The Graduate Research School is engaged in research across the four recognized Sydney College of Divinity (SCD) disciplines
- Biblical Studies
- Humanities in the Christian Tradition
- Christian Life and Ministry
Research students who have a strong academic background in more than one discipline, as relevant to their proposal, can engage in interdisciplinary research.
Biblical Studies involves a detail study of Scripture and related documentation and other sources to uncover the meaning of the text within its social and cultural context, and to bring that meaning into dialogue with contemporary scholarship and contexts. Students seeking to undertake research in Biblical Studies require proficiency in relevant ancient languages (notably Greek and/or Hebrew) as well as a strong relevant background in their prior program of studies. The SCD has an active research centre, The Centre for Gospels and Acts Research, which holds regular conferences and supports the journal, The Journal for Gospel and Acts Research, providing a strong research environment in Biblical Studies. We have a number of research supervisors accredited in Biblical Studies who are capable of assisting you with your research project. Research students in Biblical Studies may enrol in either the PhD or ThD program.
Christian life and ministry
Christian life and ministry covers a range on issues concerned with the concrete life of the church and believers. This may include pastoral ministry and counselling, spirituality, Christian ethics, worship and liturgy, missiology and canon law. Students seeking to undertake research in Church life and ministry should have a strong academic background in their relevant area of interest, together with some professional background in a related ministry where appropriate. Research in this area may include some degree of empirical research and associated ethics clearance. We have a number of research supervisors accredited in Christian life and ministry who are capable of assisting you with your research project. Because of the practical orientation of much research in this area, research students may find the DMin as an appropriate program for their enrolment, though the PhD or DTh may also be suitable. Discuss your options with the program director.
Humanities in the Christian tradition
The Christian tradition has a long history of involvement with the Humanities, especially with Philosophy (long described as handmaid to theology), but also with literature and the arts, as well as the discipline of History with the specialisation of Church History. Church History covers the full range of the history of the Church, from its early beginnings to modern church persons, institutions and events. This area of research is often interdisciplinary and so research students may need a strong background in more than one relevant discipline, for example, literature and theology, or church history and biblical studies for early church history. We have a number of research supervisors accredited in Humanities who are capable of assisting you with your research project. Research students in Humanities may enrol in either the PhD or ThD program.
Theology has traditionally been defined as “faith seeking understanding” which often revolves around subdisciplines such as foundational, doctrinal and systematic/speculative theology. This search for understanding will normally be mediated to us through the writings of major exponents from the past (Biblical theology, Patristics, Medieval, Reformation) or more contemporary authors (e.g. Barth, Rahner, Pannenberg, Moltmann, Volf). Alternatively, one may research a particular theological topic (e.g. Trinity, Christology, atonement, creation) drawing from a range of authors where some theological debate is the key issue. Students seeking to undertake research in Theology require a strong academic background in the relevant field of their interest, and where the focus is on a particular author, you may require familiarity with the original language of that author. We have a number of research supervisors accredited in Theology who are capable of assisting you with your research project. Research students in Theology may enrol in either the PhD or ThD program.
Increasingly students are interested in bringing more than one discipline into their research to shed new light on old issues or to pursue new questions. Interdisciplinary research offers rich opportunities for opening up new fields of research and providing exciting insights for the researcher. It also carries with it the inherent risk of “falling between two chairs” as the research student will be assessed from the perspective of two or more distinct disciplines. Research students who are interested in such interdisciplinary research require a strong academic background in more than one discipline, as relevant to their proposal. The SCD can support these projects by appointing supervisors with the relevant expertise in the disciplines involved, bringing in external assistance as required for the project. Such projects would normally be undertaken as either a PhD or DTh. You should discuss your proposal with the program director to explore the options available to you.