Doctoral Programme in Theology (Leuven)

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The Doctoral Programme in Theology aims at broadening and deepening doctoral students' knowledge and ability to produce scholarly research in theology or religious studies. Furthermore, doctoral students will be supported in their research by means of supervision by the programme's professorial staff. The programme will be especially geared toward preparing a doctoral dissertation, within a reasonable timeframe. The dissertation should constitute an innovative contribution to the area of theological research.

The Doctoral Programme in Theology consists of an interrelated and coherent combination of study activities. Components of the Doctoral Programme can be followed at other national or international universities and institutes for scientific research, especially those with which the Faculty has established collaborative agreements.

The Doctoral Programme consists of obligatory and optional elements which aim at broadening knowledge and experience by way of methodological reflection, systematic guidance, discussion with other doctoral students, contact with professors from one's own area of research, the presentation of research results, international contacts, preparation of publications, supplementary formation through the study of languages and other specialised courses, and team work.

Candidates for the Doctoral Programme are expected to have the following abilities:

- to be well-versed in theology in general;
- to be capable of independent theological research and to pass on acquired attitudes;
- to be capable of phrasing a theological question and to develop a line of reasoning for this purpose;
- to be a specialist in a certain field (and, as such, be thoroughly acquainted with sources, problems, and methods) in view of one's contribution to theology;
- to have knowledge of modern (and if required, also classical) languages required for their research;
- to be able to apply one's knowledge to the theological reflection in church and society;
- to have a clear perception of the relationship between philosophy of life, religion, and the current social and historical context;
- to be able to finish and present a dissertation.

Predoctoral period and predoctoral exam

A candidate can be invited to take a predoctoral exam if there is insufficient proof of relevant academic and professional suitability and/or prior knowledge, and it may be necessary for the candidate to obtain additional qualifications before being allowed to start the doctoral programme and doctoral research.

§1. The predoctoral exam assesses the suitability of the candidate to obtain the degree of doctor. The predoctoral exam is taken after a predoctoral period in which the candidate can acquire further skills by following specific course components, and developing a research project. The doctoral committee decides on the content and scope of the predoctoral period and the predoctoral exam.

§2. During the predoctoral period the candidate must enrol as a predoctoral student.

§3. For candidates from EEA countries (European Economic Area) the predoctoral period lasts a maximum of one year. For candidates from non-EEA countries, the predoctoral period lasts a maximum of two years.

§4. The predoctoral period ends with a predoctoral exam. The doctoral committee decides whether the candidate has passed the predoctoral exam. Candidates who pass the predoctoral exam with distinction are authorised to enrol as a PhD researcher. Candidates who do not pass the predoctoral exam with distinction can obtain a certificate of 'research specialisation' for the course components that were successfully completed.

The programme aims to prepare the graduate in the best possible way for his/her professional career.

Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
Research Secretariat
Sint-Michielsstraat 4 box 3100
3000 LEUVEN, Belgium (first floor, room 01.17)
tel. + 32 16 32 38 73
fax + 32 16 32 38 58


Useful information for prospective students
Useful information for doctoral students

Doctoral students are encouraged to spend time abroad, e.g. in the context of the LLP/Erasmus agreements.
PhD researchers attend, during their programme, the compulsory info and formation sessions organized by the doctoral committee for all students.