Professional Doctorate in Theology and Practice

Doctor of Theology and Practice (DTh) at Winchester provides a structured route for doctoral study based in the student's own context of ministry or professional practice. It is designed both for people in various kinds of Christian ministry or leadership and for those in other professions who wish to undertake doctoral work connecting theology and religion with their own professional fields.

Professional Doctorate in Theology and Practice at University of Winchester

Entry requirements

Normally a Masters degree in Theology or a related discipline, and active engagement in a relevant context of professional practice.

If English is not your first language:

IELTS 6.5 (including 6.5 in academic writing) or equivalent

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL - formerly known as AP(E)L)

Applicants who wish to apply for advanced standing (exemption from part of a programme) based on previous study and/or experiential learning may apply for RPL. Please note that any credits or marks gained from previous study shall not be counted in your final result as your award is calculated solely on the credits and marks accumulated while registered at the University of Winchester.

An application for RPL to exempt the postgraduate research student from part of the research skills programme, or from a module of the pre-thesis stage of a professional doctorate programme should normally be submitted at the application stage.  Please note it can not be used in relation to the thesis for Professional Doctorate, MPhil or PhD qualifications. Please refer to the RPL Policy for further details or email

Course Tuition Fees and Additional Costs

For more information about tuition fees, visit our Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

To find out what general costs are included or excluded in the course fees, such as textbooks and travel expenses, please click here

Degree duration

Part-time: Maximum 7 years

Start dates: September and January

Distance learning available

Application process

In the first instance, please contact the Programme Leader for more information. Applicants may then submit an application online at UKPASS

Programme Leader: Professor Neil Messer
Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 826428

International students seeking additional information about this programme can email or call +44 (0) 1962 827023.

The DTh begins with the module Connecting Theology, Religion and Practice, in which students combine the study of practical theology methods and approaches with two other academic areas in theology or religion, and reflect on their practice in their own context in the light of that academic study.

In later modules, students undertake supervised research and practical projects based in their own context on topics negotiated with the programme team. The outcomes of these projects include publishable academic writing and innovative practice in their field of work. The fourth module is focused on preparing students for their final thesis projects.

  • Connecting Theology, Religion and Practice
  • Practical Project and Critical Evaluation
  • Research Project
  • Research Proposal

Students design and undertake a major project leading to the presentation of a substantial thesis. This can take one of two forms: either a research project leading to a thesis of 50,000-55,000 words or a practice-based project where students present a piece of innovative practice together with a shorter thesis of 35,000-40,000 words.

Since the DTh is designed to enable students to reflect on and research their own professional or ministerial contexts, it is only available by part-time study. Students are expected to have well-developed skills of independent learning and research, and the role of tutors is to supervise and advise on students' work rather than deliver content.

The programme is delivered by distance learning, with relevant study and research resources made available through the University's Learning Network. Students' individual study and research is supported by face-to-face or online tutorials, events in the Department of Theology, Religion and Philosophy (including the annual postgraduate day conference and the research seminar programme) and
peer-group interaction through email discussion groups and social media.

For the pre-thesis (modular) stage, students produce various forms of assessed work including academic papers, a project report and a research proposal with accompanying literature review. At the end of the programme students are assessed by means of the thesis and an oral (viva voce) examination. There are no written exams.

At the University of Winchester validated programmes may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances. The University is committed to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used in the programme you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day/Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Employers in many professional fields recognise a doctoral qualification as an indicator of high-quality performance and the capacity for leadership in the field. It may therefore lead to opportunities for promotion and access to senior positions.

The following policy documents provide additional information in regards to the application process for this course: 

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