Doctoral study in Theology

Why study with us?

You can join a community of scholars working in the allied fields of theology and religious studies.

As a doctoral candidate, you'll benefit from: financial support for research expenses through PReSS funding; high-calibre supervision practices; and the networks and expertise of our world-class academic researchers.

Research opportunities

You will be supervised by our researchers and have access to a range of resources to assist you in your academic and professional development.

We welcome PhD research proposals in areas such as:

  • Feminist and postfeminist engagements with religion
  • Religion and LGBTI+ identities
  • Queer theory and religion
  • Religion in popular culture, including art, film, advertising, music and literature
  • Evolutionary dynamics of religions
  • Quantitative ritual studies
  • Historical databases of religion
  • Religion and health and wellbeing across the lifespan
  • Religion in contemporary New Zealand society
  • The interplay of religion and virtue
  • Sociology of religion
  • Religion in modern Japanese society
  • Christianity in Japan and East Asia
  • New religious movements
  • Religion-state issues in modern Japan
  • Asian religions in diaspora
  • History of Christianity — especially in late antiquity, the Middle Ages and early modernity
  • History of Christian theology, art and ritual
  • History of religion in New Zealand
  • Christianity, secularity and religious pluralism

Our people

Professor Joseph Bulbulia

  • Religion in contemporary New Zealand
  • Religion and biology
  • Religion and ageing
  • Ritual studies
  • Quantitative approaches to the study of religion

Professor Mark R. Mullins

  • Sociology of religion
  • Religion in modern Japanese society
  • Indigenous Christian movements
  • Religion and nationalism
  • Asian religions in diaspora

Dr Caroline Blyth

  • Gender, sexuality and religion
  • Gender-based violence
  • Feminist and queer studies of religion
  • The Bible in literature and visual culture

Dr Nick Thompson

  • The Reformation Era
  • Early Modern and Modern Christianity
  • Critical edition and translation of Early Modern texts
  • Sectarianism, pluralism and tolerance in the history of Christianity
  • Religion, society and culture in New Zealand

Past research topics

  • "Pacific young women's images of God and mental wellbeing" | Supervised by Dr Caroline Blyth and Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath
  • "The representation of the female body in fourteenth- to seventeenth-century Russian icons of Eve and the Virgin Mary" | Supervised by Dr Nicholas Thompson and Dr Caroline Blyth
  • "The celibate Christ: A suggestive reading of John 20:17 μή μου ἅπτου οὔπω γὰρ ἀναβέβηκα (‘Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended’)" | Supervised by Dr Caroline Blyth and Dr Nicholas Thompson
  • "Le laau o le sopoaga/A plant for a journey: Planting Samoan Methodism in New Zealand" | Supervised by Dr Nicholas Thompson and Dr Ama’amalele Tofaeono

Scholarships and awards

There are several scholarships you may be eligible for when you decide to pursue your PhD in Theology:

Help and advice

For help with enrolling in your PhD you can contact the Arts Students' Centre.

If you would like to discuss your plans for your doctoral research you can contact our PhD Adviser.

Apply for doctoral study