Skip to main content


We welcome enquiries from people wishing to do postgraduate research on moral injury, recognising that critical and novel research on moral injury often comes from widely varied perspectives, circumstances and life trajectories. Several options for postgraduate research are available, and you can do your research in Durham or at a distance, full-time or part-time.

Options for Postgraduate Research

Two students in a seminar

PhD and other pure research programmes

The PhD is a thesis of up to 100,000 words, which can be done in 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time.

Shorter programmes with shorter thesis requirements are also available - the MA by Research and MLitt.

Prospective students can be considered for applications in a range of disciplines, including theology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, law and business studies/leadership and management.

Integrated PhD in Theology and Religion

The Integrated PhD is a hybrid degree allowing students to combine a classic PhD with taught preparation roughly equivalent to a taught MA, within a single 4-year programme (8 years part-time).

This is aimed at people who are intending to pursue doctoral research in the Department of Theology and Religion but who are not yet ready to embark on independent research.

Doctor of Theology and Ministry (DThM)

The DThM is Durham’s Professional Doctorate in theology. It is intended for anyone who is interested in the relationship between theology and the practice of ministry and mission. This is a 3-year programme (6 years part-time), which runs in partnership with St John’s College, and has two phases.

The first phase is delivered during the intensive teaching weeks held twice a year in Durham; it is a structured taught research training process that supports you as you develop your research proposal. This is followed by the research phase, where students continue their doctoral level research in their chosen field of study, producing a thesis of around 70,000 words.

DThM students who decide they wish to submit a longer thesis of 100,000 words can apply to transfer to a PhD. Applications to transfer are considered by the programme directors and other University officers.

Mode of Study

Durham is a historic, compact and bustling city – a wonderful place to live and work. Living in Durham means joining a supportive community of fellow postgraduates and staff members and experiencing opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities in music, sport and beyond.

A historic street with pedestrians and a cyclist

However, we recognise that many people are not able to uproot their lives and we are very happy to provide supervision and support remotely. PhDs and other pure research programmes can be done fully remotely; for the iPhD only the first year needs to be done in Durham; the DThM can be done remotely except for the biannual residentials.

University student
The student experience at Durham has been incredible. The opportunity to study with and learn from world-leading subject-matter experts is unparalleled, and I have felt a part of the community at Durham every step of the way. Durham's research programme is a particularly good fit for students arriving at graduate studies with experience in their respective fields, as it allows us to begin immediately leveraging lived experience to make an academic contribution. I am exceedingly grateful for the International Centre for Moral Injury; through its emphasis on global collaboration, the ICMI ensures research conducted under its umbrella reaches those who might benefit from it in real time.

Jan Shultis
Second-year distance PhD student with the ICMI

Entrance Requirements

For entry at PhD or DThM level you will normally be required to have a solid Master’s degree in a relevant subject (i.e., average above 65% or equivalent/GPA of at least 3.7).

For an MA by Research or an Integrated PhD, you will normally be required to have a good honours degree (such as a First or a good 2:1/GPA 3.7 on a scale of 4.0) in a relevant discipline.

In some cases other kinds of qualifications or experience can be considered - please get in touch for advice.

Non-native English speakers should also ensure they meet the English language entrance requirements.


A summary of annual fees (fees per year) for 2023 entry is shown below. The university is finalising its fees for 2024/25 entry but in the meantime the 2023 figures give an indication of likely costs.

The first table shows fees for home/islands students and the second shows fees for overseas students. Whether or not you qualify for the home/islands rate depends on several factors. If you have British citizenship and have lived in Britain all your life, you are eligible for the home/islands rate, but other groups of people are too. If you are unsure, please contact us.

Annual fees for home/islands students
Course Full-time Part-time
PhD/MA by Research/MLitt £4,712 £2,600
Integrated PhD Year 1 £11,800 £6,500
Integrated PhD Years 2-4 £4,712 £2,600
DThM £9,500 £5,300


Annual fees for overseas students
Course Full-time Part-time
PhD/MA by Research/MLitt £23,600 £13,000
Integrated PhD Year 1 £24,750 £13,700
Integrated PhD Years 2-4 £23,600 £13,000
DThM £24,750 £13,600


Please note that:

  • If you are interested in a research programme in psychology, the fees may be different to those shown in the table above - please contact us.
  • These are course fees and do not cover any accommodation.


There are various bursary and scholarship schemes in operation; these typically provide partial support with fees, while a few scholarships pay fees in full, and a very few also provide support with living costs.

The bursary and scholarship schemes that are relevant to you will depend on the area of study – please contact us for advice.

Please note that bursary and scholarship schemes are very competitive, and we advise prospective applicants to also consider what other sponsorship might be available to you; for example, through their employer or a relevant charitable organisation.

Applicants may wish to consider student loans either instead of or in addition to bursaries, scholarships and other forms of sponsorship.

University student
I started on the DThM programme in 2018, and my research concerns how survivors of childhood incest who attend Celebrate Recovery 12-step groups in the US understand and practise forgiveness. On the DThM programme, the staff, my cohort and supervisors have been an encouraging support system. The DThM modules and biannual residentials provide foundational knowledge and practical experience, which helped prepare me to present my research at the first ICMI conference in April 2023. I’m currently exploring themes of moral injury in my data, but more importantly, what I’m learning is helping me in my own life as a survivor and ministry leader.

Jennifer Loop
Part-time Durham DThM student based in the US

Application Process

Applications are submitted online through the postgraduate application portal. The following supporting documentation is required before applications are considered complete:

  • A research proposal (1500-2500 words for PhD applicants; 1000-1500 words for the DThM, iPhD and MA by Research) and indicative bibliography; the research proposal can be developed with the support of your prospective supervisor
  • A personal statement that describes your academic interest in and understanding of your chosen course, as well as your purpose and objectives in undertaking this postgraduate study (maximum 8000 characters)
  • Transcripts of previous and current degrees
  • Sample of academic writing on a relevant topic undertaken as part of an earlier degree (normally no more than 5000 words)
  • Two confidential academic references; please note that references submitted directly by an applicant cannot be considered – instead applicants must give the contact details of referees who will then be contacted by the postgraduate admissions team. Applications are not considered complete until references are received from referees – please take this into account when considering application deadlines.
  • For most applicants for whom English is not their native language, evidence of English language proficiency.

When to apply

PhDs and MAs by Research typically start at the end of September, beginning of January, or just after Easter. For the September intake, applicants are strongly advised to make sure their full application (including references) is submitted by the end of June, although later applications may also be considered. For the January and Easter intakes, applicants should ideally ensure their full application (including references) is submitted six weeks in advance.

The iPhD starts at the end of September each year, and applicants are encouraged to submit their applications by the end of June, although later applications may be considered.

The DThM starts on 1 September each year, and the deadline for applications is 1 June.

Please note that the deadlines described above are study deadlines, and deadlines for bursary and scholarship applications tend to be considerably earlier. In addition, developing a research proposal for the application does take time, so it’s a good idea to contact us as soon as possible if you are considering applying to do postgraduate research.

Contact Us

If you are interested in pursuing postgraduate research on moral injury, please send your CV along with a brief outline of your research interests to us at