Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Theology

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Theology for Ordinands

The MPhil degree is a twenty-one month course designed to offer extensive postgraduate education in a specialist field of theology for very able students.  It includes a short thesis of up to 30,000 words based on independent scholarly research, which may contribute to a future research degree, and at least three (in some cases four or five) formal examination papers or groups of assessed essays.  Candidates who are successful in the MPhil may be allowed to expand the MPhil thesis for a DPhil.  The total time needed for the DPhil by this route need not be longer and the route via the taught course may be an especially good foundation for a teaching career. 

Students applying for the MPhil may choose from a wide variety of specialisations, including Old Testament, New Testament, Biblical Interpretation, Christian Ethics, Modern Doctrine, Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World, Ecclesiastical History, Science and Religion, Reformation Theology, and Patristic Theology.

The MPhil at Wycliffe Hall offers:

  • Student-centred learning, with an emphasis on student initiative and exploration
  • All the intellectual rigour of the University of Oxford, combined with the pastoral and ministerial insights of Wycliffe tutors
  • Sustained personal interaction with and support from tutors
  • An evangelical ethos with the opportunity to participate in formational activities and the life of the worshipping community
  • Learning within an environment in which the integration of spiritual formation and academic learning is paramount
  • The opportunity to be members of the wider Wycliffe community, but also of the Wycliffe Hall Graduate Society, which offers a wide range of additional academic, social, and spiritual support.  For more information on Wycliffe’s graduate provision, please see the Graduate Study webpage on the Wycliffe Hall website

Course Structure

The Course Director for the MPhil at Wycliffe Hall is Dr Matt Kirkpatrick.

The MPhil is mainly taught by seminars and supervisions. The first year of the MPhil follows that of the MSt, and is examined by submission of several short essays and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words.  In some subjects there is also a written examination, which may require a demonstration of linguistic competence.  In the second year of the MPhil, students write a thesis of 30,000 words, on a subject of their choosing agreed upon by their supervisor, which may then be combined into further studies at doctoral level.  The course of study for the MPhil lasts twenty-one months from October in Year 1 to June in Year 2.  It offers a more extended period of advanced study in a specific field than the MSt, providing the same rigorous training in relevant research methods, yet often with additional subject options and with a longer period devoted to scholarly research and writing.

For a general overview of the course, please see the MPhil in Theology webpage on the University of Oxford Admissions website.  

Full details on the course structure can be found in the Course Regulations for the Master of Philosophy in Theology

Formational Activities

Wycliffe has one of the largest graduate theological communities in Oxford, and specialises in integrating ministerial formation with the academic studies of its graduate ordinands.  Each student is overseen by the Tutor for Graduates, Dr Matt Kirkpatrick, to discuss their particular needs and to ensure that all graduate ordinands leave Wycliffe academically, spiritually, and pastorally prepared and confident for their future ministry.

Ordinands are expected to participate in the life of the worshipping community through participation in daily chapel services and a weekly fellowship group led by a Wycliffe tutor.   Ordinands participate in weekly placements with a church or other ministry organisation, as well as one 5-week summer placement.  Ordinands also serve in 1-2 church missions.  

Integrated study weeks provide ordinands with a chance for in-depth study of key topics such as baptism, communion, Islam, and ethics.  Preaching classes are taken throughout the course with supervised preaching engagements.

For detailed information on the specific formational programme for the MPhil in Theology for ordinands at Wycliffe Hall, please see the Ministry and Formation Handbook.

Entry Requirements

Students applying to Wycliffe Hall must be at least 21 years old, and have normally completed a bachelor’s degree in theology with a first or top upper second-class honours or equivalent (GPA of 3.7 or above).

For further entry requirements, please see the ‘Entry Requirements’ tab on the MPhil in Theology webpage on the University of Oxford Admissions website.  

Church of England ordinands must have received recommendation for training from the Church of England.


For tuition fees, please see the ‘Funding and Costs’ tab on the MPhil in Theology webpage on the University of Oxford Admissions website.  

Accommodation fees can be found on the Wycliffe Hall Accommodation webpage.

In addition, Wycliffe Hall students pay a termly Common Room fee, the amount of which is decided on a yearly basis but usually approximates £50.00.    

Out-of-pocket expenses incurred for travel related to placements and missions will be reimbursed up to a fixed limit.

Ordinands should consult with their sponsoring body regarding arrangements for payment of fees.

How to Apply

Students must apply both to the University of Oxford and to Wycliffe Hall directly:

  1. All graduate applications are made to the relevant faculty through the University of Oxford online application system.  For detailed information, please see the ‘How to Apply’ tab on the MPhil in Theology webpage on the University of Oxford Admissions website.  
    Once students have been accepted onto their course by the University, their applications are then sent on to Wycliffe. Students must indicate their preference to join Wycliffe Hall on their online application.  For detailed information, please see the University of Oxford Choosing a College webpage.
  2. In addition to the University application form (which covers application onto their academic course) students must also apply to Wycliffe Hall directly as their ministerial training base through our online application system.