Crosslands exists to provide trusted theological resources and training that equip men and women for mission and ministry, primarily in the local church. From first steps in discipleship through to church leadership, from practical ministry applications to original research, theology is for the enrichment of the church and her witness to the world.

Whilst some PhDs are pursued to enable an academic career, Crosslands supports PhD study with the aim of creating knowledge and resources that serve the needs of the church – especially local church mission and ministry. Only a small number of people will get to study to this level of depth and intensity; our hope is that those who do will become more effective servants of the gospel as they do so.

To earn a PhD, students must write a 80,000 word thesis on a topic defined by their research proposal under the guidance of a relevant faculty member. PhD students undertake research on their own topics, working closely with their supervisors to write their theses.

The Crosslands Theological Research programme is delivered in partnership with UnionTheological College in Belfast. Students taking a PhD through Crosslands will be registered as UTC students and will be awarded a PhD through the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland. (This is similar to our Seminary MA which is taken through Crosslands in partnership with SEBTS and BibleMesh) Together the aim of this partnership is to offer a breadth of faculty specialisms, supervision excellence, and personal and leadership formation that helps doctoral students to flourish as both disciples and academics.

Enrolling in the Crosslands Theological Research programme brings with it discipleship and leadership development support , with mentoring that connects academic learning into both their local church setting and into the wider world. We want Crosslands-affiliated PhD students to be marked by:

  • gospel priorities
  • spiritual growth
  • servant leadership, and
  • excellence in communicating

The Crosslands team will also help doctoral students to find outlets for their learning throughout the doctoral programme, providing speaking and writing opportunities that engage different audiences.


What are the entry requirements?

Whilst the typical route into a PhD programme of this type would be an MDiv or MTh, it is not essential to have one of these degrees, although applicants will have to meet the UTC entry requirements, which exist to ensure that people admitted onto the programme are ready and able to succeed with study at this level. Here are some examples of how that might work out for different people:

  • Applicants with prior degrees in theology but who have not completed an extended dissertation may need to complete some additional bridging work involving an extended dissertation-length piece of work.
  • Applicants without formal theological education but with strong academic credentials will need to demonstrate that they have engaged in advanced level theological reading.
  • Applicants wishing to pursue a biblical studies doctoral thesis will need to demonstrate that they have acquired a strong proficiency in biblical languages, whether or not languages formed a formal part of any prior study.

The admissions process will take into account all prior learning. For candidates who are likely to be suited for PhD study in the longer term but who do not yet meet the UTC admission requirements, Crosslands will consider whether a mentored programme of personal study can be created  to provide the necessary bridge.

What does it cost?

For students in the UK and ROI, fees are as follows:

  • Full–time fees £5,720 + annual registration £185 = ££5,905 (per year) Total over 3 years £17,715
  • Part–time fees £2,860 + annual registration £185 (per year) Total over 6 years £18,270

For International students (outside UK and ROI) fees are as follows:

  • Full–time: Fees £15,000 + annual registration £185 = £15,185 (per year)
    Total over 3 years £45,555
  • Part–time Fees £7,500 + annual registration £185 (per year) Total over 6 years £46,110

Is there funding available?

At the present time Crosslands is not able to offer bursaries for PhD programmes. We are working on this and hope that in time we may be in a position to offer some help with funding.

What is the time commitment?

This is a very hard question to answer since every researcher and thesis will require different patterns and intensity of work. Full time study should be thought of as a full time job, which does still allow for involvement in local church serving and leadership to some extent, and we would encourage this. For part time study (which we anticipate will be the case for most Crosslands PhD students) we would recommend that at least 2 ½ days per week are ringfenced for study. Again this still allows significant availability for other responsibilities but will require strong discipline to ensure that study time is guarded and momentum is maintained.

Who is available to supervise my PhD?

Once we have an idea of your areas of interest we will connect you with one or more relevant faculty members to help you start to refine your initial research proposal and if necessary identify the supervisor(s) you’d be keen to work with. The pool of potential supervisors is not limited to Crosslands faculty members; a supervision team can be drawn from within UTC and potentially from other UTC partner institutions. It’s important to bear in mind that potential supervisors are not obliged to take on any given PhD student; supervisors will only take on students and projects they are convinced will succeed. It’s too long and demanding a process – for both students and supervisors – to grind through with reluctance.

How do I apply?

We’d like to engage with you informally to discuss your plans, motives and context. Once you’re in a position to apply formally we’ll need a bio, a short research proposal, some specific details of your academic track record, evidence that your local church is supportive of your plans to do a PhD, and some other information that will be captured in the application form we’ll send you.

To arrange an initial informal conversation, please get in touch.