PhD in Theology

phd of theology

Admissions are open for PhD in Theology at Tartu university. The general objective of the theology curriculum is to raise the knowledge and skills of Doctoral candidates to highest professional level as acknowledged by international research community. Doctoral candidates are prepared for employment as members of teaching and research staff at universities and other research institutions or as top professionals outside the academic sphere. The principal components of high-quality research-based education provided to professionals with a Doctoral degree are: state-of-the-art knowledge and skills required for research in the area of specialisation, comprehensive scientific worldview, and competency for developmental, managerial and educational work.

Students who have completed the curriculum:

  • are informed of philosophical, historical-political and cultural development trends in religion and theological thought;
  • are knowledgeable of different concepts of scientific study of religion and are able to highlight similarities and differences between them;
  • understand interdisciplinary connections between their speciality and related disciplines, and are able to conceptualise such connections and relations;
  • are able to see possibilities of application of their research results;
  • are able to present reasoned arguments and research results in professional domestic and international research communications (publications, conferences, workshops, etc.) and to participate in wider social discussions together with representatives of other research fields and walks of life;
  • are able to raise independent hypotheses, to plan and conduct research, and to develop further research methods and concepts used in religion and theology;
  • are able to teach and supervise others and capable of performing managerial duties.

Application timeline

  • 10 September: application system opens
  • 30 September: application deadline
  • 15 October: final admission results
  • Specified later: studies commence

Programme details

Title Theology
Level of study Doctoral studies
Degree awarded Doctor of Philosophy (Theology); Doctor of Philosophy (Religious Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Humanities, School of Theology and Religious Studies
Duration 4 years
Credits 240 ECTS
Study form Full-time regular studies
Language English
Location Tartu, Estonia
Tuition fee No tuition fee
Scholarships Scholarship opportunities

Required documents for phd in theology

  1. application;
  2. official copy of the diploma and diploma supplement (transcript/mark sheet) of the preceding study levels (both bachelor’s and master’s) in the original language*;
  3. official translation of the diplomas and diploma supplements into English;
  4. copy of the passport page stating the applicant’s personal particulars;
  5. doctoral thesis project;
  6. curriculum vitae (relevant form CV).

Entrance Criteria

Prerequesits for being eligible to apply:

  • master’s degree in theology or an equivalent qualification (applicants for theology)
  • master’s degree or an equivalent qualification (applicants for religion studies)
Admission requirement Percentage
Doctoral thesis project and assessment of its feasibility 100%

Applicants are admitted on the basis of the ranking list. The minimum score required for being admitted is 66.0.

A doctoral thesis project must include the following:

  1. research topic;
  2. reasoning of the choice of the topic, delimitation of the topic in the field of study, and the research purpose;
  3. short summary of former research on the topic;
  4. presentation of the research methodology;
  5. presentation of the preliminary structure of the thesis;
  6. presentation of the hypothesis, where necessary;
  7. list of possible source materials; and
  8. timetable for writing the thesis.

There are two ways of applying:

  1. Through general admission procedure where the doctoral thesis topic can be chosen by the applicant. Admitted full time PhD students will receive doctoral allowance of 422 euros per month.
  2. To announced doctoral thesis topic (see below) funded by external Dora Plus programme.

If the announced topics match your research interests, you are welcome to apply for those. Otherwise, you are advised to apply through general admission procedure.

Announced research topics funded by the Dora Plus programme:

  1. Early and Late Poetic Forms in Ancient Hebrew Psalms. A Diachronic Poetological Approach (supervisor Urmas Nõmmik,
  2. The Concept and the Figuration: Travels of Philip hefner’s God’s Created Co-Creator in Contemporary Science and Religion Discussion (supervisor Anne Kull,

For further information about research projects please contact the respective supervisors.

About Dora Plus

The aforementioned research topics and studies will be funded by the programme Dora Plus. Full time PhD student will be receiving a monthly grant of 422 euros during the nominal period of studies (4 years) and annual travel allowance. The amount of the travel allowance, to be paid at the end of each academic year, depends on the distance between the country of residence and Estonia.

The grant can be awarded to a person:

  • who will be enrolled as a full time doctoral student at the University of Tartu;
  • who is not a resident of the Republic of Estonia;
  • who does not have Estonian citizenship;
  • who does not have permanent right of residence (applies to EU citizens) or long-term residence permit (applies to Non-EU citizens);
  • who has not been to Estonia for more than one year during the past three years, except if the person has been enrolled in a Master’s programme and graduated from a higher education institution in Estonia.

The activity is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Admitted PhD students will be enrolled in the PhD programme. The nominal study period is 2017-2021, starting from the beginning of September 2017.

Further information about Dora Plus.

Read more about course and application process.

Course curriculm.

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