Theology and Religion

Study a PhD or Research Masters as part of our theology and religion cohort

The University of Newcastle welcomes inquiries and applications from high calibre students interested in pursuing Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degrees in theology and religion to join our innovative cohort program. Benefit from the support of world-class supervisors as well as a network of your peers in theology and religion.

Theology and Religion PhD students

Theology and religion cohort. Find out more about current PhD and MPhil topics in Theology and Religion.

Research Areas


Theology is the oldest and arguably the richest university discipline. Not only do we supervise students in traditional areas such as biblical criticism and systematic theology, but we also encourage studies that address the inherently interdisciplinary and indeed inter-religious nature of theology. A significant focus at the University of Newcastle is the theologies of Islam and Christianity, especially in exploring the intersections between them. This means research may be (and is) undertaken in areas including but not limited to:

  • theology and politics
  • Inter-faith theology
  • theology and education
  • theology and environmental ethics
  • theology and gender
  • theology and economics
  • philosophical theology
  • Marxist biblical criticism


At the University of Newcastle, we have developed specific research excellence in:

  • Marxism and religion
  • post-secularism
  • history of religion
  • religion and education
  • religion and gender
  • religion and ethics
  • sociology of religion

Religion is also approached from interdisciplinary and critical perspectives that challenge traditional methods of study and research. The interdisciplinary fields cross over into areas that include:

  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • gender studies
  • history
  • psychology
  • philosophy
  • education
  • politics
  • economics

World Class Research

'Above World Standard'

The University of Newcastle is recognised as a leading location in Australia and internationally for innovative research in the areas of theology and religion. In the 2015 Excellence in Research in Australia assessment, the University achieved a ranking of 4 (‘Above World Standard’) for the category of ‘Religion and Religious Traditions’. This was the highest level awarded for research in this area in Australia.

Our research reputation

Our supervisors have established international and prize winning reputations in their respective fields. We have close collaboration with leading universities and research institutions in:

  • Asia Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Renmin University of China; Fudan University; Henan University; Nanjing Normal University
  • The Pacific University of Otago; University of Auckland
  • Europe Cambridge University; Oxford University; University of Kent; University of Bristol; Humboldt University; University of Copenhagen; University of Oslo; University of Greenland
  • North America Harvard University; Duke University; Bucknell University; Royal Roads University; Wake Forest University; University of Ottawa

Equally, our research higher degree students come to the University from many countries in the world. These include China, Macedonia, Samoa, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.

Find a supervisor

Before you apply, contact a supervisor to discuss possible research projects. This will allow you to frame your proposal to align with established disciplines and areas of supervisor capacity, as well as identify possible inter-disciplinary supervision.

  • Professor Roland Boer (cohort coordinator): Marxism (especially Russian and Chinese), religion, Christian theology, Jewish theology; political philosophy, biblical criticism, radical religious movements.
  • Emeritus Professor Terry Lovat: Christian theology (speciality in Bonhoeffer), Practical theology, Islamic theology, Interfaith theology, religious education, ethics and values education.
  • Professor Victoria Haskins: Indigenous history and missions; colonialism and religion.
  • Dr Kathleen McPhillips: sociology of religion and gender; women, religion and feminism; critical studies in religion, religion and post-secularism; new religious movements, the sociology of Max Weber; child sexual abuse and the Catholic Church.
  • Dr Daniella Forster: professional ethics; values education; the ethics of belief; metaethics and epistemology; virtue theory; critical thinking; democratic education; philosophy of education.
  • Dr Kerry Dally: values education; research ethics; social and emotional learning; moral development.
  • Dr James Juniper: economics, philosophy and religious thought.
  • Dr Ann Taylor: sociology of religion and gender; new religious movements.
  • Dr Hamed Hosseini: political sociology of Islam, including Muslim youth political identity (political disenfranchisement and radicalism); Islamic economic alternatives to capital; (post-)Islamist social movements (e.g. Arab spring); social history of Islamic revivalism.

In specific cases it may be possible to arrange for co-supervisors outside the University of Newcastle.

How to apply for Graduate Research at UON