Navigation

MPhil & PhD in Religious Studies

  • Length
    3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time
  • Department
    Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

Course overview

Goldsmiths is an exciting space for postgraduates, with numerous international speakers passing through, a huge range of interdisciplinary seminars and reading groups and a very open and warm environment for the exchange of ideas.

The MPhil/PhD programme in Religious Studies is part of the internationally renowned Faiths & Civil Society Unit, where an annual series of public seminars attracts speakers and delegates from all over the world, and a permanent group of 12 Fellows resources the Unit with ideas and connections straight in to the worlds of policy and practice.

Supervision is available for studies with a focus on any aspect of religion, belief and spirituality in the contemporary world, especially as studied interdisciplinarily, though including a focus on theology and/or religious studies, and/or the study of religion sociologically. A particular specialism which is distinctive to Goldsmiths is the connection between religion and belief and social and public policy. Engagement between faith and the public professions (social work, teaching, youth work, health, community work) is another distinctive area of expertise and applications in these areas are particularly welcome.

Much of the work of a PhD is organised through one-to-one supervisory sessions. You will also be able to participate in a range of methods training courses in both quantitative and qualitative methods, which will introduce you to the tools of the trade as well as innovative advanced methods.

These methods training courses are designed to help you with your MPhil/PhD study but also to help you become a full and capable social researcher equipped with the range of advanced methods skills that we are able to offer.

Assessment is by thesis and viva voce. 

Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Adam Dinham

Department

The Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies
has human relationships at its heart

Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

You’ll benefit from the wealth of experience of our staff and their commitment to ensuring that you’ll leave us as a reflective, research-minded professional.

We offer programmes in Community Studies, Social Work, and Therapeutic Studies.

Our degrees are informed by our commitment to social justice and applied practices – whether you want to:

  • understand and challenge the ways that vulnerable individuals and groups are disadvantaged and marginalised
  • become a social worker, community and youth worker, therapist or counsellor
  • change people’s lives through dance, drama and music

You’ll benefit from the wealth of experience of our staff and their commitment to ensuring that you’ll leave us as a reflective, research-minded professional.

Find out more about the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies.

Student work

Examples of current MPhil/PhD studies

Timothy Stacey

Tim's research explores the theoretical and practical grounds for social solidarity in an age of religious and ideological diversity. He has a special interest in what he calls "the ideological transformation of the public sphere", from religious to secular, and the impact that this change has had on politics and economics.

With a background in Philosophy and Theology (BA and MA), his methods straddle philosophy, theology and social science, seeking ways to make deep theory empirically explorable.

Alongside his research at the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Tim is also a Lecturer in Religion and Political Science at Richmond, the American International University in London, and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Religion and Political Science at King's College London.


Panagiotis Pentaris

Panagiotis (aka Notis) is researching the area of religious literacy and/or illteracy among health care professionals who deliver services in thanatological settings (eg hospices). His project is based on the challenges posed to public practice by the assumptions of secularisation and the secular society.

Notis' background is in Social Work (LSW and QSW), Social Policy, and Psychotherapy. He specialises in Thanatology (the science of death), which remains his basic interest. He is also certified in Medical Psychology. He is involved in social reserach, academic writing and professional presentations in Europe and in the USA.


Gabriel Burcea

Gabriel started his PhD at Goldsmiths in September 2013. His research interests include the use of Human Rights as a “globaliser”, and specifically its interaction with Children's Rights in the context of Sharia law. Gabriel is especially interested in how this interaction plays out in Pakistan, where religion has become increasingly significant in the public sphere in recent decades. He is especially interested in how these ideas play out in local contexts, focusing on Lahore and other cities with a high rate of minority religious groups.

Gabriel has a social work background and is a certified social worker in both Romania and the UK.

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you'll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • personal statement – This can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Details of your research proposal

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. 

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Research proposals

Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application. 

This should be in the form of a 2,000-word statement of the proposed area of research and should include: 

  • delineation of the research topic
  • why it has been chosen
  • an initial hypothesis (if applicable)
  • a brief list of major secondary sources

When to apply 

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified. 

Selection process 

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

AHRC studentships.

Related content links