Research Profile

The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies belongs to the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences. The responsible faculty of the Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies  is the Faculty of Theology. The programme offers a high-quality training programme and an outstanding environment for research in all theologigal and religious studies research fields and areas.

The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies covers all the research areas in Theology: 

  • Biblical Studies,

  • Church History,

  • Systematic Theology,

  • Comparative Religion and

  • Practical Theology.

Of the University’s research focus areas, the most essential one from the viewpoint of the doctoral programme in Theology and Religious Studies shall be “Language and culture” but the programme’s research shall also be linked to the areas “The thinking and learning human being” and “Social justice”. The Doctoral programme maintains the cooperative network of doctoral education in the field at both national and international levels. The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences also take part in the activities of the programme.

The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies offers to all doctoral students a systematical four years training programme. It is also possible to become a part-time doctoral student.

Doctoral students participate actively in the postgraduate seminar led by the professor of their major subject. The seminar focuses on the dissertation-related texts produced by each student and convenes about once a month. Also the Centres of Excellence and Academy projects participating in the Doctoral Programme shall offer education.

Educational offerings are systematically organised in cooperation with the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences. The Doctoral Programme organises an annual Doctoral Course every spring. The Doctoral Course focuses on general skills a doctoral candidate needs to become an expert.

The doctoral programme organises a thematic symposium every autumn. Main speakers are invited from among international partners. Doctoral students have opportunities to present and discuss about their research. The doctoral programme participants take also part in training offered by international partners. In addition, doctoral students utilise the lecture offerings included in the Faculty’s Master’s degree programme.

The training programme is divided in field-specific part and courses organized by the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences and the Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies . The doctoral studies are also under developing in part of the UH's Big Wheel- education reform.

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 shall 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 received top-level ranking in the University’s research assessments in 1999, 2005 and 2011. The Faculty 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.

The doctoral programme is involved in the research and training events offered by scientific societies and academic associations in the field, and participate in the operations of the international doctoral education networks mentioned above. International cooperation shall be conducted within the framework of the doctoral programme on a discipline-specific and project-specific basis (including the videoconferencing of postgraduate seminars, research and teaching visits, doctoral student exchange, supervision cooperation as well as cotutelle agreements).

The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies is the most significant doctoral education organisation and the bellwether of the development of doctoral education in the field. The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies shall strengthen the status of the University of Helsinki as a multidisciplinary European research university. The diverse national and international education cooperation of the programme shall be aligned with the networking efforts of the University. The Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies in Helsinki shall share educational responsibility of Finnish doctoral education in the field with the Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Eastern Finland. In Finland the combined need for doctoral education in theology is 20 graduates according to the instructions of the Ministry of Education and Culture. Of this number 70% shall be educated in Helsinki.