Profile & Activities

The Doctoral Program in Theology and Religious Studies offers a rich coverage of traditional areas of research explored at the Faculty of Theology, which has a highly international and dynamically developing academic profile. Our doctoral candidates may specialize in, for example, Biblical studies, which encompasses both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and early Christianity. They may choose to study church history, internationally or in the North-European and Finnish contexts, or focus on the study of religions and religiosity also outside the Christian traditions. They can, within systematic theology, examine historical or contemporary issues in social ethics, ecumenical theology, dogmatics, and the philosophy of religion, or within practical theology investigate socially highly relevant themes in church sociology, religious education, and pastoral theology. A number of emerging interdisciplinary fields of study, such as global Christianity, Islamic theology, urban theology, and religion in the digital world, are also pursued by our professors and other teachers and supervisors. The doctoral candidates of our Program may thus both work within established disciplinary traditions and explore topics ranging over received academic boundaries, such as welfare, values, and sustainability, or religious changes and social structures.

A doctoral degree in the programme comprises of a doctoral thesis and 40 credits of additional studies. The studies are divided into discipline-specific studies, aimed to support your research project, and transferable skills training.

Most of the studies are completed flexibly through means other than traditional coursework: conference presentations, essays, scientific and popular articles, editing work etc. Want to know more? Visit our study planning instructions for current doctoral students at the university's Instructions for Students -service.

Regular courses at the programme include discipline-specific research seminars, where you get to present your own work, receive feedback and spur on your fellow doctoral researchers.

Courses in research ethics and transferable skills are offered throughout the academic year by the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences.

To get started:

Doctoral Programme's annual Symposium

The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies organizes an annual Symposium with varying themes. Stay tuned for more information!

Doctoral course

The doctoral programme organizes a thematic "doctoral course" every spring for all students in the programmes. Stay tuned for more information!

Doctoral students’ peer activities

Members of Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies are especially active in organising activities and co-working events for peer doctoral candidates. The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies supports this kind of innovative and from-ground-level-up thinking with great pride.

One example of peer activities is the Researchers' Coffee Meeting. For more information about the peer activities, please join 'Teologian tutkijat'- Facebook-group

Annual writ­ing re­treats

The programme also organises annual writing retreats. At the two or three-day retreats, you will spend solid chunks of the day distraction-free, just writing. In addition, you will have the opportunity to share the joys and pains of writing with other scholars in brief workshops and informal discussions during the retreat.

Internationalization and mobility

The key aim of the Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies is the integration of its students into the international scientific community so that all students are able to recognise their place in it regardless of their research topic. The programme promotes integration by charting existing international networks and relationships, and by actively establishing new contacts with institutes of higher education and research communities outside Finland as well as with Finnish scientific institutes abroad.

The aim is that all the doctoral students would spend at least a couple of months abroad during their doctoral studies. These studies may consist of independent research work, attending particular courses or getting a diploma.

The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies cooperates nationally with the Doctoral Programme in Theology at the University of Eastern Finland’s Philosophical Faculty and the Doktorandprogrammet vid teologiska fakulteten (Doctoral programme at the Faculty of Theology) at the Åbo Akademi University.

Internationally the programme engages in education and research cooperation with, among others, the Global Network of Research Centers for Theology, Religious Studies and Christian Studies and the Center of International and Disciplinary Theology at the Theological Faculty of the University of Heidelberg. Moreover, the programme will continue its Nordic cooperation within the framework of the Nordic Network for Doctoral Training in Theology and Religion project. Discipline-specific cooperation is pursued, for instance, with Emory University (Atlanta, the United States).

The University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Theology participates actively in, for instance, the network of religious studies departments in the LERU universities and the Global Network of Research Centers for Theology, Religious Studies and Christian Studies doctoral education network.