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Union Research is dedicated to raising up and nurturing the theologians, authors and teachers of the future to ensure the ongoing mission of the church is healthy and robust. The Union School of Theology PhD programme gives students the opportunity to undertake extensive independent study to contribute to the mission of the church. Students explore their study in great depth, whilst gaining research skills and expertise to support them throughout their lives.


UST’s PhD students are supported and nurtured by the Union Research community. Under the supervision of leading evangelical scholars, students undertake detailed study that will offer an original contribution to the scholarly community, whilst also seeking to serve the needs of today’s church. The UST PhD programme is offered through a collaborative partnership with the prestigious Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Free University of Amsterdam).

As an active part of the Union Research community, students are given opportunities to participate in constructive, scholarly discussion. Students join in regular research seminars, both within their own field and in others. They also attend our annual Research Conference, where they are invited to give papers related to their subject and given the opportunity for conversation with leading international researchers and scholars.

The PhD programme does not involve class-based taught modules, which means that study can be completed wherever you are in the world. Students can either engage with the seminars and their supervisors in person at our UST South Wales campus, or can participate via our virtual learning facilities. Utilising advanced video conferencing, these facilities enable students to visibly interact with other students and scholars during the seminars and supervisory meetings. As many UST students are serving the church around the world, these facilities enable them to play an active part in the wider Union Research community. It is important to note though, that students are required to attend the annual Research Conference held for approximately three days at the Union campus.

Students will also undertake a short period of mentored research induction at the start of their PhD studies to create a portfolio of research skills and activities. This can be undertaken online and through attendance at the Research Conference each year. This research induction is very beneficial, as it gives students a solid basis for theological research, as well as providing them with skills for ongoing post-doctoral research.

The culmination of this postgraduate award is the completion of a research-based thesis (c.80,000 words), along with a public, oral defence held in Amsterdam. VU Amsterdam generously provide funding for accommodation and travel for this oral defence.

We welcome applications to our PhD programme, particularly in the fields of Biblical Studies, Historical Theology and Church History.

If you are interested, please read the information below, and then contact Stephen, the UST Admissions Officer, to enquire.

Essential Information

Each PhD student has one or more supervisors from Union School of Theology or our associated faculty, as well as a supervisor from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam) who is designated as the promoter of the research.

Students are free to study where they are normally resident, but they must attend the annual Union Research Conference as well as the public defence of their thesis in Amsterdam. However, VU Amsterdam generously provide the funds for this oral defence.

The time it takes to complete your research can vary.

  • A full time PhD normally takes three years. You must submit within four years.
  • A part time PhD should take no less than four calendar years. You must submit within seven years.


If you are considering the PhD programme, you will need a very strong academic background, normally holding a Masters in Theology at a high grade. Students also need to have a proposed research subject which is within the areas of interest of our supervisors and which will fuel the church’s mission.

Click here to enquire, or click here to find out more information about our partnership with VU Amsterdam.