Doctoral Degree in Theology

A candidate undertaking the PhD in Theology delineates and investigates a question, a question that fascinates the candidate and captures their imagination.

Postgraduate - Full Time
3+ Years
Application Deadline:
15th June 2018
Late applications considered on a case by case basis
Course Start Date:
September 2018
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Introduction

A candidate undertaking the PhD in Theology delineates and investigates a question, a question that fascinates the candidate and captures their imagination.

Description

Under the supervision of a member of the Faculty of Theology, a candidate undertaking the PhD in Theology delineates and investigates a question or the aspect of a question in a way that permits her or him to acquire an overarching mastery and competence in their chosen theological discipline, so as to formulate a thesis, write a dissertation thereon, and thus contribute to the development of theological understanding. The Faculty of Theology currently supervises the PhD in Theology in all principal theological disciplines. 

Obtaining a doctorate is not just obtaining a more advanced degree—gaining a doctorate is gaining another life! Researching and writing a doctoral dissertation is not simply a question of more detailed and demanding study, it is the study of a question, a question that fascinates the candidate and captures their imagination. As well as academic ability, undertaking doctoral studies demands dedication, focus, and an ability to hold to one’s academic path. This is clearly not for everybody, but for those who endure in their research, the rewards are great: an overarching mastery and competence in their field of research, a deep insight not only into their sub-discipline, into the very character of theology or philosophy, an ability to frame and engage new questions and research challenges as they emerge.

The Maynooth doctoral candidate—be it for the PhD or the D.D. (S.T.D.)—has access to a very large, international, multilingual, research active, and diverse Faculty in the Catholic tradition that is part of a dynamic academic network across Europe’s premier theology faculties, in an institution where theology has been taught since 1795, with a contemporary research library (the John Paul II University Library) and a venerable archival library (the Russell Library), and sharing research facilities with a large State university on Ireland’s most beautiful and most peaceful University campus.

Are you considering a career in research? The PhD programme is an opportunity for those who want to further their studies after completing a master’s degree.  A PhD will qualify you to lecture in higher level education, conduct research and enter other fields where there are high standard for scholarly insight and advanced analytical thinking.

Click here for Programme of Study

Click here for Regulations for PhD Defence

Career Outcomes

Are you considering a career in research?
The PhD programme is an opportunity for those who want to further their studies after completing a Master’s Degree. A PhD will qualify you to lecture in higher level education, conduct research and enter other fields where there are high standard for scholarly insight and advanced analytical thinking.

Course Structure

Programme of Study

  • Candidates must normally complete at least three years of full-time study, the first year of which is termed the Doctoral Foundation Year.
  • The Doctoral Foundation Year includes four postgraduate seminar courses. Two of these courses will normally be Research in Theology: Historical and Methodological Approaches (PG 464) and The Soul of Theology (PG 442).
  • Candidates who have recently completed these two courses as part of an STL or Masters in the Pontifical University are exempt. In order to be considered for progression to the second year of the doctoral programme, candidates are to achieve an aggregate 2:1 across these four seminar courses. In the Second Semester of the Foundation Year, the candidate shall, with the guidance of a mentor or director, identify a topic of research interest, and present a brief outline to two nominees of the Postgraduate Board by June 15th. This research topic, is not a doctoral proposal, but rather a research
  • area that creates direction and focus for the doctoral proposal. 
  • Normally, the doctoral proposal, which forms the basis of the doctoral dissertation, will be presented for approval to the Faculty of Theology during the second year of the doctoral programme.
  • The doctoral dissertation, which forms the basis for the award of the degree, must be a substantial and original piece of research, which offers a notable contribution to the advancement of the theological sciences. 
  • The dissertation must be prepared under the direction of a member of the Faculty of Theology on a topic approved by the Faculty. 
  • Candidates must have or must acquire a good reading knowledge of a modern continental European language. 


Application Requirements

Admission Requirements

A Master’s Degree in Theology of at least Second Class Honors Grade I or its equivalent.
The Faculty of Theology may also accept applicants whom it deems to have achieved an equivalent standard.

A competence in at least two theological languages: Hebrew, Greek or Latin. A candidate who has not already attained an acceptable level of competence in theological languages is required to pass qualifying courses in at least two of the following: Hebrew, Greek or Latin.

Students whose first language is not English will be required to satisfy the English Language Requirements.

Postgraduate Degree students will normally be expected to register year by year on a continuous basis until they have completed their degree. Students wishing to suspend registration may do so only on the express permission of the Faculty. Upon registration, PhD students will be assigned a staff mentor to assist them in their choice of courses and thesis director.

Progress at doctoral level demands a significant investment of time by the candidate in personal study and research. As such, study and research requires access both to resources that are frequently only available in research libraries, as well as easy access to the candidate's director or mentor, it is strongly recommended that doctoral candidates, especially at the beginning of their studies, spend at least three days per week on the Maynooth campus, during the semester.