Ready for research?
Before you apply for a higher degree by research, check whether you fulfil the requirements. Alternatively, explore the University of Divinity's bridging options to prepare you for a research degree.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What do I need before I can begin a PhD?A:
You must be able to demonstrate that you have the necessary research skills and a thorough base of knowledge in your intended field of research. If you fulfil the requirements of one or more of the checklists below, you’re ready to start.
Option 1 – Previous Research Degree
- I have completed a masters degree in research
- I have taken Honours in a bachelors degree and achieved a grade of Second Class A or higher.
Option 2 – Previous Research Essay or Minor Thesis
- In a previous degree, I have written a research essay or minor thesis which achieved a grade of 75 or higher.
- I completed this degree, or wrote this research essay or minor thesis, within the last 10 years.
- I have completed 2 or more units of study in my intended field of research.
- I have extensive professional experience in my intended field of research.
Experience in Field of Research
- I am proficient in the ancient or pre-modern languages relevant to my intended field of research, e.g. Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Syriac, Reformation-era German, etc. (Required for students intending to conduct research in Biblical Studies and Church History.)
- I am able to read scholarly literature in languages other than English.
- I have studied and can demonstrate proficiency in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods. (Required for students intending to conduct research with human subjects.)
If you have fulfilled most of the items above, but not all, you may still qualify. Contact ALC Research to discuss your options.
Q: Do you offer scholarships?A:
ALC does not offer specific scholarships for research degrees. However:
- An interest-free loan may be available for students intending to work or who are already working full-time in lay or ordained ministry in the LCA. Ministry includes service in a Lutheran school, child care centre or kindergarten.
- The University of Divinity (UD) awards a limited number of scholarships to PhD students for full cover of tuition fees. These can be awarded to both full-time and part-time students, and favour applicants with high quality research proposals. Scholarships for living expenses may be awarded in exceptional cases. See Research scholarships for further information.
Q: Can overseas students enrol in research degrees?A:
Yes. We work with students who plan to reside in Australia on a student visa for the length of their study, as well as students who plan to do their research while living partially or entirely in their own countries.
Q: I’m interested in research, but not at the PhD level. What are my options?A:
We recommend looking into the qualifications offered above:
- Graduate Certificate of Research Methodology (GCRM)
- Graduate Diploma of Divinity (GDDiv)
- Minor Thesis, or
- Master of Theological Studies (MTS).
Alternatively, the Master of Philosophy degree may suit for smaller-scale research. It has a shorter duration and lower cost, and can be upgraded to a PhD with the required level of progress. Contact ALC Research for further information.
Q: What does the Graduate Certificate of Research Methodology (GCRM) offer?A:
The GCRM combines a Research Methodologies coursework unit and a minor thesis. It can be completed in 1 semester full-time, or up to 2 years part‑time.
If you have professional expertise or a high level of knowledge in your intended field of research, but have no research training, the GCRM will teach you the skills required to undertake research at Masters or PhD level. You will be required to gain a grade of 75 or higher (Distinction or High Distinction) for the Minor Thesis.
Q: Why would I do a Graduate Diploma in Divinity (GDDiv)?A:
The GDDiv is recommended for students who have bachelor level qualifications but have not yet studied at the postgraduate level. It is the equivalent of an Honours year, is shorter than a coursework Masters by one full-time semester and is a perfect opportunity to study in theological areas at depth, prior to enrolling in a research degree.
It allows you to take three coursework units first to gain deep background knowledge or required language skills in the area you intend to research, then to add one semester of units from the Graduate Certificate in Research Methodology. If your bachelor degree was in theology or a related discipline, the initial units allow you to practise the analytical and writing skills required at the postgraduate level before you embark on the Minor Thesis.
However, if your bachelor degree was not in theology or a related discipline, we suggest you consider enrolling in a (coursework) Masters in Theological Studies or Masters in Education and Theology, in which you incorporate the Minor Thesis or a 2-unit capstone research project. This will allow you to gain required foundational knowledge.
Q: I don’t have any prior research experience, but I have completed a coursework-based Masters degree. What’s the shortest path to a PhD?A:
The shortest path is to enrol in the Minor Thesis. This can be done as a stand-alone non-award unit. You won’t receive a certificate or any other qualification, but can prepare your enrolment for the PhD while researching and writing the thesis. Admission to the PhD is not automatic and will be conditional on the grade that the thesis receives on examination.