Professional Doctorate

A professional doctorate is a doctoral level research degree aimed at the ‘researching professional’. It is of particular interest to practitioners and professionals who want to research a question arising from their practice, and through their research to contribute to the community of practice in their own profession or voluntary work. As a member of the Cambridge Theological Federation – through its partnership with Anglia Ruskin University – IOCS offers a professional doctorate in Practical Theology.

The programme is aimed at those interested in relating theological, ethical and spiritual insights and methods to their own professional and/or voluntary practice. Participants need not necessarily have a faith-commitment but they should be interested in the role of religion, theology and ethics in forging action-directing world views. Potential themes to tackle could include (based on theses submitted so far): family ministry in the church, the interface between traditional Orthodox approaches to psycho-spiritual healing, the role of prayer in the ministry of chaplains etc.

Revd Canon Dr Andrew Todd, Director of the Professional Doctorate, presenting the course.

The structure of the Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology

The taught stage

Two consecutive 30 credit taught modules at level 7 which may be taken either by distance learning (for those unable to attend in Cambridge) or by attendance in Cambridge for 2 taught sessions per module, with some additional engagement with distance learning elements.
Module 1: Advanced Professional Practice: Practical Theology, September – January
Module 2: Advanced Research Methods in Practical Theology, February – May

The dissertation stage

A 60,000 word research thesis at level 8. Further engagement with distance learning materials, supervisions, and some attendance in Cambridge will be required. Attendance requirements will be tailored to student location and for some students working overseas this may entail attendance at locally delivered seminars. Normally expected completion time for dissertation stage 48 months.

How to apply

Please first contact the Institute by email ( with a brief description of your proposed research project. If we determine that the project is feasible, we will discuss it with the course Director, Revd Dr Andrew Todd. Together with the Cambridge Theological Federation, IOCS can then determine whether suitable supervision can be offered for the proposed thesis.

Please make sure you follow the steps above before submitting an application via the University’s portal below:

Apply online via the Anglia Ruskin University website