KLC logo monogram

PhD Supervision Programme

KLC has partnered with Union Theological College (UTC) in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to supervise PhD students. UTC is a Presbyterian college with a long history of ministerial training and University-level education. It is evangelical in conviction. The College welcomes students from all backgrounds and staff come from a variety of evangelical perspectives.

Our cohort of KLC PhD supervisors – including their qualifications, locations, areas of research and the academic fields in which they supervise PhDs – can be found on the PhD Supervisors page.

Below you will also find two videos, one introducing KLC’s vision for Doctoral Research with KLC’s Director, Craig Bartholomew, and the second introducing the Supervision Programme with KLC’s Director of PhD Studies, Michael Wagenman.

Please apply directly to us by following the application process below (Do not apply directly to UTC.)

A Vision for PhD Studies:
Doctoral Research Coram Deo

In February 2023 KLC hosted an online event introducing our PhD Supervision Programme in partnership with Union Theological College in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In this video KLC Director, Rev Dr Craig G. Bartholomew, outlines a vision for doctoral research done coram deo, before the face of God, particularly exploring the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind KLC’s programme. 

Introducing KLC's PhD Supervision Programme

In this brief video KLC Director of PhD Studies, Rev Dr Michael Wagenman, introduces us to the PhD Supervision Programme itself, touching on how KLC is seeking to rethink doctoral research, with particular emphasis on the communal and missional aspects of the programme. He also mentions KLC’s team of PhD supervisors, and the importance of the valuable mentorship a student can receive from their supervisor.

KLC-UTC PhD Supervision Programme

For students who meet the academic requirements for admission, the British PhD does not involve coursework but puts the student to work on research in their area of focus immediately. With a good supervisor, the process of study is profoundly formative. Students typically register for an undifferentiated PhD and then “upgrade” after an initial period of study and writing to full PhD status. There is no residency requirement, but students are encouraged and welcomed into the KLC and UTC communities for ongoing encouragement and friendship. Students are also encouraged to visit Cambridge once a year and to visit UTC as able.

The cost for an international student doing the UTC PhD is around £15,000 per year (full-time) (check the UTC website for current costs). Through KLC, a limited number of students each year are awarded a £5,000 bursary, making this PhD one of the most competitively priced options in the UK.

Research Ethos

KLC is committed to Christian scholarship that is rooted in spirituality and practiced in community for the glory of God and the flourishing of the church and world. Our vision is to support the formation of Christian scholars across the academic disciplines who view and engage in their research missionally – oriented to the question, “How then should we live?”

From our initial discussions with potential students, through the application process, and over the course of study, our cohort of supervisors work with students to truly reflect our ethos and embody our missional approach to PhD research and supervision. We seek to be an alternative to the individualistic and competitive spirit of the modern academy. While research is solitary, it is important for the student to also be eager for vibrant intellectual community. Through our research hubs, online events, major public gatherings in the UK and USA each year, and our annual participation in the annual meetings of the Society for Biblical Literature and the Institute for Biblical Research, students will have many opportunities to learn in community.

Naturally, certain academic abilities are essential for completing a PhD successfully. However, we are not just looking for bright students but ones in whose lives the Spirit is at work, who desire and feel called to further studies, who embrace the vision of KLC, and who are “humble, hungry, and human” (our 3 H’s that characterise a good team player). The PhD programme requires students who are self-motivated and who can cope with the solitude involved. A high capacity for critical thinking and the ability to write well are vital.

Minimum Criteria for Admission

Typically, a Master’s degree, or equivalent qualification, in theology or a related discipline is required. And, for applicants whose first language is not English, one of the following qualifications is also needed:

  • An undergraduate or master’s degree that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English-speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (no more than three years old at commencement of PhD studies),
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training): overall score of 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each category,
  • Pearson Test of English, Academic PTE(A) total 67 (at least 61 in each of the ‘communicative skills’ sections), or
  • Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) or Cambridge Advanced (CAE): total 186 (at least 176 in each module).

Application Process

Step 1: Complete and submit the Prospective Student Form. 

Step 2: Contact Lauren Mulford, Administrator of KLC’s PhD Studies programme, saying that you’ve submitted the Prospective Student Form and would like to indicate interest: lauren@kirbylaingcentre.co.uk

Step 3: Complete and submit the Official Application Form via the link below and upload all required supporting documents. A complete application consists of the following documents:

  1. Letter of application (300-400 words)
  2. Research proposal (1,000 words min)
  3. CV
  4. Writing sample (2,000 words min)
  5. 2 letters of reference (one academic and one personal)
  6. Academic transcripts and copies of degree certificates
  7. A copy of the photo page of passport