Standard PhD / MPhil

Cliff College has a successful PhD programme, validated by The University of Manchester, with students working part-time and full-time, in the UK and overseas. We encourage applications in the areas of study which represent the specialisms and broad research interests of our faculty supervisors.

Start Date

September, annually


The programme will be undertaken either on a full-time basis, taking three years to complete, or on a part-time basis, taking six years to complete.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be considered for entry to our standard PhD programme, candidates must fulfil the following academic requirements:

  • possess a ‘good’ MA in a relevant area (this would be a ‘Merit’ grade in UK terms)
  • present an appropriate research topic and a detailed proposal for a title
  • have two academic referees who can comment on your suitability for your proposed course of study.

Moreover, in order to do well on the programme generally, candidates should have considered, and be committed to, the demands of a doctoral research degree programme, whether full-time or part-time. These demands include the time required to dedicate oneself to the required standard of research and the financial commitment to completing the programme of study.

Broad Interests of Our Faculty Supervisors

  • Wesleyan and Methodist Studies
  • Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies
  • Women, Gender and the Bible
  • The atonement
  • The theology of the ascension
  • The theology of worship
  • The theology of Preaching
  • Social, environmental and economic justice
  • Aid and international development
  • Public Theology

Some of our Current Research Projects

  • An exploration of Christian faith development in the lives of children living in a multi-media world.
  • Missional Ecclesiology – An exploration into the effectiveness of the UK Methodist Circuit System for supporting and delivering church growth at a local level.
  • Toward an Ethic of Worship in a Technological Age: A Comparative Study of the Works of Jacques Ellul and Wendell Berry and Their Theological Implications for Christian Worship in a Western Evangelical Context.
  • Excavating talent: exploring themes of judgement of missional risk-taking.


Cliff College is a member of the Manchester Wesleyan Research Centre. 

The College is in a research partnership agreement with Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

All We Can: MPhil Scholarship



One MPhil scholarship is offered by All We Can: Methodist relief and development (, in conjunction with Cliff College, for research to consider the development work of Methodist Churches in one or more countries where All We Can implements its Church CAN project. The successful applicant will research the understanding of the church and the relationship between development and mission.

Scholarship scheme for an overseas-based student

The scholarship will cover all MPhil fees payable to Cliff College over the one-year period of a full-time MPhil. The first three months of this study will be spent at Cliff College. Additional funds will be available for the student to cover some of their living costs over the period of study (while carrying out this research). In exceptional circumstances this research may be taken part-time.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. That they have earned a ‘good’ MA plus an undergraduate degree; the MA should be in a theological discipline
  2. A suitable research proposal.

In addition, overseas candidates must be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. Proficiency in English at IELTS7.0 or equivalent
  2. Ability to meet UKVI visa requirements, currently for a Student Visitor Visa.

Inquiries to: Academic Registrar, Cliff College, Calver, Hope Valley, Derbyshire S32 3XG, UK. Email:

To apply, please download the application and proposal forms available to the left of this page.

Fees (Academic Year: 2019-2020)

Full-time fees for 2019-20 are:
Total Academic Fee£5545
Accommodation and meals - dependent on accommodation package required
Part-time fees for 2019-20 are:
Total Academic Fee£3495
Accommodation and meals for two weeks (Monday to Friday) per year is included in the above fee.
Additional accommodation and meals (Monday to Friday)£190
Students requiring additional financial assistance can apply for a bursary - see the separate bursary section below for details.

Bursaries and Scholarships

Cliff College maintains a general bursary fund to benefit students needing financial assistance during their studies. This comprises donations made by supporters of the College, both currently and in the past. Currently, bursaries are focused on the following groups:

  • Students who live in areas where there is low participation in Higher Education
  • Care leavers
  • Students with caring responsibilities – young carers
  • Students with disabilities
  • Students from ethnic minorities
  • Those not in receipt of student loans

In addition to the general fund there are three other funds providing assistance for specific purposes:

  • the Cresswell fund is for students from the global south
  • the ‘Dennison’ fund is for MA students.
  • the ‘Jon Ashby’ fund is for students wishing to develop their skills in music or worship leading.

Bursary applications are made by completing the Bursary Application Form, which is available from the Finance Office (email

In addition, a number of organisations external to the College provide grant funding of varying amounts. Please contact Finance Office (email for further details.

For more information about the standard PhD/ MPhil programme, please contact us by telephone (01246 584216) or click here to email:

Cliff College is a registered charity: No. 529386

Call: +44 (0) 1246 584200

Cliff College,
Calver, Hope Valley,
Sheffield, S32 3XG

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