for Student Awards this year. In the category of Academic representative we have Jennie Dziegiel and Student leader Lucinda Murphy (for her work with the Theology and Religion Society). The overall winners of the student awards will be announced at the awards evening on 17 June. All students and Durham University staff are invited to the awards evening. You can find out more and purchase your tickets by clicking here.

(26 May 2015)

Junior researcher’s article singled out

James Kelly’s work amongst Brill’s most downloaded articles.

(10 Feb 2015) » More about Junior researcher’s article singled out

MA dissertation awarded German prize

Prize for Durham graduate Tobias Jammerthal.

(10 Nov 2014) » More about MA dissertation awarded German prize

Prize undergraduate dissertation published

A 2014 undergraduate dissertation has been accepted for publication by a leading journal.

(10 Nov 2014) » More about Prize undergraduate dissertation published

First Teaching Excellence Award made

Two postgraduate teachers share our first annual Teaching Excellence Award.

(2 Oct 2014) » More about First Teaching Excellence Award made

Theology at Durham tops another national league table thanks to excellent graduate prospects

Two leading British league tables now pick Durham as the UK's best department of Theology and Religion.

(6 Jun 2014) » More about Theology at Durham tops another national league table thanks to excellent graduate prospects

Durham Tops the Tables for Theology and Religious Studies in the 2015 CUG

Durham University has topped The Complete University Guide for Theology and Religion this year. For a comparative table click here.


(12 May 2014)

Durham Theology and Religion retains leading position in the 2014 CUG

The 2014 Complete University Guide, in which Durham University is ranked 5th in the UK overall, lists Durham once again in 2nd place for Theology and Religion, ahead of Oxford and a whisker behind Cambridge. We are particularly pleased to see that we beat both Oxford and Cambridge on student satisfaction and on graduate prospects.

(10 May 2013)

Noted Achievements 20/02/2013

The following achievements were noted at the Faculty's latest Board of Studies meeting:

  • Dr Doering on his monograph: Doering, Lutz. (2012). Ancient Jewish Letters and the Beginnings of Christian Epistolography. Tuebingen: Mohr Siebeck.
  • Dr Burity for his essay "Entrepreneurial spirituality and ecumenical alterglobalism: Two religious responses to global neoliberalism", in Martikainen, Tuomas; Gauthier, François (eds.) Religion in the Neoliberal Age: Political Economy and Modes of Governance. Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate, pp. 21-36
  • Prof Ryrie for his edited volume with Dr Natalie Mears: Natalie Mears & Alec Ryrie (2013). Worship and the Parish Church in Early Modern Britain. Ashgate.

(20 Feb 2013)

Kenneth John West, MBE. Awarded an Honorary Master of Arts degree

On Thursday January 12 2013 Mr Ken West MBE, was awarded the Honorary Degree of Master of Arts by The University of Durham in recognition of his contribution to the funerary world of the UK,, most especially in terms of his pioneering what has become the practice of Natural Burial, also widely known as Woodland, Green, or Ecological burial. Ken West is extremely well-known within the burial, cremation, and cemeteries world. He started his career in the funerary world as a 15-year-old horticultural trainee in Shrewsbury cemetery. His dedication and desire to learn resulted in a succession of promotions including being appointed Bereavement Services Manager for Carlisle in the late 80s where, in 1993, he established the world's first Green Burial Service. Today there are over 245 woodland burial sites across the country and his lead has been followed in North America, Australia and New Zealand. He was awarded an MBE in 2002 for his services to burial and cremation and in 2012 he published A Guide to Natural Burial. Mr West has also offered advice to the University’s Centre for Death and Life Studies based within The Department of Theology & Religion, especially during the AHRC funded collaborative doctoral research project on natural burial involving Prof. Douglas Davies and Dr Hannah Rumble working with The Arbory Trust and their burial site at Barton Glebe near Cambridge. Their jointly authored book Natural Burial: Traditional-secular spiritualities and funeral innovation, was also published in 2012 (Bloomsbury-Continuum).  

(9 Jan 2013)

13 November 2012

Dr. Joanildo Burity has recently been elected to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council.

Please click here for further details.


(13 Nov 2012)

31 October 2012

Below is a list of achievements reported at the last Board of Studies meeting. The faculty would like to congratulate the following staff members for their accomplishments:

  • Prof Ryrie, for the international conference held at St Chads on Reformation Studies. The conference was attended by 90 people from 12 countries.
  • Dr Guest, Visiting Research Fellowship at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. (April-September 2013).
  • Prof. Murray has been elected as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
  • Prof. Murray has been appointed as President of the Catholic Theological Association for the next two years.

(13 Nov 2012)